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Isle of Capri, highway patrol concerned about students using fake IDs to enter casino

Monday, September 17, 2012

Fake IDs. They can be ordered on myriad websites or borrowed from a friend. Trying to use one at the new Isle Casino Cape Girardeau, though, will have quite different consequences than trying to pass one off at a local bar, say state troopers.

Not only will the person using the ID be arrested and prosecuted, the casino operators will face hefty fines.

Because Missouri's newest casino set to open in just over a month sits only blocks from a university campus where thousands of underage students live, both Isle of Capri and the Missouri State Highway Patrol's Gaming Division are concerned about students trying to use fake IDs to gain access to the casino's gaming floor, where patrons must be at least 21. To visit restaurants on the casino property, there are no age restrictions.

"We have a huge issue with it even in casinos that are not in close proximity to a college or university. It's a problem for us," said Sgt. Tim Hourihan, who is heading the highway patrol efforts at Isle's Cape Girardeau casino. "It's a problem for the casino, and they go through a lot of measures to make sure it doesn't happen. As much as I would like to say it's not going to be, I know in my heart that it is going to be a problem here."

Because all casinos have a constant law enforcement presence, there is zero tolerance for fake IDs.

"All of our employees are trained to recognize underage patrons. Additionally, anyone who appears to be under the age of 35 will be checked for ID," said Jill Alexander, Isle spokeswoman. Sophisticated electronic equipment will also be used to check IDs when the casino opens.

"Most times they look similar so they will borrow their friend's ID and attempt to get in that way," Hourihan said. "There is also the actual fraudulent IDs where the person's picture is on the ID, but their date of birth has been changed. Those are harder to detect. There's a zillion places on the Internet you can get a fake ID."

The Missouri State Highway Patrol Gaming Division is responsible for enforcing all laws and Gaming Commission regulations on the gaming floor of each casino in the state. Enforcement units have offices in each casino. The casino operators must reimburse the Missouri Gaming Commission quarterly for the cost of those services, said LeAnn McCarthy, public information coordinator for the Missouri Gaming Commission.

In addition to making sure casino patrons follow the laws, gaming agents must also make sure the casino operators are following regulations, Hourihan said.

Isle is expected to have about a dozen Missouri Gaming Commission staff -- about 10 highway patrol gaming agents and an electronic gaming device specialist and a clerical worker. Compliance audit and tax audit staff from the gaming commission will also travel there regularly, McCarthy said.

Because casinos are such heavily regulated environments, a person trying to use a fake ID at a casino will have a much different experience than if they were trying to use one at a downtown bar where there is a more casual environment, Hourihan said.

"Most bars will just refuse entry. When they come to the casino, there is a zero-tolerance policy and those people are arrested," he said.

Using false identification is a misdemeanor and the person who lent their ID will be arrested too, if present, Hourihan said.

"Believe it or not, sometimes you have parents that aid their underage children, you have friends, you have relatives, all kinds of situations," he said. "We take these situations very seriously."

So does the Missouri Gaming Commission, which just last month disciplined three casinos for underage violations.

Pinnacle Entertainment Inc., which operates Lumiere Place in St. Louis, was fined $10,000 after an underage male patron used a fake ID to place bets at table games and buy alcoholic drinks.

Ameristar Casinos was fined $5,000 after a 19-year-old woman used a fake ID to enter the gaming floor and play slot machines for more than an hour at its Kansas City property.

Harrah's casino in Maryland Heights, Mo., was fined $10,000 after a 19-year-old used a fake ID and purchased alcohol. He did not gamble.

In 2011, the state police made 2,925 misdemeanor and 375 felony arrests at Missouri casinos, according to the Missouri Gaming Commission's annual report. Twenty-nine arrests were made last year at Lady Luck casino in Caruthersville, Mo., operated by Isle of Capri. Isle's Booneville, Mo., property had 70 arrests and its Kansas City property had 393 arrests. Lumiere Place had more arrests than any other casino in the state with 1,094.

The same year, Missouri's 12 casinos had more than 54 million admissions.

Hourihan has been meeting with Southeast Missouri State University officials to talk to them about discouraging students from trying to use fake IDs at the casino.

