Two Pa. casinos fined for slot violations

HARRISBURG—The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board has fined Mount Airy #1, LLC, operator of Mount Airy Casino Resort and SugarHouse HSP Gaming, L.P, operator of Rivers Casino Philadelphia for violations related to the issuance of complimentary free slot machine play.

The fines, totaling $135,000, were the result of board approval at its public meeting of consent agreements between the PGCB’s Office of Enforcement Counsel and the two casino operators.

Complimentary free slot play is widely offered by all casinos in Pennsylvania as a marketing tool to build and reward patron loyalty and drive repeat visits of customers who might otherwise patronize a casino outside of the Commonwealth.

Casinos must, however, submit to and gain authorization from the board of a “Comp Matrix” which outlines who can issue complimentary free slot play and the maximum dollars that each employee is authorized to issue, and then adhere to the plan.

The fine of $90,000 against Mount Airy #1, LLC stemmed from an investigation by the PGCB’s Bureau of Investigations and Enforcement on the authorization and issuance of discretionary free slot play.

The investigation revealed that discretionary free slot play was issued by employees in amounts in excess of amounts that were authorized through the Comp Matrix.

In this case, the investigation showed that Mount Airy did not adhere to its Internal Controls leading to 491 instances where employees issued discretionary free slot play exceeding the authorized limit and totaling $262,500, including the alleged theft of $140,000 by one employee. That employee was later charged with a felony crime.

The approved fine for SugarHouse HSP Gaming, L.P. was $45,000 and was the result of a similar investigation at Rivers Casino Philadelphia by BIE into the issuance of discretionary free slot play. 

In this matter, BIE found 405 instances in which discretionary free slot play was issued by employees in amounts in excess of amounts that were authorized through the Comp Matrix resulting in $25,562 in free slot play. BIE’s investigation also found that Rivers Casino Philadelphia did not adhere to procedures for free slot play and its Internal Controls for the issuance of complimentary free slot play.

The next meeting of the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board is scheduled for 10 a.m., Wednesday, Nov. 18.