PA gaming board audit

Pennsylvania State Auditor To Gaming Board: Spend Less On Food

Pennsylvania Auditor General Eugene DePasquale released a report that called for changes at the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board, including spending less on food that is being reimbursed by the state.

What the auditor said about PGCB

A press release about the audit actually said that the board has made improvements since the last time an audit was conducted. But DePasquale still found a lot of room for more improvement. You can see the full results of the audit here.

There were two main areas of concern for the audit:

Too much for food?

Expense reimbursement was a major fault found by the auditor.

“The PGCB has greatly improved its operations since the previous audit in 2010 when auditors found serious management deficiencies and excessive spending issues,” DePasquale said in the release. “However, our current audit shows that while policies were changed for staff members, when the seven gaming board members travel for board business they are permitted to claim ‘enhanced’ daily food reimbursements that are up to two-and-a-half-times higher. This is despite statutory restrictions in Act 1 of 2010 requiring that both board members and staff be reimbursed only for actual and reasonable expenses.”

DePasquale pointed out that board members are allotted $177.50 a day for meals, a number he found to be out of line with reality. According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:

“I’ve been to Pittsburgh. Born and raised there,” Auditor General Eugene DePasquale told reporters at the Capitol on Wednesday. “Pittsburgh’s not Manhattan. I mean, that’s a lot of food that you can get for $177.50. I’m sure it exists, but I don’t know where you’re eating for that, for one person.”

Unused money

Grants to help local law enforcement agencies combat illegal gambling are going largely unused, the auditor’s office found. Nearly $8 million of grant money was moved to the general fund as a result of going unused.

“These funds can be better spent helping our law enforcement agencies than being turned over to the commonwealth. The PGCB has tried various outreach efforts, but the program continues to have more funds available than there are applicants who apply,” DePasquale said after the audit was released. “I strongly encourage PGCB to work with the governor and the General Assembly to amend the gaming law as it pertains to these local law enforcement grants to allow a wider use of the funds to protect our communities.”

In the end, a good report card

There are certainly government agencies that fare far worse than the PGCB does when audited, so the quibbles the auditor found seem somewhat minor in the grand scheme of things.

Auditors also found that the PGCB:

  • Ensures the integrity of table games by authorizing and regulating all table games played in Pennsylvania.
  • Lacks formal policies and procedures for handling casino patron complaints, but complaints appear to be thoroughly investigated and resolved.

That the PCGB was not found to be grossly mismanaging anything is good news for anyone that wants to see gambling expansion in the state, which will be on the table this spring.

That includes online gambling and poker, which would fall under the gaming board’s purview if legislation is passed. It would be difficult to give the PCGB the reins of a regulated online gambling market if it were not running a decently tight ship.