"It happens -- the only thing unusual is you guys in the media hearing about it this time"

casino parking lot sign

Our new normal?

This past New Years Eve a Maryland woman gambled at a local casino while her 4 year-old daughter sat shivering in a car during sub-freezing temperatures in the casino parking garage. And despite the fact that the casino employs a 200-person security team and has surveillance cameras inside and outside the parking areas, the girl was not found for more than 8 hours.

A Washington D.C. news team investigating the incident learned that there had been six more cases in the past year in Maryland casinos alone, and more than 60 outside Maryland in the last 4 years.

In Indiana, a review of the state's gaming commission records revealed that 72 children were found abandoned on casino premises during a 14-month period. British Columbia recorded 87 incidents of gambling-related child abandonment from 2004 to 2008. Illinois recorded 85 kids left unattended over 2 1/2 years in 52 separate incidents between Jan. 1, 2010, and July 31, 2012 — in the establishments' lobbies, parking areas, hotels and restaurants.

The slot machine, unlike alcohol or tobacco is a product that cannot be used in the home. It requires that the player go to the slot machine. In the case of the parent, day care provider or other caregiver, this aspect of gambling addiction can have tragic consequences.

Children have died as a direct result of adult gambling problems. In Louisiana, Georgia and South Carolina, children died after being locked in hot cars for hours while their caretakers gambled.

Children have been found locked in trunks, trailers, wandering in parking lots and garages, abandoned in hotel corridors, in shopping malls, and in cars on side streets around casinos and slot parlors. In searing heat and freezing cold, many of these children, if found at all, require emergency care, some having to be "revived" at the scene. And these are only the cases that make the news, and fail to account for the young children and infants left home alone.

It is common, he said, for pathological gamblers to lose track of time, to enter a state of mind in which they forget to eat, take medications or even use the bathroom.

A sampling of child abandonment and endangerment cases involving state-sponsored casinos

MI - Father leaves 1-year-old alone in running vehicle while gambling in Mississippi casino. September 10, 2014

PA - Girls ages 2 and 5 left in car while Dad in Sands casino. September 2, 2014

DE - Man arrested for leaving 14-month-old daughter in car while he gambled in casino. September 2, 2014

FL - Man and woman charged with leaving 2 small children, ages 1 and 4, in a car with the engine running, the air conditioner on and the doors unlocked while they were inside the Hialeah Park Casino. August 28, 2014

PA - Man charged with reckless endangerment and endangering the welfare of a child after he allegedly left his three young children — ages 1, 5 and 8 — alone in his vehicle Wednesday morning while he gambled at the Sands casino. Father admitted he has a gambling addiction and was in the casino playing blackjack, police said. August 20, 2014

IA - Two men charged with child endangerment after allegedly leaving two children - a 10-year-old and an infant - in a car with the windows down and the keys in the ignition at Casino while they went inside to claim a prize, but officers say men were gone at least 40 minutes. August 5, 2014

CA - Woman accused of leaving kids, ages 2 and 3 in car while she gambled in casino. Police said they want to remind the public that leaving children unattended in a vehicle even for a minute is not safe. They said the body heat regulatory systems for children are less efficient than they are for adults so children can overheat three to five times faster than adults can. July 23, 2014

SD - Couple arrested after leaving children, ages 7, 5 & 8 months, in car while gambling. Officers found the 5-year-old crying and screaming while the baby and older girl slept. Methamphetamine was also discovered. July 9, 2014

CA - Woman accused of leaving kids in car to go to casino. The 10 year old girl told the deputy that "her mother had gone into the casino and left her to care for her little brother," who is 1 year old. The car had its keys in the ignition in the "on" position, authorities said, adding "the children could have easily left the car and walked into traffic, fallen from the ledge or become victims of any number of crimes." July 1, 2014

FL - 5 Kids Left Alone in Filthy House While Grandma Gambles at Casino. A Grandmother was arrested after police say she left her four kids and a grandchild while she went to the casino. April 9, 2014

FL - Mother, boyfriend left girl alone in car w/windows up while gambling at South Florida casino. The 4 yr old woke up screaming. A police officer conducting a traffic stop heard the girl's screams and found her in the car, which was parked in the west lot behind the casino. The windows were rolled up, the engine was turned off and the doors were unlocked.  March 19, 2014

CA - Pair Arrested After Girl, 4, Found Alone wandering in Southern California casino parking lot. Authorities have arrested a Santa Maria couple after their 4-year-old daughter was spotted wandering through a casino parking lot while they gambled inside Mar 14, 2014

PA - Dad admits leaving 18-month-old alone in car at Parx casino at night in 88 degrees temps w/high humidity. Bensalem police say the boy was alone, screaming and "sweating profusely" when they found him inside a gray Lexus parked about 300 feet from the doors to the casino, which is on Street Road. Police were called to the casino parking lot shortly after 9 p.m., when the temperature outside was 88 degrees with 62 percent humidity. "Officers on scene described the interior of the vehicle to be hotter than the exterior temperature," according to a affidavit of probable cause. July 9, 2013

FL- Dad charged w/leaving 3 month old infant & 1 1/2 yr old toddler alone in his truck in casino parking garage. According to the report, the children were found in Wells' F-350 seat belted into their car seats with no food or water. They were in the car for at least an hour before police arrived, and the baby was screaming and crying. Judge tell dad, "someone could have gone by the car, seen two kids in the car and abducted the children." January 13, 2014

PA - 2 held for trial in Pa. tot's starvation death while they gambled at casinos. A 27-year-old mother of five allegedly abandoned her children to party with a boyfriend using government checks meant to help with their care while her severely disabled 3-year-old daughter starved to death in a filthy bug-infested home they shared with their father in Philadelphia, Pa. January 8, 2014

