Pennsylvania continues to see gamblers leave their children unattended in their vehicles outside the state’s 16 brick-and-mortar casinos. The problem has become a major issue for the state, and the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board’s (PGCB) recent efforts to curb such incidences are having little impact.
A child is pictured unattended in a vehicle. Three more Pennsylvania gamblers have been banned from entering casinos in the state after they allegedly left children unsupervised in their vehicles. (Image: Sandbox Learning)
The PGCB in November launched a public service campaign called “Don’t Gamble with Kids.” The awareness message sought to warn gamblers about the dangers and possible criminal consequences associated with leaving a child unattended in a vehicle outside a casino.
The message isn’t resonating or, at least, achieving what the PSA set out to accomplish: fewer cases of children left in automobiles. The PGCB this week added four additional unattended child offenders to the state’s Involuntary Exclusion List.
The “black book’s” latest entries left children as young as two years old unattended in a vehicle. The offenders allegedly left a total of nine children alone in their vehicles while they gambled inside a casino.
The PGCB said this week that a male patron was placed on the prohibited list after Valley Forge Casino security officials located a 12-year-old in an unattended vehicle outside the resort. The child’s father admitted to leaving the child for five minutes to place a sports bet inside the property.
The PGCB placed another male on the Involuntary Exclusion List for leaving a 13-year-old unattended outside Harrah’s Philadelphia. He also left the child in the car in order to place sports bets inside the casino.
Pennsylvania is home to legal online sports wagering.
A third person, a female patron, was banned this week after she left a two-year-old and 14-year-old unattended in her vehicle outside Mohegan Pennsylvania. The children were left unsupervised for more than two hours while the woman gambled inside on slot machines.
Pennsylvania also allows legal iGaming, with interactive slot machines and table games permitted online.
A fourth person was also banned this week. A male gambler reportedly left five children, an infant, and a 1-, 9-, 10-, and 14-year-old, in the Valley Forge Casino food court. The kids were left unsupervised for more than an hour.
The Board’s actions serve as a reminder that adults are prohibited from leaving minors unattended in the parking lot or garage, a hotel, or other venues at a casino since it creates a potentially unsafe and dangerous environment for the children,” a PGCB statement explained. “Leaving minors unattended at a Pennsylvania casino also subjects the offending adult to criminal prosecution in addition to exclusion from all Pennsylvania casinos.”
The PGCB said there were 303 incidences of adults leaving children unattended to gamble at Pennsylvania casinos in 2022. The incidences involved 486 minors.
Since 2022, the PGCB has added 34 people to the Involuntary Exclusion List for leaving children unsupervised.
Valley Forge Expands Hours
In other Pennsylvania gaming news, Valley Forge recently notified the state that the casino is returning to 24/7 operations. The property owned and operated by Boyd Gaming ended round-the-clock gaming amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The move to resume to all-day hour service speaks to the vitality of Valley Forge Casino Resort’s business and the health of the gaming and hospitality industry as a whole,” a Boyd statement read.
Slots and the cage, effectively immediately, are open 24 hours. Table games run from 10 am through 4 am Sunday to Thursday, and 10 am through 5 am Friday through Sunday morning. The FanDuel Sportsbook is open from 10 am to midnight seven days a week.
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