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Grand Jury Completes Probe Of PA Gaming Control Board

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(Photo: KDKA)

(Photo: KDKA)

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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — An investigating grand jury summoned by then-Attorney General Tom Corbett has found no criminal activity in the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board’s award of casino licenses, but it did find plenty to complain about.

In strong language, the grand jury accused the gaming board of conduct that “failed to thoroughly protect the public from unlawful gaming practices, failed to maximize potential new revenue and allowed licensees to participate as a matter of right without requiring the minimum affirmative responsibilities on their part.”

Gaming Board Chairman Greg Fajt, in equally strong language, rejected the claims, accusing the Attorney General’s office of wasting time and money.

“After this grand jury met for two years, there were no arrests, no presentments, no indictments,” Fajt said in a written statement. “They found no criminal activity because there was, in fact, no criminal activity to be found.”

But the report claims the board ignored significant information about the late Don Barden’s personal gambling history and financial suitability for the slots license he was awarded in Pittsburgh.

That financial instability eventually led Barden to give up his casino license to the current Chicago owners of what is now the Rivers Casino.

While bringing no criminal charges, the grand jury did make 21 recommendations to state lawmakers and the board to improve operations.

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