MD - Mother accused of leaving 4 yr old child in freezing car outside Maryland Live! casino for more than 8 hrs on New Year's Eve. Temperatures Tuesday were near freezing. Medical workers were called, and the child was taken to the Baltimore Washington Medical Center in Glen Burnie, Smith said. January 1, 2014

NY - Mother charged for leaving child in gift shop of Queens casino while she gambled. The shop's manager noticed the child was alone and called security. Police say the girl was alone for around an hour when she was noticed. Grandison was arrested and charged with endangering the welfare of the child. November 14, 2013

PA - NY man facing child endangerment charges after leaving his 2 two children in car while he went gambling. An investigation found that another casino customer had reported seeing the children in the car to casino security around 9 p.m. — a half hour after Ye entered the casino — but security couldn’t immediately locate the children, police said. October 22, 2013

FL - Mother and daughter caught gambling at casino while 5 children ages 1 - 11 wait in car. Detectives said the car was still running with the key in the ignition when the children were found. October 6, 2013

OK - Dad leaves toddler in car while he gambles in casino. The head of security reportedly stated McCormack had said he had gone inside to get something to eat, but he reportedly told Officer Goode he had left his two-year-old in the car to "gamble for a little bit." September 20, 2013

PA - Man facing child endangerment charges after leaving 4yr old granddaughter to wander in PA casino as he gambled. A man is facing child endangerment charges after police say he left his 4-year-old granddaughter to wander in a Pennsylvania casino September 13, 2013

PA - Man is facing charges after leaving a 2-year-old child in a car outside of the Rivers Casino, told officers he went into the casino to use the restroom and then decided to play the slots July 30, 2013

OK - 4-year-old boy found alone in casino parking lot, father arrested. A father is in custody after a 4-year-old boy was found wandering in a dark parkinglot at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino early Friday morning. August 9, 2013

IL - In all, the adults involved left 85 children unsupervised at casinos across Illinois between Jan. 1, 2010, and July 31, 2012 — in the establishments’ lobbies, parking areas, hotels and restaurants. (01/14/13)

PA - Police: Woman left 5 children alone in car while she gambled Security officers found abandoned kids, paged mom to leave casino. Casino security officers discovered the children alone in the car on the evening of July 26 and paged Troncoso over the casino's public address system. (08/02/12)

PA - N.J. man charged with leaving baby in car so he could play blackjack at Parx. The day before his birthday, a South Jersey man took a trip to Parx Casino with his 14-month-old daughter. But after casino employees turned them away at the door, Shannon Fenton of Brant Beach allegedly returned to his car in the casino parking lot where he strapped his daughter into her car seat — then headed back inside to the blackjack tables, police said. (07/13/12)

PA - Police: Kids left in cars at casino twice. A 29-year-old Huntingdon Valley man was charged with child abandonment after leaving his six-year-old daughter in his car outside Parx on a steamy day. Ignition was off, but hot air was blowing out of the vents, with the outside temperature exceeding 90 degrees. The girl was treated by rescue squad workers, A 39-year-old Abington woman was charged after she left two nephews, ages one and two, and a nine-year-old niece in her car outside Park on July 16th. 8/1/2011

PA - Pa. mom admits leaving kids in car outside casino. Balek admitted leaving her daughters, and 8-year-old and a teenager, in the car for about six hours as she played slot machines inside the Parx Casino... / The Associated Press / 04/26/2011

PA - 2 accused of leaving kids in car at Pa. casino. A man and woman have been arrested after allegedly leaving three young children (3 yrs, 10 yrs and ten months) in a minivan while gambling at a casino. / The Associated Press / October 31, 2010

PA - Parents gamble by leaving kids in car. Authorities reported seven cases involving 12 children abandoned in vehicles this summer at a Bucks County casino. Similar incidents have happened at Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course in East Hanover Twp. / September 27, 2010

PA - 7th Kid Left in Car Outside Parx Casino. Investigators say the boy spent about 30 minutes in the hot SUV, while his grandfather was inside the gambling hall playing slots. / By VINCE LATTANZIO / Sep 3, 2010

PA - Mom Left Kids in Car While She Gambled: Police. A mother hoping to hit a lucky streak at a Bucks County... Casino is now facing child endangerment charges after she allegedly left her kids in the car while gambling. The 16- and 8-year-old girls sat in the parking lot from 6:30 p.m. Saturday until 12:30 a.m. / By VINCE LATTANZIO / Aug 13, 2010

WA - Woman Leaves Toddler In Car While Spending Nine Hours In Casino. While the child was left in the car for the nine-hour period, she (mother) was inside the casino participating in gambling and drinking. / By Bryan Cross / May 28th, 2010

DE - Police that on Sunday at around 9 p.m. a security guard patrolling the parking lot at Delaware Park Racetrack and Slots spotted a 12-year-old boy alone in the car. Police say the boy's 33-year-old mother the boy in the car for more than two hours. According to police, the car was parked away from the main building and there was no way the boy's mother would be able to see the child from inside the facility. (10/12/09)

BRITISH COLUMBIA - B.C. sees record tally of gambling parents leaving kids in cars. The 35 cases resulted in gamblers being barred for at least one year, according to reports obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, which provide a harrowing portrait of the social costs of gambling. In all, B.C. imposed such bans in 87 incidents of gambling-related child abandonment from 2004 to 2008. The cases include: A mother left her two children, aged 7 and 9, in the trunk of her burgundy Chrysler Intrepid on June 17, 2004, while she gambled at Boulevard Casino in Coquitlam...(10/5/09)

