The Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission issued two penalties on Tuesday due to gambling violation. On November 4, 2016, an underage male entered the Diamond Jo Worth Casino uncontested and was allowed to gamble. The Northwood casino was forced to pay a fine of $20,000. The Harrah’s Casino of Council Bluffs was also fined $3,000 after a person who had signed up for a self-ban was allowed to not only gamble but win a jackpot.
Both of the offenses are in clear violation of the gambling laws in the state of Iowa. According to a report made by Racing and Gaming Administrator Brian Ohorilko, the underage male who entered Diamond Jo Worth Casino was unchallenged and allowed to gamble on the floor for more than 30 minutes. Vice President Kim Pang explained the casino’s policy is to train all employees to I.D. anyone under the age of 35. Pang apologized on behalf of the casino and explained that the person responsible has been retrained and that the responsibility of identifying underage guests is a “concerted effort.”
This isn’t the first incident in which their concerted effort has failed, however. Diamond Jo Worth Casino hasn’t committed a related violation in the past three years, but in 2007 they faced a similar scenario. A 16-year-old girl was able to sneak in to the casino through an exit turnstile whilst a man with a seeing eye dog entered the casino, blocking her from view. After entering the casino, she was allowed to play slot machines for nearly 90 minutes.
As for Harrah’s Casino and its violation, Casino Vice President Janae Sternberg pointed the finger at their screening system. Sternberg, who claims the management system used at the casino is usually foolproof, but can understand where the error came in this rare scenario.
The person who won the jackpot after the self-ban was able to escape the security system by moving to another state and changing their name. Sternberg explained that the culprit had the last name of Smith, which made matters more complicated because the name is so common that the system was sorting through thousands and thousands of customers. Sternberg went on to say that the casino hopes to avoid this dilemma in the future through the implementation of Social Security numbers in the system. In addition to the $3,000 fine, Harrah’s Casino paid the $16,200 jackpot that was paid out to the culprit.