Posts Tagged ‘Pennsylvania casinos’

Pennsylvania bans negligent parents from casinos

Thursday, January 13th, 2011

In what has become a disturbing and ridiculous problem, the state of Pennsylvania has banned two more negligent parents from its state’s casinos. Fajiao Sun and Xin Li were both arrested on the same day, at different times, for leaving their children unattended while they played virtual blackjack at the Parx Casino in Bensalem, Pennsylvania. Now the state has banned both of them from all casinos within the state.

Back on February 14, 2010, Sun was arrested for leaving his 10-year-old daughter at the entrance for the parking lot while he played virtual blackjack at the casino. Later that same day, in an unrelated incident, Li was arrested for leaving two sons, one five and one six years of age, at the parking lot entrance. Authorities say that in both cases, the children were abandoned for in excess of 45 minutes.

Earlier today, the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board has placed both of them on the involuntary casino exclusion list, which means that there are not legally allowed to set foot in any casino located in the state. Li and Sun now make a total of 10 adults who have been banned from the casinos, including two men who allegedly committed the same crime.

On December 17, the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board banned Donald Waige and Paul Gargas. Waige was arrested in June 2010 for leaving his 15-month-old son in the car while he played casino games. Gargas was arrested in August for leaving his two sons, ages seven and 12, in the car while he played at the casino.

When people think about responsible gambling, they usually are referring to money management, but as these cases show, being responsible also means putting parenting before your enjoyment of casino games. Players in Pennsylvania will either have to be responsible on their own or be barred from the casinos by the state.

Philadelphia cop caught cheating at blackjack

Thursday, September 30th, 2010

When the U.S. state of Pennsylvania legalized blackjack and other table games, it brought a lot of excitement to the area casinos. Profits have increased, as has attendance, but so has cheating. Blackjack is a lot easier to cheat on than slot machines. Since the blackjack games opened in the Pennsylvania casinos, there have been several arrests and cases of players caught cheating. The most recent case is a little worse than that, though.

This time it involves one of Philadelphia’s Finest. John Gallagher, 56, was allegedly caught cheating at blackjack during a game at Parx Casino. According to law enforcement officials, Gallagher was seen using what they called a “card-counting device” during the blackjack game. No arrest was made and Gallagher has not yet been charged with a crime.

However, Gallagher abruptly retired on Tuesday after 32 years of service in the Philadelphia Police Department. According to Lieutenant Frank Vanore, the State Police are investigating Gallagher for “committing a crime outside of Philadelphia.” In addition, Internal Affairs has begun an investigation of the incident.

Gallagher joined the Philadelphia Police Department in 1978 and, according to sources, was well-liked by his colleagues. Still, it seems that he made a big mistake. One of the great things about blackjack is that players can actually gain an advantage over the house if they keep track of the cards. If you count cards using only your mind you are not breaking any law (though the casinos don’t like it). However, using any external device – which can range from a rubber band to a notebook to electronic devices – is illegal and can land you in jail and placed on a blacklist that bans you from that casino and others.

NJ college training blackjack dealers for other states

Friday, August 13th, 2010

It’s survival of the fittest out there in the business world, unless you can get a federal bailout. Therefore, businesses must adapt or die. A New Jersey college is doing just that because of the struggling local economy. With lessening demand for casino workers in Atlantic City, the college is exporting the talent.

Atlantic Cape Community College opened casino school a while back with the mission of training dealers and croupiers to work in the Atlantic City casinos. It seemed logical, considering the large part of the Atlantic City economy that the casinos played. However, the Great Recession has hurt everyone, making an economic mess of things all over.
Atlantic City is hurting worse than most places, though, partly because gambling is considered a luxury expense that should be reduced or eliminated during tough times, and partly because of mismanagement from ousted Governor Jon Corzine.

Atlantic City casinos are losing money and cutting jobs. Therefore, the employment situation there is bleak. As a result, the community college is still offering the casino school, but most of the students are finding employment elsewhere, particularly in the nearby areas of Pennsylvania, Delaware and New York.

To help a flagging attendance, Atlantic Cape Community College now sells its casino school curriculum to other states. Northampton Community College in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, for example, purchased the curriculum and trains students in a strip mall before sending them to local casinos. Including Mount Airy Casino, which has a partnership with NCC.

As more and more states opt to legalize casinos and add table games to their slot parlors, it seems that this new business model of selling their curriculum to competitors is the best way for ACCC to make money at the moment. Hopefully at some point the economy will recover and Atlantic City will have jobs of its own.

Cheaters caught at new PA blackjack tables

Monday, August 2nd, 2010

Not long ago, along with other blackjack fans, I applauded the launching of blackjack tables and other table games in Pennsylvania casinos. The blackjack tables quickly attracted fans of the game, but they also attracted cheaters. I guess I should say alleged cheaters.

Three examples immediately come to mind. At the Hollywood Casino in Grantville, Pennsylvania, Claudie Kenion III was caught trying to change his bets on winning hands. When his hand won, he would sneak extra chips into the betting circle. He was arrested for attempting to cheat at blackjack and is accused of doing this technique for 13 hands. This happened on only the second day of blackjack tables at this casino.

