Parents Gamble Kids' Safety, Leaving Them in Cars at Casinos

Filed under: In The News

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Some parents' addiction to gambling is overwhelming their common sense. Credit: Andres Rueda, Flickr

Some Pennsylvania parents are gambling with their children's lives.

The Lebanon Daily News reports that in this year alone, seven patrons of the Parx Casino in Bensalem, Pa., have left a total of 12 kids alone in the car while they placed their bets, and lawmakers are taking notice.

State Rep. Gene DiGirolamo, R-Bucks, and state Sen. Robert Tomlinson, R-Bucks, say they will introduce legislation that makes it a third degree felony to leave a child younger than 13 unattended in a vehicle. Tomlinson calls the incidents shocking, but some critics are pointing out that they shouldn't be.

Janette Fennell, founder and president of Kids And Cars, a nonprofit organization that tracks child deaths and injuries in and around vehicles, tells the newspaper officials didn't do their research.

"There is plenty out there about the fact that kids are left alone in cars at casinos," she tells the Daily News.Her group has collected more than 30 reports of parents leaving kids alone in the car while the grown-ups gamble. Experts in addiction say the issue is not at all surprising, given the fact that some people are so strongly compelled to gamble that nothing else matters.

"When you want to go out to a movie and you can't get a sitter to watch your kids, you go some other time," attorney Paul Boni, who has represented groups who are opposed to the development of casinos, tells the Daily News. "When you are an addicted gambler, you can't not go to the casino. So you find a way."

Parx Casino officials tell the Daily News they will install 13 surveillance cameras in the casino's parking lot, and also will boost the number of security patrols during the venue's busiest hours of operation. Additionally, warning signs have been posted inside the venue, urging patrons to report any children seen unattended in parked cars.

Related: Indiana Bill Would Strip Gambling Winnings From Deadbeat Parents

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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.