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Gambling News by Gambling Headquarters

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

More gambling, less revenue

 

Just as Louis DeNaples received the go-ahead from the state of Pennsylvania
to open a slots casino at Mount Airy Lodge in the Poconos, word comes out
that an Indian tribe has plans to open a huge casino in the Catskills - not
far away - and those plans are moving forward. The St. Regis Mohawk Tribe
plans a $600 million casino at the existing Monticello racetrack. This
casino would have slot machines and table games such as blackjack, craps and
poker. The plan has the support of New York's governor. It only needs
federal approval for the tribe to buy non-tribal land to become a reality.
Mount Airy will not have table games at the present time and it's a
certainty that some of its would--be customers will go to the Mohawk casino
if it opens. This also raises the questions of projections of revenue for
property tax reduction in Pennsylvania. If fewer gamblers play at Mount
Airy, will fewer dollars be generated for property tax reduction? We hope
not, but we fear so.

UK gambling stocks marked lower in early trade

 

UK Gambling shares were market down lower in early trade, following the news
of a large seller of PartyGaming stock, alongside a statement from 888 PLC
to the effect that its non-executive director and former Chief Executive
Officer, John Anderson, has been asked to attend an interview with the
French authorities. Ladbrokes, once seen as a potential bidder for 888, was
trading down 3% at 9.30 am local time. Shares in PartyGaming and 888 PLC
were both off 5%, whilst European betting market liberalisation play BWIN
was marked down 7%. Shares in William Hill fell back by 2% to 644p

Gambling Business Earned 10.116 m GEL for Central Budget Between and January-February

 

Between January and February of 2007, 17 licenses were issued for gambling
business, contributing 10.116 m GEL as a monthly fee to central budget.
According to the Finance Ministry, during the reported period, 13 licenses
were issued for refurbishment of gambling rooms out of which 104 000 m GEL
went to the central budget. In the same period, 2 licenses were issued for
setting up totalizators and total contribution to the budget amounted to 10
m GEL. Quiz games received 2 licenses. Contribution to the budget from quiz
games totaled 12 000 GEL.

UK firm to develop legal gambling

 

A UK-based betting firm has pledged US$60 million to develop football
gambling as a legitimate industry in Viet Nam if the country makes the
practice legal.
The National Sports and Physical Culture Committee plans to submit a draft
proposal of the agreement with Ladbrokes to Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung
for initial approval in March, said Huynh Vinh Ai, vice chairman of the
committee. The proposal states bets would be limited to a maximum of
VND450,000 ($28) and only a certain number, as of yet undetermined, would be
permitted each month, said Nguyen Trong Hy, the committee's deputy chaiman.
Hy said the Vietnamese police force reported Viet Nam is missing out on
billions of US dollars each year by not legalising sports betting. Those
funds are being collected in places like Hong Kong and Macao instead, he
said.

Help sought for girl sold to settle gambling debt

 

The mother of a teenage girl, allegedly sold by her (late) father when she
was one-year-old after incurring heavy debt in gambling, has threatened to
immolate herself if the girl, now 16, is not saved from being handed over to
a middle-aged man. Speaking at a news conference at the press club here on
Monday, Ms Nooran, of Zeal Pak Colony, Latifabad, said her late husband
Rahib was a gambler and he had sold their one-year-old daughter Rasheeda for
Rs10,000 to one Lal Hyder after incurring heavy debt in gambling. She said
that her parents gave her Rs10,000 and she returned the money to Lal. She
said that Lal was pressuring her to marry off Rasheeda to his son. She said
her sons Peeral and Abdul Wahab were receiving threats. She threatened to
immolate herself if she and her family were not saved from harassment and
provided protection from Lal, his son Ghani and others. Taking notice of the
press conference, Hyderabad District Police Officer Ali Ahmed Junejo ordered
registration of a case and the Site police station registered an FIR under
Sections 147, 148, 149, 504 and 506(2) of the Pakistan Penal Code against 10
people. Police teams have been constituted for the arrest of the accused.
Reuters adds: Rasheeda said she had filed applications with police and a
local councillor asking them to prevent Lal Hyder from taking her to his
home. Nooran said her husband had racked up the debt of Rs10,000 to Lal
playing cards. "My husband didn't have money to pay, and instead he told Lal
that he could take Rasheeda when she grows up," she said. Despite being paid
his money, she said, Lal still insisted the girl should be given to him
because of tribal customs. Both families belong to the same tribe. The
girl's
uncle, Dur Mohammad, said Lal apparently wanted to marry the girl to his
son. Khalid Rajput, a local councillor, said the decision that Rasheeda
should be handed over had been taken last week at a tribal council. "We know
some tribal elders from Balochistan came for the meeting in which the girl's
family was told to give her as per their customs," he said. Irfan Bhutto, a
police officer, said Lal had been summoned. "We will ensure the girl does
not have to do anything against her will."

Gambling in Arizona

 

Casinos and lotteries are the two most popular types of gambling in Arizona.
About 2.3 percent of adults in Arizona are problem gamblers, lower than the
national rate of 2.7 percent. However, Arizona is considered to have more
gamblers at risk of becoming problem gamblers.Problem gamblers are most
likely to identify slot machines as their favorite type of gambling, and
they are more likely to use tobacco, alcohol and drugs regularly. Of people
who called the Arizona Office of Problem Gambling's help line -
1-800-639-8783 - from September 2002 to June 2006, 147 lost their home due
to gambling and 138 lost their car.The Arizona Office of Problem Gambling is
holding a seminar on youth and problem gambling from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday
at Black Canyon Conference Center, 9440 N. 25th Ave., Phoenix.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Green Party Want Online Gambling Site Banned

 

Attracting wide New Zealand media comment over the weekend was the news that
the New Zealand Green political party wants a new online gambling site shut
down because it "threatens the viability of the racing industry." Green
Party member of parliament Sue Bradford is at the heart of the row, claiming
that an online gambling site, Race-O New Zealand, 'might' be illegal because
the Gambling Act passed three years ago outlawed online gambling within New
Zealand. It also made betting on horses illegal unless bets were laid with
the TAB, she said. "Such online activities are illegal not only for the
operators but for the participants," said Bradford. "Perhaps to circumvent
these legal restrictions, Race-O is the trading name of a company registered
in Costa Rica, while its gaming and betting license has been secured within
the Kahnawake Indian nation near Montreal, Canada. "The Government should
immediately close down the site, and pursue prosecutions vigorously if laws
have been broken." The betting site, whose original investors included
leading breeder Sir Patrick Hogan and former top trainer Dave O'Sullivan, is
being investigated by the New Zealand Department of Internal Affairs. Berri
Schroder, a part-owner of Melbourne Cup winner Brew, is a Race-O (NZ)
director. Race-O is registered in Costa Rica in central America and its
betting license has been secured from the autonomous Indian territory of
Kahnawake in Canada. Bradford said sites like Race-O New Zealand could
threaten the racing industry because the TAB monopoly guaranteed that
gambling profits were returned to the industry "in a reasonably accountable
manner". "Racing seems already to be in such a state of decline that it is
reduced, shamefully, to taking the proceeds of pokie money to bulk out major
stakes," she said. "It would be a pity if the advent of online gambling
sites like Race-O should even further undermine the distribution system
maintained by the TAB through the auspices of the Racing Board." It is
illegal to set up an internet betting website in New Zealand, and the
website has angered the Problem Gambling Foundation, which told the Sunday
Star-Times it was a deliberate attempt to get around the ban.

China Cracks Down on Internet Gambling, Follows US Lead

 

Communist China will begin "purifying" the cyber environment, taking a lead
from US legislators and law enforcement officials. They will begin cracking
down severely on internet gambling activity. "The prevalence of online
gaming has ruined the online environment and harmed young people's growth,
which runs against the policy of building a harmonious society," said a
circular jointly issued by the ministry of public security, the Ministry of
Culture, the Ministry of Information Industry and the state press and
publication administration. China's US counterpart, Republican Jon Kyl of
Arizona agrees: "A professor once appropriately likened Internet gambling to
cocaine use. Internet gambling's characteristics are unique, because: online
players can gamble 24 hours a day from the comfort of their home; leading to
possible addiction and, in turn, to bankruptcy, crime, and suicide."
Beijing, Shanghai, Guangdong and Zhejiang are key places to be targeted
during the three-month-long drive, it said, adding the government should
clamp down on online games that involve gambling and online betting. It said
local government departments should strictly supervise online game service
providers who are not allowed to exchange "virtual money" with real
currencies or properties, or use it to launder money. China's police busted
a total of 347,000 gambling cases involving 1.099 million people last year
and retrieved 3.56 billion yuan (USD 445 million), according to official
statistics. China follows the US lead. In October 2006, a handful of
politicians attached a measure to restrict online gambling to a port
security bill. This bill was later signed into law, placing the burden of
monitoring internet gambling transactions on the banks. An opinion appearing
in the American Politics Journal shows how closely China's position mimics
that of the US government's stance. "Jon Kyl (who chairs the Subcommittee on
Terrorism, Technology and Homeland Security) voted to secretly monitor
MILLIONS of Americans who we KNOW must all be secretly helping Al-Queda (but
are allowing KNOWN terrorists to enter US borders due to inept leadership).
And, we sure are grateful for Jon Kyl's Family Values of banning Internet
gambling as we allow state lottery and casino gambling all over the U.S."
Kyl was also spearheading efforts to build a wall between Mexico and the
United States, much like the Great Wall of China.

Antigua Gaming and the BETonSPORTS debacle

 

Readers and online gambling observers asked us why we maintain a more than
skeptical approach on Antigua Gaming and its director Kaye McDonald's
actions in the BETonSPORTS debacle. In reality we couldn't care less about
Antigua per se. While the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act
revolutionized the landscape of the online gambling industry, certain things
remained the same as they were before the storm. With the sole exception of
Australia and Panama to some extent, no other gaming jurisdiction across the
globe provides factual protection to bettors' funds or entertained actions
to protect bettors' funds. Costa Rican officials never lifted their fingers
when sports books went under, nor Curacao did any better when Aces Gold
collapsed in 2002, stiffing thousands of punters for more than 12 million
dollars. Antigua has yet to provide any kind of support to the victims of
Alladin Gold, an Antiguan based operation that went bankrupt in 2002.
However neither Costa Rica nor Curacao or any other gaming jurisdiction
claims to be a safe environment for consumers or alleges to be in the
position of preaching countries like the U.K. how to handle online gambling
like Antigua does. "All online casino operators in Antigua must follow
strict guidelines and regulations laid out by the Financial Services
Regulatory Commission." The Antigua government recently stated. The Antigua
Minister of Finance and the Economy L. Errol Cort doubled up by saying that
"Antigua offers its unique experience and insight wholeheartedly in
developing regulatory standards for the international remote gambling
industry as part of the expert working group proposed by the DCMS." Bettors
not being paid by Antigua Licensed BETonSPORTS plc have taken these
statements as an insult, and rightly so in our opinion. BETonSPORTS plc
voluntarily shut down its operation on July 19 2006. The Antigua Gaming
commission and its director Kaye McDonald silently watched. BETonSPORTS
disclosed its inability to meet its obligations towards creditors on August
11 2006. Antigua continued to watch the drama unfold in a passive and silent
mode. At the end of November 2006 Antigua apparently awoke from its
self-induced torpor and issued a restraint order on alleged assets belonging
to BoS Antigua Ltd, until then a mere marketing unit of BETonSPORTS plc
suddenly "dignified" of much greater importance and role by Antigua Gaming
leading to speculations of window dressing to protect UK held assets. "I
think Antigua did the right thing by issuing the restraining order on
remaining assets.They knew some assets, limited at best, where still in
Antigua." BETonSPORTS former spokesperson Kevin Smith said, stressing that
BoS Antigua Ltd assets are limited, at best. On February 20 2007 came the
announcement that the Antigua and Barbuda Financial Services Regulatory
Commission (FSRC) is assisting and supervising BoS (Antigua) Ltd (BOS), the
operator of the BetonSports family of remote gaming products, in a process
for the collection of funds owed to BOS and the onward, orderly payment of
collected amounts to BOS creditors and employees.

The alleged BoS debtors are payment processors and advertisers. While some
payment processors, primarily SolidPay and FirePay according to BETonSPORTS
former communication director Kevin Smith, withheld funds in transit and
rolling reserves following the indictments of July 17 2006, Antigua Gaming
acknowledgement that advertisers shall return funds to BETonSPORTS
represents something worse.

In simple words the regulating and licensing body of Antigua recognizes that
BETonSPORTS plc utilized players' deposits at hand to finance its marketing
campaigns.

"We are pleased with the agreement of BOS's Directors to cooperate with
Antiguan and Barbuda authorities to ensure the proper discharge of
creditors, namely players and employees in this difficult case." said Kaye
McDonald on February 20 2007. "We expect BOS debtors to cooperate with the
process, and I am sure BOS is prepared to use all legal remedies available,
to ensure that they do so." she added.

Let us simplify the issue to the bone and say things the way facts induce us
to see them in their real light.

Antigua Gaming and its director Kaye McDonald sat aside and silently watched
their licensee BETonSPORTS plc shut down its operations, fire (but not pay)
its former employees and put all its debtors on hold.

They watched BETonSPORTS plc entering into an agreement with the U.S.
department of Justice and then claim that debtors are owed by their fully
owned and directly managed former marketing unit, BoS Antigua Ltd.

Seven months after BETonSPORTS voluntarily suspended its financial
transaction Antigua Gaming and its director Kaye McDonald are pleased to
cooperate with the Board of Directors of BETonSPORTS, the same men that
literally shredded Antigua's gaming regulations into pieces.

Antigua says to be prepared to allow BoS Antigua Ltd to use their funds, the
funds that should be used to pay BETonSPORTS's creditors, to pay for legal
expenses to recover funds from payment processors and advertisers.

All this happens while BETonSPORTS plc and its Board of Directors, the same
Antigua is delighted to work with, are burning their remaining UK assets and
cash at hand to pay those attorneys that will hopefully get them off the
hook of the criminal charges filed against the company in the US.

The words "pleased to cooperate" stroke us. We followed the actions of the
Panama Gaming Commission and the way its director Raul Cortizo Cohen dealt
with the Directors of failed Betpanam. Unlike the Antiguans, the Panamanians
never sought cooperation from the book's directors, let alone entertained
pleasing relationships. They issued and executed an order that obliged
Betpanam to pay qualified players.

We would have no problem and we wouldn't have wasted a minute to write about
Antigua if only they were to act like any other gaming jurisdiction that
issue gaming licenses as a mean to grind money.

But that's not Antigua's case. The claim to be safest online gambling
jurisdiction, to have the strictest guidelines and regulations in place and
the pretence to preach and teach how to regulate online gambling leaves us
no other option than to expose their hypocrisy.

Antigua to the Rescue

 

Although things have appeared bleak lately for Americans who enjoy online
gambling, something is about to happen next month which may swing the
pendulum back towards freedom of choice. Laws passed previously banned
non-US companies from operating in the US gaming market. However, Antigua
and Barbuda had built up a significant Internet gambling industry to replace
falling tourist revenue and took the US to the The World Trade Organization
(WTO). Antigua argued that this was an illegal trade restriction, claiming
it broke a free trade pact that the US had signed. The World Trade
Organization (WTO) has ruled against the US in an online gambling dispute
with the Caribbean island of Antigua and Barbuda. Although the ruling is
still private, it's been reported that the WTO has found the US guilty of
not complying with a 2005 order in the case. More alarming is the fact that
this information was deliberately leaked by the United States despite a
stern warning from the WTO to keep this information privileged until an
official report was to be released in March of 2007. Many uninformed
individuals don't believe this particular victory will change anything. In
fact, they are the first to point out that the United States has taken a
more drastic approach recently by citing some examples. Last October, the US
passed laws which made almost all Internet gambling illegal in the US and
several online gambling executives have been held by US authorities. The
latest blow occurred when two of the co-founders of Neteller were arrested
in January. In a time when the US has been ordered to comply, their actions
have been quite the opposite. They have acted like arrogant bullies
because they believe they can get away with it. Well, for starters, they
tried this with Iraq and look at where that got us? Don't underestimate the
WTO and in particular, Antigua's commitment to drastically change the course
of recent events. When an economy like Antigua depends so much on Internet
gambling, wouldn't you naturally expect them to fight for their lives? And
let's not forget they have the "law" on their side, too. Finally, to those
who don't believe Antigua can stop the US from ignoring the WTO's ruling, I
beg to differ. One example of how Antigua can fight back is to attack
America where it hurts most, in their wallets. It's been said that Antigua
can make movies available for basically "peanuts" so that Americans could
theoretically purchase their favorite DVD'S and other products for a dollar
a piece.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Intel personnel, mobile group tapped in fight vs illegal gambling

 

In the midst of bustling political developments, Police Regional Office
(PRO) 6 regional director Chief Supt. Wilfredo Dulay Sr. has launched a task
force that would undertake a more aggressive campaign against the illegal
numbers game "jueteng" and other forms of illegal gambling in Western
Visayas. The Anti-Illegal Gambling Special Operation Task Force (AIGSOTF)
will be headed by Dulay himself. The Task Force will have as operating arms
personnel from the Regional Intelligence Division and personnel from the 6th
Regional Mobile Group. Similar task forces will also be created down the
city and provincial levels all over the region. As provided in its
Implementation Plan, the AIGSOTF shall conduct general law enforcement
operations against illegal numbers game called "jueteng" and other forms of
illegal gambling in coordination with the local government units (LGUs). The
Task Force shall also collect, process and analyze information on illegal
gambling activities and submit monthly reports to the Chief, PNP; conduct
intelligence operations through the utilization of informants and other
resources; conduct counter-intelligence to identify PNP personnel and other
government officials/employees involved in illegal gambling activities and
initiate the filing of charges for the same; and, to preserve all seized and
confiscated illegal gambling paraphernalia for presentation as evidence in
court. To note, PRO 6 records show that 85 persons were arrested for
violation of Presidential Decree 1602 prescribing stiffer penalties on
illegal gambling as amended by RA 9287 in its 37 anti-illegal gambling
operations since last month. Record shows that arrested persons were
involved in Cara y Cruz, Daily Double, Tong-its, First or Last Two and
Small Town Lottery (STL). STL though legalized in Iloilo City is prohibited
in the province and other parts of the region. Negros Police Provincial
Office topped with 40 arrested persons in its 12 anti-gambling operations.
It is followed by Bacolod City Police Office with 20 arrested persons,
Iloilo Police Provincial Office with 12 arrested persons. The Guimaras
Police Provincial Office arrested 4 persons, Iloilo City Police Office and
Aklan and Antique Police Provincial Offices arrested 2 persons each; and the
Criminal Investigation and Detection Unit 6 arrested 3 persons. Meanwhile,
Senior Supt. Wesley Barayuga, chief of the Iloilo City Police Office (ICPO),
denied reports that there is a resurgence of illegal numbers game in the
city.

Table Gambling Bill Leaps Ahead

 

The city of Wheeling would receive a projected $1 million annually from
table gambling profits after changes to legislation made by Senate Judiciary
Committee members Thursday. "Under the House version, Wheeling's share would
have been $180,000," explained state Sen. Andy McKenzie, R-Ohio, a member of
the Senate Judiciary Committee. The table gambling legislation, House Bill
2718, passed the Senate Judiciary Committee by voice vote Thursday - but not
before committee members altered how tax dollars from table gambling would
be allocated. Specifically, tax money previously designated to the race
prize purse fund at the state's four racetracks has been redirected to
municipalities - to those that house tracks, as well as to all of West
Virginia's 55 counties. "We amended the bill significantly," said Senate
Judiciary Committee Chairman Jeff Kessler, D-Marshall. "We adjusted the
allocation of monies. "Under the House version, the purse fund would have
got 6 percent of the gross profits. That has now been changed to 2 percent,
and we have reallocated the other 4 percent to municipalities."
The changes are as follows: 1 percent of the gross profits would be directed
to the counties where racetracks are located - Ohio, Hancock, Kanawha and
Jefferson. 2 percent would be split among racetrack municipalities -
Wheeling, Chester, Nitro, W.Va. and Charles Town, W.Va. An additional 0.5
percent would be specifically for Wheeling and Nitro for providing related
services. The remaining 0.5 percent would go to the state's general fund.
West Virginia's racetracks would continue to pay 35 percent of their gross
table gambling revenue in taxes. Of this tax amount, 76 percent would be
placed in a newly created State Debt Reduction Fund. But the remaining 24
percent would be directed as follows, under the changes made by the Senate
Judiciary Committee:

10 percent would be divided among the remaining 51 counties in the state.

10 percent would be divided among the remaining 203 municipalities in West
Virginia.

4 percent would be placed into track employee pension funds.

The Senate Judiciary Committee specified that the money received by
municipalities be used for capital improvements and municipal pensions.
Counties can use the funds to cover regional jail costs.

The West Virginia Lottery Commission has predicted that table gambling would
bring in an additional $10 million annually to racetracks.

The racetracks still would have to pay an initial $1.5 million license fee
to offer table gambling products, as well as an annual $2.5 million renewal
fee under the legislation.

"We thought it important that all municipalities in the state share in these
revenues," Kessler said. "We thought it was important that all 1.8 million
people in the state and the track employees get the money - rather than the
tracks and owners of the dogs and horses that race. Many of them live out of
the state."

State Sen. Ed Bowman, D-Hancock, termed West Virginia's purse fund "one of
the richest in the country."

"We will still have additional $3 million going in there, according to
figures provided by the lottery commissioner," John Musgrave, Bowman said.
"He told us his figures are 'conservative,'but once people come in to play
table games, slot play will increase. There will be more money from slots
going into the fund.

"The fund could realize as much as another $10 million," he added. "They
could get another $13 million, if he is correct. This is a very rich purse
fund."

The senators said they already have conversed with Senate President Earl Ray
Tomblin, D-Logan, as well as Senate Finance Committee Chairman Walt Helmick,
D-Pocohontas, regarding the legislation.

The Senate Finance Committee is slated to pick up the table gambling bill
early next week. If quickly approved in committee, a vote by the whole
Senate on the legislation could come within a week.

"They say the bill is satisfactory,'' Bowman said. ''But there are X number
of committee members. Not knowing their thoughts, it is hard to say.''

McKenzie added that Senate Judiciary Committee members knew they had to make
a decision.

"The House put a higher emphasis on the purse fund than the counties and
municipalities in West Virginia," he said. "We shifted the numbers and made
cities, counties and pensions more important."

UK budget aims to woo online gambling firms: Paper

 

British finance minister Gordon Brown will reveal a plan in his budget next
month to encourage the online gambling industry, the Daily Telegraph
reported on Friday.
He will use the March 21 budget to announce that companies could obtain a
British license and still remain based overseas in return for a tax --
possibly as low as 2 percent or 3 percent, the newspaper said in an
unsourced report. Named a Remote Gaming Duty, the new tax would enable
gambling firms to avoid paying British VAT, it said. A comment was not
immediately available from the Treasury. Internet gaming groups will be able
to relocate to Britain and obtain a license from September under the
Gambling Act, the Telegraph said. However, all have said they would decline
the chance if it meant paying a tax on gross wins, it added.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Gambling Goodwin to lead Crows

 

Simon Goodwin will lead Adelaide against Port Adelaide at AAMI Stadium on
Friday night in the opening round of the NAB Cup. "It was selected by the
leadership group," experienced defender Jason Torney said at a media
conference on Thursday. "He's the most experienced guy there." Goodwin will
be standing in for regular captain Mark Ricciuto, who is resting a back
complaint. Asked how Goodwin had handled 'a pretty tough week' after having
been named in an AFL investigation of players betting on matches, Torney
said: "I think pretty well. It doesn't seem to have affected his preparation
for the game and training, so I think he's handled it quite well." Asked
Adelaide's attitude to the NAB Cup, Torney said: "We're in every game to
win. It's already been said we've taken a few per cent - if you can add it
up somehow - off our pre-season, so things have been taken back a little
bit, and we'll be performing with an attitude that we want to win.
"There'll be some new faces and some new things happening on ground to make
us better, so we'll be using it as every game (is there) to win but also
trying different things." Torney said the NAB Cup was 'massively important'
for the Crows' young ruckmen (such as Ivan Maric, John Meesen and Jonathon
Griffin) 'to get experience, to get game time, to compete with some big
bodies and some big players who know the craft pretty well'."We've got some
good numbers there," he said. "Games-wise, they're obviously very
inexperienced but we just (have to) give these guys opportunities to play
footy at the highest level. "I'm confident they will perform. Their fitness
and their pre-season have been top-notch and nearly all of them have trained
every session and not been out with injuries."

