Sands Casino Resort Bethlehem has increased security measures, built appropriate barriers, and even installed a modern ID-reading system, but underage gamblers still continue to successfully sneak in and play at the casino floor.
On Wednesday, the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board slapped Sands Casino with another $150,000 as penalties for 10 cases in which individuals below the age of 21 were caught gambling at the casino or drinking at the bar.
According to the attorney with the gaming board's office of enforcement Michael Roland, the incidents occurred between September 25 and March 1, and all involved individuals ranging from 16 to 20 years old.
In one incident, a 17-year-old female got in onto the casino floor with her dad, and in another case, two teens sneaked in to the casino floor by using an employee exit in the executive offices.
It is truly a sort of problem that the Sands officials say they have really put in a lot of effort and resources at, but they admit it's one problem they may never completely solve. Sands general counsel and VP Michael Magazzu said, "Anytime a minor is on the casino floor, we take it very seriously. We've had a couple where underage folks were aided by a family member. Even with the best technology, it's very difficult to prevent those types of entries."
Magazzu said that the casino's state-of-the-art ID-scanning system helped nicely in some situations, but even that has its limits. Casino President Mark Juliano said that in an estimate of 25,000 individuals who enter the casino each day, around 300 are denied entrance for being underage.
Magazzu said that since the arrival of the ID-reading system in March, the number of incidents have dropped significantly, but at least three incidents have happened since then. He added, "I'd love to tell you we have a perfect record since March 13, but that is not the case."
Since opening to the public in 2009, the Sands Casino had been fined in 12 consent decrees for $615,000, and $430,000 of it is due to failing to catch underage customers before they drank alcohol or gambled.