Sheldon Adelson is a name well known in the gambling industry. The 81 year old casino magnate is the founder of the Las Vegas Sands Corp, which owns a multitude of casinos throughout the world, including the Sands Bethlehem in eastern Pennsylvania.
Anyone who follows the progress of online gambling regulation throughout the United States is surely aware of Adelson’s anti-online gambling stance, as well. He’s been an avid supporter of iGaming prohibition for several years, and went so far as to bankroll the Coalition to Stop Internet Gambling in 2013, and federal legislation known as The Restoration of Americas Wire Act (RAWA).
One of his major arguments against the regulation of online poker and casino games – laws which have already been passed in Delaware, Nevada and New Jersey – is that it opens wide the doors for minors to access gambling.
He as asserted time and again that security measures, safeguards and consumer protections simply aren’t strong enough to prevent underage gambling in the online realm. He attests that physical contact between players and staff in brick-and-mortar casinos like his is much more capable of preventing underage gambling.
And yet, at the same time, his Sands Bethlehem has been slapped with fines, year after year, from the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board. Why, you ask? For allowing underage gamblers access to wagering on his casino’s tables games and slot machines.
Sands Fined $39k for Underage Gambling
According to a press release issued yesterday by the PGCB, state regulators approved the assessment of a $39,000 penalty against Sands Bethlehem for three incidents in which the casino staff failed to stop patrons under the age of 21 from accessing the gaming floor.
“The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board approved a $39,000 fine today against Sands Bethworks Gaming, LLC, operator of the Sands Casino Resort Bethlehem for three separate incidents in which persons under the age of 21 were permitted to gain access to the gaming floor.”
The press release described the underage individuals as:
- 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.
Repeat Offenses for Sands Bethlehem
This is by no means the first time Sheldon Adelson’s PA casino has been fined for underage gambling. It’s not even the first time this year. In fact, it’s become quite the regular thing for Sands Bethlehem, with this latest incident marking the seventh time since the casino opened in 2009 that it’s faced penalties for allowing under-21’s admittance to the casino.
In January of this year, Sands was slapped with a $36,000 fine for the exact same reason – a trio of underage visitors who were able to access the gaming floor.
In June 2014, six incidents of underage access to Sands Casino resulted in an $85,000 fine from the PGCB. Between the six individuals, aged 17-20, they were able to access slots, table games and alcohol.
Prior to that, four other incidents, dating as far back as 2010 and involving 20 underage gamblers, were reported and fined a total of $220,000.
It seems that Sheldon Adelson needs to keep a much closer watch over his casinos before he goes pointing the finger at online gaming security systems that have proven to be extremely capable of keeping minors out.