PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Normally, casinos want as many visitors as possible, but they don’t want everyone.
The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board has launched a new effort to keep out those who aren’t old enough to be there.
You’re not allowed on the gaming floor until you’re 21 in Pennsylvania.
So the Gaming Control Board has a started the “What’s Really at Stake?” campaign on billboards and social media to teach young people what could happen if they’re caught.
“There are a lot of consequences,” said Doug Harbach from the Gaming Control Board. “Not only can you be charged criminally, but you can also have your face and your name put up on a public website when you’re banned from the casinos.”
Anyone under 21 can have their picture added to the Gaming Control Board’s involuntary exclusion list. They can even be banned from casinos until after age 21 and can be charged with trespassing.
“That goes on their record,” said Harbach. “That can affect things in their life whether it’s student loans, getting into college, getting a job.”
It’s not just people under 21 who can get into trouble. Adults who help those people get into the casinos can also be charged.
Parents or siblings or friends who help can be charged with corruption of a minor and also get banned from casinos in the state.
And there’s an incentive for casinos themselves to keep underage people out. They could face fines if they don’t.
“The fines can range anywhere from $10,000 to $15,000 to $20,000 depending on how many instances have occurred,” said Harbach.
The “What’s Really at Stake?” campaign is paid for with winnings confiscated from people who weren’t allowed in the casinos, but were there anyway, won money and got caught.
Also, an interesting twist when it comes the Meadows Casino in Washington County because there’s also a racetrack there. Harbach says people can bet on horses at age 18 in Pennsylvania but can’t enter or bet at a casino until 21.