Bad Deal At Sands Bethlehem: Casino Fined For Card Shuffling Issues

Dustin Gouker November 22, 2016
Sands Bethlehem fine

A number of Pennsylvania casinos were slapped with fines recently by the state’s gaming control board.

But the most serious violation appeared to come at Sands Bethlehem.

What Sands Bethlehem did

The release from the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board on fines usually doesn’t go into terribly great deal. That was the case in reference to a violation by one of the biggest casinos in the state:

A $22,500 fine was also levied against Sands Bethworks Gaming, LLC for two instances in which table games play was compromised when personnel of the Sands Casino Bethlehem Resort did not follow approved procedures.

The Morning Call in Allentown was able to shed more light on the situation, reporting that on two occasions, dealers mixed red and blue decks of cards together at Sands table games.

Red, blue cards, what’s the difference?

According to the Morning Call, this is the first time the casino in eastern PA had been dinged for a violation that affected the gambling on its floor.

More from the MC:

In both cases, Sands officials noticed the mistake, but not before hundreds of hands had been dealt from a deck that contained too many cards, according to a consent decree signed by Sands CEO Mark Juliano….

“The game is supposed to use a specific number of cards,” said Richard McGarvey, Gaming Control Board spokesman. “When you add cards it throws off the integrity of the whole game. This is a way of the board saying, ‘We think that’s serious and you have to do something to prevent it from happening in the future.'”

Sands not good at stopping things online gambling does

Casino magnate Sheldon Adelson is the owner of Sands, in addition to properties in the likes of Las Vegas and Macau.

He is the most famous opponent of online gambling, advocating for a ban at the federal level and lobbying against online gambling legislation in Pennsylvania. (That legislative effort is on hiatus.)

Adelson’s rationale is that land-based casinos are capable of preventing things that online gambling cannot. However, the recent example of cards from different decks getting mixed up is obviously something that would never happen in a regulated iGaming environment.

According to the MC, the casino has been fined a total of $341,000 since opening in 2009.

Most of those deal with instances of underage visitors either gambling or drinking at the casino, like an instance uncovered earlier this year.

There have been almost no reported or uncovered instances of underage gambling in the regulated New Jersey and Nevada online gambling markets.

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