Mohegans’ Pennsylvania casino fined $1 million over lapses in financial procedures

Pennsylvania gaming regulators Wednesday approved $1 million in fines against Downs Racing LP, operator of Mohegan Sun Pocono in Wilkes-Barre, Pa.

Mohegan Sun Pocono, a racetrack casino, is owned by the Mohegan Tribe, which also owns Mohegan Sun in Uncasville.

The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board, which met in Harrisburg, Pa., approved consent agreements reached between the board’s Office of Enforcement Counsel and Downs Racing following a lengthy investigation of financial procedures at the Pocono casino over a period of several years.

Fines of $550,000 and $450,000 were levied.

In a settlement approved last month, Bobby Soper, a former Mohegan Sun executive who resigned in February, agreed to pay a $60,000 fine for failing to properly disclose his ownership interests in 10 companies, including two that did business with Mohegan Sun Pocono. Soper was president and chief executive officer of the Pennsylvania casino from December 2005 to October 2012.

“Today, Mohegan Sun Pocono entered into two separate consent agreements with the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board. As part of the agreements, MSP accepts the terms and fines associated with those agreements and fully supports the findings and remediation of the PGCB,” Jennifer Harris Ballester, a spokeswoman for Mohegan Gaming & Entertainment, the parent company for the tribe’s gaming enterprises, said in a statement.

“Mohegan Sun Pocono, with support of its parent, Mohegan Gaming & Entertainment, took immediate action to correct the issues both found by the PGCB and self-reported; we take great pride in their acknowledgement of our corrective measures and complete cooperation,” Ballester said. “As an organization, we are glad to have this resolved and are focused on the future of our great company. …”

The gaming board announced that the $550,000 fine against Downs Racing involved three areas in which Mohegan Sun Pocono employees failed to follow “approved internal controls” — the issuance of free slot-machine play; the casino’s main bank cashier functions; and internal audits.

Mohegan Sun Pocono’s failure to properly control free slots play led to a scheme in which two employees and a casino patron defrauded the casino out of more than $400,000 between May 2014 and April 2015. The three people involved pleaded guilty and have been sentenced. The failure to “safeguard assets” through proper cashier functions resulted in the theft of more than $26,000 between May 2014 and September 2015.

On six occasions between 2012 and 2016, casino employees failed to submit required internal audits. In addition, the casino’s failure to maintain certain records hampered the gaming board’s investigation.

The second fine of $450,000 stemmed from Mohegan Sun Pocono’s vendor relationship with two firms, ReferLocal LLC and CB POC LLC, neither of which had licensed its company or its employees with the gaming board, as required by law. ReferLocal was one of the businesses in which Soper had an interest he failed to properly disclose.

b.hallenbeck@theday.com

 

 

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