FL - 'Gambling Granny' sentenced to 14 months of house arrest. Judge... Sentenced a grandmother to 14 months of house arrest for leaving her two grandchildren unattended in a car while she gambled at a Hallandale Beach casino... 2-year-old girl and a 14-year-old boy... / Sun Sentinel / BY TONYA ALANEZ / July 21, 2009

Canada - Owner says abandoned kids all too common. But that the most famous retired casino owner in Calgary says "not unusual" when describing parents leaving children outside in cars during all-night gambling sessions? A 21-month-old baby left inside a car for six shivering hours Sunday night, while the dad gambled inside Sisson's former casino, the Silver Dollar. / The Calgary Sun / By MICHAEL PLATT / March 31, 2009

NV - Reno couple arrested on suspicion of leaving child in car while they gambled. Sometime after 3 a.m. security noticed the boy (5-year-old) standing in the car, crying and pounding on the windows. The couple had been inside gambling. / By Jaclyn OMalley / March 10, 2009

NY - A Brocton father was arrested after leaving his 2 1/2-year-old son in a car parked outside the Seneca Nation bingo hall in Brant for an hour while he gambled inside Thursday afternoon, according to the Erie County Sheriff's Office. The boy was sweating profusely when he was pulled from the sweltering 2004 Jeep Cherokee, but he was sent home after an evaluation in Lake Shore Hospital in Irving, the Sheriff's Office said Friday. The father, Jose Morales, 29, of Pullman Street, was charged with endangering the welfare of a child, said Dennis Rankin, chief of police services for the Sheriff's Office. Deputies know that the boy was alone in the car for 65 minutes because Morales checked in with a card provided to frequent bingo hall gamblers when he entered the building, Rankin said. (Gambling with a child's life, 9/15/07)

MN - A 4-year-old boy was left in a car unattended in subzero weather while his father gambled inside Mystic Lake Casino. The boy was suffering from mild hypothermia and faced dire physical consequences had he not been discovered, authorities said. Olson added that such incidents at Mystic Lake happen "a few times a year, but not all the time." A casino patron found the boy wandering in the parking lot, police said. The temperature was minus-7 degrees with a minus-22- degree windchill at the time. . (Father charged with endangering son, 2/9/07)

SC - If anything sealed the fate of video poker in South Carolina, it was the sad tale of Joy Baker, a 10-day-old baby who suffocated in a car while her mother played the machines at a roadside casino in August of 1997. "Precious little Joy is dead because her mom is addicted to video poker," (link to full article, June 2005)

WI - Prosecutors have charged a Neenah woman with a misdemeanor count of child neglect after they say she left her nine-month-old child in her car while she gambled at a casino. According to a criminal complaint, 40-year-old Julie Boone visited the North Start Casino in Bowler. Authorities say the child was dressed in a long-sleeve top and was covered with a crocheted blanket, but by the time deputies arrived, the temperature had dropped to 37 degrees. (Woman left baby in car while gambling, Wisconsin, 10/31/06)

NV - A 26-year-old Gardnerville woman was arrested Wednesday after casino security guards found a 2-month-old baby and his 3-year-old brother locked in a car with the air-conditioning and motor running. Deputies were called to Carson Valley Inn at 2:10 p.m. by casino personnel who found the car in the lot with the motor running, all the doors locked, the windows rolled up and the air conditioner turned on. The children were in their car seats. (Mom accused of leaving two tots in car, Minden, Nevada, 10/20/06)

IN - It was 9 degrees outside when the Keisha Clark, 24, left her 16-day-old infant, 2-year-old daughter and 7-year-old son in a car while she went into an East Chicago casino Feb. 19., police said. The infant was discovered unresponsive in the car about 1:30 p.m. that day, authorities said. The baby was successfully revived and two other children in the car were unharmed. (Woman must take parenting classes, Crown Point, Indiana 9/2/06)

NJ - A Camden County couple accused of leaving their 3-week-old son alone in a car in a casino parking garage for several hours this weekend have been charged with child abuse and child endangerment. Security personnel at Caesars Atlantic City Hotel Casino found the child just before 1 a.m. Saturday after patrons reported seeing him in the backseat of the car. The officers remained until the child's parents - Jennifer Drake, 19, and Andrew Delano, 21, both of Clementon - returned to the car around 4 a.m. (Couple charged over child left in car, 9/2/06)

OK - A Keefeton woman is being given probation after pleading guilty to leaving her 2-year-old granddaughter locked in a pickup truck last August while she gambled inside a casino. Loretta Webb was given a two-year deferred sentenced and fined 200 dollars for leaving the child inside the locked pickup while she played slot machines at the Creek Nation Travel Plaza. (Woman pleads guilty to leaving child in truck while gambling, June 2006)

NV - Two children were rescued Friday afternoon from a sweltering vehicle by Budweiser delivery men who noticed them locked inside, crying and one of them bleeding in a casino parking lot. McDonald said when they looked inside the dark tinted windows of a GMC Jimmy they saw a little girl with her nose bleeding and a baby boy in a car seat "covered in sweat." Ernestina Leon, 44, was arrested on suspicion of two counts of gross misdemeanor child endangerment and neglect and two counts of misdemeanor leaving a child unattended in a vehicle. Leon was baby-sitting the children while their mothers worked. (Children pulled from hot car, 4/29/06)

OK - Loretta Webb of Muskogee, accused of leaving her 23-month-old grandchild in a hot vehicle while she played the slot machines at a tribal casino, will stand trial. (Woman to stand trial for child neglect, 4/14/06)

