Pennsylvania Casino Fined $78,000 For Security Staffing Shortage

COVID pandemic cited as a factor stifling hiring and resulting in penalty
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Discussion about staffing difficulties in the casino industry has been widespread ever since the COVID-19 pandemic struck, and that issue proved costly for one Pennsylvania venue in particular Wednesday.

At its monthly meeting, the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board voted to fine Hollywood Casino York $78,000 under a consent agreement in which the PENN Entertainment property acknowledged it failed to meet minimum staffing requirements in its security department. The violations were reported to have occurred on 55 days from May to September of 2022.

No specific problems resulting from the security shortage were stated, but each casino in the state is required to adhere to a minimum staffing plan submitted to the gaming board. In addition to generally monitoring and responding to problems in a casino, security personnel are stationed at entrances to ensure those entering are 21 or older.

Hollywood Casino York, one of four “mini-casinos” in the state operating with 750 or fewer slot machines, opened during the pandemic in August 2021 at a time of “record low unemployment,” according to the consent agreement.

Casino officials told the board that they have made persistent efforts throughout to recruit and retain workers, whether through job fairs, bonus incentives, or other means. Security staffing issues improved significantly, they said, with the hiring of a new security manager in July 2022.

In a second fine imposed by consent agreement, the gaming board also voted Wednesday to impose a $22,350 fine on John Huxley America Inc., a table games manufacturer, for failing to file necessary principal licensing applications on time for two of its officials.

Illegal sports bets result in workers’ ousters

While more than 90% of the legal sports betting in Pennsylvania is done by phone or computer, you can also wager in person at nearly every one of the 17 casinos. Lady Luck Casino Nemacolin is an exception, and sports wagering arranged there by two employees has cost them their careers in the casino industry.

The gaming board voted to revoke the gaming employee occupation permits of Jason Braddee, a former Lady Luck security officer, and Sandra Yeager, a table games dealer at the small casino southeast of Pittsburgh.

The gaming board’s legal staff explained that Braddee had asked Yeager if she knew anyone “who took bets on sports,” and she responded that she knew two individuals who could assist him. She introduced Braddee to those individuals during a shift at the casino and they had numerous encounters that night that came to be viewed as “suspicious” by other employees, according to the legal staff.

Upon questioning, Braddee and Yeager admitted to the illegal sports wagering activity and were dismissed by the casino prior to the board permanently denying them the right to work in the industry.

In addition, the board added five individuals to its involuntary exclusion list barring them from casinos for having left children unattended in vehicles while gambling. The problem has been an ongoing concern for the Pennsylvania board and one of the primary reasons patrons are added to the exclusion list.

Photo: Getty Images


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