PHILADELPHIA (WTXF) - Reputed mob boss Joey Merlino has been banned from all Pennsylvania casinos, following an altercation at Sugarhouse Casino earlier this year.
Merlino, who is already banned from Atlantic City Casinos, has now received a statewide ban from all 12 casinos in the state.
Back in March, Merlino and 12 of his friends headed for the black jack tables in the SugarHouse casino. All, sources say, caught on tape by the casino's surveillance cameras.
Court documents obtained by Fox 29 say Merlino and his pals were at the Black Jack tables, when a disagreement lead to some words between the Merlino entourage and several others at the table. Things got heated, there was some shoving and three punches thrown before casino security was called to break it up.
At some point, Merlino shook hands with one of the combatants, and his entourage left the casino. Gaming officials say Merlino returned to the SugarHouse June 17th again with an entourage. This time he was approached by casino gaming agents with that document seeking to exclude him, he brushed the agents off and left.
When Merlino visited Harrah's Casino in Chester, on Saturday, June 18th, he was met on the casino floor by agents of the Pennsylvania gaming control board, who wanted to serve him with a document but Merlino refused and promptly left the casino.
The document was a motion for the gaming control board to bar Merlino from Pennsylvania's casinos because he's a convicted felon and identified as a member of organized crime.
Pennsylvania's casino rules provide for an exclusion list. The list consists of "career criminals or professional offenders, cheats and other individuals whose presence in a licensed facility would be inimical to the interest of the commonwealth or license gaming therein."
Merlino has been barred from Atlantic City casinos for 30 years, but cameras caught him with some of his mob pals playing in AC back in 1998.
Merlino is not the only high ranking Philadelphia wise guy still allowed to visit the state's casinos. Reputed mob boss, Joseph Ligambi isn't on Pennsylvania’s exclusion list. Neither is mob boss Steven Mazzone, or mob captains, George Borgesi and John Ciancaglini. But some of Joey's one time mob associates, like co-defendants Angelo Lutz and Ralph Abbruzzi, are barred from Pennsylvania casinos.
Back in August, Merlino was arrested at his Boca Raton, Florida, home. Merlino was one of nearly four dozen reputed members of an East Coast crime syndicate charged with racketeering and various crimes including extortion, loansharking, casino-style gambling, sports gambling, credit card fraud and health care fraud.
Specifically, the 54-year-old Merlino is charged with allegedly taking part in a health care fraud scheme where conspirators got corrupt doctors to bill insurers for unnecessary prescriptions for expensive compound creams in exchange for kickbacks.
He and friends posted $5 million in property and cash equity to get out of jail and be on house arrest in Boca. Those terms allow Merlino to travel to New York for court, and Atlantic City to meet with his lawyer.