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Parx, Bensalem Warned to Get More Proactive

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Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board members today told an official of Parx Casino in Bensalem, Pa. that the casino — and township police — need to do more to address the problem of players leaving children in vehicles while they gamble.

 parx casino sign denardo2 Parx, Bensalem Warned to Get More Proactive

KYW’s Tony Romeo reports that the warning came after a series of five such incidents this summer (see previous story).

This morning, a vice-president of Parx’s parent company told gaming board members of a number of steps to address the problem, including extra parking lot patrols during busy times.

He also says players involved in these incidents are permanently banned from the casino.

But one member participating in the board’s monthly meeting by phone, Ken Trujillo, says that’s not enough:

“The point here is not to react to irresponsible behavior by parents, it’s to prevent it.”

Some of the proactive steps members suggested included warning patrons about the issue with signs and in mailings.

The board members also think that Bensalem police can do a better job of patrolling the Parx parking lot.

Board chairman Greg Fajt noted that the township gets millions of dollars each year from the casino:

“And we will make this known to the Bensalem Police Department:  I think they could do a better job of patrolling that parking lot also.  Ten million dollars a year — $34.5 million that the township has received over the last 3½ years — is a lot of money.”

KYW’s Brad Segall reports that Bensalem’s public safety director — responding to remarks from the Gaming Control Board that they need to do a better job patrolling the Parx parking lot — says his officers are already out there patrolling and working hand-in-hand with management at the gambling hall. 

But Fred Harran adds that they are not the “parent police” and cannot parent for the people who come to Parx to gamble.

Harran could not comment on how the $10 million Bensalem gets each year from casino revenue is divvied up by the township, but he says 19 officers have been added to the force since gambling started:

“You can’t police common sense.  And you know, government can’t be all to all those — although some people would like that to be.  That’s not the way it is.  People have to have common sense.”

He says police deal with a variety of problems related to the gambling, including thefts and more accidents because of the increased traffic.

(File photo by KYW’s Mike DeNardo)