Casino Dealer Fined $75,000 For $500 Theft

A poker dealer is waking up to a whole world of pain after being fined $75,000 for skimming $500 worth of poker chips from the Rivers Casino in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA.
Matthew Eisenberg, 26, worked as a dealer at the casino’s blackjack tables and apparently not content with his wages would occasionally drop $1 and $5 chips into his own tip jar to bump up his earnings.
However, security at the Rivers Casino grew increasingly suspicious of Eisenberg, not because of his subtle sleight of hand but because they noticed his tips had suddenly grown from $200 a day to around $500.
Security then noted the blackjack dealer practicing the deceit on 108 separate occasions,leading to his eventual arrest and being hauled in front of Judge Joseph K. Williams III at the Allegheny County Common Pleas.
Despite accepting restitution and one-years probation, Matthew Eisenberg was then considerably more shocked to have a ‘$75,000 fine for theft in a casino’ penalty imposed on him for the misdemeanor under law.
There have been other cases of theft from casinos over the years but this was the first time the minimum fine of $75,000 under Pennsylvania’s gaming act had been enforced by a court. As Eisenberg’s Attorney Michael Santicola explained:
“It shocks the conscience that we would have a legislature that would write a law that puts the casino above every other business, above a church, above a senior citizen’s home, above you, above me.”
Santicola then went on to describe the penalty as cruel and unusual punishment, making it extremely difficult for his client to get his life back on track after the incident.
However, District Attorney Stephen Zappala saw nothing wrong with the $75,000 fine and commented later:
“We believe that the crime fits the statute as written and we believe that the General Assembly wrote the statute to protect the integrity of the casino process. We also believe that it’s important for the patrons of the casino to know that there is a process in place to keep them from being ripped off and to deter the type of behavior that was described in court this morning.”
Either way, the case is now going to an appeal.

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