Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board Hopes to Curb Unattended Children in Vehicles at Casinos

Derek Blake pic
Derek Blake
Casino News


  • Five adults were given lifetime bans by Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board for abandoning children in cars outside casinos
  • PGCB created a PSA program to curb the unattended children problem
  • In 2022, 464 minors have been involved in 285 reported instances of abandonment in Pennsylvania

After a rash of incidents of adults leaving children in vehicles outside the state’s casinos while they gamble, the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board has moved to crack down on the problem.

The board moved to place five individuals in their monthly meeting on the Involuntary Exclusion List after finding the adults were guilty of leaving children in cars as they played inside Pennsylvania casinos.

"In certain circumstances, there'll be a citation or an arrest for endangering the welfare of children. Secondarily that particular casino, which may be your favorite casino, is going to evict you, and you're not going to be able to return to that casino,” PGCB Executive Director Kevin O’Toole told Pittsburgh’s Action 4 News.

After warning parents visiting casinos to play blackjack, slots, roulette and sports betting around Thanksgiving, the PCGB has stepped up even more around the Christmas holiday to get the word out.

PGCB Launches PSA to Stop Unattended Children at State’s Casino

To further increase the campaign’s exposure, the PGCB also created a public service announcement hoping to dissuade adults from taking children to casinos. Titled “Don’t Gamble with Kids,” the PSA campaign speaks about the potential threat to unattended children in cars outside casinos.

Along with the PSA, the Gaming Board also created a website at The website offers information on possible punishment for adults that leave their children in vehicles alongside links to help players exhibiting gambling problems find help.

The site also offers a toolkit to help concerned citizens get the word of the campaign out to gaming customers via social media sites.

“The unfortunate frequency of these dangerous events has led the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board to create Don’t Gamble with Kids. We also want the gaming public to understand the scope of this problem and if they see a child unattended in a parking lot, hotel or elsewhere to report it to casino personnel or local authorities,” said O’Toole on the Don’t Gamble With Kids website.

In 2021, casinos and law enforcement reported 171 instances of unattended children in Pennsylvania casinos. That number has jumped considerably in 2022 as 285 instances with 464 minors involved have been reported to authorities. Of the 464 minors left in cars, several dozens of those children were under the age of 6.

Adults who abandon their children in vehicles to gamble face suspension from the state’s casinos in addition to any criminal charges, including the possibility of involvement of Pennsylvania’s Child Services Department.

Derek Blake is a freelance writer that has covered the expansion of legal sports betting in America and the regional casino business for several well-known industry websites. During his writing career, he has written profiles on dozens of athletes and focused on the collision of sports and politics.