The SugarHouse Casino is one of four Pennsylvania casinos being fined by the state’s Gaming Control Board for failing to adhere to local regulations. (Image: phillymag.com)
Four Pennsylvania casinos will pay a total of $103,000 to the state’s Gaming Control Board (PGCB) for violations stemming from involuntary and self-exclusion programs, underage gambling, and allowing an unlicensed employee to work inside a casino.
The violators include the SugarHouse Casino in Philadelphia, Meadows Casino in Washington County, Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course northeast of Harrisburg, and the Rivers Casino in Pittsburgh.
The PGCB is one of the more active state gaming regulators in the United States.
This series of fines levied this week is the fourth such issuance of financial penalties on casinos this year. The $103,000 will bring the total penalties collected by the PGCB in 2016 to more than a quarter of a million dollars.
Excluding Self-Exclusion Program
The major chunk of the $103,000 relates to the SugarHouse and Meadows casinos failing to block gamblers who had either voluntarily placed themselves on exclusion lists or were placed on the PGCB’s Involuntary Exclusion List by state regulators.
According to the PGCB statement on the penalties, three self-excluded males played table games and participated in the poker room for a total of six and a half hours, with one even being issued a player’s rewards card.
SugarHouse also permitted gamblers on the Involuntary Exclusion List into the casino. The statewide blacklist consists of ‘career or professional offenders, cheats, and other individuals whose presence in a licensed facility would be inimical to the interest of the Commonwealth or of licensed gaming,’ says the PGCB.
The two offenses will cost SugarHouse $48,000 in total.
Located 25 miles southwest of downtown Pittsburgh, the Meadows Casino is being held accountable on similar charges. The PGCB says the casino distributed promotional materials to two individuals who were on the self-exclusion list and welcomed both men to the gaming area on multiple occasions.
The Meadows will pay $40,000 for the safeguarding failure.
‘The Meadows Casino understands the seriousness of compulsive gambling and has in place a variety of programs to help minimize its impact on consumers,’ Meadows Director of Marketing Kevin Brogan said. ‘We have taken additional measures in an effort to prevent future occurrences at our facility.’
The two other violations handed down this week were each for $7,500. The Hollywood Casino will pay for allowing an underage patron to gamble on slot machines, while the Rivers Casino will pony up for using an unlicensed table games dealer for 16 days.
Strict No Confidence
Gaming regulators are hampering down on casinos as the issue of not only problem gambling but also money laundering has recently gained many media headlines.
Earlier this month, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) fined the Sparks Nugget in Nevada $1 million for lax anti-money laundering protocols.
FinCEN Director Jennifer Calvery recently announced her departure from the agency. Under her direction, FinCEN focused on banking financial institutions and expanded its oversight to card clubs and casinos.
Like most other state regulators, the PGCB is charged with protecting the interest of the public when it comes to dealing with legalized gambling. That is no easy task considering the growing popularity among criminals in using casinos to move money.
Australian Government Bans In-Play Betting, Bookies Carry On Regardless
Australia’s decision to ban in-play betting is a ‘win for the lazy, traditional monopoly wagering operators,’ according to one online bookmaker. (Image: betking.com.au)
The Australian government https://myfreepokies.com/tiki-torch/ has ordered online bookmakers to cease offering in-play betting as it moves to permanently ban the practice in which bettors can make real-time wagers while a game is in play. But it’s an order that the country’s top betting sites, for now at least, appear to be ignoring.
This is the latest skirmish in an ongoing battle between the authorities and the country’s top online bookmakers, many of which are UK companies licensed in Australia, like William Hill and Ladbrokes.
At the heart of the matter is a gray area of the law. The country’s Interactive Gambling Act was drawn up in 2000, before the advent of in-play sports betting. It states that bets on events that have already started can be placed with bookmakers over the phone but not on the internet. The bookies claim that the legislation has failed to keep pace with technology and should be redressed.
In order to skirt the law, William Hill created a special betting app for the Australian market called Click to Call. Using voice recognition technology, it allows gamblers to confirm their bets using a simple voice command, thus opening a legal loophole. It was quickly followed by copycat apps from other operators.
That loophole will shortly be closed, the Australian government announced this week.
‘I would hope that [online bookmakers] would cease doing it today because we have clearly indicated that we believe they are against the intent of the law, if not the actual law,” said Human Services Minister Alan Tudge, whose government is introducing the new law as part of a package that also includes regulations on self-exclusion and a ban on credit betting.
But some say the government is merely pandering to Australia’s traditional homegrown big players in the sports betting market, Tabcorp, and Tatts. Neither company offers in-play betting and, according to one bookmaker, chief executive Cormac Barry of Irish-based Sportsbet, they both fear technological disruption and healthy competition.