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Pennsylvania

Casinos fined for minors on floor

| Friday, Feb. 11, 2011

The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board on Thursday levied its largest fine ever -- $105,000 -- against Rivers Casino for seven incidents since June involving underage gamblers.

The board fined The Meadows Racetrack & Casino in Washington County $30,000 for allowing children access to the gambling floor. Both Rivers and The Meadows have been fined for similar violations in the past.

Board spokesman Richard McGarvey said Rivers' fine exceeded one of $100,000 against Mount Airy Casino Resort in the Poconos on March 3.

"We take this issue very seriously," Rivers spokesman Jack Horner wrote in an e-mail. "The casino itself reported these incidents to the board."

Violations at the North Shore casino include a New Year's Day incident in which a 15-year-old boy accompanied by his mother was found gambling on slot machines for about an hour, according to the board. On another occasion in February, an 18-year-old woman was issued a player's card for gambling, which she used three times that month. Gamblers must be at least 21 years old.

The same woman in September played slot machines for about 30 minutes and was arrested after she left and attempted to re-enter. State police charged her with underage gambling and possession of a false identification, the board reported. At least three of the other underage gamblers were arrested; a board spokesman was unsure if the rest were.

The Meadows in North Strabane was cited with three violations, including two separate instances in July and November when children ages 3, 9 and 11 were permitted access to the gambling floor while their mothers accompanied them.

Both mothers were cited for trespassing, and a 20-year-old man was cited for underage gambling.

The Meadows spokesman David La Torre said in both cases the people were attending events in other parts of The Meadows complex accessible to people of all ages. He said they entered the casino by mistake and were stopped by The Meadows personnel. The casino, he said, reported the incidents to the control board.

"We're not making excuses," La Torre said. "We accept responsibility for what happened."

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