Joseph Merlino, who is still considered by many to be the boss of the Philadelphia mafia is now facing a casino ban by the state of Pennsylvania.
According to reports Merlino often with an entourage has been making the rounds of the local casinos including the SuagrHouse in Philadelphia and Harrah’s in Chester. Now the Pennsylvania gaming control board is attempting to bar Skinny Joey from local casinos because he is identified as a member of organized crime and a convicted felon. This would make Merlino the first mafia boss to be banned from the states casinos since they opened back in 2006. Merlino has been barred from casinos in Atlantic City for over 30 years now, according to reports, although he was spotted back in an AC casino back 1998 with some of his Philly mafia pals.
Pennsylvania casino rules do allow for an exclusion list 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 made a trip to Harrah’s Casino in Chester on June 18th and was met by gaming control board members who attempted to serve him with a document but the alleged Philly mobster simply left the casino. The document was a motion to have him barred from all Pennsylvania casinos. The gaming enforcement agents are now asking for default judgement against Merlino placing him on the exclusion list immediately since they have been unable to properly serve him with the document.
According to reports an incident that took place back in March at the SugarHouse casino is part of the reason why this attempted ban is taking place now. Seems Merlino, who was back in town celebrating his birthday made his way to the casino with 12 of his friends when the incident occurred according to a Fox29 report. A disagreement took place between Merlino and his crew and several others at a blackjack table which led to some shoving and three punches being thrown before it was broken up by security. Casino documents claim “The large group of males, including Mr. Merlino reportedly threatened the other group and threatened that they would wait outside for them.”
Skinny Joey’s attorney Ed Jacobs said his client has not been properly served with documents and has done nothing wrong and is being barred “for no other reason than he’s Joey Merlino.” It was also pointed out that other high ranking members of the Philadelphia mob like Joseph Ligambi, Steven Mazzone, George Borgesi, or John Ciancaglini aren’t on the Pennsylvania exclusion list while others like mob associate Angelo Lutz are.