PA Adds First Name to Involuntary Exclusion List for iGaming Violations

Levittown woman confessed to authorities that she used her job in an optometrist’s office to steal personal information from patients and create 187 fraudulent online gambling accounts.
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By
May 20, 2022

I would just like to emphasize that this is the first time we’re placing somebody on the interactive gaming exclusion list.At its monthly meeting on Wednesday, the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) added the first name to its Involuntary Exclusion List for violations associated with iGaming.

According to a petition filed with the PGCB, Sydney Shorr, a 30-year-old resident of Levittown, was arrested on September 10, 2020. She was criminally charged with stealing personal information she obtained at work to create multiple fraudulent interactive gaming accounts.

“I would just like to emphasize that this is the first time we’re placing somebody on the interactive gaming exclusion list,” PGCB Chair Denise Smyler told her colleagues before the board voted unanimously to ban Shorr from the state’s land-based casinos and online platforms. Shorr did not appear at the meeting to plead her case.

The PGCB declined to comment on Shorr’s case Thursday.

The agency currently has 975 individuals on its Involuntary Exclusion List for violations at the state’s land-based casinos. There is also one person listed for violations associated with video gaming terminals.

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Facts in the Case

The petition shows that in January 2020, the PGCB’s Bureau of Investigation and Enforcement (BIE) launched an investigation after the Director of iGaming operations at the Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course in Grantville had alerted the Pennsylvania State Police and its Bureau of Gaming Enforcement of suspected identity theft on the casino’s website.

During the course of the BIE probe, a review of geolocation software used by the casino found that 187 unique players were using the same cellular device to access the website for Hollywood Casino PA. The BIE found that all 187 of the fraudulent accounts were created by one individual in December 2019.

The investigation eventually led to Shorr. The BIE found she used her phone number to create fraudulent accounts at several locations she frequented. Investigators say that Shorr, an employee at an optometrist’s office, took patient information to open the accounts.

According to the PGCB, the fraudulent accounts did not have any deposits or withdrawals. Shorr gambled with the $25 free plays she obtained when creating each account, as well as winnings from the free plays. She eventually confessed to authorities verbally and in writing.

The PGCB said Shorr was charged with 19 counts of identity theft and 19 counts of criminal use of communication facilities, both third-degree felonies. She was also charged with 61 counts of identity theft, a first-degree misdemeanor.

Shorr pleaded guilty to two counts of misdemeanor identity theft in March 2021 and was sentenced to three years of probation. Prosecutors declined to pursue the other charges against her. Records from the Court of Common Pleas of Dauphin County indicate Shorr was also ordered to pay nearly $3,000 in fines and court costs.

The petition was filed with the PGCB on February 2, 2022.

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Other Enforcement Actions Taken by PGCB

The PGCB also took punitive action against one fantasy sports operator and two casinos, including Hollywood Casino, for various gaming law violations:

  • Wind Creek Casino — was fined $20,000 for a self-exclusion violation after casino personnel failed to stop an individual on the PGCB’s self-exclusion list from playing table games at the facility on a number of visits over a four-day period
  • Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course — was fined $7,500 after a person on the self-exclusion list was able to gamble at slot machines and cashed a personal check at the casino
  • Underdog Sports — drew an $8,000 penalty for offering fantasy contests to two unlicensed shareholders who were required to undergo background investigations and be licensed, per PGCB rules. Five corporate entities created by Underdog Sports were also found to be unlicensed while the firm had been offering fantasy contests.

The board approved three separate consent agreements with each of the violators. The next PGCB meeting is scheduled for June 15.

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