Internet Gambling - Sports Hypocrisy

 

The just concluded NBA All-Star game yet again rehashed the sports league
hypocrisy when it comes to gambling. David Stern can rant all he wants
about how betting on sports sullies the image of his league worse than its
millionaire players being unable to avoid getting arrested. The fact is the
leagues conveniently overlook some of the real harm they cause and do
nothing to stop. How can anyone legitimately argue advertising casinos rife
with slot machines is acceptable when sports betting is supposedly so
shameful? Maybe the commissioners need to be informed that slot machines
have created countless times more addicted gamblers than sports betting ever
could. Sports bettors occasionally get in trouble chasing losses, but the
stories of the ruin from machine addictions are many times worse both in
financial harm done and numbers of lives affected. Yet try and find a
professional team which doesn't benefit from gambling advertising in
stadiums or in game broadcasts. You might think the Utah Jazz might be an
exception, but you would be wrong. If you ever catch a televised Jazz
broadcast, you would see as many or more casino advertisements than you
would watching the New York Knicks. New York is about as far from Atlantic
City as Salt Lake City is to the Nevada border, but the Knicks seem to have
a few more interested parties wanting to advertise with them. Maybe the
Mormon church just wants nothing to do with the hypocrisy of the NBA either.
What about fantasy sports? Fantasy sports can be more addicting on average
than sports betting. Studies have shown a large percentage of fantasy
participants spend an hour or more a day in season either researching or
just thinking about strategies to use. How many average gamblers do you
know of who spend an hour a day coming up with strategies regarding who to
bet on? Experts claim a common sign of risk for problem gambling comes from
spending idle time thinking about gambling. How are they missing this
budding addiction from fantasy sports that is fed by the sports leagues? The
leagues love fantasy sports fans. They are the much desired "sticky"
visitor to their web sites, generating advertising revenues sports bettors
don't. Sports bettors apparently have this nasty habit of just checking the
scores while fantasy bettors spend hours searching for crucial numbers like
kicking stats. Many would say fantasy sports isn't financially draining like
sports betting, but studies suggest otherwise. Fantasy sports participants
often spend hundreds or even thousands of dollars on their teams, often
exceeding amounts they could win in prize money just to look smarter than
the competition. Some sports gamblers might be dumb, but none I have ever
heard of have bet $500 to get back a total of $350.

Whenever these commissioners tell you sports betting is evil and ruins the
carefully crafted image of their sport, just think of the unspoken harm they
cause. Their hands are dirty from the addictions they promote and push to
their benefit. Betting on sports is a sin, but buying a baseball themed
instant lottery ticket is a virtue?

The sports leagues spend money to warn of the dangers of betting on sports,
but when are they going to take responsibility for the addictions they
support with fantasy sports. Maybe it's time to produce some public service
warning messages for fantasy participants?

In the meantime thinking about the hypocrisy just might be a sign of being
addicted to anxiety. To kick such a habit make sure when the NCAA website
in a few weeks posts brackets for office pools, you fill them out and put
your money into the prize pool with great joy. Celebrate the fact you won't
get fired like you are some $2 million a year football coach who didn't get
the right memo.

Gambling on a roll of the dice

 

The Wampanoag Indians, among others connected to the gaming industry, are
talking to Doug Rubin, one of Governor Deval Patrick's top campaign
advisers, about representing their interests. Rubin, who is in the process
of setting up his own consulting business, said he has not "finalized
anything" with any gambling client. If he signed on with one, he said, it
would be as a communications strategist, not as a lobbyist. "I'm not
lobbying. . . . That's a bright line," Rubin said. "When I talk to people, I
tell them, if they are looking to hire me for direct access, we shouldn't be
having this meeting." The pressure for new sources of state revenue comes as
the Mashpee Wampanoag tribe fulfilled its quest to win recognition as a
sovereign Native American nation. This historic designation sets the tribe
down a path that could lead to a casino -- if the state legalizes casino
gambling. Without that change, the tribe would be limited by current law,
which permits only bingo, the lottery, and table games such as poker and
blackjack within strict limits. According to published reports, the tribe is
searching for property on which to build a resort-style casino within 50
miles of land it owns in Mashpee. Meanwhile, Patrick's first state budget is
due Wednesday. One draft submitted for his consideration included
hypothetical revenue from gambling. "We put gaming revenue on the table, "
said Leslie A. Kirwan, the secretary of administration and finance. She said
Patrick took it off the table for the fiscal 2008 budget debate. But it's
not off forever. "The governor wants to hear both sides," Kirwan said. "He
has not made up his mind." According to Kirwan, Patrick told his budget
staff that "emotions are so high on both sides, we need to engage more in
that conversation. But he is not morally opposed" to gambling. Daniel
O'Connell, the secretary of housing and economic development, is leading the
administration's study group on expanded gambling. During the gubernatorial
campaign, Patrick expressed concern about the negative consequences of
gambling. But as governor, he is signaling an openness to considering it as
a revenue source. Wampanoag spokesman Scott Ferson recently said the tribe
is optimistic because "the Patrick administration has indicated they are
more willing to explore gambling." Patrick called the tribal council to
extend his congratulations moments after the tribe won federal recognition
and issued a statement that said: "For a tribe that greeted the Pilgrims
when they landed on the shores of Massachusetts, this recognition is long
overdue. I look forward to working with the tribe to move Massachusetts
forward."

Historically, expanded gaming faced opposition in the Legislature,
especially in the House where Speaker Salvatore F. DiMasi opposes it.

The stakes on this are obviously high for gambling interests -- and for the
Patrick administration. With Rubin potentially in the mix as an advocate for
gambling interests, the governor could have an appearance problem bigger
than a leased Cadillac and expensive new office drapes.

Rubin is not a state employee. He has a right to make a living. But he
sounds naive when he talks about a "bright line" between lobbyist and
communications strategist. The line might be bright to him, but it's not
that bright to anyone else. His closeness to Patrick is part of his appeal
to any client.

If someone as close to Patrick as Rubin takes on a gambling client, it will
be another example of this administration not understanding perception and
its critical role in politics.

Symbolism means everything in politics. The leased Cadillac, the $10,000
damask drapes, and new office furniture were the wrong symbols for a
candidate who ran a populist campaign, and now heads an administration
grappling with a $1 billion budget deficit.

It took a while, but Patrick finally got that message. He announced he would
contribute $543 each month to the lease of the Cadillac DTS he uses for
state business, bringing the cost to the public in line with the Ford Crown
Victoria used by Governor Mitt Romney. He also said he would repay the state
for the draperies and new furniture.

Patrick promised a new order of business on Beacon Hill. Having a close
political associate such as Rubin represent a gambling client represents a
very old order of business.

Man admits gambling business

 

A Waialua man admits he paid off the girlfriend of a Honolulu police officer
because he feared possible shutdown of his illegal gambling business that
included cockfights, card games and craps on family property in Waialua. "I
was running the Waialua cockfights, and I was paying Micha Terragna weekly,"
Charles Gilman told U.S. Magistrate Judge Barry Kurren yesterday. Gilman,
51, pleaded guilty yesterday in U.S. District Court to two charges stemming
from drug and gambling conspiracies uncovered by a wiretap investigation in
the rural North Shore town. Also indicted last April in connection with the
gambling conspiracy were three other relatives, police officers Kevin Brunn,
Bryson Apo and Glenn Miram, and Terragna. Gilman admitted to conspiring with
co-defendants Brunn, Apo, Miram and Waialua resident John Saguibo to
obstructing the enforcement of state laws that prohibit gambling. In a plea
agreement, Gilman admitted that he operated the illegal business on family
land across from Waialua Elementary School along with his father, Douglas
Gilman Sr., and his brothers Douglas Gilman Jr. and William Gilman. He also
admitted that Terragna was his "partner" in the Waialua cockfights that
netted in excess of $2,000 on any single day. The cockfights were in
operation from at least November 2004 to March 31, 2005, when federal agents
searched Gilman's home and the home of Brunn and Terragna. The wiretaps
caught conversations between Saguibo, Gilman and Apo about what happened at
the cockfights, including the number of fights and number of draws, said
Assistant U.S. Attorney Florence Nakakuni. There were also calls between
Gilman and Saguibo and Saguibo and Terragna regarding payments to her and
Brunn, Nakakuni said. According to the plea agreement, Gilman admitted that
he paid Brunn and Terragna about $700 to $1,000 a week during the
cockfighting season from November 2004 through March 2005. Gilman admitted
to paying Terragna, who lived with Brunn and has three children from him,
because he believed Brunn was responsible for his not being in jail on drug
charges and because Brunn threatened to "shut down" the cockfights unless he
and Terragna were paid, the plea agreement said. Gilman has state felony
convictions in 1994 and 1995 involving drugs.

In the drug conspiracy, Gilman admitted to conspiring with co-defendants
Keele Vesnefski, Ahisa Kaluhiokalani and others to distribute three pounds
of crystal methamphetamine, or "ice."

As part of the plea agreement, Gilman has agreed to cooperate with
investigators and testify if required against any co-defendants in any
criminal or civil proceedings.

Gilman was allowed to remain free on bail until his sentencing July 12
before Chief U.S. District Judge Helen Gillmor. He faces a maximum life term
for the drug charges and up to five years for the gambling offenses.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Expanded Gambling Could Mean More Jobs for Kentuckians

 

One of the final bills filed by house lawmakers could authorize up to nine
casinos at racetracks and other locations in Kentucky. This could happen
only if voters give their approval to a constitutional amendment in the
November 2008 election. But first, the general assembly has to give its
approval. Expanded gambling could provide jobs for Kentucky residents and
generate more revenue for the state.

Illinois Republicans Push for Expanded Gambling

 

Illinois House Republicans have proposed a $5 Billion budget for roads,
schools and mass transportation. The money to cover the budget will come
from an expansion of Illinois' casinos. Expanding gambling in the State has
not been a popular option in the past. But when compared to other options,
such as increased sales tax or an increase on State income tax, offering
more gambling in the State may be viewed as the most favorable option
available. House Republican Leader Tom Cross (R-Oswego) remains hopeful
about the proposal's odds of approval. The State has been in desperate need
for a Capital Construction Plan for years, to repair aging roads and
bridges. Adding to his hopes are that both parties have already mentioned
using more gambling to cover the costs of these projects.
"We haven't done an infrastructure bill in seven years," Cross said. "When
you look at roads, schools and higher education issues, it's time to quit
talking about it."
Cross continued on to explain that while not everyone has embraced the idea,
nearly everyone is in agreement on the need for a capital plan, and that the
money for this plan has to come from somewhere. The last Capital Budget was
the "Illinois FIRST" plan, which was passed in 1999 during the early days of
Gov. George Ryan's term. More recently, Gov. Rod Blagojevich has proposed
multiple Capital Plans; all of which have failed to gain the approval of
State Lawmakers.
A spokesperson for Governor Blagojevich, Abby Ottenhoff, stated that the
Governor is open to considering any proposal put forth by the State
Legislation.
"But it's ironic that these are the very legislators who stopped the
governor from passing any capital plans for the last four years," Ottenhoff
continued.
Throughout his first term, Governor Blagojevich has pushed several plans to
fund school construction and various public works projects. None of these
plans received proper support to be passed. House Republicans held up his
most recent proposal, stating that there was not adequate funding to
complete it. The Governor suggested that the State could add a keno lottery
game to pay for the plan, but was ultimately forced to drop the idea. The
new plan proposed by the GOP would provide a budget of $3 Billion for
purposes of road construction and mass transit projects. An additional $1.5
Billion would be applied to construction costs for schools in the State, and
another $500 Million would go to various Universities and Community
Colleges. The money required to pay for this plan would be derived purely
from an expansion of available gambling at the casinos in Illinois. "I
understand that this does not expand gambling locations, but it would expand
the positions," said Rep. Jil Tracy (R-Mount Sterling). Tracy said that the
plan is both vital and long overdue, even if an expansion of gambling is not
her favorite source of funding.

UK gambling businesses must apply for license

 

New laws come into effect later this year which mean that anyone who wants
to run a gambling business in the North East area, including local betting
shops, amusement arcades, bingo halls and casinos, must apply for a licence.
The Gambling Commission will be responsible for licensing and regulating
gambling in Britain under the Gambling Act 2005 which comes into force on 1
September 2007. For the first time, the betting and internet gambling
industries will come under the regulator's power. "If you provide commercial
facilities for gambling in Britain you will have to be licensed by the
Commission, it is as simple as that," said Hazel Canter, the Commission's
Director of Licensing and Compliance. "Local bookmakers and other smaller
operators may find the new system difficult to manage at first but the
application forms and guidance notes are comprehensive. Further information
is on our website and we will help and support operators in the early stages
to get it right, particularly those in sectors new to being regulated by
us." There are three categories of licence - operating, personal and
premises - and businesses may need all three. The Commission will issue
operating and personal licences, while local licensing authorities will be
responsible for issuing premises licences. Examples of operators requiring a
licence include: anyone operating a casino; providing facilities for bingo,
betting, and pool betting; acting as a betting intermediary; making gaming
machines available for use in adult gaming centres or family entertainment
centres; manufacturing, supplying, installing, adapting, maintaining or
repairing a gaming machine, part of a gaming machine, and producing gambling
software; and promoting a lottery. In considering an application for an
operating licence, the Commission will look at how the operator will meet
the three licensing objectives of keeping crime out of gambling, ensuring
that gambling is fair and open, and protecting children and other vulnerable
people from being harmed or exploited by gambling. Hazel Canter added: "New
operators can make their applications now. Existing operators can continue
working beyond 1 September 2007 as long as their operating licence
applications are with the Commission before 27 April 2007. Similarly any
premises licence applications need to be made by 31 July to guarantee
continued operation by existing operators. Applications may be made for
premises licences to the local licensing authority from 21 May 2007."
Applicants, both operators and individuals will be assessed on five issues -
identity, suitability, including competence, criminality, finances and their
compliance with the licensing objectives. Once licensed all operators will
need to conduct their business in line with the Commission's licence
conditions and codes of practice.

UK gambling businesses must apply for license

 

New laws come into effect later this year which mean that anyone who wants
to run a gambling business in the North East area, including local betting
shops, amusement arcades, bingo halls and casinos, must apply for a licence.
The Gambling Commission will be responsible for licensing and regulating
gambling in Britain under the Gambling Act 2005 which comes into force on 1
September 2007. For the first time, the betting and internet gambling
industries will come under the regulator's power. "If you provide commercial
facilities for gambling in Britain you will have to be licensed by the
Commission, it is as simple as that," said Hazel Canter, the Commission's
Director of Licensing and Compliance. "Local bookmakers and other smaller
operators may find the new system difficult to manage at first but the
application forms and guidance notes are comprehensive. Further information
is on our website and we will help and support operators in the early stages
to get it right, particularly those in sectors new to being regulated by
us." There are three categories of licence - operating, personal and
premises - and businesses may need all three. The Commission will issue
operating and personal licences, while local licensing authorities will be
responsible for issuing premises licences. Examples of operators requiring a
licence include: anyone operating a casino; providing facilities for bingo,
betting, and pool betting; acting as a betting intermediary; making gaming
machines available for use in adult gaming centres or family entertainment
centres; manufacturing, supplying, installing, adapting, maintaining or
repairing a gaming machine, part of a gaming machine, and producing gambling
software; and promoting a lottery. In considering an application for an
operating licence, the Commission will look at how the operator will meet
the three licensing objectives of keeping crime out of gambling, ensuring
that gambling is fair and open, and protecting children and other vulnerable
people from being harmed or exploited by gambling. Hazel Canter added: "New
operators can make their applications now. Existing operators can continue
working beyond 1 September 2007 as long as their operating licence
applications are with the Commission before 27 April 2007. Similarly any
premises licence applications need to be made by 31 July to guarantee
continued operation by existing operators. Applications may be made for
premises licences to the local licensing authority from 21 May 2007."
Applicants, both operators and individuals will be assessed on five issues -
identity, suitability, including competence, criminality, finances and their
compliance with the licensing objectives. Once licensed all operators will
need to conduct their business in line with the Commission's licence
conditions and codes of practice.

Internet wagering may be key to sports gambling's future

 

When it comes to betting on sports, it seems the gambling industry has left
no stone unturned. There are government-sanctioned Sport Select kiosks in
virtually every corner store, casinos in every corner of the city and
chances to bet on just about any horse race in the world at Edmonton
Northlands. There are illegal book-makers more than willing to cater to the
sports-betting junkie's whims. And then, of course, there's the Internet,
where bettors can wager on any sport at any time. So with this kind of
saturation, what more -- or less -- can the future bring? The opinions of
gambling researchers, industry insiders and government officials vary,
although most believe that sorting out issues related to Internet wagering
holds the key to determining which direction sports gambling ultimately
heads. Fuelled by the online-poker craze and betting on sports events,
Internet gambling sites have seen revenues explode to an estimated $15
billion in the past year alone. Operating such a site in Canada (and the
United States) is illegal, but online proprietors get around that by setting
up shop off North American soil in places like Antigua and Costa Rica. Even
though it's unclear whether it's also illegal for Canadians to bet on those
sites, thousands do -- so far without any repercussions. With all that money
heading to off-shore operators, some analysts are beginning to wonder if
Canadian governments should consider legalizing Internet gambling and get a
piece of the billions in profits. "(Internet gambling) has reached the point
where it wants to be regulated," says Michael Lipton, a Montreal lawyer and
founding member of the International Masters of Gaming Law. "I don't have a
problem with government running it if it means they can get a huge amount of
revenue. But if they are going to do it, let's do it and not pussyfoot
around." The United Kingdom, for one, has decided to do just that. Starting
on Sept. 1, online gambling will be regulated and taxed by governments
there. The United States has taken the opposite approach, trying to stamp
out online betting. Last October, the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement
Act made it illegal for banks and credit card companies to settle payments
with Internet gaming sites. While not necessarily criminalizing gaming, U.S.
legislators are effectively trying to abolish Internet gambling by stopping
the flow of money.

Canada has another unique quandary. Although operating online gambling sites
here is supposed to be illegal, the Kahnawake Mohawk reserve in Quebec has
been hosting dozens of betting sites for a decade, claiming that Canadian
laws don't apply to them. They insist that they maintain sovereign authority
over Internet gambling on their territory, arguing gambling is part of their
ancient rites and traditions.

Now the Alexander First Nation near Morinville plans to start a similar
online-hosting scheme, forcing the Alberta government to make a decision
about the future of online gambling in this province. As such, the Alberta
Gaming and Liquor Commission has commissioned a poll to determine what
Albertans think of the issue.

52 percent favor casino gambling at Kentucky's racetracks

 

A majority of Kentuckians favor allowing casino gambling at the state's
racetracks, according to a Bluegrass Poll released Wednesday. The poll
conducted by The Courier-Journal of Louisville found that 52 percent of
Kentuckians favor casinos at the tracks, while 38 percent oppose them and
another 10 percent were undecided. The poll was encouraging for members of
the thoroughbred racing industry who support putting the gambling questions
to a statewide vote as a constitutional amendment. The phone survey has a
margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points. "To me it just
reaffirms the people's support that they'd like to vote on gaming," said
Steve Sexton, a Churchill Downs Inc. executive vice president. The poll was
conducted between Feb. 8 and 14, and surveyed 801 adults in Kentucky. In the
General Assembly this year, bills to allow casinos at racetracks and other
sites are pending, but they aren't expected to advance during the 30-day
session. On Tuesday, House Speaker Pro Tem Larry Clark filed bills to allow
up to nine casinos at tracks and other locations. But Clark said he offered
them as a starting point for discussions in 2008, when the legislature meets
for 60 days. The Rev. Nancy Jo Kemper, executive director of the Kentucky
Council of Churches, said she believes gubernatorial candidates would be
foolish to embrace an issue opposed by 38 percent of Kentuckians. She said
she believes the opposition would grow if a campaign showed gambling hurt
the quality of life in communities that have casinos. "It's no way to fund
government," Kemper said. Kentucky tracks have complained for years that
their business is hurt by competition from states that have expanded
gambling. Indiana is considering expanded gambling at its racetracks, and
West Virginia, which has slots at tracks, is considering adding table games.

High stakes in student gambling

 

With the NBA All-Star Game taking place in Las Vegas this past Sunday night,
the issue of moving a NBA team to Las Vegas has come to the forefront of NBA
conversation. Commissioner David Stern is just now opening discussion about
fielding a Sin City franchise. What was his reason for neglecting mention of
moving a team to one of the fastest growing cities in the country for so
long? Stern did not want the NBA to be associated with sports betting
because he knows that it is an addictive problem that has been growing in
popularity just as quickly as the city of Las Vegas. Sports betting is not
only a problem for the image of the NBA front office, but also is a problem
for the most casual of sports fans. One of the most popular places to find
sports betting is right here on a college campus. Thirty to 45 percent of
college students gamble on a weekly basis. It is an addiction as popular as
drugs or alcohol and is just as serious. Gambling has grown drastically
because of the Internet, making online poker and sports betting
multi-billion dollar industries. The accessibility and ease of online
gambling is especially attractive to college students. With extra free time
and illusion of instant fortune, many students turn to betting for fast
money. The NCAA reports that more than one out of every three male college
students bets on sports. Today we are at the height of casual gambling. The
Super Bowl, which took place a few weeks ago, is a betting feast day. Those
who are not even football fans place bets on various game-related events:
obviously the winner, the over-under of the score, individual performances,
and even such trivial matters such as the number of times commentator Phil
Simms uses the telestrator.

Internet wagering may be key to sports gambling's future

 

When it comes to betting on sports, it seems the gambling industry has left
no stone unturned. There are government-sanctioned Sport Select kiosks in
virtually every corner store, casinos in every corner of the city and
chances to bet on just about any horse race in the world at Edmonton
Northlands. There are illegal book-makers more than willing to cater to the
sports-betting junkie's whims. And then, of course, there's the Internet,
where bettors can wager on any sport at any time. So with this kind of
saturation, what more -- or less -- can the future bring? The opinions of
gambling researchers, industry insiders and government officials vary,
although most believe that sorting out issues related to Internet wagering
holds the key to determining which direction sports gambling ultimately
heads. Fuelled by the online-poker craze and betting on sports events,
Internet gambling sites have seen revenues explode to an estimated $15
billion in the past year alone. Operating such a site in Canada (and the
United States) is illegal, but online proprietors get around that by setting
up shop off North American soil in places like Antigua and Costa Rica. Even
though it's unclear whether it's also illegal for Canadians to bet on those
sites, thousands do -- so far without any repercussions. With all that money
heading to off-shore operators, some analysts are beginning to wonder if
Canadian governments should consider legalizing Internet gambling and get a
piece of the billions in profits. "(Internet gambling) has reached the point
where it wants to be regulated," says Michael Lipton, a Montreal lawyer and
founding member of the International Masters of Gaming Law. "I don't have a
problem with government running it if it means they can get a huge amount of
revenue. But if they are going to do it, let's do it and not pussyfoot
around." The United Kingdom, for one, has decided to do just that. Starting
on Sept. 1, online gambling will be regulated and taxed by governments
there. The United States has taken the opposite approach, trying to stamp
out online betting. Last October, the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement
Act made it illegal for banks and credit card companies to settle payments
with Internet gaming sites. While not necessarily criminalizing gaming, U.S.
legislators are effectively trying to abolish Internet gambling by stopping
the flow of money.