CA - Sycuan Indian Reservation - Sheriff's detectives are investigating after a (6-month-old) child died yesterday, apparently while waiting in a car with his father outside Sycuan Casino while the mother was inside. The cause of death was unknown. (2/16/06 - Baby dies in vehicle waiting at casino)

OK - Gambling grandma, ... Loretta Lynn Webb, 43, went to the Creek Nation Travel Plaza in Muskogee and left her 23-month-old granddaughter locked in a pickup with outside temperatures reaching 88 degrees. ... Police said Webb won $265 while in the plaza, but we know no amount of money would have been worth the loss of her granddaughter. This incident adds a new dimension to the problems that can result from gambling. Not only will some people spend money in casinos instead of purchasing things their children need, but they will tell their small children to wait in the car patiently while they go get a soft drink and then not come out for a long time because they were ambushed by a slot machine. (8/26/05 Gambling Grandma should know better)

Tokyo - A six-month-old baby died in Japan after her mother left her in a car in the summer heat to play slot games and did not even return during a major earthquake, police said on Thursday. Police arrested Saori Konno, 27, for allegedly causing her daughter's death by leaving her in the car without air conditioning for two and a half hours on Tuesday in the northern city of Ichinoseki. The mother was half an hour into her game when an earthquake registering 7.2 on the Richter scale hit, but she did not return to the car, a police spokesperson said. (8/18/05 - Gambling mom charged with baby's death)

NV - A mother and her boyfriend are facing felony murder and child neglect charges in the death of a two-year-old girl found in squalor last month in a Las Vegas trailer home. Adacelli Snyder weighed just 11 pounds when she died June 29th. Authorities say she starved to death, and she had sores and insect bites on her body. Adacelli was born with cerebral palsy, and authorities say she and two sisters between the ages of two and five were found in a northeast Las Vegas trailer full of rotting garbage, human waste and vermin. Police say the mother, 28-year-old Charlene Snyder, and her boyfriend, 25-year-old Jack Richardson, spent the child's state disability checks on gambling. The other girls and Richardson's one-year-old son are in Clark County custody. Information from: Las Vegas Review-Journal, (Mother, boyfriend face murder charges in death of Las Vegas girl, 8/10/05)

Canada - Linda Resmini, a former nursing administrator at McMaster Children's Hospital, was sentenced to two years in prison this week after stealing $1,030,000 from a fund for newborns in need of reconstructive surgery for cleft lips and palates. The provincial agency that owns Casino Niagara ... But Teresa Roncon of Ontario Gaming and Lottery Corp., the casino's owner, says casino officials had no idea Resmini was playing with stolen funds and the agency is not required to make restitution. (Children's fund blown in casino should be repaid, say gambling foes, 5/4/05)

NM - "I deal with that all the time," Salazar said. "It's sad when I have to go and evict a family because ... the single parent who lives in the home has spent all the family income at the casino and they don't have any food and they can't pay their utilities, much less their rent. "It's kind of hard for me to go home and sleep at night when I know there are young children who don't have a place to sleep." (City officials see gambling's dark side 1/7/05)

NZ - A 25-year-old mother and a 41-year-old grandmother will appear in the Christchurch District Court after a distressed girl was found wandering around a casino car park. It is alleged the women drove from North Canterbury last night, parked their car leaving a six-year-old girl asleep in it and went to the (Christchurch) Casino. (10/13/04)

NV- A Las Vegas mother allegedly left her 3 year old daughter in the toy aisle of a grocery store while she gambled Wed., then when employees complained, the woman took the child to her car where she left the girl for more than an hour in midday heat while she continued to play slots. (Las Vegas Sun Oct. 7, 2004, "Police: Mom left child to play slots; Girl 3, taken to hot car after Vons workers spot her alone in toy aisle").

MS - Mom faces neglect charges after child hit - A Hancock County woman faces neglect charges after she is accused of going gambling and leaving her 3-year-old son home alone to be hit by a car. Thuvan Huynh, 39, is being held on $150,000 bond at the Hancock County Jail. She is charged with three counts of felony neglect, Sheriff Steve Garber said. The woman allegedly left the boy and two other children alone at their mobile home Saturday to go to Casino Magic in Biloxi. Huynh's 5-year-old daughter then tried to walk the boy and the woman's 3-month-old third child to their father's house when the boy was struck by the vehicle. (8/16/04, Waveland, MS, )

WI - Surprise money from son clears mother's gambling debt - Waukesha - A woman who ran up gambling debts of $6,100 on credit cards she took out under her son's name while he was on a tour of duty with the U.S. Army in Iraq has been placed on probation for the crime and the debt has been paid by her son. (6/1/04,Milwaukie Journal Sentinal)

IA - After consuming Cognac and beer at the hotel-casino in (Meskwaki Casino) Tama, Iowa, Joy decided to go for a drive. She took her two year old daughter, Tyra, with her in the vehicle. She placed Tyra in her safety seat. There was snow and ice on the ground at the time and Joy lost control of her car while going around a curve. The car left the roadway and struck a telephone pole. Tyra was thrown from her car seat and suffered a fractured skull and a collapsed lung. She was airlifted to the hospital, placed on a ventilator, and remained in intensive care for over a week. Joy admitted she was under the influence of alcohol at the time of the accident. A blood test at the time of the accident showed Joy had a .109 alcohol concentration. (State of Iowa v. Brienne Laree Joy, Iowa Court of Appeals decision 6/9/04)

