The Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission levied fines totaling 100-thousand dollars against three casinos last week for allowing minors to get onto their gambling floors. One of the casino managers told the commission the father of an underage male helped him to gamble and the casino is pushing for them to be prosecuted. The chair of the commission, Jeff Lamberti of Ankeny, says local law enforcement dictate if charges are filed for underage gamblers, but the commission’s stance is clear.
We would like to see them prosecuted for it, because that’s been part of the problem, if there’s no consequence for the minor, then facility of course gets penalized, but it does nothing really to discourage them or others from trying,” Lamberti says. “So, we would like to see law enforcement go after them.” Lamberti, who is a lawyer, says the casinos have video surveillance that shows what happened and that would help in bringing charges.
“Pretty easy case to make, yeah, yeah,” Lamberti says. The Lakeside Casino in Osceola was fined 60-thousand dollars for letting a female minor into the casino six times in one week and Harveys Casino the Horshoe Casino in Council Bluffs were each fined 20-thousand dollars for allowing minors into their gaming areas. He points out that all the casinos self-reported the violations, and says casino operators are doing their best to keep minors out.
“Because of all the surveillance and all of the technology that we have now, they do a good job. But it’s not a perfect system, we try to do the best we can,” Lamberti says. Lamberti says there still appears to be no lack of young people who want to get into casinos and has this message for parents who think it’s a good idea to help their kid get into a casino.
“It’s a bad message if a parent is trying to encourage and assist a minor. You know, we have laws in place for a reason and we would just hope they wouldn’t do that,” Lamberti says. “And minors, we are going to encourage law enforcement to prosecute, because you need to be held accountable as well.” Lamberti says prosecuting minors will hopefully add another deterrent and prevent them from trying to get through security and into the casinos.