PGCB levies fines at Mount Airy and Rivers Philadelphia for free slots play

The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board has fined Mount Airy Casino Resort and Rivers Casino Philadelphia for violations related to the issuance of complimentary free slot machine play.

The financial penalties, issued to Mount Airy #1, LLC and SugarHouse HSP Gaming, were the result of board approval at its public meeting of consent agreements between the PGCB’s Office of Enforcement Counsel and the two casino operators.

Elaborating on its assessment, the Pennsylvania state regulator explained: “Complimentary free slot play is widely offered by all casinos in Pennsylvania as a marketing tool to build and reward patron loyalty, and drive repeat visits of customers who might otherwise patronise a casino outside of the Commonwealth.

“Casinos must, however, submit to and gain authorisation from the board of a “Comp Matrix” which outlines who can issue complimentary free slot play and the maximum dollars that each employee is authorised to issue, and then adhere to the plan.”

A fine of $90,000 against the former stemmed from an investigation by the PGCB’s Bureau of Investigations and Enforcement on the authorisation and issuance of discretionary free slot play. This revealed that free slot play was issued by employees in excess of amounts that were authorised through the aforementioned Comp Matrix.

In this case, it was found that Mount Airy did not adhere to its internal controls leading to 491 instances where employees issued discretionary free slot play, exceeding the authorised limit and totalling $262,500, including the alleged theft of $140,000 by one employee. That employee was later charged with a felony crime.

The approved fine for SugarHouse HSP Gaming was of $45,000 and came as the result of a similar investigation at the Rivers Casino Philadelphia facility by BIE into the issuance of discretionary free slot play.  

In this matter, BIE found 405 instances in which it was issued by employees in amounts excess of those authorised through the Comp Matrix, resulting in $25,562 in free slot play. 

BIE’s investigation also found that Rivers Casino Philadelphia did not adhere to procedures for free slot play and its internal controls for such issuance.