Bradford, England - A British father who has sold his 15-year-old daughter for £15,000 to pay off his gambling debts is being investigated by police.The girl, who lives in Bradford, contacted West Yorkshire Police three weeks ago to tell them that she had been sold and was to be sent abroad to be married to her new "owner". (5/9/04, News Telegraph,)

NM - A 15-year-old girl who was abducted from the parking lot of the Big Rock Casino in Espanola and raped is suing the casino. Attorney Merit Bennett says the casino was negligent in not providing adequate security or lighting in the parking lot. Bennett says such measures could have helped prevent the February 2003 abduction. He says casino parking lots must be patrolled. Bennett also says casino officials refused to help the girl’s mother look for her daughter, who was at the casino to have dinner with family. The lawsuit alleges the girl, then 14, was abducted after three males invited her to listen to a CD in a vehicle. (3/27/04 KOB-TV, New Mexico )

Australia - A report is being prepared for the Department of Family and Youth Services after a three-month-old girl was left in a car in Adelaide's south yesterday afternoon while her father was inside a hotel, gambling. The publican of the Port Noarlunga Hotel was forced to use a spanner to smash his way into the car to free the girl who was distressed in the warm conditions. (3/21/04 -

MS - A Gulfport woman is in the Hancock County jail on felony child abuse charges after she allegedly left a 3-year-old relative in her car for about five hours while gambling at a local casino. (The Sun Herald, Mississippi, 11/17/03)

Toddler left in car while parents are in casino. Tunica County sheriff's deputies were called to a casino parking lot early Saturday morning, where they found a child locked inside a hot car. The car had Tennessee license plates. That's that's how Tunica County sheriff's deputies were able to track down the parents who left their 3 year old child alone while they did some gambling. It was at least 80 degrees when someone found the child in the car at the Horseshoe Casino in Tunica. (WMC TV, 8/16/03 />

MI - A Michigan City woman already facing criminal charges for allegedly abandoning her children outside Blue Chip Casino is accused of gambling away much of her parents' life savings. Currently, Cabanaw has a felony child neglect charge still pending for allegedly leaving her children, ages 2 and 8 months, inside her car outside Blue Chip Casino in December. (South Bend Tribune, 8/29/03)

IA - Two people from Illinois are accused of leaving two children in a van while they went to Isle of Capri Casino in Bettendorf, Iowa. The children - ages two and six - were found by security guards in the riverboat's parking garage on June 23rd. The windows were rolled down and the keys were in the ignition. Temperatures that day were in the upper 80s to lower 90s. (The Associated Press, 7/14/03, Bettendorf, Iowa)

NE - The record shows that in August 1996, Adrian was charged with child endangerment after leaving one of his daughters, then age 2, locked in a car while he gambled at a casino riverboat. (Nebraska Court of Appeals, May 27, 2003)

IL - Through a freedom of information request, ABC7 News has obtained the most recent statistics on unattended children at casinos. The Illinois Gaming Board says there have been 68 such cases since 2000. In Indiana, there are many more -- 215 since 1999. Horseshoe Casino in Hammond has reported 33 children left unattended -- the highest number in our area. The Empress in Joliet follows with 19 incidents in the past three years. Child welfare experts say it is abuse and should be prosecuted. (ABC Channel 7, Chicago May 15, 2003)

IL - McHenry man faces two child endangerment charges for allegedly leaving his two small children in his van while gambling at an Elgin riverboat. Christopher J.Duca, 36, 5413 Euclid Ave.McHenry, was arrested Tuesday by Elgin Police.At about 6:30 at the Grand Victoria Casino noticed a 1-year-old boy and a 3-year-old girl sitting inside a locked white van alone and strapped into their car seats. (McHenry, Illinois, 5/16/03)

GA - A Georgia mother pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter after her 10-day-old baby died of dehydration in a sweltering parked car - while she played video poker for two hours in a South Carolina Casino. (New York Daily News, February 22, 2003)

WI - A man was charged with leaving his 5-year-old daughter alone in an unheated car in 5-degree weather while he gambled at Potawatomi Bingo Casino. (Milwaukie, Man charged with leaving girl in unheated car outside casino"/Las Vegas Sun/1.28.03)

CA - A teenage murder suspect told police that he and his sister stabbed two little girls in Mesquite because he had been ripped off in a drug deal by the girls' mother and her boyfriend, authorities said Friday. Three-year-old Kristyanna Cowan died and her 10-year-old sister, Brittney Bergeron, was left paralyzed in the 2 a.m. Wednesday attack in a trailer at the Casa Blanca hotel-casino recreational vehicle park where they lived with Bergeron and Schmidt. Bergeron and Schmidt were in the casino at the time. (Sign on San Diego, January 24, 2003)

CA - The survivor of a stabbing in Mesquite will soon be leaving University Medical Center. Meanwhile, videotape (This is surveillance video inside the Casablanca Casino @ 1:19 AM) from the confrontation between the girl's mother and the stabbing suspects could help investigators pinpoint what happened the night two little girls were stabbed. 10-year-old Brittany Bergeron is improving. Her 3-year-old half sister died in the attack. Although she is paralyzed from the waist down..."(Mesquite Casino Surveillance Video Released Holding Clues to Stabbings"/by Atle Erlingsson/

IN - Four children were left alone for at least four hours in a car parked at Buffington Harbor. The mother of the children, ages 2, 3, 9 and 16, was arrested late Tuesday after she emerged from one of the two casino boats there.Police found the youngest children clad only in diapers, crying because they were hungry and cold, police and witnesses said. (Youngsters left alone in car as mother gambles"/By Steve Patterson, Gary, Indiana)

