A father is looking at felony charges after investigators say he left two kids in his car while gambling inside an Arizona casino.
Police say that the children were unharmed. However, this is still startling news, given that the weather is heating up in the state. Not to mention the heightened concern regarding ‘hot car deaths.’
The father could now be facing jail time for potentially putting his kids in harm’s way.
Good samaritan find kids in a vehicle outside Arizona Casino
According to court documents, 39-year-old Keo Bunchhor was arrested on May 19 after leaving his 5-year-old and 2-year-old kids inside a parked car at Casino Arizona.
A passerby noticed the children alone in the car and called the police. When officers arrived, they saw that one rear window was rolled down. One of the officers then approached the vehicle and spoke to the older child to ask what was going on.
The child told the officer that his dad told him he was just running out to get a cookie. The outside temperature that day was 86 degrees. Police determined that the kids had been inside the vehicle for over half an hour with the vehicle running.
Casino surveillance observed the male driver of the vehicle gambling inside the casino. Officers confronted the man, later identified as Bunchhor. They asked him why he left his kids alone in the car outside.
“During a conversation with the father, he stated that he had a gambling problem and that he came to the casino to gamble to win rent money,” court documents read.
Child protective services was notified. Soon later, the kids’ mother arrived at the casino to pick them up. The children were unharmed.
Bunchhor is now facing a child abuse charge. He was put in jail on a $5,000 bond.
Parents in the US Abandon Kids for Gambling
Bunchhor is not the first reckless parent to abandon their parental duties in order to satisfy a gambling urge. There have been multiple reports coming from across the country about parents doing the exact same thing.
Earlier this month, two young children were left alone in a car parked at Rivers Casino in Des Plaines, Illinois, while their father allegedly went into the sportsbook to gamble. He was later located and arrested.
The children, ages three and five, were not injured. It is unclear how long the kids were alone in the car. The father was charged with two counts of endangering the life or health of a child.
Also, in April 2021, a Florida physician faced two charges of neglect after leaving two children unattended in her car. The woman allegedly left them in the car while she played poker at Seminole Hard Rock Casino in Hollywood, Florida.
Prosecutors claim she was at a poker table in the casino for at least 12 minutes. The children were three and 11-years-old at the time.
In places like Pennsylvania, the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board has decided to take active measures against parents who purposefully leave children unsupervised in parking lots. The PGCB has begun issuing state-wide bans from gambling venues to such parents to curb further such accidents.
Meanwhile, there are no reports on whether Casino Arizona will be held liable for the incident. In Pennsylvania, the PGCB has made it clear that any casino that does not actively prevent such accidents may need to pay a fine.