Casino Kicks Out Breastfeeding Mom, Calls Baby a 'Security Threat'

Rachel Bertsche

Photo via Facebook

A mother and her 7-week-old daughter were kicked out of a casino lobby after a security guard told the new mom that her little one was a “security threat.”

Alanna Panas was enjoying a night off while her mother and sister watched her daughter, Lilly, on January 3. According to an account on Panas’s Facebook page, she and her boyfriend decided to check out the local Casino at Ocean Downs in Berlin, Maryland. “My mother and sister took our daughter for the hour we were inside and ran errands with her,” Panas writes in her post. “We provided them with one bottle of pumped breast milk which she consumed. When they returned, my daughter was fussing.”

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Panas, who thought Lilly was still hungry, headed to her car to breastfeed, but realized she didn’t have her car keys. “I knew the baby was not permitted on the gaming floor as posted,” she writes. “I texted my boyfriend to tell him to bring out the keys that I had forgotten … I waited in the lobby area next to the Christmas tree.” While waiting, Panas says Lilly continued to fuss so she “did what was best and began to breastfeed, the perfect nourishment for an infant.”

As soon as she began nursing her daughter, Panas says a security guard approached and told her to leave the lobby immediately. “They told me that Lilly was a security threat,” Panas told Del Marva Now.

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Panas says she reminded the security guard that it was cold and raining outside, and she wouldn’t take her newborn out in those conditions. “I was still told I needed to leave with no where else to go but the cold and rain and was labeled as a situation,” Panas says in her Facebook post.

According to the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, “a mother may breastfeed her child in any public or private location in which the mother and child are authorized to be.” The department also states that “a person may not restrict or limit the right of a mother to breastfeed her child.” 

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When Panas got home that night, she shared the incident on her Facebook page and support came flooding in. A couple of days later, on January 5, her story was shared on the Breastfeeding Mama Talk Facebook page, encouraging other moms to tweet at the Casino and post support for breastfeeding moms on their Facebook page. The post received 101 comments and 107 shares. 

In her Facebook post, Panas says she received a call from the Assistant Executive Director of Casino at Ocean Downs on January 6. “I was told I was told to leave immediately because security saw Lilly and I as a threat of sneaking in. They denied it was due to breastfeeding,” she says. “I was told they do permit children on the property and in the lobby since they do have family friendly events. However, since I was a ‘threat’ they reserve the right to expand the gaming floor boundaries to wherever they please.”

The Casino at Ocean Downs has not responded to Yahoo Parenting’s request for comment.

“My baby and I did nothing wrong,” Panas told Del Marva Now. “I just want a sincere apology for the way we were treated.”

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