Canada has another unique quandary. Although operating online gambling sites
here is supposed to be illegal, the Kahnawake Mohawk reserve in Quebec has
been hosting dozens of betting sites for a decade, claiming that Canadian
laws don't apply to them. They insist that they maintain sovereign authority
over Internet gambling on their territory, arguing gambling is part of their
ancient rites and traditions.

Now the Alexander First Nation near Morinville plans to start a similar
online-hosting scheme, forcing the Alberta government to make a decision
about the future of online gambling in this province. As such, the Alberta
Gaming and Liquor Commission has commissioned a poll to determine what
Albertans think of the issue.

52 percent favor casino gambling at Kentucky's racetracks

 

A majority of Kentuckians favor allowing casino gambling at the state's
racetracks, according to a Bluegrass Poll released Wednesday. The poll
conducted by The Courier-Journal of Louisville found that 52 percent of
Kentuckians favor casinos at the tracks, while 38 percent oppose them and
another 10 percent were undecided. The poll was encouraging for members of
the thoroughbred racing industry who support putting the gambling questions
to a statewide vote as a constitutional amendment. The phone survey has a
margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points. "To me it just
reaffirms the people's support that they'd like to vote on gaming," said
Steve Sexton, a Churchill Downs Inc. executive vice president. The poll was
conducted between Feb. 8 and 14, and surveyed 801 adults in Kentucky. In the
General Assembly this year, bills to allow casinos at racetracks and other
sites are pending, but they aren't expected to advance during the 30-day
session. On Tuesday, House Speaker Pro Tem Larry Clark filed bills to allow
up to nine casinos at tracks and other locations. But Clark said he offered
them as a starting point for discussions in 2008, when the legislature meets
for 60 days. The Rev. Nancy Jo Kemper, executive director of the Kentucky
Council of Churches, said she believes gubernatorial candidates would be
foolish to embrace an issue opposed by 38 percent of Kentuckians. She said
she believes the opposition would grow if a campaign showed gambling hurt
the quality of life in communities that have casinos. "It's no way to fund
government," Kemper said. Kentucky tracks have complained for years that
their business is hurt by competition from states that have expanded
gambling. Indiana is considering expanded gambling at its racetracks, and
West Virginia, which has slots at tracks, is considering adding table games.

Illinois Republicans Push for Expanded Gambling

 

Illinois House Republicans have proposed a $5 Billion budget for roads,
schools and mass transportation. The money to cover the budget will come
from an expansion of Illinois' casinos. Expanding gambling in the State has
not been a popular option in the past. But when compared to other options,
such as increased sales tax or an increase on State income tax, offering
more gambling in the State may be viewed as the most favorable option
available. House Republican Leader Tom Cross (R-Oswego) remains hopeful
about the proposal's odds of approval. The State has been in desperate need
for a Capital Construction Plan for years, to repair aging roads and
bridges. Adding to his hopes are that both parties have already mentioned
using more gambling to cover the costs of these projects.
"We haven't done an infrastructure bill in seven years," Cross said. "When
you look at roads, schools and higher education issues, it's time to quit
talking about it."
Cross continued on to explain that while not everyone has embraced the idea,
nearly everyone is in agreement on the need for a capital plan, and that the
money for this plan has to come from somewhere. The last Capital Budget was
the "Illinois FIRST" plan, which was passed in 1999 during the early days of
Gov. George Ryan's term. More recently, Gov. Rod Blagojevich has proposed
multiple Capital Plans; all of which have failed to gain the approval of
State Lawmakers.
A spokesperson for Governor Blagojevich, Abby Ottenhoff, stated that the
Governor is open to considering any proposal put forth by the State
Legislation.
"But it's ironic that these are the very legislators who stopped the
governor from passing any capital plans for the last four years," Ottenhoff
continued.
Throughout his first term, Governor Blagojevich has pushed several plans to
fund school construction and various public works projects. None of these
plans received proper support to be passed. House Republicans held up his
most recent proposal, stating that there was not adequate funding to
complete it. The Governor suggested that the State could add a keno lottery
game to pay for the plan, but was ultimately forced to drop the idea. The
new plan proposed by the GOP would provide a budget of $3 Billion for
purposes of road construction and mass transit projects. An additional $1.5
Billion would be applied to construction costs for schools in the State, and
another $500 Million would go to various Universities and Community
Colleges. The money required to pay for this plan would be derived purely
from an expansion of available gambling at the casinos in Illinois. "I
understand that this does not expand gambling locations, but it would expand
the positions," said Rep. Jil Tracy (R-Mount Sterling). Tracy said that the
plan is both vital and long overdue, even if an expansion of gambling is not
her favorite source of funding.

Expanded Gambling Could Mean More Jobs for Kentuckians

 

One of the final bills filed by house lawmakers could authorize up to nine
casinos at racetracks and other locations in Kentucky. This could happen
only if voters give their approval to a constitutional amendment in the
November 2008 election. But first, the general assembly has to give its
approval. Expanded gambling could provide jobs for Kentucky residents and
generate more revenue for the state.

High stakes in student gambling

 

With the NBA All-Star Game taking place in Las Vegas this past Sunday night,
the issue of moving a NBA team to Las Vegas has come to the forefront of NBA
conversation. Commissioner David Stern is just now opening discussion about
fielding a Sin City franchise. What was his reason for neglecting mention of
moving a team to one of the fastest growing cities in the country for so
long? Stern did not want the NBA to be associated with sports betting
because he knows that it is an addictive problem that has been growing in
popularity just as quickly as the city of Las Vegas. Sports betting is not
only a problem for the image of the NBA front office, but also is a problem
for the most casual of sports fans. One of the most popular places to find
sports betting is right here on a college campus. Thirty to 45 percent of
college students gamble on a weekly basis. It is an addiction as popular as
drugs or alcohol and is just as serious. Gambling has grown drastically
because of the Internet, making online poker and sports betting
multi-billion dollar industries. The accessibility and ease of online
gambling is especially attractive to college students. With extra free time
and illusion of instant fortune, many students turn to betting for fast
money. The NCAA reports that more than one out of every three male college
students bets on sports. Today we are at the height of casual gambling. The
Super Bowl, which took place a few weeks ago, is a betting feast day. Those
who are not even football fans place bets on various game-related events:
obviously the winner, the over-under of the score, individual performances,
and even such trivial matters such as the number of times commentator Phil
Simms uses the telestrator.

Internet wagering may be key to sports gambling's future

 

When it comes to betting on sports, it seems the gambling industry has left
no stone unturned. There are government-sanctioned Sport Select kiosks in
virtually every corner store, casinos in every corner of the city and
chances to bet on just about any horse race in the world at Edmonton
Northlands. There are illegal book-makers more than willing to cater to the
sports-betting junkie's whims. And then, of course, there's the Internet,
where bettors can wager on any sport at any time. So with this kind of
saturation, what more -- or less -- can the future bring? The opinions of
gambling researchers, industry insiders and government officials vary,
although most believe that sorting out issues related to Internet wagering
holds the key to determining which direction sports gambling ultimately
heads. Fuelled by the online-poker craze and betting on sports events,
Internet gambling sites have seen revenues explode to an estimated $15
billion in the past year alone. Operating such a site in Canada (and the
United States) is illegal, but online proprietors get around that by setting
up shop off North American soil in places like Antigua and Costa Rica. Even
though it's unclear whether it's also illegal for Canadians to bet on those
sites, thousands do -- so far without any repercussions. With all that money
heading to off-shore operators, some analysts are beginning to wonder if
Canadian governments should consider legalizing Internet gambling and get a
piece of the billions in profits. "(Internet gambling) has reached the point
where it wants to be regulated," says Michael Lipton, a Montreal lawyer and
founding member of the International Masters of Gaming Law. "I don't have a
problem with government running it if it means they can get a huge amount of
revenue. But if they are going to do it, let's do it and not pussyfoot
around." The United Kingdom, for one, has decided to do just that. Starting
on Sept. 1, online gambling will be regulated and taxed by governments
there. The United States has taken the opposite approach, trying to stamp
out online betting. Last October, the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement
Act made it illegal for banks and credit card companies to settle payments
with Internet gaming sites. While not necessarily criminalizing gaming, U.S.
legislators are effectively trying to abolish Internet gambling by stopping
the flow of money.

Canada has another unique quandary. Although operating online gambling sites
here is supposed to be illegal, the Kahnawake Mohawk reserve in Quebec has
been hosting dozens of betting sites for a decade, claiming that Canadian
laws don't apply to them. They insist that they maintain sovereign authority
over Internet gambling on their territory, arguing gambling is part of their
ancient rites and traditions.

Now the Alexander First Nation near Morinville plans to start a similar
online-hosting scheme, forcing the Alberta government to make a decision
about the future of online gambling in this province. As such, the Alberta
Gaming and Liquor Commission has commissioned a poll to determine what
Albertans think of the issue.

Expanded Gambling Could Mean More Jobs for Kentuckians

 

One of the final bills filed by house lawmakers could authorize up to nine
casinos at racetracks and other locations in Kentucky. This could happen
only if voters give their approval to a constitutional amendment in the
November 2008 election. But first, the general assembly has to give its
approval. Expanded gambling could provide jobs for Kentucky residents and
generate more revenue for the state.

52 percent favor casino gambling at Kentucky's racetracks

 

A majority of Kentuckians favor allowing casino gambling at the state's
racetracks, according to a Bluegrass Poll released Wednesday. The poll
conducted by The Courier-Journal of Louisville found that 52 percent of
Kentuckians favor casinos at the tracks, while 38 percent oppose them and
another 10 percent were undecided. The poll was encouraging for members of
the thoroughbred racing industry who support putting the gambling questions
to a statewide vote as a constitutional amendment. The phone survey has a
margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points. "To me it just
reaffirms the people's support that they'd like to vote on gaming," said
Steve Sexton, a Churchill Downs Inc. executive vice president. The poll was
conducted between Feb. 8 and 14, and surveyed 801 adults in Kentucky. In the
General Assembly this year, bills to allow casinos at racetracks and other
sites are pending, but they aren't expected to advance during the 30-day
session. On Tuesday, House Speaker Pro Tem Larry Clark filed bills to allow
up to nine casinos at tracks and other locations. But Clark said he offered
them as a starting point for discussions in 2008, when the legislature meets
for 60 days. The Rev. Nancy Jo Kemper, executive director of the Kentucky
Council of Churches, said she believes gubernatorial candidates would be
foolish to embrace an issue opposed by 38 percent of Kentuckians. She said
she believes the opposition would grow if a campaign showed gambling hurt
the quality of life in communities that have casinos. "It's no way to fund
government," Kemper said. Kentucky tracks have complained for years that
their business is hurt by competition from states that have expanded
gambling. Indiana is considering expanded gambling at its racetracks, and
West Virginia, which has slots at tracks, is considering adding table games.

Illinois Republicans Push for Expanded Gambling

 

Illinois House Republicans have proposed a $5 Billion budget for roads,
schools and mass transportation. The money to cover the budget will come
from an expansion of Illinois' casinos. Expanding gambling in the State has
not been a popular option in the past. But when compared to other options,
such as increased sales tax or an increase on State income tax, offering
more gambling in the State may be viewed as the most favorable option
available. House Republican Leader Tom Cross (R-Oswego) remains hopeful
about the proposal's odds of approval. The State has been in desperate need
for a Capital Construction Plan for years, to repair aging roads and
bridges. Adding to his hopes are that both parties have already mentioned
using more gambling to cover the costs of these projects.
"We haven't done an infrastructure bill in seven years," Cross said. "When
you look at roads, schools and higher education issues, it's time to quit
talking about it."
Cross continued on to explain that while not everyone has embraced the idea,
nearly everyone is in agreement on the need for a capital plan, and that the
money for this plan has to come from somewhere. The last Capital Budget was
the "Illinois FIRST" plan, which was passed in 1999 during the early days of
Gov. George Ryan's term. More recently, Gov. Rod Blagojevich has proposed
multiple Capital Plans; all of which have failed to gain the approval of
State Lawmakers.
A spokesperson for Governor Blagojevich, Abby Ottenhoff, stated that the
Governor is open to considering any proposal put forth by the State
Legislation.
"But it's ironic that these are the very legislators who stopped the
governor from passing any capital plans for the last four years," Ottenhoff
continued.
Throughout his first term, Governor Blagojevich has pushed several plans to
fund school construction and various public works projects. None of these
plans received proper support to be passed. House Republicans held up his
most recent proposal, stating that there was not adequate funding to
complete it. The Governor suggested that the State could add a keno lottery
game to pay for the plan, but was ultimately forced to drop the idea. The
new plan proposed by the GOP would provide a budget of $3 Billion for
purposes of road construction and mass transit projects. An additional $1.5
Billion would be applied to construction costs for schools in the State, and
another $500 Million would go to various Universities and Community
Colleges. The money required to pay for this plan would be derived purely
from an expansion of available gambling at the casinos in Illinois. "I
understand that this does not expand gambling locations, but it would expand
the positions," said Rep. Jil Tracy (R-Mount Sterling). Tracy said that the
plan is both vital and long overdue, even if an expansion of gambling is not
her favorite source of funding.

High stakes in student gambling

 

With the NBA All-Star Game taking place in Las Vegas this past Sunday night,
the issue of moving a NBA team to Las Vegas has come to the forefront of NBA
conversation. Commissioner David Stern is just now opening discussion about
fielding a Sin City franchise. What was his reason for neglecting mention of
moving a team to one of the fastest growing cities in the country for so
long? Stern did not want the NBA to be associated with sports betting
because he knows that it is an addictive problem that has been growing in
popularity just as quickly as the city of Las Vegas. Sports betting is not
only a problem for the image of the NBA front office, but also is a problem
for the most casual of sports fans. One of the most popular places to find
sports betting is right here on a college campus. Thirty to 45 percent of
college students gamble on a weekly basis. It is an addiction as popular as
drugs or alcohol and is just as serious. Gambling has grown drastically
because of the Internet, making online poker and sports betting
multi-billion dollar industries. The accessibility and ease of online
gambling is especially attractive to college students. With extra free time
and illusion of instant fortune, many students turn to betting for fast
money. The NCAA reports that more than one out of every three male college
students bets on sports. Today we are at the height of casual gambling. The
Super Bowl, which took place a few weeks ago, is a betting feast day. Those
who are not even football fans place bets on various game-related events:
obviously the winner, the over-under of the score, individual performances,
and even such trivial matters such as the number of times commentator Phil
Simms uses the telestrator.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Counties to talk about gambling, Legislature

 

Discussions about gambling in south-central Kansas will continue Thursday at
a meeting in Wellington with officials from six counties. Sedgwick County
Commissioner Gwen Welshimer and community development director Irene Hart
will represent Sedgwick County. Other commissioners may attend as well.
Welshimer said representatives will talk about creating a regional coalition
to influence the Legislature to include south-central Kansas in any plan to
authorize casinos. "It hopefully gives us a little more clout, power, a
louder voice," she said. "That's the purpose of putting this together -- to
have a louder voice."

GOVERNMENT CONTRACTS WITH THREE GAMBLING GROUPS TO BE AXED

 

The Government is to scrap its contracts with some problem gambling
organisations and reduce funding to others, after reviewing the services
they provide. The Ministry of Health launched a review of 12 organisations
deemed high risk in October. It came after National Party MP Sandra Goudie
claimed some were being overpaid, including one Hamilton service which was
paid $143,000 to counsel 300 gamblers but treated only eight. Associate
Health Minister Damien O'Connor told Parliament on Wednesday that three
organisations will have their contracts terminated. Of the remaining nine,
four will have their funding reduced and all will be monitored on a monthly
basis. He says the Government is negotiating for some repayments from the
organisations. Mr O'Connor says the names of the organisations involved will
be made public after he receives a final report next month.

Ministers 'ignoring fears on problem gambling'

 

Ministers were last night accused of ignoring calls for an advertising drive
on the dangers of problem gambling outlined in one of their own reports. The
Scottish Executive last year published a weighty investigation into the
social costs of the rise and rise of the gaming industry. The report,
written by Glasgow University academic Gerda Reith, made clear
recommendations on the need for a public awareness campaign on the scale of
the executive's public warnings on smoking, drinking and drugs. Dr Reith
yesterday demanded to know why her advice had been ignored. "I always assume
that when a report comes out there will be some action. When that doesn't
happen - when there is not even any debate - you feel people are not paying
the right kind of attention. "The important thing that came out of the
report is that problem gambling is very difficult to treat when it becomes
pathological. An awareness campaign would prevent a lot of money being spent
in the long term on treatment." Dr Reith's report, Research on the Social
Impact of Gambling, was published by the executive last September as Glasgow
forged ahead with its failed bid to host Britain's only supercasino. But she
believes the debate on gambling has focused far too much on a single venue -
the supercasino will now be in Manchester - and neglected other far more
accessible ways for would-be punters to have a flutter. Casinos account for
just 3% of betting.
Slot machines or fixed-odds betting terminals have mushroomed in pubs, clubs
and betting shops in recent years, with jackpots far bigger than the change
that used to spill out of old-time "puggies" or one-armed bandits. Online
gambling is thought to be growing fast too. Dr Reith does not oppose
betting. She simply believes the public, who, especially after the gradual
liberalisation brought in since the National Lottery was launched in 1994,
need to know of its potential dangers. Crucially, public information
campaigns, she argues, have helped reduce the social costs of increased
gambling elsewhere. She added: "The supercasino has been a bit of a
distraction from the real debate. There will, after all, only be one of
them." The executive, meanwhile, stressed gaming laws were the
responsibility of Westminster, not Holyrood. Its spokeswoman focused largely
on the prospect of a supercasino, despite Dr Reith regarding that debate as
something of a sideshow.
The spokeswoman said: "If any future new casino development was to be
located in Scotland, we will monitor the impacts of such a development very
carefully.

"Gambling law, and therefore the public communication of those laws, is a
reserved area of responsibility."

Shona Robison, the SNPs spokeswoman on health, yesterday saw no reason why a
public education campaign, or even a national strategy on problem gambling,
should not be launched in Scotland just because Westminster was in charge of
the licensing regime.

She said: "Dr Reith's report made clear recommendations.

"It's disappointing the executive has chosen to treat it with disregard. It
is just passing the back to make it Westminster's responsibility."

Gambling a boost or a bust?

 

The Rendell administration and a leading financial forecasting company it
hired disagree on the degree to which casino gambling will be an economic
boost for Pennsylvania. James Diffley, the group managing director for
multinational forecasting company Global Insight, said casino gambling's
impact would be "muted," despite an estimated 12,000 jobs the industry is
expected to produce. Diffley told lawmakers at a House Appropriations budget
hearing that state residents who gamble will probably spend less on other
leisure and entertainment activities, including the state lottery, which is
the major source of income for senior citizen programs. "The net economic
impact will be somewhat muted," said Diffley. "The casino spending of state
residents, and gambling losses, serve as a substitute for other leisure and
entertainment, including the state lottery. That displaced spending will
reduce demand at other Pennsylvania businesses." Global Insight is hired by
the Rendell Administration to do yearly economic forecasting. But the
newly-appointed secretary of revenue, Thomas Wolf, contradicted that
analysis saying gamblers and lottery players are "two different types of
customers" and competition with gambling dollars are likely to come from out
of state. He said gamblers are destination customers, while lottery players
buy at point of sale. "We really believe most competition in gaming comes
from outside Pennsylvania," Wolf said. "And to the extent the people who
really lose out to Pennsylvania gaming will be those venues in West
Virginia, New Jersey and other states surrounding Pennsylvania."
Pennsylvania is the only state in the nation that diverts all its lottery
proceeds to programs for seniors.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

AFL Gambling Probe: Australian TAB Says No to Investigation

 

Following the gambling scandal, where AFL players were found gambling on
other AFL matches, government regulated territory corporations (TAB) were
instructed to hand over access to gambling accounts to investigators. TAB in
Victoria and New South Wales did release information to assist the the
investigation of the football gambling of Goodwin, Melbourne defender Daniel
Ward, Kangaroos ruckman David Hale and Sydney rookie Kieren Jack. However,
the SA TAB will not hand access to its accounts to the AFL investigators. SA
TAB general manager Grant Harrison said his agency, in contrast to the TAB
in Victoria and New South Wales, did not have an agreement with the AFL
sanctioning an audit of its account holders. Its privacy policy would not be
compromised for the AFL, Mr Harrison said. "Our policy, at this moment, is
not to disclose details of our accounts unless we are served a court order
or a legal notice to produce," he said. "We will disclose to the police and
to the Australian Tax Office, but not to the AFL." With the SA TAB blocking
the AFL audit of Crows and Power players, case investigators may have a
greater curiosity on whether Goodwin's football bets with Betfair last year
were his alone or part of a syndicate involving current and former Crows
teammates. Rugby league legend Garry Jack says his son Keiren (AFL Syndey)
is shattered after being linked to an investigation into illegal gambling
after making two bets totalling $10 on the internet. The league has made it
clear that wants to broaden its audit into other states.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Poker & Casino Gambling in Bean Town?

 

A recently recognized Indian tribe in Massachusetts, USA who has expressed
the desire to build a full scale casino in the state has stirred up the
casino gambling debate yet again on Beacon Hill. Last Thursday U.S.
Department of Interior's Bureau of Indian Affairs designated the Mashpee
Wampanoag tribe as a sovereign American Indian nation. The tribe has stated
their desire to build a full casino, complete with slot machines and table
games like poker and blackjack. "The preference of the tribe would be to
agree in a compact with the state on a destination casino much like Mohegan
Sun," said tribe spokesman Scott Ferson, referring to the nearby Connecticut
casino and resort. "We would hope it wouldn't be viewed as pressure and more
of an opportunity." Though they can now build 'bingo parlors' (having
lottery and bingo games) without any additional state approval, the tribe is
aiming higher having seen the success of tribal-run Foxwoods and Mohegan
Sun. But they cannot move forward unless Massachusetts state lawmakers
decide to legalize casino gambling. Pressure to legalize casino-style
gambling has previously come from the state's four horse and dog track
owners. But last year the Massachusetts House turned down a bill to permit a
maximum of 2,000 slot machines at each track. At a minimum, recognition of
the tribe will bring more lobbyists to Beacon Hill, putting more pressure on
lawmakers to allow the tribe to build a full casino , according to Rep.
Daniel Bosley, D-North Adams, a vocal casino opponent. Bosley says that
could open gambling floodgates that the state would be hard pressed to
close. Referring to how the state lottery began as a single daily ticket,
but has since expanded to dozens of scratch tickets and Keno games, Bosley
told The Norwalk Advocate paper, "We'll have the tracks coming in saying if
you allow the Native Americans, then we want slots too. Once you open the
door, you open yourself to continuing pressure to expand. Just look at the
Lottery." The tribe owns about 200 acres on Cape Cod, but has agreed not to
build a casino there. So it first needs to acquire land in another part of
the state to build a casino, and then win recognition from the federal
government for it as a separate reservation.

"People are forgetting it's a complicated process," said Sen. Michael
Morrissey, D-Quincy, who said he supports casinos only because Massachusetts
is losing money to neighboring states with casinos like Connecticut and New
York.

Morrissey said Massachusetts could agree to license a casino, put that
license out to bid, and allow the tribe to compete with other commercial
casino operators - perhaps giving the tribe the exclusive right to bid last.

"What's to say that we couldn't force them to act like a commercial
operator," Morrissey told the Advocate. "Just because they're recognized,
doesn't mean they have the right to casinos, and if they want to, they
should be prepared to pay full freight."

Govenor Deval Patrick has publicly said he hasn't made up his mind whether
he would support casino gambling, and continues to listen to both sides. He
has said he may put together a study group to examine the issue and report
back to him.

Patrick has a $1 billion shortfall in the state budget, but has said the
budget plan he'll release at the end of the month will not include any new
gambling revenues.