Dr. Ken Dobbins said the university met with gaming commission, highway patrol and Isle representatives and that he is looking forward to working with them on several long-term projects.

If the university is made aware of students using fake IDs, students would have to go through the university's judicial system where they could face sanctions.



Pertinent address:

777 N. Main Street, Cape Girardeau, MO

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Introduce the first students caught to the Bar of Justice, and let them be headlines in the "Capaha Arrow".

-- Posted by Yankee Station on Mon, Sep 17, 2012, at 7:14 AM

I said this was going to be a problem when our town was applying for the casino. This should have been a factor considered so that the casino would stay out of town. In large metropolitan areas, law enforcement are used to this kind of thing and can spot a fraudulent ID. Now, local officials are scratching their heads over this problem, when the problem could have been avoided in our town in the first place. The college is just up the hill from this gambling joint. Not only are students going to lose money that mom and dad gave them gambling, but those that are caught will lose scholarships. This gambling joint is not going to be a good thing for our town. In the interim, my suggestion would be for the gambling joint obtain a list of college students in attendance, and their ID's - any college student trying to gain entry into the casino would be reported to the college. It shall be incumbent on the college to prohibit its students from accessing the grounds of the gambling joint as a condition of continued admission. This will not address the fake ID issue - to address that issue will require much more data integration with the MO Department of Motor Vehicles (Department of Revenue).

-- Posted by Beaker on Mon, Sep 17, 2012, at 7:54 AM

Fake IDs will be among the least of problems created by the Casino.

-- Posted by fightingindian on Mon, Sep 17, 2012, at 8:28 AM

The place isn't even open yet and we're already hearing from law enforcement about the troubles it's going to cause. What I want to know is why they didn't come forward with these concerns before the vote was held? Do you think maybe they were told to be quiet?!

-- Posted by Data48 on Mon, Sep 17, 2012, at 9:03 AM

How about we see what happens before we get too excited about it? Students generally don't have the money to gamble. Speaking for myself, I would have rather had a couple beers at the local watering hole than risk going without.

-- Posted by flying-d on Mon, Sep 17, 2012, at 9:07 AM

"In the interim, my suggestion would be for the gambling joint obtain a list of college students in attendance, and their ID's - any college student trying to gain entry into the casino would be reported to the college. It shall be incumbent on the college to prohibit its students from accessing the grounds of the gambling joint as a condition of continued admission." Really? Do you live in China? No one goes on a Missouri casino floor without passing at least one trained security officer at the entrance that will check the ID of anyone that looks remotely under the age of 21. As far as fake licenses they are ran through an id check machine to verify legitimacy and for any outstanding warrants. I can also assure you that if someone underage does manage to gain entry. Then those who were responsible are always guaranteed termination along with the hefty fine that the casino will incur. So every employee will have the incentive to turn away anyone under 21.

-- Posted by Allcala on Mon, Sep 17, 2012, at 9:57 AM

Data48, In answer to your question regarding the police coming forward and voicing concerns:

This is from a news story dated October 22,2010:

"After publicly encouraging Cape Girardeau residents to vote 'no' against a city tax for road improvements before the August primary, the Cape Girardeau Police Officers Association voted at its meeting Tuesday to support a casino measure on the November ballot."

the story can be found at:


-- Posted by smart_mom on Mon, Sep 17, 2012, at 10:48 AM

If my buddy across the hall in the dorms could produce picture perfect fake IDs with 15 year old tech, it has to be dead simple for todays college students. Even the little holograms and embossments are easy if one has a few hundred to spend on the right equipment.

As for ID check machines and improved scanning: Not all states have magnetic strips or bar codes. Back when I was involved with faking IDs we would always choose the states with the fewest security devices and the states that the person checking is the least likely to be familiar with. I remember that Arizona IDs used to be nice as they took 12 years to expire which always left them a generation or two behind on the security features.

Hand a Arizona or Montana ID to the minimum wage ID checker and watch them and their little scanner briefly struggle and then wave the college kid on thru.

