Pennsylvania’s Hollywood Casino Fined $20,000 for Poker Games

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Pennsylvania’s Hollywood Casino must pay $20,000 in fines for holding unauthorized poker tournaments last year. The penalty was announced this week as the gaming operation saw 3.26 percent more revenue during 2019 than over the prior year.

Pennsylvania’s Hollywood Casino must pay $20,000 in fines for holding unauthorized poker tournaments last year. (Image: Philadelphia Inquirer)

The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board imposed the fine in connection with four poker tournaments, according to a board statement. The fine comes as part of a consent agreement with Mountainview Thoroughbred Racing Association which operates the casino at Penn National Race Course in Grantville.

The violations were self-reported by Hollywood Casino’s Director of Compliance Alex Hvizda, according to The Patriot-News. The news report said the “Labor Day Classic” poker tournament was never presented to board officials for review.

Gaffe Blamed on Staff Turnover

Hvizda explained the review failed to take place because of staff turnover in the firm’s poker department, the report adds.

It involved poker tournaments which cost $120 instead of the prior $80 entry fee. The tournaments were held 95 times at the different price, between Feb. 5 and Sept. 12, the report said.

Since the incidents, the board gave Penn National authority to run the $120 fee tournaments based on an updated application.

Under state rules, table game plans, tournament schedules, dealer training, schematics of gaming guides, table layouts, signs and equipment must be approved by the commission’s executive director.

In July, Hollywood Casino online gaming launched the Pa.hollywoodcasino.com website.

The online offering came after months of testing by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board. Pennsylvania was the fourth state in the US to offer online casino gaming and the first to launch since 2013.

Hollywood Casino saw $251,351,715 in total revenue during 2019, according to recent data from the board. That is a 3.26 percent jump over $243 million seen in 2018.

Record Revenue for Pennsylvania Casinos

Overall, Pennsylvania casinos saw a record high revenue of over $3.4 billion in 2019. Total gaming and fantasy contest revenue during 2019 was 4.5 percent above amounts generated in Pennsylvania during 2018.

Total tax revenue generated through gaming and fantasy contests was $1,415,879,539 during 2019 compared to $1,380,456,782 in 2018, board data added. Sources of gaming revenue include slot machines, table games, internet gaming, retail and internet sports wagering, fantasy contests and video gaming terminals.

Pennsylvania gaming revenue reached $3.3 billion during the 2018-19 fiscal year. That itself was a record and was a 1.8 percent premium on the previous high.

It was also revealed this week that Pennsylvania casinos are behind a statewide effort to convince local municipalities to pass ordinances banning controversial skill-based gaming machines.

The Eckert Seamans law firm has been hired by Parx Casino near Philadelphia to send out letters to municipalities in counties where one of the existing 12 casinos are located. In total, attorney Mark Stewart, who specializes in legal gaming matters, says a letter was sent to roughly 600 local governments.

Elsewhere in the Keystone State, in November the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board recently rebuffed Mount Airy Casino Resort’s plan to open a Category 4 mini-casino in Beaver County. The proposal was rejected because Mount Airy could not procure needed funding for the project.

Pennsylvania’s Gaming Expansion Act 42 of 2017 allowed for opening of mini-casinos. As of July, five mini-casinos were auctioned off.

As of last year, Pennsylvania’s gaming industry was the second richest in the nation behind only Nevada.

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