Casino Parking Lots
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CASINO

Policy Perspective: Casino Parking Lots and Commercial Liability Refraction

The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board is considering land-based policy changes to combat a decade-long, widely publicized social issue of patrons leaving unattended children in casino parking lots across the United States.

And while those adjustments may result in protocols that partially address the concerns, has the time come for local populaces to accept that commercial gambling establishments are presently unequipped to take on the full liability of third-party human behaviors? In an effort to refract said liability, and shape it into a shared community responsibility model until more tenable, holistic solutions become available?

This article contains editorial observations on why adequately updating land-based parking garage security for gaming-related activities may require a nuanced approach.

One that consolidates land-based casino surveillance and security initiatives on a statewide level at a bare minimum; one that could take years to organize and meaningfully enforce.

And how there may be no authority to blame for third-party “bad actor” behaviors in the meantime.

PGCB Public Incident Report & Process Review – February 2021

The following 14-minute segment was uploaded by the PGCB in February 2021 as part of a regularly-scheduled board meeting. The public notification covers an incident from September 2020, in which two children — ages 2 and 4 — were left unattended in a casino parking lot for a period of at least 23 minutes, while the parent/guardian entered the gaming area to place a sports wager.

Casino security along with the Pennsylvania State Police and local authorities were eventually notified thanks to the initiative of a “reporting” witness/observer, who informed casino staff of the pressing matter (PGCB investigators communicate that the local temperature was 93°F/34°C on that day).

However, the “parent/guardian” who left two toddlers unattended was allowed to exit the premises (upon being “evicted” from the property by casino personnel) without any follow-up action taken — aside from this individual’s subsequent entry onto the PGCB’s Involuntary Exclusion List five months after the fact.


Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board Public Meeting – February 10, 2021 {VIDEO CUED 1:21:33-1:35:33}

Outsider Observations: PA Casino Regulators Consider Policy Changes

* The following editorial commentary belongs solely to the author unless otherwise specified. It is intended to serve as an observational “spot check” for casinos, associated interests, and patrons alike to measure the potential need for increased public awareness as it relates to casino parking lot security and behaviors.

1. Sudden/Abrupt Transfer or Conversion of Responsibility into Third-Party, 360° Liability

The moment an innocent bystander witnesses potential child neglect, that individual may be legally required (by laws/mandates/qualifying factors which are enforced on local, statewide, and federal levels and may vary drastically per jurisdiction) to report the situation to one or more designated authorities.

This lawful and socially-mandated burden, when combined with an immediate, urgent need for highly trained and specialized human assistance, results in an abrupt transfer of responsibility from x-bad
actor/guardian
to any person unlucky enough to suddenly “happen upon” undeserving, universal liability. An all-encompassing, 360° liability that the innocent bystander(s) cannot physically or computationally escape until certain required reporting conditions are met.

Once the “proper” individuals have been notified (which again, may fluctuate due to independent commercial arrangements between casinos and landlords — particularly in cases of “mini casinos” and corresponding parking areas that are located inside malls), this 360° liability extends to those persons.

They in turn may then be required to contact additional personnel… who still may not be fully trained or qualified to provide the precise or exact remedy necessary to solve/untangle any number of “real time” equations/complications that may arise when toddlers or preschoolers are involved.

Regardless of whether said human resources are contracted “publicly” or “privately.”

2. Prior Coverage of Widespread Issue Has Not Eliminated Unwanted Practices

Despite public evidence that this issue has received widespread coverage over the past 10 years in select locales throughout the country, this coverage (including our own — see below) has failed to measurably curb the unwanted practice of parents/guardians leaving children unattended in casino parking areas.

2018 {3YO, 5YO} Pennsylvania casinos advised by regulators that several anonymous reports had been filed pertaining to unattended minors in casino parking lots. Our in-house BestBetUSA “timestamps” and “commentary” coverage of that formal warning can be found here.

2019 {3YO, 11YO} Report that patron at casino discovered unattended minors in casino parking lot near Boston. Coverage here.

2017 {4YO} Baltimore Sun report of an unattended child left alone in casino parking lot. Coverage here.

2017 {9MO,?,?,?,9YO} Report from Oklahoma of five children left unattended in car while customer gambled inside casino. Coverage here.

2014 {4YO} Washington Post reports on growing trend of unattended children in casino parking garages. Coverage here.

2011 {1YO, 2YO, 9YO} Philadelphia Inquirer report of multiple arrests made due to guardians leaving children unattended in casino parking areas while gambling. Coverage here.

On April 21st, 2021, yet another related issue was brought to the PA Gaming Control Board’s attention.

The October 2020 incident involved two minors — ages 5 and 12 — who were left unattended in a licensed Pennsylvania casino parking lot for two hours (from 3am-5am) while the parents/guardians gambled inside the casino.

PGCB deliberation on the matter can be viewed here (video cued) from 1:38:15-1:44:33.

3. Liability “Warping” Provoked by Unintentional or Deliberate Tesseract Initiation

The following hypothetical scenarios represent an attempt by the author to demonstrate abstract, relatable, real world examples of purposeful or inadvertent tesseract domination over “traditional” 3D realities, caused by the introduction of a “triggering” variable in the form of timing. And how this domination may be ethically or unethically imposed upon an individual or group.