IA -- A Cresco, Iowa, man faces child endangerment charges after police said he left his 10-year-old daughter locked in a car while he gambled at Prairie Meadows Racetrack and Casino. The car was locked and the motor running," Altoona Police Chief John Gray said.(Police say man left daughter in car while gambling /ASSOCIATED PRESS/12.24.02, Altoona, Iowa)

WA - Auburn police say a mother spent three hours inside Freddie's Casino, leaving her 13-day-old baby girl alone in a car in the casino's parking lot. (Auburn, Washington, KOMO-TV, July 19, 2002)

MT - Officers discovered a 3-week-old baby in the car, which had been parked in the sun. The mother allegedly left the babygirl in the car for more than an hour while she gambled inside the casino. Officers said Lauber had, in fact, gambled with her daughter's life, as temperatures Wednesday topped 80 degrees. Temperatures inside a car on such a day can exceed 150 degrees... (Bigfork woman leaves baby in hot car"/Missoulian/ 7.11.02)

NY - The police began looking for him after questioning two girls - one 13, the other 15 - who were picked up in a sweep of prostitutes in the Bronx. The police said that the girls told them that Mr. Bradley... had forced them into prostitution. Mr. Bradley, was arrested...and was charged with promoting prostitution and with raping the two girls. The police said that when Mr. Bradley was arrested, he had 27 $5,000 chips from the Trump Taj Mahal Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City. (Police Say Suspect Had 27 Stolen $5,000 Chips, Richard Lezin Jones/4.29.02, New York Times)

Gaylon told Perkins as she sat trembling in her counselor's office. When asked what could compel her — a lifelong Mississippi Gulf Coast resident, devout Southern Baptist, stay-at-home-mother of five children — to give up everything for a hooker's life on the street, Gaylon replied, "Satan can appear to be an angel of light, and that's what those casino lights are for me." Gaylon pondered placing her teenaged daughter in prostitution to gain more gambling money. (American Family Association Paul Griffin Jones, II, Ph.D. 1.28.02 )

IA - A Maxwell woman left her three children (ages 3, 10 and 21 months) alone in a car on New Year's Eve while she was inside Prairie Meadows Racetrack and Casino in Altoona, Polk County officials allege. (Officers find three children in a vehicle in the parking lot."/By Tom Alex/ DesMoinesRegister/1.9.02)

IN - Then, in July 2000 -- after a Virginia woman was charged with leaving six children inside a hot car with the windows rolled down at Caesars. (Children often left alone at Indiana casinos"/By Grace Schneider, The Courier-Journal/1.3.02)

IN - Despite increased state oversight, some 80 children have been left unattended by parents or guardians at Indiana's 10 riverboat casinos during the last year and a half. In one incident, a 13-year-old girl had to have 27 stitches after injuring herself in a casino hotel workout room. The adults had left her and two friends to play by the pool while they gambled. (Courier Journal, 1/3/02)

IN - Westville, Ind., woman whose 2-month-old daughter was found unconscious in her car while she gambled. "Children often left alone at Indiana casinos" (By Grace Schneider/The Courier-Journal/1.3.02)

New Zealand - Puao Faumuina left her baby in her car at Sky City Casino's underground carpark and took a lift up to the gaming floor, promising herself she would only spend a few minutes on the pokie Machines. More than three hours later she was still gambling and 7-week-old Neva - left unchecked in the suffocating heat of the car - was severely dehydrated. Ms Faumuina later tried to kill herself. (Casino's pull and a near tragedy, By Tony Wallin, NZ Herald/12.22.01)

RI - NEWPORT -- A 33-year-old Massachusetts man was charged with child neglect Thursday after he allegedly left his 6-year-old daughter alone in an unlocked car while he was in Newport Grand Jai Alai for almost two hours. (Man accused of leaving girl in car at Jai Alai"/by Scott Mayerowitz,, 11.4.01)

OR - - A licensed day-care provider left three toddlers in a van at Spirit Mountain Casino while she gambled for 11 hours Thursday, authorities said. The two boys and a girl, ages 1, 2, and 3, were found soaked, soiled and dehydrated." (Statesman Jounral, Salem, OR, 9/15/01) Last Thursday Zelda Luann Schmid, age 27, allegedly left the children, ... strapped in their car seats as she gambled at Spirit Mountain casino for nearly 11 hours. ("Woman Gambles 11 Hours While Children Left in Van, KPTV/Sept. 2001, Oregon)

LA -- A man accused of leaving his 13 month old son alone inside a sweltering minivan at Harrah's Casino was jailed on a felony charge.Joel Mesa, 23, of Bossier City. was arrested after someone spotted the toddler strapped in a car seat in the back of the van about noon Sunday, police said. Outside temperatures at the time were in the mid 90s. Mesa told police he had a gambling problem, police reports showed. (Shreveport, LA - Associated Press, July 22, 2001)

MO - Mom lost eleven children in a deadly house fire in 1981. She had left the children home alone (10 months to 11 years old) while she was out gambling with their father in St. Louis. In the two decades since the fire, she has had six more children. Gambling lies near the center of most of the mom's problems. She loses consistently and often uses her children's public assistance money and checks for their various medical disorders to gamble, her children said. Consequently, she and her children have frequently been homeless. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch 3/26/01 By Denise Hollinshed)

MI - Child neglect charges filed - A Marne man was arrested Saturday on charges of child neglect after he and his pregnant wife left a toddler in a car while they gambled in the Little River Casino, state police said. Police said the child was left in the car, which was not running, for up to 90 minutes until a patron noticed the 16-month-old crying uncontrollably in the car and notified casino security. (The Grand Rapids Press, 2/12/01)

MI - A small-business owner, had just returned from a trip to the Las Vegas Strip's MGM Grand Tuesday when he allegedly killed his pregnant wife and three children (under 7 years old) before turning the gun on himself. In his Mich., home, police found a suicide note blaming gambling addiction - and $225,000 in shredded casino markers. His business was $500,000 in debt because he withdrew the money to cover his gamblling. (Las Vegas Sun 11/22/00 Las Vegas Review-Journal 11/23/00)

IN - A day after she left five kids alone in a car in a casino parking lot, Rena Hitchcock walked out of the city jail. (Mother who left kids in car while she gambled is released without charges"/By Steve Patterson/9.16.00, Gary, Ind.)

