MGM Springfield Hit With $100,000 Fine for Underage Gambling

  • The MGM Springfield was the first resort casino in Massachusetts, opening in August 2018
  • More than 30 incidents of underage gambling were reported at the facility in the first few months of operation
  • The Massachusetts Gaming Commission handed the casino a $100,000 fine
  • Crime levels are also rising in the region, with local police looking at ways to combat it
The MGM Springfield has gotten a $100,000 fine for 30 separately recorded incidents involving underage people accessing the casino floor
The MGM Springfield has gotten a $100,000 fine for 30 separately recorded incidents involving underage people accessing the casino floor

Failure to do age checks

Since opening in August 2018, there have been a number of incidents at the MGM Springfield involving underage gamblers. There were 22 separate incidents at the casino in their first two months of operations. A further eight incidents took place  between November 12 and December 2.

The incidents were documented in a recent meeting of the Massachusetts Gaming Commission.The commission has now given the MGM Springfield fines totaling $100,000. MGM will not be appealing the fines. Instead, it is working hard to ensure that underage gamblers do not get access to the casino floor again. Players have to be at least 21 years old in order to use the casino.

Some of the measures MGM Springfield has been implementing since these incidents include erecting signs warning against those under 21 from entering the casino floor, stopping easy access to the casino floor, having more security during busy times to check IDs, utilizing hand stamps for those gamblers of a legal age but who still look like they may be underage, as well as increasing education on the issue across the local community.

The main reason underage gamblers have been getting access to the casino floor and obtaining alcoholic beverages there is because it was very easy to access the area from a number of entrances.

Making positive changes

The casino has been implementing these measures since the end of 2018. The number of minors caught trying to enter or found in the facility is on the rise. This can be attributed largely to these new, more aggressive crackdown. MGM Springfield now has a zero tolerance policy in place.

The Gaming Commission is happy with the progress the MGM Springfield has been making on this issue since the concerns first came to light. Commission chair Cathy Judd-Stein understands that the many entrances to the casino floor do pose difficulties in restricting minors from getting access.

She is happy that the company was working closely alongside the Commission to resolve the problems. She said: “They have taken it very, very seriously. We made it clear it is going to be a very serious concern for us. They have put in new resources to address it.”

Rising crime rates

There have been concerns about increasing crime rates in the area around the MGM Springfield since its opening in 2018. The $1bn project created more than 3,000 jobs. It will bring a lot of tourism to the region and help stimulate the local economy.

However, the local police say that the casino is becoming a magnet for crime. During the first four months of operation, there was double the amount of crime at the facility than the other open casino in the state had in an entire year. That is the Plainridge Park Casino, operated by Penn National.

Between September and December, there were 208 incidents, as well as 120 arrests at the MGM Springfield Casino. This includes 16 larcenies and robberies, five assaults and two sexual offenses. Before the casino opened, there were just 22 crimes in the area. In the following five months, there were more than 115 crimes.

In the whole of 2018, there were 115 reported incidents at the Plainridge Park Casino. 

A report was recently issued on public safety in the area. Local police are looking at ways in which to curb casino-related crimes.

The MGM Springfield is the only resort casino that is open in Massachusetts. The Wynn Encore is set to open by the end of June. The third and final available license is still pending.