EXAMPLE #1: A casino patron is inside an on-premise or third-party parking garage, and is traveling (on foot) to or from a designated casino gaming area. This random individual enjoys lawful and socially-accepted freedom of choice and movement — meaning this person may physically and computationally maneuver within a self-prescribed decision making process that enables said individual to assume personal responsibility for one’s actions.

But then, at a subsequent point in time, this bystander observes unattended children inside a vehicle (or anywhere within a casino or annexed parking area).

And as a result, this bystander’s decision-making agency is now lawfully revoked — resulting in a jarring disruption of 3D reality in which this person is now required to cast aside any and all personal or professional priorities until the appropriate casino personnel and/or authorities are notified.

In this scenario, the “disruption” is clearly caused by the “bad actor” parent/guardian, yet it is the innocent bystander who must now perform as a “dutiful agent” of commercial/private/public interests to urgently deliver tidings of an extremely sensitive and personally-identifiable nature.

In this example, the bad actor has forcefully and unethically enveloped the individual burden of responsibility around one or more innocent third parties through the “severity” of this bad actor’s own decisions/actions/neglect. Even if the bad actor in question did not intentionally “target” or “desire to involve” other parties with an immediate requirement to report or call to action.

EXAMPLE #2: A job applicant is instructed to call a company’s recruitment office to receive updated information on a prospective employment opportunity. The applicant’s call is relayed to a human resources department that is tasked with a “decision to hire,” and is already aware of whether this individual will be contracted or not. However, the aspirant is completely unaware of the decision that will be unveiled at the precise moment this individual is informed of a professional fate.

In this scenario, the corporate representative dominates the applicant’s physical and computational reality in the moments before a predetermined decision is communicated… as the candidate might hope for a potential 3D warp or juxtaposition of one’s professional fortunes.

However, this practice is socially accepted, and typically is not considered unethical due to a common sense understanding between prospective hires and companies that such a circumstance may arise as a natural consequence of engagement on behalf of the interested parties.

EXAMPLE #3: A group of friends privately arrange to play 3-handed live or online poker with an understanding that each individual will be competing on a level playing field. However, two of the players who are participating in the private game are secretly colluding (also known as “sharing hole cards”) to extract a competitive advantage over the unsuspecting player by “breaking the rules” established by a hosting venue/website.

In this scenario, the actions by the two colluding players are typically considered to be highly unethical, and are commonly defined by poker players as “cheating.”

EXAMPLE #4: Two potential business collaborators are interested in working together, but are unsure what the other perceives as a “fair value” for the services on offer. The two parties decide to separately (and privately) enter an amount they believe is appropriate and show the figures to each other simultaneously.

This removes the variable of “timing” that places one party in a position in which it may strategically accept or deny the first amount that is revealed.

Casino Parking Lots and Commercial Liability Refraction (Summary)

The negative consequences that any bystander/witness, public/private authority figure, or commercial entity may be burdened with upon becoming involved in a volatile situation (in which a potential “worst case scenario” could have dire consequences for toddlers and preschoolers) could prove overbearing to all but the most highly skilled, arduously trained, and handsomely-remunerated individuals.

They present a very real threat of “severe liability” that could result in life-ruining repercussions.

All because of the harmful neglect of one or more “bad actor” parents/guardians who obviously have little to no regard for the health and safety of their own custodial wards and socially-mandated responsibilities… much less the plight of hapless bystanders, private security personnel, public resources, regulators, property owners, or would-be formula baristas/bedtime storytellers.

Upon considering these potential entanglements, it is understandable (and perhaps even predictable) why any human being might hesitate to voluntarily become intertwined with these processes any more than what is absolutely necessary.

Especially given the widely-publicized knowledge of how much land-based security measures for any sanctioned gaming activity are currently lacking, in serious need of technological advancements, and may require a hefty amount of bargaining {13:11-18:04} to adequately update due to existing, industry-threatening security and game integrity vulnerabilities.

No one wants to deal with casino parking lot surveillance pertaining to toddlers and preschoolers because they’re too busy trying to run a business, keep a job, or hit a jackpot.

The human training capacity simply isn’t there to assume full liability for a third-party’s actions (or neglect) related to the care of minors in casino parking garages.

Not when the original bad actors/offenders themselves stand a far better chance at escaping enforcement than the very “enforcers” who are tasked with protecting the commercial or public interests of their employer.

And besides… people go to casinos to gamble, not to be burdened with universal liability.

For these reasons, it is recommended that affected casinos coordinate, retool, and enforce policies that minimize on-premise “bad actor” human behaviors to whatever extent is reasonable, while implementing measures that refract the remaining liability until more viable solutions become available.

Read More In-Depth Regulatory Coverage from BestBetUSA

Brookings Institution Releases U.S. Data Privacy Regulatory Guidance (Jan 12, 2020)
partypoker Major Changes Analysis 2019 (Aug 19, 2019)
Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board Meeting – Full Timestamps Review (Sep 13, 2018)
Pennsylvania Casino Involuntary Exclusion List Regulatory Guide (Jul 27, 2018)
Connecticut Sports Betting Legislation – Preliminary “Royalty Fees” Testimony (May 14, 2018)

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