Posted on: December 1, 2020, 09:30h.
Last updated on: December 1, 2020, 10:33h.
Harrah’s Philadelphia was the site of an alleged theft early this morning, according to police. The casino is located outside the City of Brotherly Love in Chester, Penn.
Sometime shortly after midnight, a man approached the casino cashier’s cage while an employee was counting a stack of cash. Police say the suspect asked to use the phone, and while the cashier turned for a brief moment, the man allegedly grabbed the cash and fled.
Police report that the Harrah’s casino worker said the man likely took off with approximately $24,000 in cash.
Harrah’s Philadelphia opened with slot machines in 2007 after Pennsylvania legalized gambling at horse racetracks. The gaming venue added table games in 2010 after the state expanded gambling.
Caesars Entertainment operates the casino, which is owned by the company’s real estate investment trust, VICI Properties.
Harrah’s remains open, as does Parx, the other casino in the Philly area. But Rivers Philadelphia has been forced to close on Philadelphia County orders through the end of the year.
Casinos are some of the most secure business environments, the gaming floors, and cashier cages strictly monitored 24/7 by the eyes in the sky. But that has never stopped criminals from trying to infiltrate the venues.
COVID-19 has left many down on their luck. Pennsylvania’s unemployment rate in October was 7.3 percent, slightly above the 6.9 percent national average.
The coronavirus has cut thousands of gaming industry jobs in the Commonwealth. At the end of June 2019, Harrah’s Philadelphia’s workforce numbered 1,205 employees. That number dropped to 737 positions at the end of June 2020, a 39 percent reduction.
According to a study in the American Journal of Criminal Justice, crime rates across the US are actually down since COVID-19 hit the nation. However, the review concluded that crime is down because of “a drop in minor crimes, which are largely committed by people in peer groups.”
By issuing lockdowns in the wake of COVID-19, deviant peer groups — groups of relatively young people who commit minor crimes for social capital — were effectively eliminated during the duration of the lockdown. The after-school crime spike cannot happen if there is no school,” explained Bowling Green Sociology Professor John Bowman and University of Waterloo Sociology Professor Owen Gallupe.
The professors hypothesize that a drop in minor crimes has led to an overall reduction in crime rates. But more serious crimes — homicide, domestic abuse, and major theft — “has not changed or is increasing.”
Criminals Face Bans
The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) is tasked with regulating all aspects of the state’s ever-expanding gaming industry.
The PGCB said it placed 75 individuals on the Involuntary Exclusion List during the 2019-20 fiscal year. The casino authority says 20 people were put on the prohibited list for theft.
Child endangerment was the leading cause, with 22 people banned. Seventeen were expelled for cheating, six for disorderly conduct, three for possession of a controlled substance, three for attempting to use counterfeit currency, and two for assault.