The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) announced new incidents of adults leaving children unattended at PA casinos.
Released during the PGCB’s meeting on Wednesday, July 26, five more incidents were reported with five children left unattended, including an 11-month-old for 42 minutes in a vehicle outside Rivers Casino Philadelphia.
The PGCB added a total of six people to the Involuntary Exclusion List.
6 adults leave 5 children unattended at Pennsylvania casinos
Another PGCB meeting, unfortunately, resulted in more adults leaving children unattended at PA casinos. While all cases are inexplicable, the most gut-wrenching involved an 11-month-old baby who was left alone for 42 minutes.
Here are the following incidents, with full names shortened to initials:
- Rivers Casino Philadelphia patron, VL, left his 11-month-old daughter in his vehicle outside the facility for 42 minutes while playing table games. The Philadelphia Police Department charged VL with endangering the welfare of a child, a third-degree felony. He was also charged with a second-degree misdemeanor of reckless endangerment of another person. VL is permanently banned from Rivers Casino Philadelphia.
The PGCB then reported the incident of VB and OB, patrons of Mount Airy Casino. VB and OB left their nine-year-old child unattended several times during their stay at the casino.
The child was left alone in various places, including the hotel room, the hotel hallway and the hotel elevator. One of VB or OB were on the gaming floor each time the child was left unattended. Casino security discovered the child alone outside the gaming floor.
Over the course of VB and OB’s 60-hour stay, the couple left their child alone 18 separate times for an approximate total of seven hours and 48 minutes. VB and OB were not charged and have been permanently banned from Mount Airy Casino.
Here are the remaining incidents:
- DW left a seven-year-old child in a vehicle outside Parx Casino in Bensalem. DW left his child unattended for 23 minutes while placing sports wagers and playing slots. No criminal charges were filed as DW is permanently banned from the casino.
- Rivers Casino Philadelphia patron, SA, left a five-year-old in a vehicle for 10 minutes while placing sports wagers and gaming at a roulette table. There were no criminal charges issued and a permanent eviction was filed.
- JL left a three-year-old child unattended inside a vehicle at Live! Casino Philadelphia. The patron placed his car in a no-parking zone and left the vehicle running while placing sports wagers for approximately 10 minutes. JL is banned from Live! Casino Philadelphia, but no chargers were filed.
PGCB denies PA casino patron’s request for Involuntary Exclusion removal
A former patron of Rivers Casino Pittsburgh requested to be removed from the Involuntary Exclusion List after leaving four children, ages 2, 10, 13 and 13, unattended in a vehicle in 2021. The female patron, JJ, spent 40 minutes inside while she patronized the casino and observed an acquaintance gambling.
As the incident occurred in February 2021, the PGCB placed the patron on the Involuntary Exclusion List in October 2021. In a request to be removed from the list, the patron did not attend a hearing scheduled in April 2023, despite receiving prior notice from the PGCB.
The PGCB has kept the woman on the Involuntary Exclusion List.
Incidents of minors left unattended at PA casinos appears to be dropping
While any case of an adult leaving a child unattended at a PA casino is jarring, the number of incidents do appear to be decreasing.
The PGCB reported a total of 303 incidents involving 486 minors in 2022. In incidents made available to the public, PlayPennsylvania has tracked 46 incidents with 55 minors involved so far in 2023.
However, according to PGCB Director of Communications, Doug Harbach, not all cases are made public. The PGCB has tracked 94 total incidents through June. While one case is too many, the state is on pace for 188 incidents, which is significantly lower than 2022’s total.
The PGCB reported 57 incidents in July 2022, easily the highest total of any month last year. It remains to be seen if PA casinos and the PGCB can build on momentum to continue to reduce cases. July’s full results will be telling.
Related stories of adults leaving children unattended at Pennsylvania casinos
Despite best efforts from the PGCB and PA casinos, children left unattended is still a huge issue in the state. Here are some of the latest stories of such cases: