Iowa casino fined for underage gambling violation a second time in 2019

underage gambling Iowa

underage gambling Iowa

An Iowa casino has been fined for the second time for allowing an underage person to drink and gamble on site.

Prairie Meadows Racetrack and Casino in Altoona has been fined $20,000 after a 19-year-old man was allowed onto the gambling floor and was served alcohol without requiring identification.

He walked through the hotel entrance of the venue and made his way to the casino completely unchallenged.

Documentation from the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission said he was on the floor for more than an hour. He also cashed a ticket at a cashier’s cage.

The man walked past security officers twice without being asked for ID, then was finally asked by a security guard the third time he walked onto the casino floor.

He couldn’t produce any form of ID and was asked to leave.


This is the second time in a year that the casino has found itself in this situation.  It was fined in July 2018 after a 20-year-old woman was allowed to gamble and drink for three hours without being asked for ID.

She was reportedly left unchallenged the entire time, cashed in a mutual ticket at a teller’s window, rolled dice five times at a craps table, and later cashed in gaming chips.

The casino was issued the same $20,000 fine.

The legal age for both gambling and drinking alcohol is 21. 

Iowa law prevents anyone underage from making or attempting to make a wager on an excursion gambling boat, gambling structure, or in a racetrack enclosure.

It also states they should not be allowed on the gaming floor of an excursion gambling boat, gambling structure, in the wagering area, or on the gaming floor of a racetrack enclosure.

If the casino is found to allow an underage person to gamble and/or drink on-site again, the fines will escalate. 

Under usual guidelines, a third violation within a 365 day period would lead to a $30,000 fine.

Horseshoe Casino Council Bluffs has also been fined this month for failing to update its exclusion list, a document containing the names of people who should be refused entry to casinos.

Most people on exclusion lists have voluntarily chosen to be on them for their own protection against gambling addictions. 

Commission Administrator Brian Ohorilko said William Hill — the firm that runs the simulcast operations at the casino – received the fine. 

He said: “There were two instances in the spring where commission staff had identified that America Wagering did not upload names from the statewide exclusion list into their list that they use to screen patrons.”

Failure to keep an updated list is considered the same as allowing someone to gamble who has an addiction and has made steps to prevent themselves from doing so.

Exclusion lists should be updated once every 7 days, William Hill failed to do so on two occasions. 

Since it is the operator’s first offense of this kind in 2019, the firm agreed to a fine of $5,000.

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