Four Iowa casinos will have to pay the price for violating the state’s gambling legislation.
The local gambling industry’s regulatory body – the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission (IRGC) – has imposed fines on the four gambling properties for them violating the age restrictions of the state. The overall amount that is expected to be paid as a monetary penalty by the four casinos has been estimated at $130,000, with one of the casinos receiving two fines and will now be forced to make a $60,000 payment.
For the time being, only individuals who are 18 years old or older are allowed to enter casinos’ gambling floors in the state of Iowa. Local casino operators are supposed to verify the age of their customers before allowing them to enter the gambling premises, but a number of casino venues in the state failed to stick to these rules. As a result, they will be forced to pay significant monetary penalties to the IRGC.
As revealed by Mr. Ohorilko, the violations were the first for all four casinos over the past year. He has not provided any details on whether the fines had already been paid, or the gambling properties are challenging the alleged violations.
Catfish Bend Casino in Burlington to Pay $20,000 Fine for Underage Gambling
As revealed by Brian Ohorilko, the administrator of the state’s gambling regulatory body, the first casino that has been fined for allowing an underage person to enter its gambling premises in violation of Iowa gambling legislation is the Catfish Bend Casino based in Burlington.
The gambling venue will be forced to pay $30,000 to the IRGC after the regulator found that the casino had allowed a minor to gain access to its gambling floor without being stopped neither by casino security staff nor other employees and asked to verify their age.
Mr. Ohorilko explained that the underage individual spent about 47 minutes on the casino’s gambling floor. Although it was not determined whether the minor was only able to enter the casino or actually gambled, the gambling watchdog’s administrator said that, based on the evidence prevalence, the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission decided that they had, in fact, gambled.
Mr. Ohorilko further noted that gambling properties usually face a $20,000 fine for such violation. However, the lack of surveillance coverage and the age of the minor were both considered aggravating circumstances. The gambling regulator has not revealed the age of the minor.
Prairie Meadows Casino and Diamond Jo Worth Casino Fined $20,000 Each
Another casino venue that has faced a fine from the Iowa gambling watchdog is the Prairie Meadows Casino, Racetrack and Hotel in Altoona. Although the casino is being operated by a non-profit, 13-member board of directors, it seems that even such operations are not immune to breaching the state’s gambling laws and facing financial repercussions from the local regulator.
Prairie Meadows will now have to pay $20,000 for allowing an underage gambler to get into its gambling floor with two adults. As revealed by the IRGC, the minor’s presence on the premises was not challenged by the casino staff. What is more, the underage individual was seen gambling for about an hour. Only when finally challenged by a security guard, the minor was forced to leave the casino property.
Another $20,000 fine was faced by a Northwood-based Boyd Gaming venue, called the Diamond Jo Worth Casino. The gambling property was punished for allowing an underage individual to not only enter the casino, but also to gamble for two hours. The casino staff did not challenge the gambler, who was finally identified by employees before being asked to leave the casino.
Horseshoe Casino in Council Bluffs Faces Two Fines Totaling $60,000 for Allowing Underage Gambling
As mentioned above, one of the four casinos suffered not one, but two fines for violating the underage gambling rules of the state.
The Council Bluffs-based Horseshoe Casino of Caesars Entertainment faced two fines totaling $60,000 for its failure to stay in line with rules preventing underage individuals from gambling. The state’s gambling regulatory body has not revealed whether the fines were $30,000 each or whether one of them carried a higher penalty than the other.
One of the casino’s transgressions involved an underage female who came to the casino along with an adult in January. The casino staff left her gamble at several slot machines undisturbed for more than half an hour.
The second violation of the Horseshoe Casino in Council Bluffs took place several months later. As Mr. Ohorilko reported, another underage female (17 years old) managed to enter the gambling floor of the casino and was allowed to gamble for five years.