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Gambling in the Granite State

Millennium’s casino in Pennsylvania racks up fines

Millennium Gaming, which hopes to open a casino in Salem if the state legalizes expanded gambling, has paid $187,500 in gaming-related fines to Pennsylvania over the last four years, according gaming officials in that state.

In some cases, Millennium’s Meadows Racetrack and Casino in Pennsylvania was fined for letting underage people gamble, according to press releases from the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board. The casino paid its most recent fine – $30,000 for failing to properly control commissions collected by dealers – in March.

The Granite State Coalition Against Expanded Gambling is circulating news of Millennium’s Pennsylvania fines this week – and the timing is no accident.

Two House committees are finishing up their assessment of the Senate’s casino bill this week and will gather Thursday to share their questions and concerns about the bill. The full House is expected to vote on the bill May 22 or May 29.

Plus, tomorrow, Millennium will have Pennsylvania community leaders in Concord for a lunch with lawmakers to talk about the benefits of having a casino in town. And tomorrow night, Millennium is unveiling its latest plan for a Salem casino at 7 p.m. in Rockingham Park in Salem.

So it’s no accident that the Granite State Coalition Against Expanded Gambling has assembled and circulated four years of press releases detailing the fines levied against Millennium. The group’s chairman is demanding that Millennium show how it “will comply with New Hampshire casino license requirements better than it has in Pennsylvania,” according to a press release.

Reached today by email, Millennium spokesman Rich Killion said Millennium welcomes “stringent regulation and oversight and strive to meet it every minute of ever day.”

Killion said the casino in Pennsylvania self-reported each violation. “Given the millions of annual visits to the Meadows in a calendar year, these barely dozen instances are akin to the instances of violation found annually in liquor store sales in New Hampshire restaurants and state liquor stores,” Killion said.

Here’s a detail of Millennium’s violations as explained in press releases from the board:

* On March 13, the owners of the Meadows casino were fined $30,000 for failing to “follow board-approved internal controls as it related to its dealers collection commission on its Craps games.”

* In August 2012, the casino operators were fined $45,000 for permitting three underage people to gamble. The individuals were between 18 and 20 years old.

* In February 2011, the Meadows was fined $30,000 for allowing underage people into the gaming area. A 20-year-old man gambled for two hours, according to the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board. And three children, ages 3, 9 and 11, accessed their gaming floor while at the casino with an adult.

The casino’s security intervened quickly, and the children did not gamble.

* In April 2010, the Meadows was fined $20,000 for allowing two people into the casino who had previously put themselves on the “self-exclusion” list. The list is meant to help problem gamblers, and casino employees are required to refuse any wagers offered by someone on the list.

One of the people won $1,254 and the other was able to cash checks at the casino, according to the gaming control board.

*In February 2010, the Meadows was fined $48,900 for a “variety of regulatory shortcomings,” according to the board. Three men were able to manipulate slot machines and win more than $400,000. The men were charged criminally.

*In Deccember 2010, the Meadows was fined $10,000 for allowing an underage person to gamble and for allowing a person on the self-exclusion list to gamble.

The gaming control board described Meadows officials as cooperative in resolving the violations.

(Annmarie Timmins can be reached at 369-3323, atimmins@cmonitor.com or on Twitter @annmarietimmins.)

What happened to the dealers, the underage people illegally gambling, the parent who brought the children into the hall, the people who put themselves on the “self-exclusion” list, and the employee(s) that cashed the checks???? If one is OK to fine the facility then one should also be OK with fining the people that did the deed.

So these fines would be a good thing for the state's bank account? All the more reason to join the other 40 states and build a few casinos!

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