Alleged mob boss Joey Merlino banned from Pennsylvania casinos

Reputed Philadelphia mob boss Joey Merlino has been banned from all casinos in Pennsylvania after an incident at the SugarHouse Casino in March when members of his entourage allegedly were involved in a physical altercation with other gamblers.

The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board voted unanimously Wednesday to ban reputed Philadelphia mob boss Joey Merlino from all casinos in the state.

The board began proceedings against Merlino after an incident at the SugarHouse Casino in March when members of his entourage allegedly were involved in a physical altercation with other gamblers, said board spokesman Doug Harbach.

Gaming control agents on several occasions tried to serve Merlino with paperwork notifying him about the investigation and he refused to accept them, Harbach said.

"We tried to serve him at his restaurant, his home, at Harrah's, at SugarHouse," Harbach said last month.

Because Merlino is a convicted felon and allegedly involved in organized crime, Harbach said, the board decided to place him on the state casino exclusion list.

"It's a permanent ban unless he petitions the board to be removed and provides the board with ample reason why he should be removed from the list," Harbach said.

Merlino was one of more than a dozen people added Wednesday to the list, which includes cheaters, people who left children in parked cars at casinos, and underage gamblers, Harbach said.

Merlino was living in Boca Raton, Fla., until his arrest last month as part of a sweeping federal takedown of the East Coast mob.

He is free on $5 million bail while he awaits trial on racketeering charges.

bmoran@phillynews.com

215-854-5983

@RobertMoran215