Canada - A London father who left his nine-year-old son alone in a car at night while he played the slots at Western Fair says he's a good dad and did nothing wrong. (Dad tells his side of story about leaving son in car"/By RANDY RICHMOND/The London Free Press/8.2.00)

IN - Those incidents, coupled with others statewide, make a total of 38 separate incidents in which 73 children have been left alone while adults gambled. (Casino official says no children allowed"/By Rhonda E. Sobecki/Nixon Interactive/7.27.00)

LA - SHREVEPORT, La. (AP) -- A woman was arrested on two felony counts of cruelty to a juvenile after she allegedly left two children in a car with the windows rolled up while she played video poker. (Children abandoned in car while woman plays poker"/The Associated Press/7.26.00)

A 10-year-old boy and his dog were left alone in a vehicle Sunday while his parents gambled at Blue Chip Casino. ("Child left alone as man gambles"/Nixon interactive/7.24.00)

MONTREAL -- A couple has been fined $85 for leaving an 11-month-old baby alone in a parked vehicle while they gambled at the Montreal Casino. (Gamblers fined for leaving baby"/Canio Limited Partnership, 7.22.00)

ID- A Westville woman arrested last year for leaving her infant daughter in a car to gamble is being prosecuted again. Husband found his 15 month and 4 week old children home alone while his wife was at the casino gambling. (July 21, 2000, Woman charged again with leaving kids alone to gamble).

VA - On July 9, a Virginia woman was arrested after leaving six children inside a sport-utility vehicle while gambling at the Caesars casino in Harrison County. (Las Vegas Sun, July 18, 2000)

IN - The Louisville Courier-Journal said its review of Indiana Gaming Commission records found approximately 72 children were left unattended in the 37 episodes since May 1999, when the state first began compiling such information. (Las Vegas Sun, July 18, 2000)

IN - In Indiana, a review of the state's gaming commission records revealed that 72 children were found abandoned on casino premises during a 14-month period. (Grace Schneider, "Children Being Left Alone While Parents Gamble," Louisville Courier-Journal, July 18, 2000)

IN - The one Indiana case in which a child suffered trauma occurred in May 1999 at the Blue Chip Casino in Michigan City. Diane Simac of Westville was arrested and charged with child neglect after leaving her 3-month-old daughter in a locked car with the windows rolled up. The infant was revived after receiving oxygen. (Las Vegas Sun, July 18, 2000)

CT - A RI woman was arrested after police discovered she had left 4 children unattended for 14 hours at Foxwoods Resort & Casino. The children were a 14 year old daughter, 9 year old niece, 7 and 6 year old nephews. She arrived at the casino at 3:30 p.m (Woman charged with leaving children in car at casino, The Day July 16, 2000).

MN - A 4 1/2-month-old baby was left alone at a casino hotel for several hours, and child endangerment charges are possible against the parents, authorities said Monday. (Prior Lake, Minn. 1/4/00.)

The National Gambling Impact Study Commission reported: "Children of compulsive gamblers are often prone to suffer abuse, as well as neglect, as a result of parental problem or pathological gambling. " (National Gambling Impact Study Commission (NGISC) Final Report, June 1999, p. 7028)

IL- A woman bent on feeding her gambling addiction suffocated her 7-week-old daughter to collect on a $200,000 life insurance policy, federal prosecutors said. "She would do anything to get money with which to gamble - including the unthinkable,"..."(Feds: Mom Killed Over Casino Debt" Associated Press, AP/1.23.99/Las Vegas SUN)

LA - A Houma woman left her 12-year-old daughter and the girl's friend stranded outside The Esplanade mall in near-freezing weather while she gambled into the early hours of the morning at the Treasure Chest casino, Kenner police said. (Kids left in cold while mother gambles"/The Times-Picayune/12.25.98)

GAFFNEY -- A Blacksburg woman has been arrested after police say she left her two toddlers (3-year-old and a 1-year-old) outside a convenience store while she played video gambling machines. "Woman charged after toddlers left alone while she played video poker (By The Associated Press/12.15.98)

NV - Moments before his trial was to begin, 19-year-old Jeremy Strohmeyer pleaded guilty Tuesday to kidnapping, murder, and sexual assault charges in the death of 7-year-old Sherrice Iverson at a Nevada casino in May 1997. (, 9/9/98)

VA- An 11-year-old Herndon girl died yesterday after initially surviving the slayings of her mother and brother and the suicide of her father, who authorities now say had defrauded area banks of nearly $2 million and had $10 million in gambling and other debts. Reha Ramachandran was grazed by a bullet that struck the back of her head as her father, Natarajan Ramachandran, killed his wife and 7-year-old son Sunday night. Reha died yesterday afternoon at Inova Fairfax Hospital after her brain swelled as a result of the injury. Sources familiar with the investigation said that before his death, Ramachandran had written nearly $2 million in bad checks in an attempt to cover mounting debt totaling more than $10 million, some of it from gambling losses at Atlantic City casinos. "It is a sad day when the love of money and the fear of failure drives a man to destroy his entire family," said Lt. Bruce Guth, a Fairfax County police homicide investigator. " (Lone Survivor of Father's Shootings Dies"/Wendy Melillo and Brooke A. Masters/8.6.98/Washington Post )

IL - A Chicago man left his 3 year old son in a van in a casino parking lot and headed for a 2 a.m. gambling cruise (Daily Southtown, December 3, 1997 Riverboat gambler allegedly left child in van, cops say).