In the end, Bosley said, the decision whether to give the Mashpee Wampanoag
tribe the right to build a casino comes down to a larger decision about the
wisdom of gambling, and specifically highly lucrative slot machines.

"The issue still becomes do we allow slot machines or don't we allow slot
machines," Bosley said. "As you put more gambling in your society, you're
putting less money into more profitable enterprises."

The Mashpee Wampanoag are the second Massachusetts tribe to receive federal
recognition. The first are the Wampanoag of Gay Head-Aquinnah on Martha's
Vineyard. There are more than 560 recognized tribes across the United
States.

Gambling money the lifeblood of sports groups

 

The moral dilemma is certainly not lost on Vern Gerhardt, the executive
director of Basketball Alberta. Gerhardt knows that without Alberta
government funding, the sports governing body he works for would be hooped
and amateur basketball in the province would suffer greatly. He also knows
that all the government money Basketball Alberta gets comes from gambling
revenues. "Is there an ethical problem? Yes. That's been the struggle around
here for years. But the way we look at it is without the money we wouldn't
be able to function. We wouldn't be around so there wouldn't be an ethical
or moral dilemma anyway." Basketball Alberta and hundreds of other
not-for-profit amateur sports groups all rely on the province for a
significant portion of their funding. While the level of that funding varies
widely from group to group, on average, most amateur sports organizations
receive at least a quarter of their revenues from the province, according to
Ian Reade, the former athletic director of the University of Alberta, who
did a research paper on gambling's dollar trail into amateur sports. While
some administrators like Gerhardt are well aware that the genesis of that
funding is gambling (casinos, video lottery terminals, slot machines, Sport
Select betting and other forms of government-sanctioned gambling), Reade
says others either aren't aware of the source or "don't want to know." But
the cold hard fact is that all of this government money comes from gambling
revenues, not just some of it. "Every single dollar that goes into amateur
sports from the Alberta government is gambling money," says Reade. "Amateur
sports and other not-for-profit organizations in the province are addicted
to gambling as much as the gamblers themselves." What may be even more
morally troublesome to some of the amateur sports groups is this statistic
gleaned from Garry Smith, a gambling research specialist at the U of A.
Smith points out that 40 per cent of the province's gambling revenue from
slot machines comes from the five per cent of the population classified as
problem gamblers, those with a real addiction. Figures from other forms of
gambling are not available. In any event, a significant portion of the money
going to amateur sports is helping feed problem gamblers' addictions.
"That's a fairly shocking statistic," says Smith. A closer look at the
system the government uses to funnel its gambling revenues to various groups
might help explain why some beneficiaries are confused about the origins of
that money. When an amateur sports group runs a casino or holds a raffle,
the tie to gambling is unmistakable. In 2005-2006, $254 million was raised
by charitable and religious groups conducting gaming events.

But after that the transparency can quickly blur.

Gambling revenues from Sport Select wagering and other lotteries, from VLTs
and from slot machines -- an estimated $1.4 billion for 2006-07 alone -- all
goes into something called the Alberta Lottery Fund.

>From there, money is allocated to 12 different ministries and to foundations
and grant programs to directly support volunteer and community-based
initiatives.

So when the Edmonton Soccer Association got $80,000 in two Community
Facility Enhancement Program (CFEP) grants for turf replacement, facility
construction and equipment through the provincial department of Tourism,
Parks, Recreation and Culture, that, in fact, is gambling money.

When the Edmonton International Baseball Foundation received $75,000 from
the Community Initiatives Program (CIP) for the 2008 World Junior AAA
baseball championships, again, that's gambling money.

And when the Capital City Gymnastics club got $3,665 to purchase two beams
and a mat from the Alberta Sport, Recreation, Parks and Wildlife Foundation,
you guessed it, that's gambling money.

The gambling revenues are funnelled through different departments and
programs, but no matter where they eventually come from, it's still gambling
money.

"It's a bit of a shell game," says Reade. "Sports organizations love the
idea they don't have to consider it as gambling money, they like to think of
it as government support."

The Alberta government also likes to talk about its "charity model" for
distributing gambling revenues, but that is a misnomer, according to the U
of A's Garry Smith.

Smith says that only about 20 per cent of the money from the Alberta Lottery
Fund goes to groups that might be considered non-profit, community-based and
charitable.

The rest goes to a variety of other groups and initiatives. For instance,
last year two one-time $35-million grants were given to Edmonton Northlands
and the Calgary Exhibition and Stampede. This year, $55 million is budgeted
for provincial highways, $25 million more for street improvements. More than
$60 million is budgeted to public and separate schools in the province, $1.6
million is budgeted for gaming research. And on and on and on. All of it was
from gambling revenues.

"They like to call it a charity model because it sounds good," says Smith.

Still, the money goes to a lot of groups that provide vital community
programming, including amateur sports organizations, who really depend on
that funding.

"Every amateur sports organization struggles financially. They survive but
they don't thrive," says Reade. "Any ethical question goes away when there
is no alternative."

Atlantic City has to share its jackpot

 

Ever since casino gambling began here in 1978, revenue at the gambling halls
has been on a one-way trip - straight up. But for the first time, annual
revenue from Atlantic City's casinos could decline in 2007. The industry
faces increased competition from slot machines in neighboring states, new
restrictions on smoking and the closing of one casino. The first monthly
revenue figures of the new year were down, raising concern that it could be
the start of a yearlong trend. If revenue does go down, it could have
negative consequences for the industry, its customers and the state of New
Jersey, which relies on casino taxes. ''There will be an impact, no doubt,''
said Carlos Tolosa, eastern division president for Harrah's Entertainment
Inc. ''The Pennsylvania slots parlors will certainly cause competition. In
the past, people just came to Atlantic City. That's the part that always
scares you. Atlantic City relies on high-frequency customers.'' Already,
Pennsylvania slots parlors are cutting into Atlantic City's pie. Figures for
January, when Atlantic City went head-to-head with two new Philadelphia area
slots parlors, had New Jersey casino executives reaching for the antacid
tablets. Overall revenue at Atlantic City casinos declined 2.9 percent
compared with a year ago, but the decline in slots revenue was even sharper
at 7.2 percent. Philadelphia Park, in Bensalem Township, about 20 miles
north of Philadelphia, opened Dec. 19. Harrah's Chester Casino and Racetrack
opened on Jan. 22. Executives of those gambling halls said they targeted
gamblers who otherwise would have gone to Atlantic City. Figures from
Pennsylvania show that just three months after the state opened its first
casino - Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs near Wilkes-Barre - wagers at slots
parlors hit, and then passed, the $1 billion mark. According to the
Department of Revenue and the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board, casino
patrons wagered $1.06 billion and won $960.8 million by the week ending Feb.
11. On the Atlantic City Expressway, among the billboards featuring local
entertainers, one billboard for Delaware Park Racetrack in Wilmington
beckons departing drivers to ''come play with us'' next time. But what's bad
for the casinos may be good for their customers, at least in the short term.
Many observers say they expect casinos to be even more aggressive about
offering financial incentives such as free rooms or show tickets to keep
players coming.

Also, a revenue dip may only accelerate a movement already well under way
here: Making sure there's a lot more to do in Atlantic City than just
gamble. ''Clearly, Atlantic City recognizes that for its overall revenue to
grow, it has to become less gaming-centric,'' said Joseph Weinert, vice
president of Spectrum Gaming Group, a casino consulting firm. ''A majority
of Atlantic City's customers will be able to play slots somewhere closer to
home. Atlantic City has to give them a compelling reason to drive farther,
stay longer and spend more.''

Lorrie Harm came to the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa to play the slots, when
she easily could have gone to a Philadelphia area facility near her home in
Cherry Hill.

''The restaurants are great, and I love to shop,'' she said. ''I like the
atmosphere here. There's more to do.''

Barbara Sieminski, a retiree from Mountaintop in Luzerne County, comes to
the Borgata at least once a month for amenities like the manicure she
treated herself to last week.

''It's difficult to just spend time on the gambling floor morning to
night,'' she said as a manicurist rubbed her hands up and down Sieminski's
wrists. ''I come for the total package. Coming to Atlantic City is like a
vacation for us.''

Weinert said he expects overall 2007 revenues to be about flat, with a
possible fluctuation of 1 percent above or below the break-even point. But
Frank Fantini, publisher of The Gaming Morning Report, says a decline of as
much as 5 percent is possible this year.

In 2006, Atlantic City's revenues came in at $5.2 billion, up 4 percent from
the year before.

The closing in November of The Sands Casino and Hotel is also expected to
hurt the bottom line. ''Some of that money will flow to other casinos, but
some of it won't be recovered until another property takes its place,'' said
Fantini. There are now 11 Atlantic City casinos, down from 12 last year.

Smoking restrictions are another wild card. As of April 15, casinos must
designate at least 75 percent of their gambling floors as smoke-free. The
industry is worried about losing its smoking patrons, as well as the
millions of dollars it will cost each property to wall off smoking areas and
install expensive ventilation systems.

The state has an interest in keeping casino revenues flowing as well. The
casinos pay 8 percent tax on their gross revenues, and pay another 1.25
percent toward projects approved by the Casino Reinvestment Development
Authority. Last year, that worked out to $417.5 million in revenue taxes,
and $65.2 million in reinvestment obligations. But even if revenues decline
this year, almost no one thinks it would be an irreversible trend. Tolosa,
the Harrah's president, noted that casinos shut down last July during a
state budget crisis, a revenue loss he doesn't expect to recur this year.

Gambling Income and Losses

 

Gambling income includes, but is not limited to, winnings from lotteries,
raffles, horse and dog races and casinos, as well as the fair market value
of prizes such as cars, houses, trips or other noncash prizes. Depending on
the type and amount of your winnings, the payer might provide you with a
Form W-2G and may have withheld federal income taxes from the payment. Here
are some general guidelines on gambling income and losses: Reporting
winnings: The full amount of your gambling winnings for the year must be
reported on line 21, Form 1040. You may not use Form 1040A or 1040EZ.
Deducting losses: If you itemize deductions, you can deduct your gambling
losses for the year on line 27, Schedule A (Form 1040). You cannot deduct
gambling losses that are more than your winnings. It is important to keep an
accurate diary or similar record of your gambling winnings and losses. To
deduct your losses, you must be able to provide receipts, tickets,
statements or other records that show the amount of both your winnings and
losses.

How will feds break up online gambling rings? Follow the money

 

As is true of any form of technology, the Internet can be - and is - used
for constructive purposes and in harmful ways. Some Web site operators seek
to defraud unsuspecting visitors to their home pages, while others wish to
appeal to the weaknesses of those addicted to pornography or gambling. Two
significant challenges in drafting new laws to protect people from the
hazards of the Internet have been to ensure that these laws can be enforced
and that the rights of the individual are preserved. The effect of the
Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act signed into law by President Bush
in October demonstrates that these challenges can be overcome with
sufficient thought and cooperation by those seeking to protect the public
from harm. This legislation was supported by a broad range of organizations,
including many national sports groups (such as the NFL, Major League
Baseball, NBA, NHL and NCAA), electronic commerce and financial institutions
(PayPal, MasterCard, eBay and the American Bankers Association) and law
enforcement alliances (including the National Association of Attorneys
General and the Fraternal Order of Police). The act essentially forbids the
use of the Internet as an instrument to violate federal and state gambling
laws. Internet gambling, estimated to be a $12 billion per year industry,
has been used for money laundering by criminal organizations and to defraud
bettors who have no way to verify or investigate whether the virtual games
of chance that they play on some sites are managed honestly. Also, some
gambling operations abruptly close their sites if there are too many
winners, opening new ventures under different domain names. In addition,
various sites have provided free games for children, in essence encouraging
youngsters to gamble. And as with online pornography, the ubiquitous yet
private nature of these sites may lead some people to fall victim to
addictive behavior through which they spend excessive amounts of time and
money to satisfy a gambling compulsion. Moreover, online gambling can siphon
revenues from state treasuries that depend upon government-run lotteries and
the taxes that are collected on legal wagers. Nevada, apparently recognizing
the potential threats associated with Internet gambling operations, was the
first state to prohibit its residents from participating in illegal Internet
betting. Most gambling sites are operated overseas, beyond the jurisdiction
of the United States, which some have argued makes enforcement of laws
against Internet betting difficult if not impossible to enforce. One
solution to this problem is embedded in the act, with its focus on the
transfer of money between financial institutions and the online gambling
operations. This legislation compels the Department of the Treasury and the
Federal Reserve Board to issue regulations that require financial
institutions to block payments to those engaged in illegal gambling. Rather
than trying to shut down the offshore gambling operations directly, the
legislation impedes the transfer of money that are the lifeblood of these
businesses.

Further, the act refers only to gambling that violates existing federal or
state laws, thereby recognizing each state's right to develop and enforce
its own regulations on gaming.

After the passage of this legislation, publicly traded gambling operations
lost 50 percent of their market value. Cyber ventures listed on the London
Stock Exchange announced that they would no longer be accepting wagers from
players in the United States. And many Internet gambling sites chose to deny
wagering by residents of the United States, where these bets would be in
violation of existing laws.

Rather than supplying an Internet retailer with financial and personal
information directly, many consumers use digital wallets (e-wallets) such as
PayPal to more securely transfer these data and complete their transactions.
FirePay, an offshore e-wallet, has announced in response to the act that it
will not transfer funds to online gambling operations.

Last month, the two founders of a British e-wallet known as NETeller were
arrested on charges of transferring funds with the intent to promote illegal
gambling. After these arrests, the company decided to eliminate the transfer
of funds by United States bettors to Internet gambling sites, instantly
eradicating about 65 percent of its activities in this industry.

Existing technologies used by credit card companies and banks to block
illegal transactions by verifying the identities (and, if appropriate, the
ages) of the parties involved also can be helpful in enforcing the act. Most
important, this legislation illustrates one method for effectively
controlling some of the harmful effects of cyberspace.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

AFL Star Simon Goodwin Investigated for Footy Gambling

 

Adelaide's Simon Goodwin, Melbourne defender Daniel Ward, Sydney rookie
Kieran Jack, and Kangaroo David Hale are all under investigation for
gambling on ALF games. While none of the players actually bet on or against
their respective teams, it is believed they did place wagers on other
football games. Ts is in direct contravention to the very strict AFL rules
against betting on games or other football related events. If found guilty
of gambling on the AFL, those players could faces a fine of up to $100000
and a lengthy suspension. It is believed the gambling was discovered after
the players had placed bets with TAB Sportsbet. Although the betting outfit
keeps customer information confidential, it signed an agreement with the AFL
last year which would allow the release of information to league officials
when suspicious betting took place. It was under this agreement by which the
AFL discovered the rule breach. The league hopes to complete its inquiry
within two weeks. Some fans have chimed in with their opinions: I can
remember hearing that some one who isn't in the public eye put $40,000 on
Federa to win the Aust. Open, a pretty sure bet really. To me it is a storm
in a tea cup and if the AFL are going to pursue and penalize these players
let's go back to last year and open up the hornet's nest and name the
players who had POSITIVE drug tests. To me a much more important issue than
betting.

Monday, February 19, 2007

CHILDREN AND GAMBLING ADDICTIONS: TOMORROW'S NEXT PROBLEM GAMBLER!

 

So much concern is placed on the individual who has a gambling addiction. Of
course, treating an individual with a gambling addiction is very important.
What about the families of those with gambling addictions? Often times as a
society we forget about the loved ones of those with addictions. Like
alcoholism, concern must be shown for the family members of those with
gambling addictions. I have heard so many anecdotal stories, fact and
fiction about how gamblers attend places like casinos and Bingos and leave
their children in the car while they go and engage in their habit or
addiction. I have also heard stories of how some gamblers blow their weekly
savings or social security cheques on gambling. Instead of buying food and
clothing for their children, many spend it on gambling, as well as alcohol
and cigarettes, the other two vices which often times trigger and co-exist
with gambling addictions. There is no doubt that gambling is a mental
illness. No matter how hard people try to avoid gambling, they seem to find
their way back to their specific gambling niche. Gambling is a very unique
addiction in that anything can become a potential wager! Think about it.a
gambler is tying to kick the addiction and is doing well. Whenever someone
is striving for total abstinence, they are to avoid any and all triggers and
stimulus which are associated with gambling. So, you have this individual
who does not buy lottery tickets, avoids raffles and most of all, avoids
casinos. They are doing really well. One day, a friend or co-worker
challenges them to something saying." I'll bet you a cup of coffee I can get
my work done faster than you.." or something like that. As harmless as this
sounds, this has the potential for the gambler to throw themselves right
back into their addiction. Remember, it is usually not the winning or losing
which produces the high, rather the anticipation and adrenaline rush which
satiates and drives the gambler. In reality, they are always one wager away
from falling back into the vice.

Gamblers have to be aware at all times what there addiction means to the
loved ones around them. Often times, addicts neglect their loved ones either
emotionally and/or physically. Children are affected the most. Children are
not able to think logically and abstractly and often times perceive
themselves as a contributing factor toward their parent's miserable moods.
Addictions have a powerful influence on a child's self-esteem and
self-confidence. The attitudes and beliefs children develop being around an
individual with a chronic addiction often times leads to problematic
behaviors in the child.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Law director drops gambling charge against parlor owner

 

A local businessman who opened a skilled games parlor on Maple Avenue last
year had a charge of operating a gambling parlor dropped by the city law
director Thursday. Edward Alexander, owner of Aces High, was charged last
November when he reopened his parlor after city law director and county
officials deemed the machines to be gambling devices and ordered all the
gaming parlors in the city and county shut down last year. Alexander also
lost 10 of his machines when he reopened. Those machines were seized by the
Zanesville Police Department but ordered to be returned in January after
Municipal Court Judge William Joseph ruled they had been seized illegally.
"I think the city and county officials owe Mr. Alexander an apology," Robert
De Santo, defense attorney for Alexander, harshly replied when told of the
charge being dropped. "He's been labeled a criminal and accused of having
gambling machines by city officials, the county prosecutor, the county
sheriff's office and maybe even 50 percent of the residents of Zanesville."
Scott Hillis, city law director, said he was dropping the charge Thursday
due to the machines being ruled inadmissible during a trial, but wasn't
going to drop the additional 12 charges of licensing and zoning violations.
Hillis said there was no way he could present a case against Alexander and
the machines in the time allotted him. De Santo refused to waive the speedy
trial issue and demanded that trial begin as soon as possible, which Hillis
said was not conducive to him. "We had talked to an expert and if we had
brought him in, it would cost several thousands of dollars, so we chose not
to proceed," Hillis said. As far as apologizing to Alexander, Hillis said
there's no reason to. "He's right that we cannot prove the machines are
gambling machines, he's right that he wanted to use the machines during the
trial," Hillis said of De Santo's comments. "But, he was only willing to do
it if we went to trial immediately." Hillis said he still believes Alexander
broke the law when he did not get a license for the machines and chose to
operate anyway. De Santo said his client has lost eight weeks of business
since the closing of the parlor and for Alexander "that's lost profits."
"What this looks like is the city bullied my client and the others
throughout the county and city," De Santo said. "They acted like bullies.
But, when the bully gets challenged, like all bullies, they buckle down."

Ordering the businesses throughout the county and city to shut down put the
owners' "lives on the line," De Santo said.

"Look at all the business they've lost," De Santo said. "I think the city
council should be prepared to figure how much my client and others have lost
in income and be prepared to take it out of either the prosecutor's or the
sheriff's budget. Maybe someone should be paying for my fees. It's not right
that my client is."

De Santo said every citizen in Zanesville should be looking at how unfair
the legal system has been working.

"My client should have been given the opportunity to have a jury, the
citizens of Zanesville, decide if these machines are skilled games or not,"
De Santo said. "We have maintained all along they are games of skill and no
one is willing to prove us wrong."

De Santo also said Hillis cannot have it both ways.

Legislators consider moving primaries, legalized gambling

 

Legislators want the state to have a say in selecting presidential nominees.
That might happen if legislation that would move up the date of the primary
by a month next year, to Feb. 5, 2008, is passed. It is supported by members
of both parties. Republicans and Democrats alike are pushing to move the
primary election from the first Tuesday in March to the first Tuesday in
February. They contend it would give Texas voters a real say in each party's
nomination for president. Currently, the state's primary falls after several
others, sometimes after party nominations have been sealed. Several other
big states, including California and Florida, are also considering moving
their primaries to Feb. 5 in 2008. The effect could be replacing the old
Super Tuesday in March with a new slate of impact primaries a month sooner.
Dueling gambling bills A proposal in the Legislature to allow video slot
machines at Texas race tracks wouldn't boost the state's economy as much as
full-fledged resort casinos, advocates for casino gambling said Wednesday.
Legislation by Rep. Ismael "Kino" Flores, a Palmview Democrat, would allow
video slots at race tracks and American Indian reservations. Flores said his
measure would keep gambling dollars in Texas, help the financially
struggling Texas horse-racing industry and bring in $1.2 billion in new
annual revenue. On Wednesday, a day after the bill was filed, lobbyists and
other representatives of the Texas Gaming Association made rounds at the
Capitol to press their case for going much further in legalizing casino
wagering. The association wants destination resort casinos that it says will
attract tourist and convention dollars to Texas. "The state shouldn't fool
with it at all if they don't do it right," said Jack Pratt of Dallas, a
former hotel and casino developer who chairs the association. "Our bill does
it all, and it's the only sound way to do it."

We Should Change Gambling Deal

 

After years of lobbying, West Virginia racetracks soon may be able offer
table games to their patrons. Meanwhile, West Virginia's state-sanctioned
mini-casinos -- the ones that offer video games on neighborhood street
corners across the state -- apparently will continue to extract cash from
the pockets of those who can least afford to lose it. And so it goes in West
Virginia. The Legislature now appears to understand that competition in
neighboring states soon will undermine revenues at West Virginia's
destination racetracks, whose managers say they need table games to preserve
their business. Those tracks tend to be segregated from the public and
depend largely on out-of-state clientele who can at least afford to travel
to gamble. But lawmakers who are considering table games legislation
apparently aren't interested in eliminating one obvious problem in exchange
for passing table games legislation. If we are destined to rely on gambling
revenue, shouldn't we at least depend on the least offensive forms of
gambling? Is state government so desperate for money that it must squeeze
every nickel we can out of gambling? It makes sense to approve table game
legislation and, at the same time, eliminate an obvious problem -- the
neighborhood gambling parlors that create myriad social problems and
associated costs.

Gambling getting grip on college campuses

 

Jay Melancon hunkered down in an auditorium chair for his morning psychology
class at the University of Minnesota, flipped open his laptop and logged on.
The instructor yammered on at the front of the room, but Melancon wasn't
listening. He was exhausted from staying up all night playing online poker.
Now, sitting in the back of the class, he was playing again. On his screen,
tiny decks of cards flipped and twisted in cyberspace, and Melancon placed
bets with the click of his mouse. The profits just kept getting bigger.
$1,000. $2,000. $3,000. Dude, check this out, he told his buddy. As class
ended and the other students got up to leave, he checked his total one more
time. In the space of an hour, he'd won just about $4,000. Melancon closed
his laptop and walked out into the cold December air. What am I doing in
school? he wondered. Why don't I just do this all the time? Poker is red hot
on college campuses these days. Today's college students are among the first
to grow up with gambling so accessible. Credit is easily available. Casinos,
once relegated to Las Vegas and Atlantic City, are now scattered across 37
states. Poker is a regular feature on cable TV. Going to the casino has
become a rite of passage for students as they turn 18. Freshmen play poker
in dorm rooms, fraternities and bars host Texas Hold 'Em tournaments, and
students hold sports betting pools and use wireless Internet connections to
play anytime, anywhere. "I make a joke that ... the second-best gambling
environment in America is the college dorm," said Ken Winters, a professor
at the University of Minnesota who has studied youth addictions, including
gambling. "You've got your privacy, you've got your high-speed Internet, you
have independence from a parent, you probably now have some credit card
money. ... It's like a little mini casino right in your laptop. ... It's
almost too easy." College-age men, especially, have embraced the poker
phenomenon. Card-playing and Internet gambling have increased among
college-age males over the past five years, the Annenberg Public Policy
Center of the University of Pennsylvania found. About 16 percent of them
played cards weekly in 2006, up from nearly 13 percent in 2005, and nearly 6
percent of them gambled online weekly, up from 2.3 percent in 2005.

