Pennsylvania regulator steps up fight against casinogoers abandoning kids

The “Don’t Gamble with Kids” campaign will include television and radio public service announcements.
The “Don’t Gamble with Kids” campaign will include television and radio public service announcements.

The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board has launched an awareness campaign that aims to stop parents leaving children unattended to gamble at casinos.

US.- The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board announced the launch of a new awareness campaign aimed at preventing children from being left unattended while an adult supervisor gambles at a casino. The “Don’t Gamble with Kids” campaign was spurred by concern over the number of minors being left in vehicles in casino parking lots or hotel rooms.

Since the start of 2022, the Board’s Bureau of Casino Compliance has recorded 269 incidents involving 441 minors who were left unattended while one or more of the adults responsible for them gambled at a casino. Some 68 were aged six or under. This compares to 171 incidents involving 279 minors in 2021.

Gaming Control Board executive director Kevin O’Toole said: “This has been an issue dating back to the opening of casinos in 2006. However, as the number of venues has increased and new types of gaming have been added, more incidents have been reported.”

O’Toole said the campaign aims to reach two audiences: those responsible for children in their care and the general public visiting casinos.

“We are hopeful this campaign will raise awareness not only for those who gamble and are responsible for children, but also for the gaming public who we hope will be more diligent in looking out for children at risk,” he said.

“Ultimately, we want everyone to understand the scope of this problem and know what to do if confronted with a situation in a parking lot, hotel or elsewhere. That is, immediately report the situation to casino or hotel security, who have extensive training on how to appropriately respond.”

See also: Pennsylvania gaming regulator fines two gaming operators

The board warned parents and guardians of the potential consequences of abandoning their children. These include:

  • Up to a lifetime ban by the individual casino in which the incident took place;
  • Placement on the board’s publicly available Exclusion List, in which individuals lose the privileges of entering all casinos in the Commonwealth;
  • Criminal charges filed by law enforcement;
  • Investigation by the applicable county’s Department of Children and Youth Services.

“More important than any liability faced by these adults, however, is the safety of these children.”, O’Toole stated.“The welfare and safety of the minors is at the heart of the board’s campaign and all adults should consider this before deciding to leave a child unattended.”

“Leaving minors unattended in the parking lot or garage, a hotel, or other venue at a casino creates a potentially unsafe and dangerous environment for the children. In its role to protect the public, the Board hopes to bring awareness of this very important issue through the ‘Don’t Gamble with Kids’ campaign.”

The “Don’t Gamble with Kids” campaign will include television and radio public service announcements, social media posts and videos, printed materials and a website,

The regulator noted that adults who may choose to leave children unattended to gamble in a casino may be exhibiting signs of a compulsive gambling problem. A link on the campaign’s website provides information on the board’s compulsive and problem gambling programme.

See also: Pennsylvania gaming revenue reaches $448.4m in September

In this article:
Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board