A Rivers Casino patron was arrested last weekend after allegedly leaving a 7-year-old boy in a parked car while he went inside the gaming facility.
Police charged John Elliott, 44, of Schiller Park, with endangering the life or health of a child. According to the report, the boy did not appear to suffer any injuries.
Police found out about the incident because the child climbed out of the car and approached security guards after about 20 minutes alone. He told them he’d been left inside of the vehicle.
Elliott allegedly left the child in the car at about 7:30 p.m. Local police learned of the incident at 8:30 p.m.
On the day of the incident, it was around 70 degrees in Des Plaines, where Rivers Casino is located. Fortunately it was not warmer, as the temperature is crucial in cases like these.
Elliott faces between two to five years in prison and a $25,000 fine if convicted. Illinois Gaming Board (IGB) agents detained him when he tried to leave the casino.
In similar instance, Rivers Casino has banned customer for life
In 2018 at the Rivers Casino in Pittsburgh, a woman left her 10-year-old child in a parked car in the casino garage while she gambled.
A Rivers spokesperson said at the time:
“We cannot stop parents from making bad choices, but we are vigilant in our efforts to prevent such incidents from occurring at Rivers. Signs are posted throughout the property, stating guests must be at least 21 years of age to enter Rivers Casino. Additional signs warn against leaving unattended children. This individual has received a lifetime ban from the casino.”
A different form of problem gambling
When we discuss problem gambling, we usually think about people betting money that they cannot afford to lose.
In this case, we don’t have much information about what the individual was doing inside of the casino. However, leaving a child unattended in a parking lot in order to gamble is obviously disturbing behavior. Of course, leaving a child unattended for any reason is disturbing behavior.
Sadly, this certainly isn’t the first time something like this has happened.
Illinois has resources for problem gamblers. The state’s gambling helpline is 1-800-GAMBLE. People can also text ILGAMB to 53342 for assistance.
Additionally, the Illinois Department of Human Services instructs problem gamblers to visit weknowthefeeling.org for help.