At Canterbury Card Club in Shakopee, Minn., crowds are getting younger, said
Kevin Gorg, media relations manager. "Because of the popularity of poker on
TV, it's become, you know, kind of the cool, in-vogue thing to do."

On that cold December morning in 2005, Melancon, now 21, decided to quit
college. He and a group of friends have since bet their livelihood on cards.
They spend hours at card tables and computers, winning and losing thousands
of dollars at a time. They make fast money from less experienced players who
don't know what they're doing.

They don't want to do this forever, they say, but they're going to ride the
poker train as long as it keeps paying.

By 7:30 p.m. one October Thursday, Melancon's friend Mike Pickett had
already been playing cards for nearly seven hours.

He and more than 400 others had traded an autumn day for the green felt
tables and fluorescent lights of the poker room, hoping to win the $117,000
championship-event prize at the Fall Poker Classic at Canterbury Card Club.

Now, partway through the first day of the two-day tournament, the field was
down to 96 players. Pickett, now 22, was among the youngest. The oversized
hood of his sweatshirt shielded his baby face from his opponents' view.

Bryan Devonshire, another young professional gambler, had lost out early -
they call it "busting out" - and came back to watch Pickett and size up the
competition. "This is quite possibly the weakest field I've seen in a
tournament," he said with satisfaction.

Good players quickly earn reputations in the poker world, and Devonshire,
who stood off to the side spitting chew into an empty beer can, saw few of
them there. "There are one, two, three ... nine people left that can play,
and four of them are sitting right here," he said, pointing to Pickett's
table. "Ah, the nature of poker."

Pickett was on a roll. With each passing hour, he added to the towers of
chips piled up in front of him like tiny skyscrapers. Deal, bet, hope for
the best. Deal, bet, hope for the best. Hour after hour after hour. They
broke briefly for dinner and then got back at it.

In tournaments, chips can't be cashed in; the only money involved is the
entry fee and prize money. The player with the chip lead has an advantage at
the tables, and some of Pickett's friends were watching his stacks grow with
a special interest. Five of them had formed a team and made a $5,000 side
bet with another team of five. If Pickett outlasted the remaining player
from the other team, he and his buddies would win the cash.

The night wore on. The pool of players continued to dwindle. Pickett
continued to win. Deal, bet, hope for the best.

By 11:30 p.m., some of the players were yawning, struggling to stay alert
after nearly 10 hours at the table.

Pickett, though, was in no mood to rest. Though his stacks of chips had
dwindled a bit during the last few hands, he was feeling like a winner.

With just over two dozen players left, the tournament organizer called it a
day. Playing would resume at one the next afternoon. The dealers started
collecting people's chips and sealing them in labeled bags.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Gamblers bank on online gambling

 

Online gambling giant 888 has reported record growth, with 3.6 million
members now betting online. The website reported a 35 per cent increase in
real money memberships in its final quarter results for 2006 despite the
operator having to exit its operations in the US because of regulation
changes last October. Changes in legislation limited online gambling
companies from being able to accept electronic payment methods, such as
credit cards, for members to use its casino and poker games - dealing 888's
US market a crippling blow. The company's non-US business reported a net
gaming revenue of $157 million (£78 million) in 2006, 28 per cent above
revenue in 2005. Its net gaming revenue for all business, including the US,
was up seven per cent in the same period. Helping its non-US operations were
the release of new online casino in Spanish and German languages and a new
sports betting licence issued in Italy in December. The increase in revenue
for 888 has continued into the start of 2007, with revenue set to rise even
further by the release of a mobile casino this month. Announcing the
results, chief executive Gigi Levy said: "888 continues to expand its
innovative product offering, diversify its geographical footprint with a
localised customer experience and extend its multi-channel customer
acquisition and retention campaigns.

Mobile Gambling: Will the US Join a Growing Market?

 

Handheld computers have simplified many activities. Individuals can surf the
Web, text message their friends, buy a new pair of pants, and, increasingly,
try to hit the jackpot in the lottery. Market research firm Juniper Research
expects the worldwide mobile gambling market to grow from US$1.35 billion in
2006 to $16.6 billion by 2011 -- and the increase is coming outside of the
U.S., which currently prohibits the activity. "The mobile channel will push
gambling services out to a broader, lower stake market than existing
channels, offering significant opportunities for market growth," Bruce
Gibson, research director at Juniper, told TechNewsWorld.

U.S. Crackdown on Internet Gambling Costly for Vancouver Firm

 

One of the big losers in the U.S. crackdown on Internet gambling has been
Burnaby-based ESI Entertainment Systems Inc. ESI doesn't operate any
gambling websites, but it provides support services and products for
gambling operators and bettors through three subsidiaries: Citadel Commerce
Corp., which provides payment processing services to the online gambling
industry. ESI Integrity Inc., which sells real time audit, fraud and
risk-management software to government lotteries and parimutuel
organizations. PlayLine Inc., which markets turnkey gambling systems to
land-based gaming venues such as casinos, pubs and cruise ships.
The company went public last March, selling 3.33 million shares for $3 each,
for gross proceeds of $10 million. The offering was sold on a best efforts
basis by Desjardins Securities, CIBC World Markets, Canaccord Capital, and
GMP Securities.Initially, it looked like a great business to be in. Revenues
for the year ending February 2006 rose 70 per cent to $18.5 million, and net
earnings jumped by 30 per cent to $1.3 million. The company's workforce
would soon peak at 160 employees, nearly all in Burnaby. "These results
truly demonstrate the strength of ESI's business model," trumpeted chairman
and CEO Tony Greening. But there was serious flaw in the model. Nearly 80
per cent of the company's business was generated by Citadel Commerce, which
runs electronic payment processing accounts for more than 625,000 customers,
nearly all of whom live in the United States. These customers, in turn, had
accounts with Internet gambling companies such as Bodog.com, owned by
part-time Vancouver resident Calvin Ayre. These gambling companies paid
Citadel a fee for every financial transaction those customers made with
them, whether it was a credit or a debit. As a result, the majority of ESI's
revenues were being derived from online gambling by U.S. customers. The
problem was that the U.S. Justice Department has always viewed Internet
gambling as an unlawful activity. In July, they drove the point home by
arresting David Carruthers, a senior officer of London-based BetOnSports
PLC, at the Ft. Worth, Tex., airport on racketeering charges.

Still, all seemed well in Burnaby. In September, Deloitte & Touche ranked
ESI the 26th fastest-growing technology company in Canada. The same month,
Citadel acquired at auction 30 baseballs signed by controversial baseball
star Pete Rose with the message, "I'm sorry I bet on baseball." The idea was
to give the balls to customers as an incentive to open accounts.

A few days later, there was a sobering development. The U.S. Congress passed
the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act, which specifically
prohibited financial intermediaries like Citadel from processing online
gambling transactions.

Initially, ESI executives took a wait-and-see approach. "At this time, we
are evaluating the negative impact of this new legislation on our
activities," said president Michael Meeks.

On Jan. 15, the company reported good results. Revenues for the nine months
ending Nov. 30 were up 35 per cent to $17.5 million, and gross profit had
soared by 81 per cent to $11 million.

However, it was becoming clear that Citadel's business model would be
seriously squeezed by the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act, so the
company wrote down just over $6 million in assets, resulting in a net loss
of $4.5 million. The company also announced it would lay off 22 employees,
saving $1 million in annual staffing costs.

The appropriateness of these moves was confirmed two days later, when the
U.S. Justice Department announced that FBI agents had arrested John Lefebvre
and Stephen Lawrence, co-founders of London-based electronic payment
processor NETeller Inc., for conspiring to promote illegal gambling.

Lefebvre and Lawrence are both Canadian citizens. Lefebvre, in particular,
is a part-time resident of Saltspring Island, which no doubt helped drive
home the point to ESI's officers and directors.

The same day the arrests were announced, ESI announced that, in view of the
arrests, Citadel would no longer offer financial processing to foreign
Internet gambling merchants for U.S. consumers.

"This decision will have a material impact on the financial condition of the
company as a substantial part of its revenues was derived from non-domestic
Internet gaming merchants for USA consumers," the company warned.

Last week, ESI announced it had reduced its workforce by another 35 per cent
to 80 people, and had taken other measures that would save $5 million per
year.

"With these changes completed," said Greening, "we are now able to focus our
cash reserves on our growing market opportunities in Europe and are better
positioned to execute our international payment solution strategy."

All this has had an extremely deleterious effect on ESI's stock price. It
has slumped from its $3 initial offering price to 58 cents on the Toronto
Stock Exchange, proving once again you don't mess with Uncle Sam.

Gambling banned in Krasnoyarsk Territory from July 1, 2007

 

The Krasnoyarsk Territory Legislative Assembly has passed the bill "About
the ban on gambling business in the region" February 14. 29 votes of 31 were
for. The voting was roll-call, and the bill was passed in the second
reading. The bill suggests imposing a ban on gambling in the Krasnoyarsk
Territory from July 1, 2007 and canceling the October 27, 2005 law "On
gambling business in the region". The deputies said they had received
letters of appeal from the Krasnoyarsk Territory Gambling Business
Association, the National Bookmakers' Association, the Krasnoyarsk Territory
Union of Industrialists and Businessmen. The appeals were advocating
gambling business. Deputy Alexander Shvedov voted against passing the law in
the current edition. In his opinion, "Passing the law will result in the
budget breakdown". Deputy Vsevolod Sevastyanov objected to it, "The income
that falls out is $4.5 m. It is ridiculous to mention it at the background
of extra income of $615 m that the region received in 2006." The deputies
refuted Deputy Vasily Nechayev's amendment suggesting that casinos and
gambling halls should be allowed. The net assets of casinos have been more
than $25 during the period of their work. Most of the deputies voted for the
new law. Leonid Fedotenko did not vote, and Alexander Shvedov abstained from
voting.

Norwegian gambling habits

 

These days, 10,000 Norwegian citizens are finding a questionnaire by SINTEF
Health Research in their post-boxes. The form has been sent to a random
sample of the population aged between16 and 74. The main focus of the survey
is cash gambling, ranging from scratchcards and Lotto to one-armed bandits
and Internet poker. "For the survey to offer a true picture of Norwegian
gambling habits, it is important that as many as possible should complete
the questionnaire, no matter whether they play often, seldom or never at
all, says project manager Anita Øren of SINTEF Health Research. Is the
problem on the increase? The Norwegian Gaming Board is financing the
population study of gambling addiction, which is a follow-up of a similar
study that was carried out in 2002. An important aim of the study is to find
out whether people's gambling problems have increased in scope since then.
In 2002, the study came to the conclusion that 49,000 persons aged between
15 and 74 either had, or had previously had, a serious gambling problem.
"Since then, the gross turnover of the Norwegian gambling market has risen
by 25 percent. There is also Internet gambling, which is not subject to
controls. The authorities wish to see how this affects gambling addiction at
population level", says Norwegian Gaming Board director Atle Hamar. When the
previous study was performed in 2002, the gross turnover of Norway's
regulated gaming industry was more than NOK 20 billion. The Board does not
have all the figure for 2006 ready yet, but in 2005, gross turnover was NOK
42.5 billion, which means that everyone in Norway from the age of 15 staked
an average of NOK 11,402 in that year.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Bus drivers in gambling row

 

BLACKPOOL bus drivers could go hungry in a row over one-armed bandits.
Transport bosses have told more than 400 workers they will lose their staff
canteen if they vote to get rid of a pair of fruit machines. Around 30
disgruntled workers have approached union bosses saying they are spending
too much money on the machines - some reportedly pumping as much as £80 a
week into them. Fearing they are becoming addicted, they have asked for the
"bandits" to be removed from the Blackpool Transport canteen and at the main
bus depot at Rigby Road. Bosses have agreed to let the workers decide and a
ballot is being held tomorrow.
However, Rigby Road chiefs today warned that money generated by the machines
helps fund the privately run staff canteen above BHS on Market Street. If
the machines go - so does food and drink for the workers. One bus driver,
who did not want to be named, told The Gazette: "We're basically being told
by management 'If you want to eat, you will have to gamble!' "That is not on
and many people here are very unhappy by this. They've given us a hard
choice because people want the machines to go and the canteen to stay open.
"Why should it be that if you don't want a fruit machine in your canteen
they will close the canteen - how can they treat people like this?" The
canteen is subsidised both by Blackpool Transport and earnings from
gambling. It is believed the two fruit machines raise around £30,000 a year.
Steve Burd (above), managing director for Blackpool Transport, said the
decision rested with the workers' vote. He explained: "This is a matter
which is entirely up to them. "It's very simple. If the workers choose to
vote to get rid of the machines the canteen facilities will go, but the rest
room will remain. "There are a minority of staff who have spoken to the
unions saying they have a problem with the gaming machines. "We've told them
for the canteen to stay open there needs to be some money coming in from the
machines which are based at Market Street and Rigby Road. "We cannot afford
to subsidise the facilities on our own.

Internet Gambling Thrives In Spite Of US Legislation

 

Americas Watchdog discovered the new legislation has had little effect with
Online Casinos. With the exception of one indictment, its been business as
usual, or the off-shore online casinos have invented new schemes to
circumvent the new US laws. After the 2006 legislation was signed by the
President; many casinos in England or other countries moved their online
gaming/casino web sites off shore, and created or fortified business-banking
relationships with German banks or other financial institutions that began
to, or continued to openly assist in wire transfers of US bets or gambling
proceeds to and from the internet casinos (money laundering). In one
specific case, a German Bank wiring gambling proceeds & writing checks is
owned by one of the worlds largest financial institutions, and in another
case a German-based internet payment service openly talked about "laundering
money for thousands of US clients". According to Americas Watchdog, the
number of US gamblers using Online Casinos is probably in the millions,
involving all ages, genders and races. In one instance, an offshore casino
operator openly boasted about the fact that his casino was "clean" compared
to online casinos operated or run by the "Russian Mafia". The same operator
made the statement that his casino had four US players lose $500,000+ each
in December of 2006. What does all this mean for US citizens? According to
Americas Watchdog, "this situation is very, serious and nothing will change
unless the US decides to make it legal for individual states like Nevada or
Native American Tribal Nations to permit US Citizens to play on line, in a
regulated and controlled environment". Its a war-prohibition that will never
succeed unless we change the tactics and regulate the environment. As
importantly, legal US Online Casinos would bring in most international
players, because these individuals would see it as safe and a transparent
way to gamble on line. Who wants to gamble on line with organized crime?

The American Gaming Association is on record as saying the new Internet
Gaming Legislation is "confusing".

Americas Watchdog believes that the American Gaming Association or
affiliated Associations should begin to lobby Congress & the Bush
Administration for immediate amendments to the Unlawful Internet Gambling
Enforcement Act that will allow for licensed US Casinos to be able to offer
their services to US Citizens or International players. This would have
three positive affects.

1. US Citizens who go online to US licensed casinos would get a regulated
gaming or casino environment. A regulated environment is not offered by
existing offshore casinos or sports books. The offshore gaming industry
would effectively be out of business losing the bulk of even their European
or Asian clients to the US.

2. Off shore-Internet Gambling is a multi billion dollar a year business.
Why not tax it and control it? Further by taxing & regulating the US online
casinos and effectively shutting down off-shore gaming, US law enforcement
could pursue other criminal activities because this particular issue would
no longer be a major problem, provided US banks actually comply with
anticipated federal banking regulations.

This change would also put most illegal US bookmakers out of business
because US consumers could actually place a legal wager on a sporting event,
or other gambling activity with a licensed US casino/sports Book. Illegal
bookmaking-sportsbook in the US is also a multi billion dollar a year
business.

Why not tax & regulate this activity?

3. The entry of licensed US casinos into online gaming would effectively
shut down or cripple all offshore gaming web sites. This could create
thousands of new tax paying jobs in the US. Why support some other countries
economy, when the US should be able to control & regulate its own?

The United States has a poor at best record on prohibitions. From alcohol in
the 1930's to its current 'war on drugs'. The new US legislation will not
stop offshore online casinos or gambling. Why not create a sensible
regulated environment that will be a win for US Citizens, and for the US
Government and individual State Governments that can control the activity,
and tax it?

Study finds link between compulsive gambling and Parkinson's disease medication

 

US scientists have found an association between the characteristics of
increased risk for compulsive gambling and Parkinson's disease medication.
Dr. Valerie Voon from National Institute of Neurological Disorders and
Stroke in Bethesda and colleagues found that patients with Parkinson's
disease who developed pathological gambling when receiving dopamine agonists
had a younger age at Parkinson's disease onset, higher novelty-seeking
scores, a personal or immediate family history of alcohol use disorders and
impaired planning on an impulsivity scale. Behaviours associated with
impulse control-including compulsive shopping, hypersexuality, binge eating
and pathological gambling-have been associated with dopamine agonists,
medications used to treat Parkinson's disease. In studies examining the
relationship between dopamine agonists and compulsive gambling, the
likelihood of gambling problems was unrelated to the medication dosage,
which suggests that an underlying trait may interact with the drugs and make
an individual more vulnerable to this adverse effect. The researchers
compared the characteristics of 21 patients with Parkinson's disease who
developed pathological gambling habits after beginning to take dopamine
agonists with 42 patients with Parkinson's disease who did not develop the
compulsive behaviours. The participants were examined by neurologists for
the measured their levels of impulsivity, substance abuse, mood and anxiety
disorders, and the extent to which they displayed novelty-seeking traits,
characterised by impulsive and risk-taking behaviour and excitement in
response to new experiences. "In keeping with our hypothesis, patients with
Parkinson's disease who developed pathological gambling when receiving
dopamine agonists had a younger age at Parkinson's disease onset, higher
novelty-seeking scores, a personal or immediate family history of alcohol
use disorders and impaired planning on an impulsivity scale," the authors
write.

"A robust association was found with medication-induced mania 'a psychiatric
disorder involving excessive physical and mental activity and impulsive
behaviour'." Pathological gambling was also weakly linked to younger age,
Parkinson's disease that began in the brain's left hemisphere and a high
score on a scale measuring the impulsiveness of behaviours. Screening for
such features and advising those at higher risk may be warranted," they
conclude.

House rejects horse racing gambling measure

 

Under current North Dakota law, a race is defined as a live event where
horses run to see who comes in first. And it's going to stay that way. On
Monday, the state House defeated a measure that would have expanded the
definition to include horse races run on a prior date. The North Dakota
Horse Park in Fargo wanted the definition change so it could install
computers that allow patrons to wager on previously run horse races. The
computers work by presenting patrons enough information to make an informed
bet on a previously run race but not enough to identify the race - and its
resulT - before betting. After patrons place their bet, they watch a video
of the horse race and win or lose money just as they would when betting on a
live horse race. Historical race games are currently in use at Oaklawn Park
in Hot Springs, Ark., and has been a financial success there. In North
Dakota, debate over the computers centered on whether they represent an
expansion of gambling to the state. Supporters of the computers say they
could help the park expand its offerings and increase its revenue, without
expanding gambling. "These are not any different than what you are doing
when you're watching a live horse race," said Rep. Shirley Meyer,
D-Dickinson. Rep. Randy Boehning, R-Fargo, said the computers are necessary
for North Dakota to stay competitive with what other states are offering.
"This isn't just a fad. It's reality," Boehning said. To opponents, the new
machines represented an expansion of gambling in the state. Rep. Joyce
Kingsbury, R-Grafton, said it would lead to "more gambling in a shorter
period of time," and more of the problems associated with such activity.
Rep. Lawrence Klemin, R-Bismarck, worried it could lead to the proliferation
of betting facilities. "I think this is a gigantic expansion of gaming," he
said. "I don't want to see racinos all over the state."

MO Senator Proposes Removing Gambling Limits, Creating Scholarships

 

Senate Majority Leader Charlie Shields wants to remove the $500 gambling
limit every two hours and impose a one percent tax increase on casinos.
Money generated from those changes would be directed at a new scholarship
program available to all high school graduates attending a public or private
Missouri higher education institution. The exact amount of each scholarship
would depend on how many students apply and how much revenue is generated.
The bill also limits casino licenses to 13, preventing a further expansion
of gambling boats. The majority of the state's current casinos are
supporting the idea, but some have concerns about the higher tax. Other
opponents include various anti-gambling organizations.

Sands sees Macau gambling doubling by 2010

 

Chinese gambling revenue in Macau has topped that of the Las Vegas Strip and
will more than double again by 2010, the president and chief operating
officer of Las Vegas Sands Corp. predicted on Monday. Sands this year is
opening a "Venetian" resort that shares the name of its Vegas casino and
will be one of the first examples of a project that duplicates the glitz of
the U.S. gambling capital in the only place to allow casinos in China.
Speaking at the Reuters Hotels and Casinos Summit, Sands COO William Weidner
said the Venetian will be Macau's first mega-resort, featuring shopping and
entertainment attractions that will draw mainland Chinese visitors who now
frequent Hong Kong for those pursuits. Wall Street expects Macau casino
revenue, which hit $7 billion in 2006, to grow to anywhere from $10 billion
to $15 billion in 2010, Weidner said. "I'm more in the $15 billion-plus
camp," he added. The Vegas strip of mega-resorts generated $6.69 billion in
gambling revenue last year. Sands is investing $11 billion in a string of
casino resorts in a part of Macau dubbed the Cotai Strip. Essentially, Sands
aims to reproduce in Macau the Las Vegas Strip of today, complete with the
condominiums, shopping malls and entertainment that have blossomed in the
last few years.
Weidner estimated that some 3 million square feet of malls to be built in
Macau would be worth at least $8.4 billion to Sands if it sold out, from as
early as 2008. Residential units could fetch another $3 billion to $5
billion, he added.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Alberta Canada May Regulate Online Gambling

 

It's home to Gambling911.com, which is purely an industry-focused news and
information website, and soon may be home to a number of online gambling
entities that actually take bets from around the globe. Alberta Canada is
seriously considering regulation of online gambling. Maxine Maudie of Sun
Media reports that a spokesman for the Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission
yesterday said the organization has commissioned a poll to determine
Albertans' feelings about online gambling. "The commission is gauging
whether to set up Internet gambling shops in the province. "The survey began
with a telephone poll and now 800 Albertans are being contacted online."
"It's getting a bit of insight into what Albertans are doing now,"said
Marilyn Carlyle-Helms. The poll is looking at poker, bingo and blackjack. It
should wrap up mid-February, with results tabulated sometime in March.
Carlyle-Helms said that if the province were to allow Internet gambling
sites to be based out of Alberta - with the government taking a cut of the
action - it won't happen for a long time. In November, it was projected
Alberta would take in $1.4 billion from gambling in the province this fiscal
year.

Middle school students invited to enter artwork for gambling awareness

 

Oregon middle-school students are invited to enter artwork for a 2008
calendar that will be used to increase problem gambling awareness. An
estimated 75,000 adult Oregonians experience problems related to their
gambling, which also impacts children and families. "This is a chance for
students both to learn more about the risks of gambling and to capture the
attention of parents and educators who may not have problem gambling on
their radar as a health issue to look out for," said Jeff Marotta, problem
gambling services manager in the Oregon Department of Human Services. He
said teachers are invited to encourage students to participate during Oregon
Problem Gambling Awareness Week, March 5-11. Artwork should be entered on
white, letter-size paper with the name of the student artist, grade level,
school and teacher's name on the back. Entries should be submitted to DHS's
Greta Coe at 500 N.E. Summer St., N.E., E-86, Salem, OR 97301.

13 arrested for gambling in capital

 

A gambling racket has been busted in the capital with the arrest of 13
people, police said. Rajesh Sharma, a resident of Lalita Park in east Delhi
who was allegedly organising gambling activities in his home, was nabbed
with 12 others Tuesday, Delhi Police said. Police recovered Rs.300,000 in
cash, two packets of playing cards, 35 tokens and 12 dice from Sharma's
house. 'They have been booked under the Gambling Act and we are launching a
search as more people are suspected to be involved,' a police official said.

