Pennsylvania Sands Hit with Underage Gambling Fine

June 16th, 2014 | by Brian Corlisse
Bethlehem Sands Casino, Pennsylvania, underage gambling, Sheldon Adelson

An underage gambling fine for Sheldon Adelson’s Sands Casino in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania leaves the anti-online crusader red-faced. (Image: tripadvisor.com)

Sheldon Adelson, the casino impresario whose stance against the online poker world has made him a veritable villain among many Internet gambling fans, has recently been fined for allowing underage gambling in one of his casinos, the Sands Casino Bethlehem in Pennsylvania.

Do As I Say, Not As I Do

The billionaire owner of the Las Vegas Sands Corporation has been extremely vocal about the potential dangers of online poker, but it seems his concerns should have been more focused on his own enterprise. According to reports from the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board, the Sands Casino Bethlehem in Northampton County, which is operated by Las Vegas Sands’ subsidiary Sands Bethworks Gaming, was fined $85,000 for six separate cases of underage gambling.

This isn’t the first time Adelson’s casino has been found in breach of gambling and alcohol laws in the US. Over the past five years, the company has been fined a total of $220,000 for 20 individual incidents involving minors placing wagers in a Sands Corp. venue.

The latest batch of problems took place between June 3rd, 2013, and January 29th, 2014, and involved underage gamblers ranging from 17 to 20-years-old. A closer look at the report reveals that not only did the minors gain access to the gaming floor, but that they were able to place bets at both table game and slot machines. Moreover, two of the most recent incidents saw two minors, aged 17 and 19-years-old, consume alcohol during their sessions before being asked to leave.

Although the casino did self-report the incidents, the Gaming Control Board still opted to fine Sands because of continued breaches of the law.

While the $85,000 fine will barely register on the Las Vegas Sands Corp balance sheet, the negative PR generated by the story will certainly hurt Adelson’s anti-online gaming campaign. So far his Coalition to Stop Internet Gambling has gained a small amount of traction in the US, but with more incidents of underage gambling at live venues coming to light, its credibility is being called into question.

Whose Safeguards Need More Work?

So far Adelson has hinged his argument on the lack of safety measures in the online gambling online; however, the fact his own properties aren’t able to safeguard against instances of illegal gambling could suggest his intentions are less about public safety and more about personal gain.

While Adelson’s company was left red-faced by the latest underage gambling issue, it wasn’t the only Pennsylvania casino caught out by the state’s Gaming Control Board. On top of the MountAiry Casino receiving a hefty fine, the Valley Forge Casino Resort was also slapped with a $35,000 bill for allowing two instances of underage gambling last year.

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