Multiple Iowa Casinos Fined for Violating Underage Gambling Regulations
The Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission has fined four land-based casinos in the state a combined $130,000 for underage patron breaches. The establishments in question are the Catfish Bend Casino in Burlington, The Horseshoe Casino in Council Bluffs, government-owned racetrack and hotel located in Altoona, Prairie Meadows Casino, and Diamond Jo Worth Casino in Northwood.
Recounts of Negligence
Brian Ohorilko, Racing and Gaming administrator, said the Catfish Bend Casino in Burlington was fined for the instance of an underage male who entered the casino floor where he remained for 47 minutes.
Ohorilko said that it was uncertain whether the minor did or did not gamble. However, “based on a preponderance of the evidence,” it was concluded that he had gambled.
The casino was fined $30,000 for not taking the appropriate measures to verify the underage individual as he made his way to the casino. This is $10,000 higher than the usual consideration for this violation. However, according to Ohorilko, “there were the aggravating circumstances of a lack of surveillance coverage, and the age of the minor elevated that fine,”
The next property suffering a fine by the IRGC is Prairie Meadows Casino. It was discovered that an underage male accompanied by two adults had entered the casino unchallenged and had gambled for about an hour. He was only removed from the premises when identified by a security guard who was conducting routine business.
The establishment which is owned by Polk County and run by a 13-member board of directors is set to pay a $20,000 levy for its momentary lapse in judgement.
Also bearing the weight of a $20,000 fine is Diamond Jo Worth Casino, where a minor entered the casino without being stopped to check his age. He remained in the lobby for two hours, during which time he gambled freely before being identified by a member of staff and asked to leave.
Double Jeopardy for Horseshoe Casino
The Horseshoe Casino is facing fines for two instances of underage breaches. The first case, which happened in January, involved a female minor who entered the casino with an adult and gambled for over 30 minutes on several slot machines. The second, also involving an underage female, took place a few months later. She was identified to be 17 years old and had entered the casino and gambled for five hours. For both violations, the casino is facing a $60,000 fine, although it’s unclear if one carried a higher penalty than the other or if it was a $30,000 fine each.
These would be the first violations for all four properties in the last 365 day period, according to Ohorilko.
The minimum age to enter the casino statewide and in most of the country is 18 years. It is the casino’s duty to verify that patrons entering the gambling premises are of the required age, and any negligence, willful or not, will incur repercussions, usually in the form of fines.
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