PLAINS TWP. — For more than a year, a half-dozen slot machines on the lower level of the Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs Casino were inadvertently programmed to pay out at a lower rate than they should have been.
This mistake was costly, as the state Gaming Control Board levied a $90,000 fine against the casino’s operator this week.
Mike Bean, president and general manager of the casino, said the payout rates were still “within the legal parameters of the state requirements” of at least an 85 percent payback, but they were not at the level the casino had on record with the state for those six machines.
He wouldn’t say what the rate was supposed to be and what they were from a stretch between June 20, 2011 and Aug. 2, 2012.
Bean said the issue “has to do with settings.” He called it a “small mistake on six machines out of the 3,200 machines we have.”
He added that following these findings, the casino conducted a review of all other slot machines in the facility and found “no other discrepancies.”
The blame, Bean said, rests with “an unintentional error on our part.”
“Following a software upgrade, settings have to be reset and the settings the technician saved were different than what was on the master list,” he said. That list, filed with the state, details information including the type of slot machine, the denomination it takes and the payout percentages.
The gaming board had never issued a fine for such a violation before, according to board spokesman Doug Harbach. The $90,000 total is a result of a $15,000 penalty being assessed for each of the six slot machines in question.
Harbach said he could not offer comment on the details of the violations, instead saying the information contained in the consent agreements speaks for itself. The consent agreements were approved Wednesday during the gaming board’s public meeting in Harrisburg.
The precise details of the state’s findings are unclear, as the consent agreement is vague when it comes to the violation and findings. Bean declined to go into too many specifics, and he’s not obligated to under the consent agreement, but he said he wanted to get word out to customers who might be concerned with the sanctity of the machines.
He said this was an isolated incident. He noted that the machines “are among the least used” in the casino.
The $90,000 fine was in addition to a $35,000 penalty levied against the casino for shredding documents that are required to be retained for five years and were therefore unavailable upon request to state auditors. In addition, Downs Racing officials failed to notify the board of the shredding incident even though they were aware of it soon after its occurrence.