-- Posted by Nil on Mon, Sep 17, 2012, at 12:38 PM

So there were 54 million admissions, and 3 were underage. Yep, this is a huge news story and cause for everyone's concern.

How will we manage this impending disaster to our fair town??!!!

-- Posted by PatK on Mon, Sep 17, 2012, at 12:49 PM

That is true Nil, no technology is perfect. I'm just pointing out that the crazed bible thumpers don't really have a leg to stand on with the "corrupting" America's youth nonsense.

Also to those who are worried about the younger generation I ask you this. How is it right for a country to demand an 18 year old to fight for his nations rights and liberties yet legally cannot partake in those said rights?

-- Posted by Allcala on Mon, Sep 17, 2012, at 1:30 PM

PatK needs to reread the article.

-- Posted by whom on Mon, Sep 17, 2012, at 3:42 PM

"If the university is made aware of students using fake IDs, students would have to go through the university's judicial system where they could face sanctions."

I hope this is taken seriously. As a newly 21 year old who waited their time and never used a fake, I'm so over the bars being populated with 18 year olds who can't hold their alcohol and make it miserable for those who are just trying to have a drink and relax. Looking from a students perspective, no one in this city cares that there are underage drunks running all over this town on the weekend. Nor do the establishments care. Slingers, Last Call, and Rumors being the easiest places to drink underage.

-- Posted by dj13 on Mon, Sep 17, 2012, at 4:29 PM

Unbelievable what some folks worry about. This casino has put hundreds of people to work in the construction trades many of whom are local within 100 miles. It will also put at least 300 plus people to work once open and most of them will be local and those who are not will purchase homes here or rent. They will also purchase their day to day needs as well a clothing and many other items. The casino will add several million to the City and County as well! I don't know about some here but in my opinion that far out weighs the few folks who make bad decisions when gambling. Like it or not , this casino is being built and will be open later this fall. The majority spoke on this issue TWICE! Get over yourselves and stop forcing your wishes upon others. I also agree with Allcala in that 18 year olds should have every right to play games at casinos as well as enjoy all the things 21 year olds enjoy. If you are against gambling stay the heck away from the place and let others live their lives without your interference.

-- Posted by GREYWOLF on Mon, Sep 17, 2012, at 4:37 PM

Everybody needs to settle down, security is extremely tight at these facilities if some one tries to get in with a fake ID the MSHP will bust them. Missouri has one of the tightest security measures in place for casino operations then any other State.

-- Posted by swampeastmissouri on Mon, Sep 17, 2012, at 5:43 PM

You are 1000% Graywolf right, but no you have the henny pennys the sky is falling paul hammel. When they try it and our caught make it not worth it.

-- Posted by ssinteriors on Mon, Sep 17, 2012, at 6:35 PM

I believe hue needs to read it again. Those arrest numbers listed were not for fake IDs, they were all arrests. Casinos are fined for fake IDs gaining entrance, there were three fines issued.

Then again, perhaps instead of re-reading it, you should learn reading comprehension.

-- Posted by PatK on Mon, Sep 17, 2012, at 7:03 PM

Even if you take the 3300 arrests listed for the entire state and (wrongfully) assume them to be all fake ID related, with 54 million admissions, that's a 99.99994% accuracy.

Whatever will we do....

P.s. nowhere in this article does it state whether the 3, I repeat 3, people in the entire state caught in a casino illegally were even college students.. Statistically, there's a much greater chance that a random 19 yr old is not a college student vs being one.

-- Posted by PatK on Mon, Sep 17, 2012, at 7:12 PM

Did you ever notice that nothing is an issue in

Cape until it's printed (complete with detailed instructions) in the newspaper? Some of you small town folk just crack me up.

-- Posted by Bahama on Mon, Sep 17, 2012, at 7:28 PM

The souls of the fake ID'ers will burn for eternity for their sins.

-- Posted by Richard Starkey on Tue, Sep 18, 2012, at 8:17 AM

Mountain out of a mole hill. Typical Highway Patrol B.S. Why do we need State Police when the State is divided by counties? I guess someone needs to underwrite the patent leather market.

-- Posted by rodgerdodger on Sat, Oct 6, 2012, at 9:53 PM

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