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State Fines Tropicana $27,500 for Violations

Flickr User Ben Stanfield

New Jersey casino regulators have fined the Tropicana Casino and Resort $27,500 for allowing a 14-year-old to gamble last summer, as well as violating the rules of a card game.

The state Division of Gaming Enforcement, in rulings made public on Tuesday, fined the casino $17,500 in the underage gambling case, and another $10,000 for violating the rules of Spanish 21, a variation of blackjack.

The boy, identified only as “CG,” was spotted by investigators playing slots on Aug. 12 at 11:20 p.m. As they were watching him play, a casino security guard walked right past him and did nothing.

“Due to CG’s youthful appearance, the division investigators requested that he produce identification,” Deputy Attorney General  R. Lane Stebbins wrote in his complaint against the casino. “CG then admitted to the division investigators that he was 14 years of age.”

The boy was detained and turned over to his parents. It could not immediately be determined if the boy had accompanied his parents to the casino or if he was there alone. The complaint did not specify how much money the boy had won or lost.

New Jersey law says patrons must be at least 21 years old to gamble at casinos in Atlantic City, the nation’s second-biggest gambling market after Las Vegas. People under 21 can only be on the casino floor if they are walking through it on their way to another room where gambling is not taking place, such as a restaurant or concert hall.

The casino also was fined for failing to remove all the “10” cards from decks used in Spanish 21 on June 7, which violated the rules of the game. According to the gaming enforcement division, a dealer conducted gambling with the decks including several “10” cards for four hours.

Spanish 21 is a variant of blackjack that has several rule changes from the traditional game, including the removal of “10” cards. Bettors also have certain advantages, including always winning with a hand totaling 21, even if the dealer also has one. The casino declined to comment on the fines.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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