NV- Shannon said prostitutes now flock to Las Vegas because they can make $10,000 to $15,000 a week working on the Strip. And, many of the those offering sex are children, Shannon said. Since 1994, police have arrested 179 prostitutes under age 18, including two 12-year-olds, he said. (Detective predicts success for county's anti-prostitute zone" /Mike Zapler/10.22.97/Las Vegas Review-Journal)

NC - man arrested after locking his 2-year-old and 4 year-old in a car while he gambled. (The Associated Press/9.4.97)

NC - mother left her 6-month-old daughter in a locked car while she gambled. (The Associated Press, 9.4.97)

GA - A 10-day-old baby left inside a car died while her mother gambled in a casino. (The Associated Press, 9.4.97)

Children have died as a direct result of adult gambling problems. In Louisiana and South Carolina, children died after being locked in hot cars for hours while their caretakers gambled. (Joe Darby, "Sitter Indicted in Toddler's Death," New Orleans Times-Picayune, May 23, 1997, p. B1; "Police: Baby Died of Dehydration in Car While Mom Gambled in Casino," AssociaTed Press, September 2, 1997.)

CT - Cases of child abandonment at Foxwoods, the nation's largest casino in Ledyard, Conn., became so commonplace that authorities were forced to post signs in the casino's parking lots warning parents not to leave children in cars unattended. (Stephanie Saul, "Tribe Bets on Growth," Newsday, August 11, 1997)

LA - A two-year-old boy died after his baby sitter left him in a van to play video poker. (Times-Picayune, 4.12.97)

CO - Central City, CO reported six times more child protection cases the year after casino gambling was introduced. (Long, Patrick, Jo Clark, and Derek Liston, "Win, Lose, or Draw?", The Aspen Institute, 1994, p.54)

Watch this investigative news report on abandoned children at Maryland casinos.

Children Left in Cars While Parents Gamble   NBC4 Washington

The second largest oxycontin dealer in Kentucky is regularly transacting in their casino, and again the issue with children being unattended in the parking lot.

South Carolina eliminated VLTs after baby died as mom gambled

By ALAN FREEMAN, Globe and Mail
June 27, 2005

COLUMBIA, S.C. -- If anything sealed the fate of video poker in South Carolina, it was the sad tale of Joy Baker, a 10-day-old baby who suffocated in a car while her mother played the machines at a roadside casino in August of 1997.

States looking at video poker for fiscal salvation should consult folks in South Carolina, where it was legal from 1986 to 2000. By 1999, about a fourth of the state's retail businesses - ranging from bowling alleys to convenience stores - included gambling opportunities for customers. Video poker became known as "the crack cocaine of gambling." In one tragic case that galvanized public opinion, a 28-year-old mother played video poker for seven hours while her forgotten 10-day-old baby suffocated to death in the hot car. When the video poker machines were banned, attendance at Gamblers Anonymous meetings plunged, as did calls to the state's most popular gamblers' hotline.

Sugar House casino parking lot sign

Sign in the Parking lot of SugarHouse Casino in Philadelphia to remind parents not to leave children unattended in vehicles
(click to enlarge)

Parx still confronting child abandonment problem

POSTED: August 01, 2011

For all its success, Parx Casino in Bensalem has a problem it can't seem to shake: Negligent adults going in to gamble and leaving children alone in vehicles.

The latest incident - the 10th since Feb. 18, 2010 - involved a 29-year old man, who was arrested and jailed Saturday after security officers discovered his 6-year-old daughter unattended in a locked car in the parking lot.

In a separate but similar case, Frances Casey, 39, of Abington, was charged Monday with endangering the welfare of children and will be issued a court summons. Police said she left her two nephews, ages 1 and 2, and a 9-year-old niece, in her automobile on July 16 - also for at least 17 minutes - while she gambled at Parx.

The Bensalem casino, consistency ranked No. 1 in revenue among Pennsylvania's 10 gambling halls, said Monday it was further beefing up security. Yet, the casino took measures last summer, when children were left in cars baking in high temperatures.

“What’s different about casinos is that it really is not a situation where you run in real quickly, or say, ‘I am going to gamble for a minute.’”

That other kind of child abandonment...

The Massachusetts Council on Compulsive Gambling helped create this video to address a problem all too common for children from families where a parent or care giver has a gambling problem.

Owner says abandoned kids all too common

Mar 31, 2009

Somewhere in Alberta, alarm bells should be sounding like the sirens on a freshly-drained slot machine.

"Not unusual" is the matter-of-fact phrase used by Frank Sisson, when told about a 21-month-old baby left inside a car for six shivering hours Sunday night, while the dad gambled inside Sisson's former casino, the Silver Dollar.

"It happens -- the only thing unusual is you guys in the media hearing about it this time," said Sisson, who sold his casino in 2007, after a half-century in the gaming business.

Sisson said cases of parents leaving children outside are something every Alberta casino deals with, and while not a daily or even weekly occurrence, he recalls it happening at his place every month or so.

"There can be no keener revelation of a society's soul than the way in which it treats its children."

- Nelson Mandela

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