Chickie’s & Pete’s restaurant served multiple drinks to intoxicated gamblers at its restaurant in Parx Casino, and the total bill turned out to be very costly — for the restaurant.
The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board on Wednesday fined Chickie’s & Pete’s $20,000 for serving alcohol to six visibly intoxicated gamblers on three separate occasions at the Bensalem casino, where the popular crab house and sports bar chain operates an outlet. One patron last year was served 14 drinks over a span of three hours.
The gaming board sometimes cites casinos for violating rules that prohibit serving alcohol to visibly drunk customers, but Wednesday’s action was the first time a licensed gaming services provider was fined rather than the casino itself, according to David S. Tepper, a senior enforcement counsel for the gaming board. The Chickie’s & Pete’s outlet is licensed formally under the name CPC Bucks County LLC.
The intoxicated patrons were identified by casino employees or in one instance, by a Chickie’s & Pete’s employee, prompting casino security officials to review hours of surveillance video to count up the total intake of beverages. For instance, one gambler in early 2020 flagged by the casino consumed two beers and two shots in a 30-minute time span. Another consumed 14 drinks in three hours and seven minutes: six beers and eight shots.
Though Wednesday’s action was the first time Chickie’s & Pete’s was fined for alcohol violations, it had been issued warning letters in 2017 and 2018 for overserving booze to gamblers, including one patron who was served 28 alcoholic beverages over nearly eight hours.
There were four previous incidents between 2015 and 2017 involving the restaurant’s alcohol service that were “discussed” with Parx during compliance conferences, but no action was taken, according to Wednesday’s consent agreement between the gaming board and the restaurant.
Chickie’s & Pete’s pledged to step up employee training under the state’s Responsible Alcohol Management Program. The restaurant also “will provide all patrons who sit at the bar with a glass of water and a menu which will encourage patrons to order food and provide them with a non-alcoholic beverage,” according to the agreement.
Peter Ciarrocchi, the company’s chairman, and Roger Falloon, the president and chief operating officer, attended the hearing on a conference call, but did not comment.
“We take our responsibility as the licensee very seriously,” said Lawrence S. Rosenwald, a lawyer for Chickie’s & Pete’s. He said the company has already begun to implement the promises it made to the gaming board, and “we will continue to monitor all aspects of our operation, so that if we can identify other ways to reduce the possibility of events like this from happening in the future, we will take those actions and take them promptly.”