Albuquerque sports bar, employee cited for gambling

 

An employee at a northeast Albuquerque sports bar is facing a commercial
gambling charge after state investigators discovered a Super Bowl pool was
run there.
John Webb, 40, who holds the liquor license at Howie's Sports Page, was
cited Tuesday, said Peter Olson, state Department of Public Safety
spokesman. The bar was cited Sunday for commercial gambling and selling
alcohol to Webb, who was intoxicated, Olson said. "He's the license holder,
and he's not supposed to drink while working, and he's not supposed to be
intoxicated," Olson said. A manager at the bar declined comment. An agent
with the Department of Public Safety's Special Investigations Division
walked into the sports bar around 6 p.m. Sunday, well after the football
game and the gambling started, Olson said. Investigators found the board
squares, which were purchased for $100 each, but they found no money, Olson
said. The total payout was $10,000.

Rockford woman stole to feed gambling addiction

 

A 43-year-old woman who admitted Tuesday to embezzling cash from a drivers'
education program at Rockford Schools faces up to 10 years in prison. School
officials and Kent County Sheriff's Department investigators say Tamara Sue
Osech, who lives in the school district, turned herself in last fall and
confessed to taking cash payments intended to go to a state-run commercial
driver's licensing school run at facilities in Rockford. Court records show
Kent County Sheriff's Deputy Benjamin Cammenga talked to the woman, who said
she used the money to fund a "serious gambling problem" that involved online
betting and casinos. The 17-year employee, who mostly worked as a bus
driver, took between $30,000 and $35,000 in 2005 and 2006, according to
school officials. She oversaw the licensing program and would keep cash
payments while properly sending in the checks, according to police. Osech
pleaded guilty before Kent County Circuit Court Judge Mark Trusock on
Tuesday, a day after her attorney, Dennis Carlson, said the lack of any
leeway from the prosecution was going to bring the case to trial, where he
would work to show that she embezzled less than $20,000. Embezzlement of
more than $20,000 is a 10-year felony while embezzlement of less than
$20,000 is a five-year felony. However, Carlson said prosecutors were able
to document the amount, meaning there was little point in moving forward
with a trial. Carlson said his client was addicted to gambling and she
finally came forward to ease her troubled conscience. "She showed up at jail
before (police) were even aware of the crime and said 'Arrest me,' " Carlson
said. Osech is scheduled to be sentenced March 28. In the meantime, she
remains free on $5,000 bond.

Attorney says losses at casinos may be addressed in talks

 

Frequent gambling losses at area casinos apparently led Chargers safety
Terrence Kiel to seek other means of income, including the shipping of
codeine-based cough syrup that got him arrested last year, law enforcement
authorities said. Officials were told in their investigation that gambling
is "exactly what caused the problem, that he was in over his head because he
gambles too much," San Diego Deputy District Attorney Damon Mosler said.
Kiel, 26, is due in court today for a trial readiness hearing on five felony
charges related to the cough syrup matter. Kiel's attorney, Bob Grimes, said
he hoped to reach a deal with prosecutors and the judge, and that it could
include Kiel's addressing of the gambling issue. "The issue of gambling may
be addressed," Grimes said. "But we don't know for sure. That's one of the
things that could be part of the deal or it could not be." Law enforcement
sources said gambling was suspected because selling codeine-based cough
syrup isn't very lucrative and that records show Kiel had dozens of cash
transactions of at least $10,000 each at area casinos. Grimes declined to
address the specifics of the gambling issue. Kiel also has been under
investigation by Immigration and Customs Enforcement for transactions
involving counterfeit Nike shoes from China. Grimes said he didn't expect
charges in that case. Said General Manager A.J. Smith: "We are very much
aware of Terrence's personal and legal situation. We think it's best he
addresses them, not us." While Kiel has one year remaining on his contract,
it appears unlikely he will return to the Chargers in 2007.
Smith would not address whether Kiel would be a Charger beyond this month,
but he said recently in response to a question about Kiel's status with the
team: "We've had a lot of problems this year, and we'll clean up a little
bit of our mess." Gambling issues with players long have been a concern for
the NFL, which considers them a threat to its security and integrity. Kiel's
salary was $460,000 last year, his fourth with the Chargers. He signed a
six-year, $3.71 million contract as a rookie, which included a $1.25 million
signing bonus. Mosler said prosecutors and the judge could ask Kiel to do
community service as part of any deal that is reached. Such community
service could include speaking on the dangers of drugs or gambling. "The
idea is not to see him again," Mosler said.

Records show Kiel has struggled with financial problems in the past year. On
Sept. 7, a notice of default was filed by a loan corporation against Kiel,
seeking payment of $16,610 from a $591,634 mortgage. The property no longer
is being foreclosed. In 2005, Kiel obtained a $50,000 home equity line of
credit. When $49,438 became due, Kiel "refused to pay," according to the
lender. The case was settled in April.

Prosecutors allege Kiel was illegally obtaining codeine-based cough syrup
from a friend, Hope Devina Vines, who worked at a San Diego pharmacy and was
stealing it from her employer. Vines, a licensed pharmacy technician at
Sharp Rees-Stealy in San Diego, has been arrested on felony charges of theft
and possession of a controlled substance in connection with the case. Kiel
and Vines have pleaded not guilty and both are expected in court today.

Kiel was arrested in September after Drug Enforcement Administration agents
intercepted two express mail packages containing 18 pint bottles full of the
drug. Authorities said Kiel admitted to shipping the cough syrup to his
native Texas, where it can sell for up to $325 on the street and where it is
mixed with soft drinks.

In an unrelated matter, the San Diego city attorney's office has charged
Kiel with public urination, a violation of the municipal code. Police cited
Kiel in the Gaslamp Quarter in December.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Jonah Goldberg's Gambling Debt: Will Tribune Company Pay It?

 

The two-year period comes due this Thursday. Even Goldberg now realizes his
prediction was totally wrong -- with poll after poll showing most Americans
do not "agree that the war was worth it." So shouldn't Goldberg -- or
somebody -- pay off the $1,000? The bet was offered near the end of an
overheated blogo-debate between Goldberg and Dr. Juan Cole, the Middle East
scholar from University of Michigan. In proposing the wager to Cole,
Goldberg goaded: "Money where your mouth is, doc. One caveat: Because I
don't think it's right to bet on such serious matters for personal gain, if
I win, I'll donate the money to the USO." Cole reacted to the proposed bet
with disgust -- calling it symbolic of "the neo-imperial American Right.
They are making their own fortunes with a wager on the fates of others, whom
they are treating like ants." Wrote Cole: "Here we have a prominent American
media star ... betting on Iraqis as though they are greyhounds in a race."
Just before Goldberg proposed his bet to Cole, the professor had fumed:
"Goldberg is just a dime-a-dozen pundit. Cranky rich people hire
sharp-tongued and relatively uninformed young people all the time and put
them on the mass media to badmouth the poor, spread bigotry, exalt mindless
militarism, promote anti-intellectualism, and ensure that right-wing views
come to predominate." "Relatively uninformed" seemed accurate to me, but I
wondered about the "mindless militarism" charge -- although I knew Goldberg
was one of dozens of pundits who mindlessly cheered on the Iraq invasion
(and suffered no consequences). Then I saw a 2003 column in which Goldberg
wrote of "bombing Afghanistan forward into the stone age" and relished this
anecdote: In the weeks prior to the war to liberate Afghanistan, a good
friend of mine would ask me almost every day, "Why aren't we killing people
yet?" And I never had a good answer for him. Because one of the most
important and vital things the United States could do after 9/11 was to kill
people. Since Goldberg felt compelled to tell us -- as he gallantly offered
the $1,000 bet -- that it was money he "can hardly spare right now," you may
wonder about his ability to pay. A look at his bio shows that Goldberg has
had a high-flying career in mainstream media -- from CNN contributor to PBS
producer to USA Today Board of Contributors. (Full disclosure: In 2000, he
and I wrote relatively-friendly point/counterpoint columns for Brill's
Content.) One would think he could easily afford $1,000, especially for a
charity like the USO.

But who knows -- maybe Goldberg has racked up huge gambling debts from
ignorant wagers like the one tendered to Cole.

So I have a solution. Let the Tribune media conglomerate pay the $1,000. Not
only does Tribune syndicate Goldberg's column, it was Tribune's Los Angeles
Times that added the analytically-impaired Goldberg to its columnist roster
in November 2005 -- at the same time it fired renowned columnist Robert
Scheer, whose Iraq analysis had been breathtakingly accurate.

Despite financial upheavals, the highly-profitable Tribune Company has
plenty of money, as it lays off journalists en masse and squeezes the life
out once proud newspapers like the L.A. Times.

Professor Cole may be right to dismiss Jonah Goldberg as a "dime-a-dozen
pundit." But it's time to hold media corporations like Tribune responsible
for elevating the Goldbergs and their reckless predictions -- as they
strangle newspapers and silence serious journalists like Bob Scheer.

Launch of New Poker Rooms Shows Internet Gambling Industry Still Booming

 

The launch of two high-profile online gambling sites over the few weeks has
provided further evidence that the online gambling industry, far from
crumbling in the wake of the UIGEA, is still as strong as ever. The highest
profile launch was that of Playboy Gaming, whose investment in the market
shows that even established big-name brands are confident in the future of
the industry. As one would expect, Playboy Gaming offers perks such as the
chance to win a trip Hugh Heffner's Playboy Mansion or the option to watch
Playmate videos at the same time as using the poker room or casino. Visit
Playboy Poker and Playboy Casino. The other big launch has been that of
GNUF.com, an online gambling community billed as a mix of MySpace and Vegas.
Here punters have access to all the usual casino and poker games but also
have the chance to set up their own profile, upload videos or pictures,
write a blog, and join in forum debates. Visit GNUF Poker and GNUF Casino.
Meanwhile the pre-existing online poker rooms have been moving from strength
to strength since the immediate aftermath of the Unlawful Internet Gambling
Enforcement Act (UIGEA) was passed in October 2006. Statistics from
WhichPoker.com show that PokerStars, which has remained open to US
customers, has become the world's biggest poker room, pulling in nearly
20,000 real-money players at peak times, compared to roughly 10,000 before
the UIGEA forced PartyPoker and others from the US market. Full Tilt, Bodog
and UltimateBet have also prospered by remaining open to US gamblers. But
it's not just those who stayed in the US who have been doing well.
PartyPoker, which saw its player numbers fall by over 50 percent in the
immediate aftermath of the UIGEA, has been recovering strongly. Player
numbers are up by over 60 percent since October according to WhichPoker.com,
with PartyPoker breaking the 10,000 mark regularly over the last few weeks.
All this is good news for the online gambling industry, which looked as if
it might struggle in the wake of the UIGEA. The launch of two new
gambling/poker sites, along with the booming figures from online poker rooms
is emphatic evidence that online gambling is here to stay, with or without
the US.

Group urges 'smart cards' to curb problem gambling

 

The Provincial Cities Association says 'smart cards' should replace cash at
poker machines around South Australia to stop problem gambling. The
association's chairwoman, Mayor Joy Baluch, says the cards would have a
daily credit limit. Councillor Baluch says a study commissioned by the
association shows a reduction in gaming machine numbers has not curbed
problem gambling. She says if the State Government was serious about the
issue, it would introduce smart cards for gaming machines. "My understanding
is anyone who wants to gamble would have to have a smart card, so dispense
with any cash," she said. "But we've got to get the Government or at least
the Parliament at least to introduce these - we could be the leader in
Australia on this issue." The Minister for Gambling, Paul Caica, says smart
cards are one of many methods that may reduce problem gambling. But he says
the State Government is looking at a range of measures. "There's a host of
what I believe are potentially effective measures for reducing the impacts
of problem gambling," he said. "To that extent I have established the
Responsible Gambling Working Party to provide me with their views about ways
for which we can implement effective measures to reduce problem gambling."

House supports allowing some gambling in bars, eateries

 

Patrons in Wyoming bars and restaurants could once again belly up to a
friendly game of cards under legislation that passed the House on first
reading Tuesday.
The House gave initial approval to a gambling bill that would exclude from
the definition of gambling "profits" the money that bars and restaurants
receive from selling drinks and food to their gambling patrons. Attorney
General Pat Crank effectively banned poker games from public establishments
when he issued an opinion in 2004 finding that gambling in bars violated the
state's gambling law. Crank said such games are illegal because they allow
establishments to profit from gambling, even if that profit is just from
increased business. Rep. Pat Childers, R-Cody, chairman of the House Travel,
Recreation, Wildlife and Cultural Resources Committee, urged the House to
approve the bill. The House gave initial approval to a gambling bill that
would exclude from the definition of gambling "profits" the money that bars
and restaurants receive from selling drinks and food to their gambling
patrons. Attorney General Pat Crank effectively banned poker games from
public establishments when he issued an opinion in 2004 finding that
gambling in bars violated the state's gambling law. Crank said such games
are illegal because they allow establishments to profit from gambling, even
if that profit is just from increased business. Rep. Pat Childers, R-Cody,
chairman of the House Travel, Recreation, Wildlife and Cultural Resources
Committee, urged the House to approve the bill. In addition to the language
allowing gambling in establishments, the bill would prohibit electronic
bingo machines except for players who have disabilities that prohibit them
from using paper or hard cards. The Wyoming Supreme Court ruled early last
year that electronic bingo machines that had been used at two Fraternal
Order of Eagles Clubs were illegal gambling machines. Childers said the bill
would also address the AG's opinion that bar owners or others who were
putting on games amounted to professional gamblers. "By no means is this
bill intended to expand gambling," Childers said. "What it does is more
narrowly define what it is currently allowed under the statutes." Rep. Dan
Dockstader, R-Afton, questioned whether the bill promoted gambling. "In a
sense, aren't we expanding gambling opportunities, by mixing it in with
business opportunity for food and drink?" Dockstader asked. "I think
essentially this language is just an effort to overturn an attorney
general's opinion," Dockstader said. Lynn Birleffi, secretary of the Wyoming
Lodging and Restaurant Association, said after the vote that her
organization supports the proposed legislation.

"It just gets rid of this gray area," Birleffi said. "If your customers want
to play poker, they can't even do that."

Birleffi said allowing patrons to gamble in bars and restaurants is a
tradition in Wyoming.

"It's the way things have been," Birleffi said. "Any place that has a Texas
Hold 'em poker night, or private clubs, it's just the way things have been."

WTO rules against US in online gambling suit

 

The World Trade Organisation (WTO) has ruled against the US in an online
gambling dispute with the Caribbean island of Antigua and Barbuda.
Out-Law.com notes that although the ruling is still private, it has been
reported that the WTO has found the US guilty of not complying with a 2005
order in the case. Antigua and Barbuda has built up a significant Internet
gambling industry to replace falling tourist revenue and took the US to the
WTO.

West Virginia gambling revenue plan proposed

 

"The state's take on any prospective table gambling revenue should be used
to pay off West Virginia's pension debts, said House Majority Leader Joe
DeLong, D-Hancock. "'My concern about the table gambling bill is about how
the money is being appropriated,' DeLong said. ' ".The table gambling bill
currently before lawmakers will be discussed by the House Judiciary
Committee on Thursday. "The legislation presently states that racetracks'
net profits on table gambling would be taxed at a state rate of 24 percent.
The West Virginia Lottery Commission speculates that table gambling will
generate a total of $40 million annually in state tax revenue. "Of this $40
million, 82.5 percent would be directed to West Virginia's general fund.
".West Virginia's pension debts include an $8 billion unfunded liability in
the Public Employees Insurance Agency."

Monday, February 12, 2007

Go ahead for casinos to recover RM7.1m gambling debts from former CM

 

The Court of Appeal here today allowed the appeal with costs by two foreign casinos to recover RM7.1 million gambling debts owed by former Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Seri Osu Sukam. The three-man bench, Justices Datuk James Foong, Datuk Abd Hamid Embong and Datuk Mohamad Raus Sharrif held the High Court judge was wrong to conclude that to register the English High Court judgment in pursuant to Section 5 (1) (a) (v) of the Reciprocal Enforcement of the Judgement Act 1958 was against public policy in Malaysia. The judges also dismissed the cross appeal with costs by the respondent's counsel Sugumar Balakrishnan. A representative for the appellants, London-based Ritz Hotel Casino Limited's compliance director Alexa Brummer was elated when leading judge, Foong, read the judgment. She was accompanied by an instructing solicitor from Kuala Lumpur Ruben Mathiavaranam. Osu was not present, reports Bernama. The casinos Ritz Hotel Casino and RHC Limited were represented by counsel Colin Lau. Following a judgment obtained by the English High Court whereby the respondent failed to appear in the London Court over a bounced cheque he issued to the casino in 2002, the appellants made an application to register the judgment in the High Court of Sabah and Sarawak on Sept 13, 2004. However, on July 5, 2005, High Court judge Datuk Ian H.C. Chin, here, dismissed the application by the casinos to enforce the judgment against Osu for RM7,142,859.98 in gambling debts.

Priests cry out against gambling

 

WITH BARBADIANS and visitors spending $200 - in some cases much more - in Mega 6 tickets to win the $2.5 million jackpot, some priests have come out and condemned the gambling fever now sweeping the island. "It is evil and should be avoided," said Father Harcourt Blackett on Sunday in a telephone interview. The Roman Catholic cleric said that the "seriously" addictive behaviour had led to the break-up of families and ruined a good few lives. "It isn't just the poor people who become addicted; every one across the social strata has," he said. Blackett said that because of people's addiction, they were some who borrowed to play and then could not pay back which in turn led to threats and violence. President of the Barbados Evangelical Association (BEA), Reverend Dr Nigel Taylor, simply said gambling was destructive. Noting that his organisation had not conducted any scientific surveys on the effects of gambling, he said it promoted greed, caused family neglect, was a wastage of money that could be used for productive purposes and promoted gains by a few at the expense of all the other players. "The BEA wishes to repudiate the claim being made in some quarters that the church has been silent on the matter of gambling and the ills associated therewith. "The membership of BEA has always spoken out from its more than 300 pulpits against the practices of gambling for many years. Because some Christian churches have tolerated some of the less harmful games, such as raffles, in no way means that the church in general approves and sanctions lotteries and casinos," he said. Pastor Lennox Boyce, from the Silver Sands Church of God, said Barbadians were practically throwing their money away going after the big jackpot. He saw gambling as "the wasting of a God-given resource".

Expanded gambling bad bet for Bay State

 

Nothing in this world can be said to be certain, Ben Franklin noted in a letter to a friend, except death and taxes. And, he should have noted, there's one more thing: Every new governor of Massachusetts looks at casino gambling as a potential source of revenue. Daniel O'Connell, the state's secretary of housing and economic development, confirmed in an interview with The Republican that Gov. Deval L. Patrick plans to create a commission to study whether Massachusetts should legalize casino gambling. O'Connell said the commission will have members from different parts of the state, including someone from Western Massachusetts. Here's a suggestion: Put some slot machines in Richmond. Think of all the jobs it would create for neighboring Pittsfield, where the unemployment rate is 5 percent. And the governor could stop in and drop a few coins in the machines on his way to his spacious vacation home in Richmond. But first, here's another suggestion: Check with Attorney General Martha Coakley before doing anything. She cautions that the state might be creating an environment for crime to prosper if it expands gambling. As the state's top law enforcement officer, her opinion is important. "I have no moral compunction against it," she told reporters last week. "I just think that people always see it as the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. And I'm here to say, as someone who's been a prosecutor ... the pot doesn't have as much gold in it as people think." With the promise of huge payoffs in revenue and jobs, it is certainly tempting. Yet it would be dangerous to mistake casinos for economic development. For one, the jobs and revenue would come much too late to help the governor with his deficit, which he estimates at $1 billion. More important, giving the people of Massachusetts a place to gamble because the state can use the revenue is no different than urging people to smoke because the state can use the revenue from the cigarette tax. The governor should focus his energies on what can be done to discourage businesses from leaving Massachusetts, and what can be done to help businesses here expand.

Tribes: Site won't be used for gambling

 

American Indian tribes and preservationists trying to buy Valmont Butte from the city of Boulder say they have absolutely no intention to turn it into a gambling site. Boulder City Attorney Ariel Calonne said he can't rule out the possibility that tribes could assert sovereignty and override any deed restrictions placed upon the property. But, he said, the tribes wouldn't have an easy path toward asserting sovereignty over the land, which would require it to be placed in trust by the federal secretary of the interior. The key question is whether tribes have any desire to look at gambling, said Steve Moore, who's serving on the Valmont Butte Heritage Alliance board as a member of the Colorado Commission on Indian Affairs. And the answer to that question is an emphatic "no," he said.

Whisky, porn CDs, cash seized in police raid on City gambling den; Family probed for 'throwing' maid from balcony

 

Acting on information and armed with a search and arrest warrant, police raided an office of a well-known general trading and contracting company in downtown Kuwait City and arrested 4 men -- three Indians and a Bangladeshi - for using the office as a gambling den, reports Al-Watan daily. During the raid police also seized from the men 72 bottles of whisky packed in four cartons, porno films and thousands of dinars in cash. Police have also seized a roulette machine used in gambling. Meanwhile the Al-Rai daily said police also raided an Arabic house in Khaitan and arrested 32 Asian gamblers and seized from them KD 1,650. It has been reported most of them are residence law violators. Family probed in maid death: Police have detained an Egyptian family for interrogation for allegedly pushing to death an Indian maid, identified only as Teety, from the balcony of their apartment in Farwaniya, reports Al-Watan daily. The daily quoting a security source said the Egyptian sponsor, after allegedly pushing the 29-year-old maid to her death, called the Operations Department of the Ministry of Interior and reported that his maid had jumped from the balcony of the apartment in an apparent attempt to end her life. The maid who survived the fall was rushed to a hospital. However, she died a short time later. The family was detained for interrogation after an unidentified nurse at the hospital told the hospital interrogator that the victim before her death said she was being tortured by her sponsor and thrown down from the balcony of the apartment. Kuwaiti rescued from burning car: Timely arrival of police saved the life of a Kuwaiti man who was refusing to get out of his burning car, reports Al-Watan daily. The daily quoting a security source said several motorists called the Operations Department of the Ministry of Interior when the man locked the car from inside the car after the vehicle caught fire on Maghreb Expressway and refused to open the door. Police rushed to the car, broke side glass of the vehicle and pulled the man out to safety against his will. The daily did not give more details but from the man's behavior it has become apparent he wanted to end his life. Journalist's brother stabbed: The brother of an unidentified journalist has been admitted to a hospital in critical condition with nine stab wounds on various parts of his body, reports Al-Qabas daily. The daily quoting a reliable security source said it was the case of a mistaken identity. The suspects believed to be brothers of an unidentified member of the National Assembly lay in wait for the victim and thinking it was a journalist who had criticized their brother in his articles pounced on him, stabbed him and escaped leaving the man in a pool of blood. The daily did not give more details. However, it is believed police are investigating the incident. Gang of thieves nabbed: Salmiya securitymen arrested a gang of four people - a Kuwaiti, Iranian, Saudi and a Jordanian - for robbing shops in Salmiya and Farwaniya areas says Al-Seyassah. Hawally Security Department, on receiving information about the gang, put them under surveillance and found that they specialized in robbing mobile shops and groceries. The gang resided in Salmiya area and securitymen laid a trap to arrest them. All four confessed their crimes and have been referred to Public Prosecution for further interrogation.

15 residence violators held: During a crackdown on vice and residence law violators in Farwaniya, police have arrested 15 hawkers - Asians and Arabs - for violating residence laws, reports Al-Rai daily. Police also seized from them a quantity of foodstuff, clothes, and several various types of goods including toys and referred them to the authorities.

