Sands Bethlehem Possibly The Worst Babysitter In Pennsylvania

Written By Martin Derbyshire on July 14, 2017 - Last Updated on November 26, 2021
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It’s easy to see why Las Vegas Sands Corporation founder, chairman, and chief executive officer Sheldon Adelson thinks online gambling sites can’t keep minors away. It’s because his own land-based casinos, particularly Sands Casino Resort Bethlehem in Pennsylvania, have such a tough time doing it.

In fact, Sands was recently fined $150,000 for ten different underage gaming violations on the property from September 25, 2016 to March 1, 2017.

The incidents included various teenagers gaining access to the gaming floor and playing slot machines. They also caught a 20-year-old female on three occasions in a single day playing gaming slots and drinking alcohol.

The truth is, these latest infractions actually make it 53 reported instances of underage gambling or drinking since Sands Bethlehem opened in 2009. The infractions have now cost Sands $530,000 in fines.

Adelson’s argument against online gambling

So yes, it’s clear why Adelson fears the worst when it comes to minors and online gambling. In fact, it’s easy to understand why the argument that minors can easily access online casino sites has become the cornerstone of his campaign against online gambling. It’s the moral ground he stands on.

What’s not so easy to see is how Adelson, and others opposed to online gambling, remain unconvinced of reality. You see, the real truth is online gambling operators have the technology to do an even better job of preventing underage access than land-based casinos.

Sands beefs up security

According to one local news outlet and Adelson apologist, Sands implemented stiffer security screening at its entrances. This in an attempt to curtail the scourge of underage drinking and gambling. The result has been almost one million identification checks from the beginning of January 2016 to the middle of May 2017. Security turned away 8,096 people, detected 30 fake IDs, and caught another 120 false IDs.

Yet still, these ten reported incidents of underage gambling and drinking happened.

Sands security now holds pre-shift meetings twice a week reminding officers of basic procedures. Security is expected to challenge anyone who looks under 30. They are issuing wristbands to players whose IDs they’ve confirmed. Daily reminders tell employees to be alert and stop guests who look underage.

They’ve posted signs warning minors of the penalties if they get caught gambling. Plus, they’ve placed reminders of the dates players must be born on or before in places where security will see them. However, minors continue to slip through the cracks.

Human error remains a factor in ID process

Obviously, fake and false IDs can fool people. Plus, the challenging under-30 policy leaves part of the process up to the discretion of security employees. Unfortunately, this can lead to human error.

Legal and regulated online casinos in places like New Jersey verify identification and the location of all their customers. Not just the ones they think look younger than 30. As a result, online casinos have pretty much removed human error from the equation.

The pot calling the kettle black

Sands continues to struggle with its efforts to keep minors out. However, online casino operators are only getting better at it. As a result, Adelson’s arguments against online gambling are beginning to look a whole lot like the pot calling the kettle black.

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Martin Derbyshire

Martin Derbyshire has more than ten years of experience reporting on the poker, online gambling, and land-based casino industries for a variety of publications including Bluff Magazine, PokerNews, and PokerListings. He has traveled extensively, attending tournaments and interviewing major players in the gambling world.

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