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Police Help Anti-Casino Groups In With Prostitution Bust

Back when Pennsylvania was in the midst of their gaming industry boom, anti-casino groups pointed to the idea that crime and prostitution would rise if a casino was built in Bethlehem. Lawmakers and city officials did not heed the warning, and the Sands Casino Resort Bethlehem opened in May of 2009.

Now, after several years have passed without incident, the anti-gaming groups again have something to hang their hat on. This past Friday, Bethlehem police carried out an undercover operation that resulted in the arrest of five women for prostitution. The sting was the first of its kind since the casino opened, but critics believe the prostitution has been going on for months.

"Anytime you have high-scale gambling, there is going to be some of the dangers that come along with the gambling," said Pennsylvania resident Thomas Stondard. "It seems that this particular prostitution ring was just too far out in the open for anyone to look past."

Authorities set up the sting operation after complaints were made that prostitutes were hanging around the Sands hotel. Internet advertisements also gave leads to the police about the scope of the prostitution ring. Officials of the casino did not have any comment when asked about the allegations, but the women arrested have not admitted guilt.

The name of the company in the advertisement was At Your Pleasure. Undercover officers called the company Friday, and were greeted by two women, Kim Rexroad and Stacy Hofman. When authorities picked the two women up, they outed their pimp, Joseph Janis. The women were charged with prostitution, while Janis faces charges of promoting prostitution. This was the second time that Janis had been charged with the crime, the first time coming back in 2007.

Only Danielle Moser, a third woman arrested in the sting, and Janis faced having to post bail. Rexroad, Hoffman, Kim Hutchinson, and Mary Bartholomew were issued summons to appear in court. Moser, from Ohio, was the only non-Pennsylvania citizen arrested.

The Pennsylvania Gaming Board has been strict with the state's casinos over the past couple of years as gaming has expanded in the state. Heavy fines have been handed down for allowing underage gambling this past year. The board has not yet commented on the action they will take, if any, against Sands.

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