Maid injured in escape bid: An Indonesian maid, whose identity has not been disclosed, has been admitted to the Mubarak Al-Kabeer hospital with serious injuries and broken limbs, reports Al-Anba daily. A reliable security source, quoting the maid's sponsor, told the daily the maid fell from the third floor apartment while attempting to climb down with the help of a 'rope' made of bed sheets in an attempt to escape from his home. The rope allegedly snapped when the maid was halfway and fell in the building compound. However, police said to be waiting for the maid to recover to take her statement.

Kuwaitis victim of police brutality: Two Kuwaitis recently complained to the Al-Watan daily how some securitymen tortured them for no reason, reports Al-Watan daily. One of the victims said he was visiting his friend and suddenly police barged into the home and accused them of possessing and consuming alcohol and drugs. According to the victims police raided their home without a warrant from the Public Prosecution. However, they were taken to the Rumaithiya Police Station and detained for four days. They claimed they were tortured by police in a vain attempt to force them to confess to the charge under duress.

Officers at the police station are also said to have threatened to cause them harm if they reported the incident. The men also told the daily police failed to find either drugs or alcohol in the house or were there any traces of drug or alcohol consumption. Moreover, when they were referred to Forensics a test showed negative results. The victims have filed complaints with the General Department for Interrogation and the Public Prosecutor has been informed about the incident.

Stray horse causes road panic: Traffic on the Fahaheel Expressway was disrupted for some time after a horse which had escaped from a farm caused panic among motorists, reports Al-Anba daily. It has been reported the horse was also responsible for a two-vehicle collision. Securitymen rushed to the spot, caught the horse and restored the traffic flow. Police are looking for the owner of the horse.

Indian found dead in lorry: Police are investigating the death of an unidentified Indian man whose partially decomposed remains were found in the back of a half lorry at an unidentified location in Jleeb Al-Shuyoukh, reports Al-Anba daily. Initial Forensic report showed the man, who was wanted by law for allegedly trading in liquor, died five days ago.

4 men detained over gambling in Kg Ayer

 

Officers from the Gambling and Anti-Vice Unit of the Criminal Investigation Department, Royal Brunei Police Force, acting on a tip off, conducted an inspection at a house in Kg Ayer where they detained four local men on suspicion of involvement in gambling activities. Police confiscated notebooks believed to be used to record 4-digit lottery debts, three mobile phones and over B$4,000 in cash believed to be the money collected from the 4-digit lottery operation. Under the Common Gaming House Act, the suspects could be fined $5,000 and imprisoned for 12 months. Meanwhile, on Sunday night, the Gambling and Anti-Vice Unit raided a room at a hotel in the capital where they found a female foreign national in a compromising situation with a man, believed to be her client. Officers also found on her $150 believed to be proceeds from prostitution.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Barkley's chronic gambling continues

 

Charles Barkley said Monday that he won "about $700,000" gambling in Las Vegas over the weekend. "That was all profit (from) blackjack and I bet on the Super Bowl. I had the Colts," Barkley said in an interview with Phoenix television station KTVK. "I played a lot of blackjack." Barkley did not say how much be bet on Sunday's game in which Indianapolis beat the Chicago Bears 29-17 in Miami. In an ESPN interview in May 2006, Barkley estimated that he'd lost about $10 million gambling over the years. He said Monday that he lost $2.5 million "in a six-hour period" one night last year. "It's a stupid, bad habit. I have a problem," Barkley said. "But the problem is when you can't afford it. I can afford to gamble. I didn't kill myself when I lost two and half million dollars... I like to gamble and I'm not going to quit." Barkley, who lives in the Phoenix area, was elected to the Hall of Fame last year. He averaged 22.1 points and nearly 12 rebounds in a 16-year career that included stops in Philadelphia, Phoenix and Houston. He was the league's MVP in 1993 with the Suns, and he won gold at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics as part of the original U.S. Dream Team.

Gambling survey profiles Mass. casino gamblers

 

BOSTON A survey finds nearly seven (m) million Massachusetts residents visited Connecticut casinos in the past year. The figures released today by the U-Mass-Dartmouth Center for Policy Analysis are part of a study of New England residents' attitudes toward gambling. It finds that 36 percent of all Foxwoods patrons and 21 percent of all Mohegan Sun visitors are from Massachusetts. Overall, one-in-four Bay State residents say they went to one of the Connecticut casinos in the past year. The survey has a margin of error of six-point-seven percent. The U-Mass researchers released the results of another survey last week that found 57 percent of Massachusetts residents polled would support the authorization of casino gambling in the state.

Gambling is an ugly addiction for more than 1.2 million Californians

 

After Nick Colangelo won more than $110,000 on a $2 slot machine bet in July, the 47-year-old Fontana man paid off his car and truck and even invested in the stock market. But his winnings "created a monster," Colangelo says. He returned to Highland's San Manuel casino less than two days after the jackpot and has since lost $20,000 by gambling regularly. He lost more than $9,000 in December alone. He had to use a credit card to pay his January rent, and his financial losses have put him at risk of losing his carpeting business. "I've never tried heroin, but I think this is worse," Colangelo said.

Gambling 'kingpin' John Neal gets 2 years

 

A federal judge is convinced that John Neal returned to his role as the "invisible ... kingpin" of a multi-county video gambling enterprise shortly after being freed from prison. As a result of violating the conditions of his supervised release, the 69-year-old Delaware County resident will be imprisoned for two more years. "It's simply a shell game, a clumsy sleight of hand," U.S. District Judge John Tinder said Monday of Neal's attempt to hide his control of the gambling operation. "It's as though I'm re-hearing the same case from 2000." Neal was freed from prison on April 19, 2004, after serving 85 percent of a 42-month prison term for operating an illegal gambling business, conspiracy to defraud the IRS and money laundering. After his imprisonment, Neal was placed on three years of supervision by federal probation officers. Probably while he was still in prison, but certainly after his release, Neal headed a video gambling business that operated out of two dozen taverns in Delaware, Madison and Henry counties, according to assistant U.S. Attorney Christina McKee. This past September, an investigation by state excise and Anderson police culminated in a search of Neal's rural Yorktown home, where investigators found $1.5 million in safes and a desk drawer. Neal was jailed in Madison County on charges of video gambling, money laundering and corrupt business influence. Authorities also seized $1.4 million from Neal's bank accounts. Neal had told federal probation officers that he was receiving $71,160 a year in pension payments as the former head of the Teamsters union in Indiana. He admittedly lied to probation officers about his other income. Neither Neal nor his attorney explained to the judge where that other money came from. Because there can't be a probation officer in every tavern, the government expected Neal to truthfully report his income, which he lied about "month after month after month," the judge said. Excise police followed the money to Neal. "Follow the money," the judge said. "It's all over his house. I can infer by that fact alone" that it was illegally derived. "Cash was rolling in by the barrel." Neal had returned to video gambling "with a vengeance" after prison, said the judge, who accused the defendant of "laughing his way through supervised release," acting as a "puppet master" and "thumbing his nose at the law, at law enforcement and at this court." "In his view, he can walk all over the law," Tinder said. "It's stunning, shocking. He was inspirational to others in a negative way."

Bill to Fund Roads Through Gambling Advances in Senate

 

The Virginia Senate gave preliminary approval yesterday to a measure that would allow Colonial Downs, the horse racing track east of Richmond, to offer a new form of off-track gambling that would generate as much as $300 million annually that could be directed toward transportation needs. A similar measure was defeated last week in the House. But the idea is sure to resurface as lawmakers work toward striking a transportation deal this session. Del. John S. Reid (R-Henrico), who pushed the measure to a vote on the House floor, said the relatively close 54 to 42 vote shows that lawmakers should continue to look at the gambling bill to help pay for transportation improvements. Gov. Timothy M. Kaine (D) has said that he has not ruled out supporting the gambling bill.

Art contest focuses on gambling

 

Oregon middle-school students are invited to enter artwork for a 2008 calendar that will be used to increase problem gambling awareness. An estimated 75,000 adult Oregonians experience problems related to their gambling, which also impacts children and families. "This is a chance for students both to learn more about the risks of gambling and to capture the attention of parents and educators who may not have problem gambling on their radar as a health issue to look out for," said Jeff Marotta, problem gambling services manager in the state Department of Human Services. Teachers are invited to encourage students to participate during Oregon Problem Gambling Awareness Week, March 5-11. Gift certificates ranging from $25 to $100 will be awarded to 12 students and two teachers. Artwork should be entered on white, letter-size paper with the name of the student artist, grade level, school and teacher's name on the back. Entries should be submitted to DHS's Greta Coe at 500 N.E. Summer St., N.E., E-86, Salem, OR 97301.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Washington Gambling Commission considering expansion by Spokane tribe

 

OLYMPIA, Wash. The state Gambling Commission meets Friday in Olympia to consider an agreement with the Spokane tribe. The deal would allow the tribe to offer as many as 47-hundred slot machines at five casinos. State lawmakers are concerned that other tribes in Washington will seek the same expansion of gambling. Tribal officials say it would be a refinement of agreements reached after the 1988 federal Indian Gaming Regulatory Act.

Don't be a loser by gambling

 

Some of you may have done well last night, and are rejoicing to the heavens. And others -- maybe you're trying to bury your head in the sand. Why? You either won a load of cash or you're dead broke from betting on the Super Bowl. Whether you won or lost, you must beware of a disease that is plaguing men across the country: Gambling addiction. I know, it's in our nature to take risks. But we need to start thinking with our heads -- and not our hearts -- when it comes to rooting for our favorite teams. Anything can happen throughout the course of a football game, as we saw last night in the Super Bowl. And if you already have a history of making bad picks and losing money that should've have gone toward your mortgage, you need help. Gambling effects - A Web site by the Los Angeles-based Gamblers Anonymous International reports that there are a number of reasons why men gamble. Some men gamble for the high, the crack, the action. For others gambling covers over problems of depression, panic attacks, mania, drug and alcohol abuse. The group said most men start off as casual social gamblers. These individuals typically gamble for enjoyment, and it doesn't affect any major areas in their lives. But they still risk becoming compulsive/pathological gamblers -- someone who loses control of their gambling habits. If untreated, their gambling behavior would lead to loss of hope, and even imprisonment.

Here are five tips on how to curb your gambling addiction, according to Gamblers Anonymous International:

* Avoid the venue. Find other interesting hobbies to enjoy during the times when you tend to gamble.

* Limit the availability of your cash. Arrange to have daily withdrawal limits on your bank account, set up a joint account that requires two signatures or pay bills electronically.

* Manage stress. Exercise regularly, or do things that enable you to relax such as listening to music and hanging out with friends. (Of course, avoid the ones who gamble.)

* Keep a record. A diary could help you understand your gambling activities, identify trends and patterns. For example, you might go gambling when you feel bored or depressed, or when you need money.

Christians Unsure If Day Trading Is Gambling According To ChristiaNet Poll

 

ChristiaNet.com the world's largest Christian portal with twelve million monthly page loads, recently polled reader's on the question, "Is day trading on the stock market gambling?" The majority was unsure but some of the participants felt that it is gambling since you can win or lose. One respondent wrote, "It's like a game of chance." The people who felt that trading is wrong overall seemed to agree that the Bible warns against foolish spending and as Christians we should be investing in the Kingdom of God, avoiding temptation because greed is never satisfied. Out of 291 polled, 94 felt that day trading was a form of gambling. 128 of the respondents were unsure and many stated that they didn't have sufficient knowledge about it to comment while others felt that it was a personal choice. Some participants seemed to have mixed feelings on whether it is investing money wisely since the results are uncertain and Christians considering this type of investing should do some research on it or rely on a broker who knows more. Sixty-nine people did not feel that there was anything wrong with it. One person commented, "All investments are a gamble and we are told to invest our money and be wise stewards." One participant leaned towards the Bible scripture of the good servant who turned 5 coins into 10. A few of the respondents stressed that one's attitude is what matters most because of the temptation of greed. One person argued that it isn't taking a chance because there is a calculated way to invest and if a person has enough knowledge about it they can be successful.

Will gambling raids return in La Salle County? Don't bet on it

 

There are sights you just don't see anymore in La Salle County. For example: In the 1950s, La Salle County State's Attorney Harland Warren brought the hammer down on gambling in the county. One day during that time, he and one of his assistants, Craig Armstrong, raided Becker & Currie's Cigar Store in Peru, where sporting gentlemen took pleasure in placing wagers upon such elegant games of chance as craps. Warren and Armstrong, who both served in World War II, rousted about 20 gamblers and lined them up military-style in two columns on the sidewalk in front of the joint. They then marched the sad sack gamblers to the cop shop a few blocks away, as if the group was a platoon of recruits. But such sights are a thing of the past. The good old-fashioned La Salle County gambling raid has gone the way of the Dodo bird, rotary dial phones and leisure suits. The last time there was a gambling raid in these parts was April 1996 -- that's pre-Google to show how long ago that was. Since then, there have been only a handful of minor, accidental gambling charges, such as when police make a traffic stop and find pull tabs. But gone are bona fide police-barging-in-with-search warrant raids. Today is a good time to talk about gambling raids -- or the lack thereof -- in the county, because we're in between the biggest wagering days of the year, Super Bowl Sunday and the March 11 NCAA March Madness basketball picks. Gambling raids were common in these parts through the mid-1990s -- almost as regular as milk deliveries from Pitstick Dairy. It's not that there aren't any gambling dens to raid anymore in the county. There are plenty, with some towns or their outskirts having more than others. In the past, raids were often spearheaded by outside killjoys, such as the FBI, the Internal Revenue Service and the State Liquor Control Commission. Local agencies also made raids on their own, too. In particular, Ottawa Police hassled gamblers in the early 1990s, often in response to complaints from the relatives of bad luck gamblers who had blown paychecks on too few jacks or too many lemons. In 2007, police at every level have greater priorities than swinging axes at video poker machines -- those priorities namely being drugs and on the federal level in particular, terrorism.

INTERNET LAW - ONLINE GAMBLING AND ITS TAXATION IN HUNGARY

 

Several different types of gambling are conducted through the Internet in Hungary, and they are taxed depending on the type of operation. Gambling is legal in Hungary. Online gambling organizers in Hungary are required to file tax returns and pay taxes on the basis of self-assessment. The tax rates vary for different types of gambling operations, including: a casino, money-winning and gambling machines, draws, and continuously organized totalizer-type betting. Online gambling is treated as a service, and any such service provided from the territory of Hungary, through any mode of communication equipment or networks, is required to be carried out under the provisions of Act XXXIV of 1991. In Hungary, a game tax is applicable to income derived from casinos, money-winning and gambling machines, draws, and continuously organized totalizer-type betting. The mode of application of the tax and its rate vary. In Hungary, all online gambling organizers are obligated to file tax returns and pay game taxes on the basis of self-assessment. The main objective of Act XXXIV of 1991 is to organize gambling activities, thereby preventing unlicensed gambling. The Act controls the activities of gambling organizations.

Gambling survey profiles N.H. casino gamblers

 

CONCORD, N.H. A survey finds about one-in-five New Hampshire residents visited Connecticut casinos in the past year. The figures released today by the U-Mass-Dartmouth Center for Policy Analysis are part of a study of New England residents' attitudes toward gambling. In a survey of 220 New Hampshire residents between September and November last year, 19 percent of respondents said they'd visited the Foxwoods or Mohegan Sun casinos in the last twelve months. It reports that the majority of New Hampshire visitors are 30 or older, have some college education, and 62 percent are women. New Hampshire gamblers make up just two or three percent of all Connecticut casino visitors. The survey has a margin of error of six-point-seven percent. The same survey last year reported that in 2005, New Hampshire gamblers spent 73 (M) million dollars at the casinos.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Online Gambling: Are We All Gambling Criminals?

 

MILLIONS OF Americans have engaged in criminal behavior leading up to today's Super Bowl. You know who you are - those of you outside Nevada who placed bets on the Indianapolis Colts or Chicago Bears. It's estimated that about $5 billion will be on the line this afternoon in a nation in which even office pools are technically illegal in some states. President Bush in October signed the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act, a law intended to resolve any ambiguities about the unlawfulness of placing bets online. Although most fans in the free world can place bets with regulated online casinos, U.S. law enforcement has been busy cracking down on the heinous crime, going after enabling credit card companies, detaining those who run legal foreign online sites if they deign to enter the country and subpoenaing major Wall Street investment banks involved in overseas initial public offerings of online casinos. It's another brazen attempt to extent prudish American mores to other jurisdictions. One bemused Las Vegas sports handicapper told the Wall Street Journal last week that the ban on Internet gambling should be renamed the "Sopranos Support Bill," because the main beneficiaries of keeping closely regulated casinos from doing business online are bookies. Instead of protecting consumers and raising tax revenue from this popular entertainment, the government is protecting the turf of unsavory bookies, many of whom have ties to organized crime. The gambling crackdown is part of a broader trend of a paternalist state protecting citizens from themselves, curtailing their freedoms in the process. We live in a nation still engaged in a war on terror and in a city struggling with escalating gang violence, yet precious law enforcement resources are being spent on prosecuting morality. But, for today, enjoy the game while pretending you don't know the spread. After all, that could prove incriminating.

Online Gambling: Are We All Gambling Criminals?

 

MILLIONS OF Americans have engaged in criminal behavior leading up to today's Super Bowl. You know who you are - those of you outside Nevada who placed bets on the Indianapolis Colts or Chicago Bears. It's estimated that about $5 billion will be on the line this afternoon in a nation in which even office pools are technically illegal in some states. President Bush in October signed the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act, a law intended to resolve any ambiguities about the unlawfulness of placing bets online. Although most fans in the free world can place bets with regulated online casinos, U.S. law enforcement has been busy cracking down on the heinous crime, going after enabling credit card companies, detaining those who run legal foreign online sites if they deign to enter the country and subpoenaing major Wall Street investment banks involved in overseas initial public offerings of online casinos. It's another brazen attempt to extent prudish American mores to other jurisdictions. One bemused Las Vegas sports handicapper told the Wall Street Journal last week that the ban on Internet gambling should be renamed the "Sopranos Support Bill," because the main beneficiaries of keeping closely regulated casinos from doing business online are bookies. Instead of protecting consumers and raising tax revenue from this popular entertainment, the government is protecting the turf of unsavory bookies, many of whom have ties to organized crime. The gambling crackdown is part of a broader trend of a paternalist state protecting citizens from themselves, curtailing their freedoms in the process. We live in a nation still engaged in a war on terror and in a city struggling with escalating gang violence, yet precious law enforcement resources are being spent on prosecuting morality. But, for today, enjoy the game while pretending you don't know the spread. After all, that could prove incriminating.

Online Gambling: Are We All Gambling Criminals?

 

MILLIONS OF Americans have engaged in criminal behavior leading up to today's Super Bowl. You know who you are - those of you outside Nevada who placed bets on the Indianapolis Colts or Chicago Bears. It's estimated that about $5 billion will be on the line this afternoon in a nation in which even office pools are technically illegal in some states. President Bush in October signed the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act, a law intended to resolve any ambiguities about the unlawfulness of placing bets online. Although most fans in the free world can place bets with regulated online casinos, U.S. law enforcement has been busy cracking down on the heinous crime, going after enabling credit card companies, detaining those who run legal foreign online sites if they deign to enter the country and subpoenaing major Wall Street investment banks involved in overseas initial public offerings of online casinos. It's another brazen attempt to extent prudish American mores to other jurisdictions. One bemused Las Vegas sports handicapper told the Wall Street Journal last week that the ban on Internet gambling should be renamed the "Sopranos Support Bill," because the main beneficiaries of keeping closely regulated casinos from doing business online are bookies. Instead of protecting consumers and raising tax revenue from this popular entertainment, the government is protecting the turf of unsavory bookies, many of whom have ties to organized crime. The gambling crackdown is part of a broader trend of a paternalist state protecting citizens from themselves, curtailing their freedoms in the process. We live in a nation still engaged in a war on terror and in a city struggling with escalating gang violence, yet precious law enforcement resources are being spent on prosecuting morality. But, for today, enjoy the game while pretending you don't know the spread. After all, that could prove incriminating.

Online Gambling: Are We All Gambling Criminals?

 

MILLIONS OF Americans have engaged in criminal behavior leading up to today's Super Bowl. You know who you are - those of you outside Nevada who placed bets on the Indianapolis Colts or Chicago Bears. It's estimated that about $5 billion will be on the line this afternoon in a nation in which even office pools are technically illegal in some states. President Bush in October signed the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act, a law intended to resolve any ambiguities about the unlawfulness of placing bets online. Although most fans in the free world can place bets with regulated online casinos, U.S. law enforcement has been busy cracking down on the heinous crime, going after enabling credit card companies, detaining those who run legal foreign online sites if they deign to enter the country and subpoenaing major Wall Street investment banks involved in overseas initial public offerings of online casinos. It's another brazen attempt to extent prudish American mores to other jurisdictions. One bemused Las Vegas sports handicapper told the Wall Street Journal last week that the ban on Internet gambling should be renamed the "Sopranos Support Bill," because the main beneficiaries of keeping closely regulated casinos from doing business online are bookies. Instead of protecting consumers and raising tax revenue from this popular entertainment, the government is protecting the turf of unsavory bookies, many of whom have ties to organized crime. The gambling crackdown is part of a broader trend of a paternalist state protecting citizens from themselves, curtailing their freedoms in the process. We live in a nation still engaged in a war on terror and in a city struggling with escalating gang violence, yet precious law enforcement resources are being spent on prosecuting morality. But, for today, enjoy the game while pretending you don't know the spread. After all, that could prove incriminating.

Online Gambling: Are We All Gambling Criminals?

 

MILLIONS OF Americans have engaged in criminal behavior leading up to today's Super Bowl. You know who you are - those of you outside Nevada who placed bets on the Indianapolis Colts or Chicago Bears. It's estimated that about $5 billion will be on the line this afternoon in a nation in which even office pools are technically illegal in some states. President Bush in October signed the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act, a law intended to resolve any ambiguities about the unlawfulness of placing bets online. Although most fans in the free world can place bets with regulated online casinos, U.S. law enforcement has been busy cracking down on the heinous crime, going after enabling credit card companies, detaining those who run legal foreign online sites if they deign to enter the country and subpoenaing major Wall Street investment banks involved in overseas initial public offerings of online casinos. It's another brazen attempt to extent prudish American mores to other jurisdictions. One bemused Las Vegas sports handicapper told the Wall Street Journal last week that the ban on Internet gambling should be renamed the "Sopranos Support Bill," because the main beneficiaries of keeping closely regulated casinos from doing business online are bookies. Instead of protecting consumers and raising tax revenue from this popular entertainment, the government is protecting the turf of unsavory bookies, many of whom have ties to organized crime. The gambling crackdown is part of a broader trend of a paternalist state protecting citizens from themselves, curtailing their freedoms in the process. We live in a nation still engaged in a war on terror and in a city struggling with escalating gang violence, yet precious law enforcement resources are being spent on prosecuting morality. But, for today, enjoy the game while pretending you don't know the spread. After all, that could prove incriminating.

Online Gambling: Are We All Gambling Criminals?

 

MILLIONS OF Americans have engaged in criminal behavior leading up to today's Super Bowl. You know who you are - those of you outside Nevada who placed bets on the Indianapolis Colts or Chicago Bears. It's estimated that about $5 billion will be on the line this afternoon in a nation in which even office pools are technically illegal in some states. President Bush in October signed the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act, a law intended to resolve any ambiguities about the unlawfulness of placing bets online. Although most fans in the free world can place bets with regulated online casinos, U.S. law enforcement has been busy cracking down on the heinous crime, going after enabling credit card companies, detaining those who run legal foreign online sites if they deign to enter the country and subpoenaing major Wall Street investment banks involved in overseas initial public offerings of online casinos. It's another brazen attempt to extent prudish American mores to other jurisdictions. One bemused Las Vegas sports handicapper told the Wall Street Journal last week that the ban on Internet gambling should be renamed the "Sopranos Support Bill," because the main beneficiaries of keeping closely regulated casinos from doing business online are bookies. Instead of protecting consumers and raising tax revenue from this popular entertainment, the government is protecting the turf of unsavory bookies, many of whom have ties to organized crime. The gambling crackdown is part of a broader trend of a paternalist state protecting citizens from themselves, curtailing their freedoms in the process. We live in a nation still engaged in a war on terror and in a city struggling with escalating gang violence, yet precious law enforcement resources are being spent on prosecuting morality. But, for today, enjoy the game while pretending you don't know the spread. After all, that could prove incriminating.

