The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) reports public filings and highlights people added to the exclusion list. One of the reasons gamblers in the state get placed on the list is because they are caught cheating inside of a Pennsylvania casino.
Let’s examine some of the recent cheating cases in the Keystone State and how casinos are limiting these occurrences.
Recent cheating cases at Pennsylvania casinos
On Dec. 6, 2022, a petition was filed against Edward Harrell for bet capping at Live Casino Philadelphia. This was filed months after the incident occurred in June 2022.
On Jan. 3, a petition for placement on the exclusion list was filed against Terrance Brown for cheating at craps and five instances of pinching bets at Harrah’s Casino in Chester. This incident also occurred a few months back in April 2021.
“Any initial report comes from Pennsylvania State Police when they file incident reports. They would then work on any criminal actions, and we begin the process of taking a regulatory action such as a suspension or revocation of a gaming license or placement on the involuntary exclusion list following all of the due diligence on our end,” said Doug Harbach, Communications Director for the PGCB.
PA casino dealer cheats at Mohegan Pennsylvania
According to the Pennsylvania State Police, at the Mohegan Pennsylvania Casino, Jason Richard Kutney, 52, of Bear Creek, is responsible for pushing a button at the end of a 30-second clock, allowing patrons to place bets. He is a dealer for an electronic craps table game.
Kutney pushed the button early allowing a casino customer, Louis Attilo Grasso, 66, of New York, to see the numbers before placing his bet, investigators learned. As a result of the scheme, Grasso won $17,521 on Dec. 30 and more on Jan. 5, when Grasso won $4,125. Kutney admitted to pushing the button on the machine early allowing Grasso to see the numbers.
Harbach said if there are cheating cases beyond their report of public filings, that is not something they report for two reasons. He said:
“We do not have law enforcement authority; that is PA State Police who would investigate and file charges. Law enforcement would publicize any filing of charges. Any instance of cheating could result in two outcomes on our end, and in either of the cases, the incident would only become public when one or both of those outcomes sought for a decision at a public meeting:
Placement of the offender on the involuntary exclusion list (though this would not occur until 3-9 months after the occurrence due to investigative time and due process afforded to the individual).
An action on the casino if there was any regulatory violation on their part involved with the incident (similarly, this would also occur sometime after the incident when an investigation is closed).”
PA casinos prepared to catch cheaters
What are retail PA casinos doing in regards to enhancing their security measures around cheaters and issues inside their casinos?
Gary Hendricks, General Manager of Presque Isle Downs Casino, told PlayPennsylvania:
“Safety and security are always a priority at Presque Isle Downs Casino and we conduct comprehensive training programs with our team on how to identify and handle advantage players. Additionally, we have a robust security and surveillance department who continue to enhance and implement game protection procedures.”
Sean Sullivan, General Manager of Live! Casino Pittsburgh, said they are not seeing any unusual or meaningful cheating at the casino.
“On a rare occasion a guest will try to ‘cap a bet’ or ‘place post bets’,” he said. “We work closely with the PGCB to watch for cheating. We have SOP’s (standard operating procedures) consistent with PA Gaming Regulations to protect our guests, team members and the Commonwealth from cheaters.”
Sullivan said the Live! Casino Dealer School utilizes certified trainers and educates dealers to know the games and what to look for. Live! Casino also has 24/7 surveillance, which includes a professional team of experts, along with PGCB licensed agents, who are constantly walking the casino floor, talking to players and working with their team members.
“In addition, we implement documented policies and procedures and review financial data and reports, looking for any deviations from our expected performance,” he said. “Finally, Live! Casino utilizes industry experts like Bill Zender and George Joseph to help with ongoing training. All these efforts help to protect our guests, team members and the Commonwealth.”