A mother was reportedly kicked out of an empty casino lobby for breastfeeding her newborn daughter.
Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania, mother Alanna Panas had been enjoying the evening with her father and boyfriend at the Ocean Downs Casino on Jan. 3. Her mother had been caring for her 7-week-old daughter Lilly.
"My mother and sister took Lilly for about an hour so my father, boyfriend and I could enjoy some time at the casino," Panas said. "It was our first time going to one."
When Panas’ mother dropped Lilly off, she was hungry, having already drank the bottle of milk Panas left with her mother.
Panas realized she did not have her car keys and could not return to her family’s vacation home in Ocean City, Maryland.
"It wasn't until my mom had left and I was standing in the lobby with Lilly that I realized I didn't have my car keys," Panas said.
It was Panas’ plan to breastfeed Lilly in her car in the parking lot, so she texted her boyfriend to bring her the keys in the casino lobby, reports USA Today.
As Lilly grew more fussy, Panas decided to not wait and breastfeed her in the casino lobby.
It is, what she says, was the right thing to do for her child.
Casino security did not agree.
"They told me that Lilly was a security threat," Panas said.
Panas was reportedly told to leave the building immediately.
The Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygeine’s website states, “a mother may breastfeed her child in any public or private location in which the mother and child are authorized to be.”
Maryland casino gaming laws prohibit individuals under the age of 21 on the gaming floor.
"But I didn't have my baby on the casino floor," Panas said. "Lilly and I were in the corner of the lobby."
Panas shared her frustration on her Facebook page after returning home. Her story soon went viral after support group, Breastfeeding Mama Talk, shared her story.
"My baby and I did nothing wrong," Panas said. "I just want a sincere apology for the way we were treated."
Panas did receive somewhat of an apology from Ocean Downs Casino via Facebook, reports The Washington Post.
The posted apology said that “if any staff member did not help make the guest’s experience enjoyable, the casino apologizes.”
Panas also received a telephone call from the casino.
"They called me and said they were apologizing but really they just made me feel worse," Panas said. "They just basically said it was Lilly and my fault."
Panas is undecided on whether she will take further action against the casino.