Sands Bethlehem Has Yet Another Underage Security Breach

Jessica Welman May 5, 2017
Security guard in casino
They say young people are not interested in playing slots machine. The growing number of underage gamblers at Sands Bethlehem Casino tells a different story though.

The Pennsylvania casino’s latest problem with an underage gambler came when security guards discovered a 20-year-old woman on the gaming floor last month.

Lehigh Valley Live reports security discovered the woman at 1:10 a.m. on a Sunday night. It is the latest incident in a series of violations. This rash of incidents suggests this is a recurring problem that is not going away.

Last year an underage gambler won a Sands Bethlehem jackpot

The silver lining to the latest underage gambling case is that it is not as bad as the last one. In January, a 20-year-old girl won a $1,624 slots jackpot at Sands Bethlehem. She was part of a group of five underage patrons who were both drinking and gambling.

The casino confiscated the woman’s jackpot that night, but Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) fined the property $50,000 for the infraction. Michael A. Magazzu, Sands’ vice president and general counsel spoke to PGCB about the incident:

“We regret the incidents occurred and firmly believe that the measures we have taken and will take in the next couple months, which include a more robust ID scanning system at each entrance point, will have a significant impact on our ability to combat this problem in 2017 and beyond.”

When board members pressed the company on what specific measures would change, Sands representatives said the casino would shift from velvet ropes to stronger partitions, forcing patrons to security checkpoints.

This is a recurring problem for the Sands

All 12 of the casinos in Pennsylvania have underage gambling violations on the records. However, Sands appears to be the biggest repeat offender.

PGCB has fined the casino for underage gambling every single year since it opened in 2009. The latest incident extends the streak to 2017.

Though the $1.3 billion sale is still just a rumor, it still seems likely the property will eventually change hands from Sands to MGM Resorts. A change in leadership could be the answer to the underage gaming problem.

Sheldon Adelson’s chief concern with online gambling? Underage gamblers

What makes these relatively minor but frequent underage infractions interesting is Sands CEO Sheldon Adelson’s outspoken opinion about online gambling and proposed online casinos in Pennsylvania.

Adelson is one of the few casino operators with an anti-online casinos. A large part of his issue with the idea is the lack of protections to ensure underage players do not play online.

In 2013, Adelson spoke to ABC News about his stance. In fact, he explicitly compared online casino security with brick and mortar cassinos when it came to underage gambling:

“When a person makes an effort to get dressed, join some friends and head to the local casino for a night of entertainment, they must show themselves as adults, and their behavior can be observed and ultimately managed by security and other staff if needed.”

For comparison’s sake, neither Nevada nor New Jersey has reported a single incident of underage gambling violations since regulated online gambling launched in those states.

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