A Pennsylvania man is facing a public drunkenness charge after State Police say he fell into marshland after being kicked out of an Erie casino.
Presque Isle Downs & Casino. A man Pennsylvania State Police says was intoxicated via alcohol stumbled and fell into the marshland surrounding the casino after he was asked to leave on September 25, 2022. (Image: Erie Times-News)
Pennsylvania State Police say a 23-year-old man from Cambridge Springs who was inside Presque Isle Downs & Casino in Erie was told to vacate the property. That’s after he allegedly showed signs of alcohol intoxication. The incident occurred around 5:45 a.m. local time on Sunday morning, September 25.
Shortly after casino security escorted the man outside, the individual reportedly wandered through the casino’s parking lot before falling down a steep embankment. Security personnel responded and located the man using a flashlight. He was lying in a swampy brush.
An ambulance was called to conduct a welfare check on the man, who reportedly fell several more times trying to leave before EMS arrived. Police later issued the man a citation for public drunkenness.
A person in Pennsylvania found guilty of a non-traffic public drunkenness summary offense faces a fine of up to $500 for a first offense, and $1,000 on the second. Jail time is possible for multiple offenses, though uncommon, said Pennsylvania criminal defense attorney Jason Dunkle.
Casino Fined for Alcohol Service
Law enforcement did not say whether the 23-year-old man was overserved at Presque Isle Downs Casino, or if he consumed alcohol prior to his arrival. If police determine that the man was overserved at the casino, Presque Isle Casino could face a penalty from the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB).
The venue is owned and operated by Churchill Downs. The gaming operator acquired the Pennsylvania casino in early 2019 from Eldorado Resorts for nearly $179 million, Presque Isle has faced previous PGCB fines.
Last November, the casino was fined $45,000 for violating Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf’s (D) COVID-19 orders regarding alcohol service. The PGCB determined that the casino had served guests alcohol without being accompanied by a meal during the height of the pandemic in 2020. Wolf’s emergency order said bars and restaurants could only serve alcoholic drinks to guests who were actively eating.
More recently, a 44-year-old in February was escorted out of Presque Isle after casino surveillance caught him urinating and then moving to a corner of the sportsbook to finish relieving himself.
A state judge later dismissed a disorderly conduct charge. It was brought against the autistic learning support teacher at Meadville Area Senior High School after he reached a plea deal and met several conditions, most specifically staying out of further trouble for 90 days. The man paid a $50 fine.
The PGCB regularly issues hefty fines to its licensees when they fail to adhere to the commonwealth’s strict regulations on commercial gaming operations. Presque Isle Downs Casino has managed to avoid major fines, but has nonetheless been cited over the years.
In December 2016, Presque Isle was fined $15,000 for two instances allowing underage people access to gamble. In November 2018, the casino was slapped with a $45,000 penalty for allowing a group of five individuals who were later found to be underage access to the gaming space.
The casino was also cited $15,00 in April 2018 for not licensing a key employee with the PGCB. It was also fined another $22,500 in February 2019 for using compromised decks on a blackjack and poker table.
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