Sands Bethlehem Casino Fined For The Seventh Time For Underage Gambling Violations

Posted on August 17, 2016

The Sands Casino Resort Bethlehem, owned and operated by Sheldon Adelson’s Las Vegas Sands Corp, is one of Pennsylvania’s biggest casinos and perennially at the top when it comes to revenue.

It’s also one of the most frequently fined casinos in the Keystone State.

The casino was recently fined $39,000 by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board. The fines were in response to three instances of underage visitors being allowed on the casino floor, according to a press release by the PGCB.

The three instances were:

  • A 20-year-old female was permitted access onto the gaming floor and wagered at both slot machines and table games.
  • An 18-year-old male was permitted access onto the gaming floor where he consumed alcohol.
  • A 20-year-old female was permitted access onto the gaming floor and wagered on slot machines.

Adelson’s anti-online gambling argument highlights underage gambling

Underage gambling is something Sands owner Sheldon Adelson focuses on when he touts as a key difference between his casinos and online casinos. According to Adelson, his properties have the ability to identify underage gamblers, something he argues is impossible for online gaming operators to do.

In an interview from June of 2013, Adelson stated:

“The possibility of underage children finding ways to place online wagers and the possibility of people betting under the influence of drugs or being coerced are all scenarios that can happen when the person is only monitored by their own computer screen.

On the other hand, 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.”

Seventh time is not a charm

Adelson may want to rethink this argument, considering this isn’t the first time Sands Bethlehem has been fined for allowing underage visitors access to the casino floor.

In fact, the casino has been fined every year since the casino opened, and in some instances these minors were not just gambling, but were also served alcohol.

On the other side of the ledger, legal and regulated online gambling sites have an unblemished record on this front. The New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement hasn’t uncovered a single incident of underage gambling having occurred at one of the New Jersey online gambling sites in the industry’s nearly three-year existence.

Unlike at a land-based casino, there are no lapses in judgment that could allow an underage player access to an online casino.

Who gets carded when walking into a casino is up to the employees on duty. And as anyone who has ever been in a casino knows, they can’t check every person’s ID. Sometimes they get distracted with something else that’s occurring and people simply slip by.

Online, every player must submit to the same background check banks and credit cards use to verify a person’s ID. While it’s still not foolproof, it’s still a better system than a land-based casino has at its disposal, as every person goes through at least one invasive identification check.

Image credit: lev radin / Shutterstock.com

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Steve Ruddock

Steve Ruddock has been a well-known writer and analyst in the world of regulated US online gambling. He contributes to a number of online publications focused on online poker and online casino, including OnlinePokerReport.com, PlayNJ.com, and many others.

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