The Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission today approved fines of 10-thousand dollars each for two casinos that allowed underage gamblers into their establishments. The commission says an underage male was able to get into the Argosy casino in Sioux City on July 16th, and was in the casino for over an hour, and drank two drinks before he was discovered.
Sioux City casino general manager Frank Quigley told the commission the casino does take the issue seriously. Quigley says they have disciplined the appropriate employees and have re-trained the entire staff with an emphasis of recognizing underage gamblers.
Quigley says they have also made changes at the entrance of the casino. He says at the time this happened, you could walk three or four people abreast into the casino and use the number of people as a screen to get someone in. Quigley says the had several situations where parents were trying to create diversions and sneak minors into the casino. He says they have now narrowed the entrance so people have to come in one at a time.
The Harrah’s casino in Council Bluffs was fined after a minor entered the casino in June of this year and played black jack for an hour before someone checked his I-D. Mike Rich of the casino says they’ve also made changes to prevent minors from getting in. He says Harrah’s takes the issue “very seriously” and says it was an “unfortunate incident where the security officer was disregarding policy, talking to a patron during a very non-busy time where this individual was able to come into our casino.”
Rich says the casino had done some things to try and help the security officers. He says the casino bought the security guards handheld scanners to allow them to check I-D’s to be sure the I-D’s are real, and implemented new procedures that require them to ask questions of anyone who looks like they’re the under the age of 30 to be sure it is the person’s I-D.
In discussion unrelated to the fines levied today, the Racing and Gaming Commission asked staff to proceed with a plan to changes the rules to double the fines against casinos for underage gambling. The current fines of 10-thousand dollars for the first offense and 15-thousand for the second offense in the same year will be doubled at the recommendation of two commission members who have been studying the issue. Commissioner Kate Cutler says the amount of the fine has not been changed in about 10 years.