The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) this week placed the names of three parents or guardians on an exclusion list. They were involved in separate situations, leaving kids unattended in cars parked at a casino.
In each case, the parent or guardian went into the casino while the child or children were left alone in the car. The board called the adults’ actions “irresponsible.”
In making these decisions regarding the three adults, the Board is reminding the gambling public to not leave children unattended … not only because of the possible exclusion from all Pennsylvania casinos and prosecution, but more importantly due to the possible safety hazard to the child,” the PGCB said in a statement.
Now that the adults are on the Involuntary Exclusion List, they are prohibited from entering or gambling at any Pennsylvania casino, the statement adds.
The PGCB detailed each incident. One of the parents was placed on the list after leaving an 11-year-old child in a parked car, while the adult went into the casino to redeem a sportsbook ticket.
In another case, the father of two boys — one of whom was eight and the other five — was placed on the list after leaving them in his car while he placed a bet at the sportsbook and played craps, the statement said.
And a woman was placed on the list for leaving four children — ages 13, 13, 10 and two — in her vehicle while she watched an acquaintance play craps.
List Has 129 Names
Over the last 10 years, a total of 129 people were placed on the Involuntary Exclusion List because of such situations.
Also, the offenders may face prosecution for charges such as endangering the welfare of a child.
In a recent incident, during August, a Pennsylvania pastor allegedly left two children alone in a parked car while he played slot machines and ate nachos at Live! Casino Pittsburgh. The children are his one- and three-year-old daughters.
Zachary Bohinski, 28, who was identified as the pastor at Fells Methodist Church in Rostraver, faces two counts of endangering the welfare of a child and disorderly conduct, KDKA, a local TV station, reported.
Casino security and police officers watch for unattended children. If a child cannot open a vehicle’s door, police officers can force open the car or truck to let child reach freedom. Civilians under certain circumstances can break into vehicles to rescue children, too.
Baby in North Las Vegas
The problem is found nationwide. For instance, in July, a six-month-old boy was left in a parked car at Bighorn Casino in North Las Vegas, Nev. He was found alone.
A passerby heard the baby crying and contacted authorities. The car’s windows were partially rolled down.
A man was later arrested, and police said he was gambling in the venue and appeared intoxicated. Mitchell Anthony Hooks, 39, of Las Vegas was located in the casino. Hooks was charged with child abuse and leaving a child unattended in a motor vehicle, KLAS, a Nevada TV station, reported.
Parx Casino Fine
In addition, the PGCB this week fined Greenwood Gaming and Entertainment, Inc., which operates Bensalem’s Parx Casino, $10,000.
The penalty is the result of the gaming property allowing an 18-year-old to gamble on slots.
The minimum age to gamble at casinos in Pennsylvania is 21.
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