Ohio Casino Fined $200,000 For Underage Customers, Security Shortages

Written By C.J. Pierre on September 22, 2023
Hollywood casino fined 200k by Ohio regulators

The Ohio Casino Control Commission (OCCC) fined Hollywood Casino Columbus $200,000 at its Wednesday meeting. The penalty is part of a settlement agreement concerning underage gambling and security problems at the casino.

This is the first fine the commission has issued a penalty on any of the four Ohio casinos this year. However, they handed out fines to several of Ohio’s new sportsbook operators since the January launch.

Problems at Hollywood Casino

At its monthly meeting, the OCCC announced the $200,000 penalty against Hollywood Casino Columbus at its monthly meeting. The fines levied on the PENN Entertainment property stemmed from incidents that included the ability of people under the age of 21 to access the casino and understaffed security at the facility.

The details of what was happening were not referenced during the public meeting. However, the settlement agreement notes that PENN declined the opportunity for a hearing to contest the allegations.

According to the settlement agreement, there were two occasions when security staff allowed underage patrons to enter the casino. This allegedly happened even though the IDs that were used failed the casino’s ID verification system.

The agreement also noted a situation when OCCC enforcement agents needed assistance with “an active incident.” However, Hollywood Columbus couldn’t send security officers to help because of “insufficient staffing.”

Hollywood Casino Columbus is to hire additional security

According to the settlement agreement, the commission had given Hollywood Casino Columbus flexibility to deal with staffing shortages due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the casino was supposed to notify the OCCC when it was understaffed on security but failed to do so on several occasions.

Under the agreement, Hollywood Columbus has to hire additional security officers. That is on top of the 18 recently hired in late March. It also details a new comprehensive security plan and training processes at the casino and follow-up meetings with OCCC staff.

One of two Ohio casinos owned and operated by PENN, Hollywood Casino Columbus is the biggest revenue generator among casinos in the state. So far, in 2023, the casino has made over $160.1 million. That’s over $3.6 million more than the 2nd place Jack Cleveland Casino.

Photo by AP Photo / Kantele Franko
C.J. Pierre Avatar
Written by
C.J. Pierre

C.J. Pierre is a Lead Writer at PlayOhio. He has been covering news and sports for over a decade for both online and TV broadcasts. He was born and raised in Minneapolis, MN and is an alum of Minnesota State University: Moorhead. He recently dove into tribal casino, sports betting and online gambling news. He also covered the launch of sports betting in Arizona. C.J. has experience as a reporter and videographer and has covered high school, college and professional sports throughout his career, most notably following Arizona Cardinals, Phoenix Suns, Minnesota Vikings and North Dakota State University football.

View all posts by C.J. Pierre