Can zero names be a list?
Individuals can be banned from casinos across the United States for any number of reasons. Regulators or individual casinos often ban players for cheating, money laundering, or other criminal activity. In the Northeast, many states’ banned lists include hundreds of individuals, particularly those connected to mob activity. Oddly enough, New York Gaming Commission does not have a single name on its list and seemingly never has.
These lists are quite extensive in nearby Pennsylvania and New Jersey, with hundreds of people banned from participating in gambling at land-based facilities. In New York, one would think the same would be true, but it’s not.
New York Gaming Commission’s empty list
The Times Union recently spoke to the New York Gaming Commission about its lack of names on the excluded list. Spokesman Brad Maione reported that there is no one on the list “at present.” The Commission website also lists the banned player details with zero names mentioned.
each gaming facility themselves has certain authority to bar individuals”
The regulator allows individual casinos in the state to create lists of excluded individuals. Mr. Maione stated that if a person is added to a casino exclusion list and the operator reports it to the commission, they would add the name to the state list. Maione added: “The commission has not undertaken to add names to the excluded persons list, but each gaming facility themselves has certain authority to bar individuals.”
Before adding a name to the excluded persons list, the commission must serve notice to the individual. The commission allows the individual to attend a hearing to explain why the ban should not be put in place.
The state regulators can ban someone that went to prison for a gambling offense for more than one year. Individuals convicted of a crime that involves moral turpitude can also be banned.
New Jersey and Pennsylvania ban hundreds
While the New York Gaming Commission does not have a single name on its list, nearby New Jersey and Pennsylvania do. In the Garden State, officials have banned almost 500 people from casino gaming. This includes high-ranking mob members from both New Jersey and New York. The list in New Jersey includes Salvatore Gravano, a mobster known by the moniker “Sammy the Bull.”
In Pennsylvania, the list is much larger and includes 946 individuals. The names include cheaters, criminals, players who left children in their vehicles to gamble, and individuals who passed fake currency, among others.
gaming regulators have banned members of crime families to keep venues safe for patrons
Mob members are also on the Keystone State list, including Joseph Merlino, also known as Skinny Joey. Officials banned Merlino after he took part in a fight back in 2016. Across the northeastern US, gaming regulators have banned members of crime families to keep venues safe for patrons. The same cannot be said in New York, where such individuals are known to conduct criminal activity.
Individual operators enforce no trespassing orders
Officials in the New York Gaming Commission argue that its list of zero names is because operators can ban players themselves. State statutes allow off-track betting sites, commercial casinos, horse racing tracks, and tribal-operated facilities to ban whomever they see fit.
For the racing industry, the Association has active records indicating the banned individuals. Those on the list cannot enter facilities like Saratoga Race Course or Belmont Park.