Then there is Thomas Albright, who was arrested at a Hollywood Casino in East Hanover Township, Pennsylvania after he was caught trying to do the opposite of Kenion. Albright tried to sneak chips that he had bet out of the betting circle on hands that he lost. He was quickly arrested and charged with theft in addition to being banned from the casino for a minimum of 30 days.

Then there is the man who last weekend was seen cheating at Mount Airy Casino in Mount Pocono, Pennsylvania. The man, who hasn’t been identified to the press, was caught trying to use counterfeit $100 chips at the blackjack table. When he was approached, the man fled the casino and is still at large. If apprehended, the man faces a theft conviction among other charges.

I point this out for a couple reasons. The first is to show that the casinos notice when people cheat. The dealers and other casino employees are trained to look for suspicious behavior and there are also surveillance cameras that cover the entire casino floor. The other reason I point this out is to show the harsh penalties that go along with being caught cheating in a casino. In the state of Pennsylvania, anyone caught cheating at a casino faces up to five years in prison and a $150,000 fine. Depending on the amount that is stolen, they could have a felony criminal record. In addition, they can be banned from the casino for an unspecified amount of time.

PA May Revoke License of Foxwoods Casino

Friday, April 30th, 2010

It’s not easy to open a casino in the United States, or anywhere for that matter. There is a ton of red tape, regulations that need to be met, licensing requirements, and big investments have to be made up front. Now one Pennsylvania casino may go out of business before it even begins business.

Foxwoods Casino is a proposed $500 million casino that is supposed to be located in south Philadelphia, along the Delaware River. However, it still hasn’t been built and there is no indication that it would happen anytime soon. Now it is in danger of having its license revoked.

Foxwoods Casino received a gambling license to operate slots, blackjack and other table games back in December of 2006, but has run into nothing but problems since then. To highlight a few of the problems, they have been indecisive about where to build the casino, some citizens are opposing it, and there have been major problems with financing.

That’s the big one. It takes a lot of money to build a casino because not only do you have the normal costs that go along with starting a company, you also have tons of different fees that go to the government. Original investors in the casino have backed out and Foxwoods is now looking for more financing. Last month, Nevada casino developer Steve Wynn showed interest in rescuing the project, but then backed out.

The Gaming Control Board has lost patience with the Foxwoods Casino project. Cyrus Pitre, a lawyer for the Board, stated that he is filing a complaint to revoke their gambling license. Foxwoods officials would then have 30 days to fight the revocation and prove that they still have the means to open and run the casino. There could also be a lengthy appeals process in the courts.

Yesterday, the Gaming Control Board rejected a request by Foxwoods Casino for six more months to line up new investors. The Board thinks that Foxwoods has had enough time to get financing and is ready to move on. The Board also upheld a $2,000-per-day fine on Foxwoods – which is currently at $300,000 —  for missing a deadline to submit data showing their progress.

If Foxwoods has their gambling license revoked, that would allow other casino developers to come in and compete for a license. Donald Trump showed interest in the past – even attempting to get a Philadelphia casino license in 2006 –  and may be a player in the future if Foxwoods loses their license.

So if you live in the Philadelphia area and were excited about a new casino, you might want to look elsewhere, because it will be some time before one is running near you. The good news is that western Pennsylvania approved the licenses of two new casinos, the Meadows in Washington County and the Presque Isle Downs in Erie County. But should have slots, blackjack tables and more by July. Then again, we’ve seen how hard it is to get a casino up and running around there…

PA Blackjack Students Ready for Work

Friday, April 23rd, 2010

Earlier this year, the U.S. state of Pennsylvania legalized blackjack and poker at all of their slots casinos. The move was intended to generate revenue, create jobs, and create more freedom for those who enjoy playing table games at casinos. Atlantic City casino owners, of course, weren’t too pleased, but that’s another story.

When the law passed, it became clear that the current casinos as well as casinos that have yet to open would now need dealers. One soon-to-open casino, the Mount Airy Casino Resort, decided to team up with a nearby school to train and place local talent.

Northampton Community College created classes that teach the skills necessary to be a blackjack dealer at a casino and Mount Airy provided the instructors. The classes filled up right away, with 92 students registered for the three sections. Next Thursday, that first class of blackjack students at the college will graduate with the necessary skills to be blackjack dealers.

After a few dropouts, there are 87 students remaining. George Toth, President of Mount Airy, says he expects to hire most of those students immediately upon graduation. Those who are skilled enough to do so will begin working as a dealer as soon as the casino opens for business. For those who are not quite as advanced as he would like, additional training will be provided until he feels they are up to speed.

The blackjack course at the community college is a 120-hour, six-week course that teaches them how to count cards, handle chips, spot cheaters, cut and deal the cards and more. At the end of the course, the students will have to pass written and performance tests. They must then be licensed by the state, which shouldn’t be a problem for anyone with a clean background who is able to pass the tests provided by the class.

Mount Airy Casino Resort will be ready to launch their blackjack tables at the beginning of June, but they are still waiting for the okay from state regulators to open. It is not known yet when that will happen.

Due to the popularity of the classes, Northampton CC will hold the blackjack courses again the next term, starting in June. Mount Airy is also hosting a job fair this Sunday, where they will be hiring a variety of positions, including bartenders, housekeeping, clerks, security and more.