Meadows fined $30,000 for bookkeeping error

March 14, 2013

A bookkeeping error has cost The Meadows Racetrack & Casino $30,000.

The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board levied that fine Wednesday against Washington Trotting Association Inc., operator of the North Strabane Township casino.

The board said the casino failed to follow controls relating to when dealers collect commission – or vigorish – on craps games.

Lance Young, director of table games at The Meadows, accepted blame.

“The board changed regulations on rules submission and asked the casino to update its rules submissions for all games,” Young said. He said casinos statewide had two options as to when their dealers were to collect vigorish from players and that “I accidentally checked” the wrong one.

“The paperwork submission was a mistake on my part and the casino’s part.”

Young said dealers at his casino have always collected vigorish from craps players after dealing ends instead of before it begins, as Young had checked off. He said the violation occurred over 15 months, from May 2011 to August.

“The board checked off on what I submitted and neither of us checked it in a year and a half,” Young said. “After an audit, they noticed a discrepancy.

“At no time did we change how we collected vigorish. We did not change the way we paid.”

Vigorish, or “the vig,” is a common term in gambling. Vigorish in craps games, according to Wikipedia, “refers to the 5 percent commission charged on a buy bet, where a player wishes to bet that one of the numbers – 4, 5, 6, 8, 9 or 10 – will be rolled before a 7 is rolled. The commission is charged at the rate of $1 for every $20 bet. The bet is paid off at the true mathematical odds, but the 5 percent commission is paid as well, restoring the house advantage.”

Washington Trotting was among four casino operators that were fined a total of $157,000.

Sands Bethworks Gaming LLC, operator of Sands Casino Resort Bethlehem, was dealt the largest fine – $68,000. It was cited for six incidents, between August and November, in which persons under age 21 got access to the gaming floor; gambling occurred in five of those cases.

Chester Downs and Marina LLC, operator of Harrah’s Philadelphia Casino and Racetrack, was levied two fines totaling $46,500. The largest – $34,500 – was for failure to make 18 slot machines operational and available to the public within a certain time period. Chester Downs also was fined $12,000 for allowing a 19-year-old man to gamble at the blackjack table in August.

The board also levied a $5,000 fine on Valley Forge Convention Center Partners, operator of Valley Forge Casino Resort, for allowing a male on the board’s self-exclusion list to get a Players Club card and gamble 38 times between last April and October.

Rick Shrum joined the Observer-Reporter as a reporter in 2012, after serving as a section editor, sports reporter and copy editor at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Rick has won seven individual writing awards, including two Golden Quills.

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