NW Indiana casino fined $100K for underage patron incidents

HAMMOND, Ind. — A northwest Indiana casino has been fined $100,000 by state regulators after an 18-year-old man with a fraudulent Pennsylvania identification was repeatedly allowed to enter the casino’s gaming floor to play blackjack and place sports bets.

The Indiana Gaming Commission imposed the fine Tuesday against Horseshoe Casino. Records show the young man’s ID failed to be confirmed as authentic by the Hammond casino’s electronic Veridocs system a total of 40 times after being scanned by 18 different security officers on 10 different days.

But on each occasion, security officers still let the man into the casino, where he even obtained a Caesars Rewards players club card, The (Northwest Indiana) Times reported.

The man ultimately was stopped when he tried to enter an Illinois casino, his ID could not be electronically verified, and he admitted to security officers that he was 18 years old. The legal age to gamble in Indiana and Illinois is 21.

Illinois gaming officials then contacted Indiana gaming agents after the man turned over his Caesars Rewards card and three $1,100 vouchers from the Horseshoe Casino.

Kathryn Jenkins, Horseshoe Casino senior vice president and general manager, told the gaming commission the casino was “very sorry about the underage incidents that we had.” She noted they were the first since 2017, when Veridocs was installed, and said the man had “a really good fake ID.”

Jenkins said the casino has now decided not to admit anyone who appears to be less than 30 years of age if their ID fails Veridocs, unless an on-site state gaming control officer authorizes entry.

She said she’s confident the new rule will keep out underage patrons better than most other Indiana casinos that don’t run IDs through Veridocs and rely solely on a visual check by a security officer.