Mohegan Sun Pocono hit with $1 million in fines

In Pennsylvania, Wednesday reportedly saw the state casino regulator issue $1 million in fines against the firm behind the Mohegan Sun Pocono for two infractions including doing business with unlicensed gaming service providers.

According to a report from The Scranton Times-Tribune newspaper, the first fine from the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board levied against Mohegan Sun Pocono operator Downs Racing LP was for $450,000 and related to the Luzerne County venue’s previous relationships with entities known as ReferLocal and CB POC LLC.

The newspaper reported that ReferLocal had advertised free-play slots and meal deals inside Mohegan Sun Pocono for six years until February while CB POC LLC had managed a trio of the property’s food outlets encompassing Johnny Rockets, Betty and Joe’s Coffee Shop and Wok8. However, an investigation by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board purportedly uncovered that neither of these firms had been issued with gaming service provider licenses as is required by law.

The Scranton Times-Tribune reported that the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board investigation furthermore uncovered that Robert Soper, the former President and Chief Executive Officer for Downs Racing LP, had owned a 5% share in ReferLocal but that he had failed to disclose this interest to Mohegan Gaming and Entertainment, which owns the Mohegan Sun Pocono.

The newspaper further explained that Soper had worked for Downs Racing LP from 2005 until March of 2015 when he left to become the Chief Executive Officer for its tribal-owned Mohegan Gaming and Entertainment parent. However, he purportedly resigned this post in February to be replaced by predecessor Mitchell Etess while last month saw the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board order him to pay a $60,000 personal fine for his involvement in the ReferLocal affair.

For his part, Soper, who now owns and operates property management firm Sun Gaming and Hospitality in Florida, reportedly told the newspaper that the failure to properly disclose his interest in ReferLocal had been an ‘unintentional, administrative and clerical mistake’.

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The Scranton Times-Tribune reported that the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board additionally fined Downs Racing LP some $550,000 on Wednesday after an investigation uncovered that the property had failed over a multi-year period to adequately audit its free-play slot offers or ensure a proper segregation of such duties.

The news 7BALL paper reported that this related to an eleven-month scam that saw Robert Pellegrini, the former Player Development Vice-President for Downs Racing LP, and Mohegan Sun Pocono cocktail server Rochelle Poszeluznyj team up with patron Mark Heltzel to defraud the venue out of approximately $478,350 with some $422,147 of this converted to cash.

The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board reportedly determined that this money laundering scheme had begun in May of 2014 and had been facilitated by the ability of some 218 employees to issue free-play slot codes via at least 19 positions within the Mohegan Sun Pocono.

Finally, The Scranton Times-Tribune reported that the regulator moreover found that Mohegan Sun Pocono employees had inflated the amount of cash owed to slots players on at least 314 occasions between May of 2014 and September of 2015 resulting in the loss of $26,151. This ploy had purportedly involved staff members entering a larger amount on a prize form than what was actually owed to a player before submitting this to the main cage and pocketing the difference.