HARRISBURG, Pa., March 8, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Gaming Control Board and State Police are reminding visitors to Pennsylvania casinos to immediately turn in lost cash, vouchers, chips or unplayed slot machine credits, or face the possibility of criminal theft charges.
PGCB Chairman Greg Fajt says there is no such thing in Commonwealth casinos as "finders-keepers" when it comes to finding lost money or credits.
"Every square inch of a casino is monitored by cameras and recorded, making these venues the worst place in the Commonwealth to try and commit a crime," Fajt says.
In addition to camera surveillance, each Pennsylvania casino has contingents of Pennsylvania State Police and PGCB Casino Compliance Representatives on site in addition to a significant number of the casino's own security staff.
"The bottom line is that if you choose to patronize and have a good time at a casino, use your own money and not someone else's or your visit may not turn out to be enjoyable or profitable," Fajt adds.
Theft is defined under Pennsylvania criminal law as unlawfully taking or otherwise depriving another of moveable property including theft by property lost, mislaid, or delivered by mistake. The penalties generally vary by the value of the items involved in the theft. Most lesser value theft charges are misdemeanors, and penalties for theft under $50 in value are typically a summary offense.
Capt. Tim Allue, director of the State Police Gaming Enforcement Office, said theft of another person's property is a crime, regardless of where the incident takes place.
Allue said troopers assigned to the Gaming Enforcement Office last year investigated 2,339 thefts in Pennsylvania casinos. He said 1,746 of the incidents were resolved, with arrests made in 472 of the cases.
He said each theft investigation is unique and takes into consideration factors such as the ability of law enforcement to identify the offender; the offender's willingness to return property to the victim; the offender's involvement in similar incidents in the past; and the victim's willingness to participate in prosecution.
"In many cases," Allue said, "theft investigations are resolved with the return of the victim's property and no arrest."
Fajt says that if you are at a casino and discover another player's winnings, seek casino personnel immediately and let them know what you found.
"It is not difficult to locate and alert a casino employee of your discovery," Fajt concludes. "To do otherwise could place you in a position that could lead to criminal charges."
About the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board
The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board was established in 2004 with the passage of Act 71, also known as the Race Horse Development and Gaming Act. Pennsylvania's first new state agency in nearly 40 years, the Gaming Control Board is tasked to oversee all aspects of the state's casino industry. To date, with ten casinos in operation, legalized gaming in the Commonwealth has created over 14,000 living wage jobs, provided property tax reduction in each of the past three years for all homeowners, produced revenue that has reinvigorated Pennsylvania's horse racing industry, and provided a new stream of tax revenue to local governments that has funded scores of community projects.
A wealth of information about the Gaming Control Board and Pennsylvania's gaming industry can be found at www.pgcb.state.pa.us. At this Web site, visitors can view videos of Board meetings and on the operation of the PGCB, obtain information on identifying a gambling problem and gaining assistance, look up future meeting schedules and past meeting transcripts, access an interactive map of casino locations and request a speaker for their group, along with much more information.
CONTACT: Doug Harbach or Richard McGarvey
SOURCE Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board