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Pennsylvania Men Sentenced after Neglecting Children to Play Blackjack

Nov 30, 2010

Pennsylvania Men Sentenced after Neglecting Children to Play Blackjack
Blackjack vs. Children

Bensalem’s Parx Casino has been attracting clients who know better than to leave their children at home alone while they play blackjack, but then leave the children in parked cars.

Paul Vargas, aged 34, had hoped to attend church next month for his son’s First Holy Communion. He wasn’t thinking of that on August 25 when he left the boy with his brother and a pitbull in an SUV parked outside Bensalem’s Parx Casino. Vargas was located at a table playing blackjack card games after more responsible gamblers reported the negligence to security.

Judge Albert J. Cepparulo, presiding over Bucks County Court, sentenced Vargas to 90 days at Bucks County prison and 90 days probation. The verdict may have been harsher, but the boys hadn’t been alone for 15 minutes making it difficult to prove guilt on the charge of endangering the welfare of a child. Therefore, the charge was diminished to disorderly conduct.

While Vargas had been guilty of other charges including driving with a suspended license and a blood-alcohol level of 0.02% and heroin possession, it was the blackjack which angered the judge the most, prompting the question “Do you understand the absolute stupidity of allowing your child to be left alone these days?” Although Vargas requested to remain out of jail until after his son’s communion, Cepparulo informed him he gambled away that opportunity when he chose to play blackjack at his children’s possible expense.

Alexander Salter Jr.’s case sentence was less though he left his grandson alone in a car for 30 minutes on September 2. Salter, a mechanic, went to the parking lot to look at a car, but whoever he was supposed to meet was late. Salter left the child with a cell-phone while he went into the casino to kill time card counting.

At court, Salter’s shirt, tie, and sport coat may have clashed with his bib overalls, but it sat well enough with Cepparulo who sentenced him to 90 days probation and 25 hours community service. Cepparulo advised Salter to serve those hours at Parx babysitting other children in danger of being likewise abandoned. The judge felt Salter would be qualified because Salter raised nine children.

Although nine similar instances of children being neglected in parked cars were reported at Parx Casino between June 15 and October 11, Vargas and Salter are only the first two to be resolved within court. Parents and guardians who play online blackjack have not been facing similar charges.


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