State regulators on Wednesday fined Sands Casino Resort in Bethlehem $235,000 for 11 instances last year in which underaged patrons gambled and consumed alcohol, and for awarding more than $1 million in unauthorized free slot play in 2015-2016.
The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board fined the casino $122,500 for allowing people younger than the legal age of 21 to enter the casino and wager, mostly on slot machines. The underaged patrons entered either using faked or borrowed identification, or slipped by security guards undetected. The casino disciplined several security personnel, servers and cashiers for failing to spot the youths.
The Sands experienced a larger number of underaged incidents than other casinos because it is attached to a shopping mall frequented by younger people, gaming board staff said. Board members noted that two new satellite casinos near Shippensburg and Greensburg are planned for shopping malls, and that casino operators needed to be more vigilant.
The board also fined Sands $112,500 for allowing employees to award unauthorized free slots play on more than 6,428 occasions in 2015 and 2016, totalling more than $1 million. Free slot play is used to build and reward customer loyalty, and to drive repeat visits from valuable customers who might otherwise patronize another facility.
The violations were discovered after a recent audit.