The issue of children being left in cars in casino parking lots by neglectful parents has come under the spotlight following several recent incidents, but the casino industry has partnered with child safety advocates to raise awareness and put a stop to it.
Casinos are Uphauled
A series of recent headline-grabbing cases across the U.S. have raised outrage over this form of child abuse. Although not all of these incidents occurred at casinos, the American Gaming Association felt that something needed to be done. The Washington Post reported that the Association, which represents the likes of Caesars Entertainment, MGM Resorts and Penn Nation Gaming, announced in early August that they would be partnering with KidsandCars.org, a Kansas City-based group that works to prevent the vehicle-related injuries and deaths of children.
AGA chief executive Geoff Freeman told The Washington Post that the aim of the partnership is to raise awareness and strengthen the industry’s security measures. He said, “Many of us are parents of young children. If there is anything we can do to be partners to prevent children from being left in cars, we are glad to lead the way.”
Children Left to Wait in Cars
Alicia Denice Brown, a 24-year-old woman from Baltimore, was charged with child abuse in December 2013 after it was discovered that she had left her 4-year-old locked in her car in sub-freezing temperatures for eight hours while she was in Maryland Live Casino.
In July of 2014 mother of two, Phaley Nget, made headlines when she left her children, ages two and three, in the parking lot of Casino 580 in Livermore, California. According to ABC News, she had left them for 30 minutes to an hour in warm summer weather with blankets over the windows, either in an effort to keep out the heat or to conceal the children who were strapped into their seats.
The Washington Post reported that, according to KidsandCars.org, since 2000 at least 208 children were left unattended in cars at casinos in the U.S, although it was not found that casinos made up a disproportionate amount of the total number of settings where children had been left in cars.
The Washington Post mentioned another incident in Pittsburgh in August 2014 where a woman had been arrested after leaving her 9-year-old in the car while she went into Rivers Casino to redeem a voucher. The casino banned her for life and issued a statement which said, “We can’t stop parents from making bad decisions; but we are vigilant in our efforts to prevent this from happening.”
Rivers Casino’s statement sums up the approach of the partnership, which can’t make people into better parents, but can make casinos more vigilant and compel them to act decisively against offenders.