Pennsylvania Casinos Struggle with Underage Gambling Issues

In every state across the US, casinos operate on specific rules and regulations. While every states will vary based on what is and is not allowed, there is one thing each have in common; underage gambling is a big no-no. Casinos are restricted to player 21 years of age or older and every person is to be carded before gaining entry. However, the restriction does not keep the younger crowd from trying or gaining entry into the casino. In Pennsylvania, the gaming venues of the state continue to struggle with underage issues and find it challenging to keep the young people from gaining entry.

Discussing the Issue

The most recent state gaming board meeting highlighted the underage gambling problem in the state. Several casinos have been fined due to the issue including most recently the Mohegan Sun Pocono. The venue was fined $110,000 by the board due to several incidents involving gamblers under the age of 21 gaining access to the floor.

One instance was considered quite serious as a female was able to enter the casino seven times in a week time frame in late December, early January. She was able to not only play slot machines and table games but was given alcohol a total of 11 times. For gameplay, the young female spent 52 hours gambling.

Surprisingly, during her time at the venue, she was given three player cards. A total of eight transactions were completed at the cash cage. The reason she was able to do so much as that an ID of another individual was used. The picture on the ID closely resembled the player. She was actually carded more than 30 times and was not caught in the act.

While the Mohegan Sun realizes that the multiple incidents involving the female are serious, they did point out during the meeting that 31 different employees felt she looked old enough and like the person on the ID to let it go.

The casino was accused of different incidents of allowing players to enter under the age of 21, with security guards either failing to card people or did not stop them when the ID said under 21. Surprisingly, the fine against the Mohegan Sun was the 10th time the property has been cited for underage gambling.

A Big Problem

Since 2006, the Gaming Control Board of the state has enforced 80 actions against casinos for underage gambling infractions. The issue remains a hot topic of debate and the biggest problem for operators. Next to underage gambling, the casinos have issues with self-excluded players gaining access to games as well as table game regulation violations.

According to, of the 80 fines, the price tag comes to over $3.2 million. Along with the Mohegan Sun, the Wind Creek Bethlehem Casino and the Hollywood Casino have violated the underage regulations with 10 penalties each.

While it seems the casinos are having major problems, they are also turning away those who try to enter and are under age. The facility reportedly turned away close to 1,400 people this year along. With hundreds of thousands of players visiting the facility annually, this is a solid chunk and shows the security and casino officials are trying to keep underage players from accessing the gaming floor.

The best way to tackle the problem seems to be ensuring entry points are covered and every individual is carded. Any discrepancies in the ID should be considered and great care taken to ensure fake IDs or other people’s IDs are not being used.


Logan is based in Los Angeles and is an avid poker player having played in tournaments across the globe. He covers both poker & regulatory affairs.