Online Gambling: Are We All Gambling Criminals?

 

MILLIONS OF Americans have engaged in criminal behavior leading up to today's Super Bowl. You know who you are - those of you outside Nevada who placed bets on the Indianapolis Colts or Chicago Bears. It's estimated that about $5 billion will be on the line this afternoon in a nation in which even office pools are technically illegal in some states. President Bush in October signed the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act, a law intended to resolve any ambiguities about the unlawfulness of placing bets online. Although most fans in the free world can place bets with regulated online casinos, U.S. law enforcement has been busy cracking down on the heinous crime, going after enabling credit card companies, detaining those who run legal foreign online sites if they deign to enter the country and subpoenaing major Wall Street investment banks involved in overseas initial public offerings of online casinos. It's another brazen attempt to extent prudish American mores to other jurisdictions. One bemused Las Vegas sports handicapper told the Wall Street Journal last week that the ban on Internet gambling should be renamed the "Sopranos Support Bill," because the main beneficiaries of keeping closely regulated casinos from doing business online are bookies. Instead of protecting consumers and raising tax revenue from this popular entertainment, the government is protecting the turf of unsavory bookies, many of whom have ties to organized crime. The gambling crackdown is part of a broader trend of a paternalist state protecting citizens from themselves, curtailing their freedoms in the process. We live in a nation still engaged in a war on terror and in a city struggling with escalating gang violence, yet precious law enforcement resources are being spent on prosecuting morality. But, for today, enjoy the game while pretending you don't know the spread. After all, that could prove incriminating.

Online Gambling: Are We All Gambling Criminals?

 

MILLIONS OF Americans have engaged in criminal behavior leading up to today's Super Bowl. You know who you are - those of you outside Nevada who placed bets on the Indianapolis Colts or Chicago Bears. It's estimated that about $5 billion will be on the line this afternoon in a nation in which even office pools are technically illegal in some states. President Bush in October signed the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act, a law intended to resolve any ambiguities about the unlawfulness of placing bets online. Although most fans in the free world can place bets with regulated online casinos, U.S. law enforcement has been busy cracking down on the heinous crime, going after enabling credit card companies, detaining those who run legal foreign online sites if they deign to enter the country and subpoenaing major Wall Street investment banks involved in overseas initial public offerings of online casinos. It's another brazen attempt to extent prudish American mores to other jurisdictions. One bemused Las Vegas sports handicapper told the Wall Street Journal last week that the ban on Internet gambling should be renamed the "Sopranos Support Bill," because the main beneficiaries of keeping closely regulated casinos from doing business online are bookies. Instead of protecting consumers and raising tax revenue from this popular entertainment, the government is protecting the turf of unsavory bookies, many of whom have ties to organized crime. The gambling crackdown is part of a broader trend of a paternalist state protecting citizens from themselves, curtailing their freedoms in the process. We live in a nation still engaged in a war on terror and in a city struggling with escalating gang violence, yet precious law enforcement resources are being spent on prosecuting morality. But, for today, enjoy the game while pretending you don't know the spread. After all, that could prove incriminating.

Symptoms of teenage gambling addict are obvious

 

As a mature Mohawk College student, as well as a parent, I was not shocked to see this article. I feel that because of the media, newspaper articles, and frequent television commercials, we should be prepared to deal with this gambling phenomenon. Even within the bathroom stalls at the college, posters warn students to take notice of their peers' activities, with catchy slogans such as: "Are your friends cutting class to cut cards?" Gambling is both a physiological and psychological dependence. Family and friends should recognize the symptoms, which are similar to those of substance abuse. The lack of money and sleep go hand in hand with the addiction, along with moodiness, isolation, late nights and endless excuses. Finally, grades are affected. With one in every three teens 15 to 17 gambling, it is up to us as a society to acknowledge these statistics and deal with the problem. What do we do? We should organize assemblies to address the issue with students. Parents and council members should draw up a petition that would make online gambling illegal, at least to the age of 21. At this age, the student should have the maturity to avoid this unhealthy activity. These students are the leaders of our future. Let's eliminate teenage gambling addictions and concentrate on the students' education.

Online Gambling: Are We All Gambling Criminals?

 

MILLIONS OF Americans have engaged in criminal behavior leading up to today's Super Bowl. You know who you are - those of you outside Nevada who placed bets on the Indianapolis Colts or Chicago Bears. It's estimated that about $5 billion will be on the line this afternoon in a nation in which even office pools are technically illegal in some states. President Bush in October signed the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act, a law intended to resolve any ambiguities about the unlawfulness of placing bets online. Although most fans in the free world can place bets with regulated online casinos, U.S. law enforcement has been busy cracking down on the heinous crime, going after enabling credit card companies, detaining those who run legal foreign online sites if they deign to enter the country and subpoenaing major Wall Street investment banks involved in overseas initial public offerings of online casinos. It's another brazen attempt to extent prudish American mores to other jurisdictions. One bemused Las Vegas sports handicapper told the Wall Street Journal last week that the ban on Internet gambling should be renamed the "Sopranos Support Bill," because the main beneficiaries of keeping closely regulated casinos from doing business online are bookies. Instead of protecting consumers and raising tax revenue from this popular entertainment, the government is protecting the turf of unsavory bookies, many of whom have ties to organized crime. The gambling crackdown is part of a broader trend of a paternalist state protecting citizens from themselves, curtailing their freedoms in the process. We live in a nation still engaged in a war on terror and in a city struggling with escalating gang violence, yet precious law enforcement resources are being spent on prosecuting morality. But, for today, enjoy the game while pretending you don't know the spread. After all, that could prove incriminating.

WTO Against US Online Gambling Ruling

 

The World Trade Organization (WTO) has ruled against the US in a heated argument over online gambling in the Caribbean island of Antigua and Barbuda. The WTO plans to prove the US guilty of breaking the international trade rules. The ruling has not yet been made public; however, Reuters reported that the WTO has found the US guilty of not observing a 2005 order in the case. The online gaming industry is somewhat dependent on Antigua and Barbuda, since it has built up a lucrative business, compensating for falling tourist revenue. The Caribbean island took the US to the WTO over entry to the American gaming market. In 2003, the WTO's dispute resolution panel was in Antigua and Barbuda's favor. They agreed that foreign bookmakers appeared to face prejudice in relation to the issue of horse race betting across state lines. In 2005, however they rejected an appeal by the US. The WTO has concluded that the US has not even tried to stick to that decision. The WTO has provided both sides with an initial report on its findings. Both parties will have the opportunity to submit additional comments before a final report is published in March, 2007.

Don't wager on smoke-free gambling

 

Gamblers heading to the nonsmoking sections of Lincoln Park and Newport Grand might not be escaping the smoke after all. A study commissioned by a New Jersey antismoking group shows significant levels of pollutants in the nonsmoking sections of the two gambling halls. At Lincoln Park, the nonsmoking area was found to be 39 percent as polluted as the track's smoking section. At Newport Grand, the pollutant levels were 17 to 37 percent of the levels in the smoking section. The New Jersey Group Against Smoking Pollution (GASP) has been pushing to get Atlantic City to ban smoking in its 12 casinos. The City Council there had initially contemplated an absolute ban but recently moved to a plan where smoking would be prohibited in 75 percent of the gambling space. The antismoking group conducted testing in Rhode Island as part of an effort to build their case that nonsmoking sections do not protect nonsmokers. They also found that the smoking sections of Rhode Island's two gambling halls had heavy concentrations of smoke. "How dismal that the separately walled and ventilated nonsmoking sections are still one-third as polluted as the extra-polluted smoking sections," Regina Carlson, executive director of GASP said in a statement. "Clearly, at least in Rhode Island casinos, this so-called solution doesn't work." "Bottom line, the only way to protect employees and patrons is to make casinos smoke free," she said. When Rhode Island banned smoking in all indoor public spaces on March 1, 2005, lawmakers made two exemptions. Lincoln Park and Newport Grand could allow smoking as long as they also provided nonsmoking sections. New Jersey also exempted Atlantic City's casinos from its smoking ban, but the City council is about to set its own restrictions. A vote on that partial ban is scheduled for Wednesday. Rhode Island originally prohibited its cities and towns from enacting ordinances that were more restrictive than the state law. But that so-called preemption clause expired in October. Lincoln and Newport could now theoretically ban smoking in their gambling halls, although there has been no move to do so. Lincoln Park and Newport Grand spokeswomen both dismissed the findings of the tests done for GASP by the Roswell Park Cancer Institute. Spokesmen Both said they had not even been aware the testing was done. "We don't know where they tested. We don't know how they tested," said Lincoln Park spokeswoman Cynthia Stern. She said the track routinely does its own testing, hiring an outside environmental firm with testing taking one to two weeks. The Roswell Park Cancer Institute tested at both facilities from Jan. 26 through Jan. 29.

Amy Kempe, spokeswoman for Newport Grand, said "it's difficult to respond to the results without knowing under what circumstances the testing was conducted nor how those results compare to industry standards."

"The comfort and safety of our patrons is our first priority, Kempe added. "We welcome the opportunity to meet with GASP so they can share with us their results and we can take a look at how we can improve under their standards."

Newport Grand did notice a situation where smoke was traveling down an escalator from the smoking to the nonsmoking areas and is taking action to fix it. As part of a planned expansion and renovation, the ventilation systems will be upgraded further.

At Lincoln Park, Stern said continuing construction has hurt air flow. She said that a new addition soon to open will include "state-of-the-art ventilation" and fix any air-quality problems.

MAJOR INITIATIVE TO ADDRESS RESPONSIBLE ONLINE GAMBLING PROCEDURES PROPOSED

 

A new global initiative and international code of conduct to address responsible online gambling procedures is under discussion by the industry following a top-level roundtable discussion held at a recent London trade show. The roundtable, convened by top software developer Microgaming, discussed the need to review what is currently being done by the industry and how a single common code might be created and implemented globally. The resulting draft code of practice is likely to cover individual operating sites as well as software providers. A working party led by GamCare - the UK's leading authority on problem gambling and eCOGRA (eCommerce and Online Gambling Regulation and Assurance), a self regulatory player protection body, will meet within the next week to formally launch consultations on the initiative, which it is hoped will be completed by the autumn. The organisations hope to merge their current codes to provide a framework to be tabled at an international summit later in the year. As well as leading figures from the online gambling industry, the wide ranging roundtable discussion was attended by the Portman Group, invited to outline how the major players in the drinks industry had combined to address problem drinking within the UK. Roger Raatgever, CEO, Microgaming, comments: "Contrary to some of the reportage on this industry, much is already being done to address issues surrounding responsible online gambling. However, we recognise that the current situation of having a number of codes of practice covering a diverse range of areas is not ideal for the industry or the players. The formation of one clearly defined international code demonstrating best practice with a unified voice will strengthen communication to both the players and the industry as a whole." Editorial note: InfoPowa was present at this very productive round table discussion, where leading industry executives exchanged views on how better to identify and protect problem gamblers in the future. Further details will be released as the initiative shapes up, but for now we can report a significant level of common purpose and determination from a diverse group of senior people to carry through a very substantial project.

Gambling is not W.Va.'s answer

 

Gambling won't save West Virginia, but it may drag it a little closer to hell. The juggernaut in favor of table games seems unstoppable, leading to further expansion of gambling in the state. Yes, revenues from the addition of table games will likely shore up the state's coffers for a while, leading to a sense of satisfaction among legislators who supported the bill. Yet in the long run, the expansion of gambling will turn out to be just another in a long list of dead ends that keep this state last in almost everything. Over time, once Maryland and Pennsylvania expand their gambling operations, West Virginia could be become a gambling ghetto. Our state would probably be the third choice for those seeking to spend their money on games of chance. Maryland and Pennsylvania too, have diverse and healthy economies. West Virginia is co-dependent with coal and more recently, gambling, to fill state coffers. "Gambling creates more problems than it solves. Gambling is dragging this state down. It's not giving us hope," said the Rev. Dennis Sparks, of the West Virginia Council of Churches, in an Associated Press story published in Monday's Journal. He's right, of course. Gambling gives an appearance of hope, that lady luck will bring a big payout out the roulette wheel or from the slot machine. But the house always wins and the few lucky winners often end up with many problems of their own. "Our future really needs to be about other economic investments, and diversification in West Virginia so we're not reliant solely on one economy or two economies," Sparks said, and by gosh, he's right. Soon, West Virginia will have every imaginable type of gaming establishment. We'll have little street corner mom and pop shops with gray machines turned angelic glowing white by legislative fiat, huge casinos like that growing up in Charles Town, and the ubiquitous lottery retailers. Vice attracts vice, so certainly besides more strip clubs we'll probably see a growth industry in massage parlors and bars. Instead of pursuing real solutions to the state's economic problems, this legislative session will be focused on table games legislation. Another lost opportunity and nary a voice, except those of a few preachers, to oppose the very idea of table games legislation. Yes, there are a few legislators against the idea, but table games could only be stopped by a public outcry and not a few votes in the Capitol. There is no public outcry, except an outcry for government services, for which no one wants to pay. Some gambling opponents believe West Virginia is simply being used by gambling interests. Big gambling companies have simply used us to get into better markets in states with better economies and more population, according to an Associated Press story.

Henry Thaxton said: "If you are not careful, you will project the image that you are bought and paid for... . (The tracks) work both sides of the street. They have no shame."

It's not the gaming interests that should be ashamed, they're capitalists out to make money. We should be ashamed that our state is so weak that every few years we grovel at the feet of big gambling hoping they expand to help the state's pitiful economy. Why can West Virginia not do better?

This state relies too much on Big Daddy, big government and big coal companies to provide jobs and fill state coffers. And where have 50 years of reliance and groveling brought us? They've brought us to nearly last in everything. If there was something about our economy to celebrate, it could be celebrated, but I don't think the fact that anyone can get a job at Sheetz or Wal-Mart is something to celebrate.

What almost everyone concedes is that the state needs a massive economic and legal overhaul, but there's no time for that when table games are on the agenda.

Instead, West Virginia will spin the roulette wheel again, hoping for the best.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Gambling expansion won't improve our way of life

 

The introduction of legislation that will greatly expand gambling in the state has finally arrived, and I am firmly opposed to it. As a construction worker, I could possibly personally benefit from all the new construction. However, as a resident of the state, the cost to our social services will far outweigh any benefits. Our state lottery director is functioning as a paid lobbyist on behalf of the four racetracks and not as civil servant. And, several legislators seem more intent upon getting a "good price" rather than a good reason why we should even be considering this expansion. I see from the campaign expenditures in the last election that no one in the Cabell delegation took money from the gambling interests. Furthermore, not one tax dollar is likely to arrive in this county due to an expansion of tabletop gaming. Hence, it should be simple for both of our senators and all six of our delegates to stand united in their opposition to this issue. The lottery director projects annual revenue from this expansion to be in the neighborhood of $180 million gross profit. As a population of 1.8 million, these gaming interests view each citizen as an annual $100 dollar profit on this expansion alone. If I am to be seen only in terms of dollars and cents, I want my legislator to get something that will actually be of benefit to my way of life. I would propose that these gaming interests pay off our underfunded public employees and teachers pension plans as the price to get a license. Then we can begin to haggle over an appropriate percentage of the gross profits. This would prove that the tracks truly want to act as partners in the state.

Are we all gambling criminals?

 

MILLIONS OF Americans have engaged in criminal behavior leading up to today's Super Bowl. You know who you are - those of you outside Nevada who placed bets on the Indianapolis Colts or Chicago Bears. It's estimated that about $5 billion will be on the line this afternoon in a nation in which even office pools are technically illegal in some states. President Bush in October signed the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act, a law intended to resolve any ambiguities about the unlawfulness of placing bets online. Although most fans in the free world can place bets with regulated online casinos, U.S. law enforcement has been busy cracking down on the heinous crime, going after enabling credit card companies, detaining those who run legal foreign online sites if they deign to enter the country and subpoenaing major Wall Street investment banks involved in overseas initial public offerings of online casinos. It's another brazen attempt to extent prudish American mores to other jurisdictions. One bemused Las Vegas sports handicapper told the Wall Street Journal last week that the ban on Internet gambling should be renamed the "Sopranos Support Bill," because the main beneficiaries of keeping closely regulated casinos from doing business online are bookies. Instead of protecting consumers and raising tax revenue from this popular entertainment, the government is protecting the turf of unsavory bookies, many of whom have ties to organized crime. The gambling crackdown is part of a broader trend of a paternalist state protecting citizens from themselves, curtailing their freedoms in the process. We live in a nation still engaged in a war on terror and in a city struggling with escalating gang violence, yet precious law enforcement resources are being spent on prosecuting morality. But, for today, enjoy the game while pretending you don't know the spread. After all, that could prove incriminating.

A Recipe To Promote State Goods, Fight Gambling

 

When Chris Armentano called Linda Piotrowicz with his cookbook idea, she was immediately enthused. What a great way to publicize Connecticut-grown agricultural products. And for Armentano, it could shed more light on the dangers of sports gambling. Collaborating, the two could serve both purposes. For the past 25 years, Armentano has been director of problem gambling treatment services for the state Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services. Piotrowicz is a marketing representative for the Department of Agriculture. The book will be titled "The March Madness Kitchen Survival Guide," with the subtitle "Recipes for the Road to the Final Four." It should be completed around March 6. As I informed Armentano when he asked me my favorite TV game-watching snack, I'm partial to a toasted cheese sandwich with tomato - sometimes two - at halftime. Not very exciting, but it's what I like. That's what I'll have this evening as I'm watching the Bears edge the Colts in Super Bowl XLI. But this cookbook won't be a toasted-cheese-sandwich sort of thing. It will contain party recipes interspersed with basketball facts and other entertaining items. But mostly it will contain recipes from all over the state. "I'm using my contacts to collect recipes for our project," said Piotrowicz, who grew up in Simsbury and now lives in East Hartford. "Through my work, I know a lot of chefs in the state. Also, many state farmers will be contributing their favorites. We'll have all kinds of things." A limited number of the cookbooks will be printed, but it also will be available on the Department of Agriculture's website (ct.gov/doag). The cookbook also hopes to give folks something to do other than bet during a time of intense gambling. "It is not new news that addiction to gambling has ruined uncounted marriages, families and lives. It's going to get worse before it gets better," Armentano said. He knows he's shoveling sand against the tide. "It's true," he said. "With the casinos in Connecticut, and now the poker shows on television and Internet betting ... it's glorified and it hasn't lost its shine." Super Bowl Sunday is a heavy betting day, too. "It's a day when folks who wouldn't ordinarily do it place a bet," he said. "And some frequent gamblers view it as a chance to get even for past losses." Piotrowicz also welcomes a chance to highlight the many food products produced in Connecticut. "There is great diversity in our home-grown products," she said. "Shellfish, dairy products, eggs, meat, poultry, cheese - there are some exquisite cheeses made here in Connecticut - maple syrup, apples and other fruits, winter squash, hothouse tomatoes and many other things."

Farmland is disappearing at an alarming rate in our small state as developers gobble up the open space despite considerable resistance.

"It's a real concern," Piotrowicz said, "but there is a lot of specialization and diversification going on now. Farmers are doing more with less land."

So a new cookbook will soon be born. Its message will be twofold: "Think cooking, not gambling" and "Use Connecticut-grown food products for your March Madness parties." They will taste better.

Study finds gambling by local teens is on the rise

 

With the increase in casinos, lottery games and TV coverage of professional poker tournaments, it's not a surprise that the culture of gambling has spread to teens. Now, there are data to support what local kids have been saying - that kids in the mid-Hudson have increased gambling as much as teens across the country. A recent study of teen risk factors among students in the eighth, 10th and 12th grades in Middletown showed that more than 73 percent had gambled within the past year. The findings remain on par with a similar survey at Newburgh Free Academy, said researcher Danette Shepard. State and national figures show a 25 percent increase in gambling among teens since 1988. "This younger generation, their whole lives they've been growing up with gambling commercials. You know, 'You've got to be in it to win it,' " said Roslyn Jefferson, director of the Center for Problem Gambling in Albany. "That makes them more open to gambling, because society allows it." The Middletown study found kids are doing more than just playing Texas Hold 'Em. The survey of nearly 1,000 Middletown students shows kids gamble on everything from sports to dice, from the lottery to games of skill. In Middletown, what kids bet on differs with age. The eighth- and 10th-graders seem to prefer betting on sports, while seniors play the lottery, restricted by law to those 18 and older. Betting on cards tends to increase as kids get older, jumping from 24 percent to more than 33 percent by the 12th grade, the survey showed. Not enough school officials are aware of the problem, Jefferson said. "I want to see it included in health-education classes when they teach drug education, so that kids can see that this could be a problem for some of their buddies and even for themselves." Middletown school Superintendent Ken Eastwood did not question Shepard's findings, but said administrators have not seen, on school grounds, the type of card- or dice-playing mentioned in the survey. Nonetheless, the school intends to implement a gambling education program into its curriculum, possibly this spring, with part of a three-year, $5.4 million federal grant to improve student health and school safety, he said. Studies show that adult problem gamblers started the habit at 10 or 11 years old, and that they become introduced to gambling through family members, Jefferson said. And kids who gamble are more likely to engage in other risky behaviors, such as drug use, unprotected sex and joining gangs, experts said. "Teens, especially male teens, are already at risk to take risks, so they are more vulnerable than adults to become preoccupied with gambling," Jefferson said. "And that's what parents need to be aware of."

Most kids who gamble tend to play cards, sometimes with the consent of their parents, Jefferson said. Parents who allow card playing at home should encourage gambling for chips rather than money, and should look for signs that their children are pushing off other activities and interests for the activity, she said.

A federal law passed last summer has helped curb the problem of Internet gambling among teens by making it illegal for major banks to allow the use of their credit cards for payment, Jefferson added.

But while education about the risks of gambling could deter some kids, it likely will not be effective without a larger social campaign about the potential addiction.

"We have to do some kind of intervention, but it's awfully tough when millions of dollars are being thrown into advertising every day to keep these kids gambling," Eastwood said.

Malta supports raising standards

 

It was stated in the House of Lords that Malta supports the UK intention of raising standards in on-line gambling. Lord Faulkner of Worcester asked Her Majesty's Government whether they will make representations to the Gambling Commission to hold talks with gambling regulators in Gibraltar and Malta to ensure that the standards of on-line gambling regulation in those jurisdictions are comparable to those in the United Kingdom. Lord Davies of Oldham said: "The government work very closely with the Gambling Commission on all issues relating to on-line gambling. Representatives from both Gibraltar and Malta attended the government's international remote gambling summit held on 31 October 2006 where they, along with many other jurisdictions, indicated that they fully support the UK Government's intention to raise standards in on-line gambling regulation. Following the summit, we will continue to involve Malta and Gibraltar in the process for establishing international standards, which is now underway. The Gambling Commission will also continue to meet representatives of Gibraltar and Malta through their membership of the International Association of Gambling Regulators."

Gambling addicts face super temptation

 

A simple bet on which team will win today's Super Bowl matchup between the Chicago Bears and Indianapolis Colts won't be enough for hard-core gamblers. Bookmakers are taking hundreds of side bets that range from choosing the winner of the opening coin toss to picking the direction of the first errant field goal, wide left or wide right. Wide left is favored. Most of us may laugh at the unusual bets that will be laid down, but for compulsive gamblers the Super Bowl is serious business. For many of them, it represents the ultimate score, the last chance to win back everything they lost in the past year. "Compulsive gamblers use the Super Bowl as a catch-up day," said Harvey Fogel, an addictions counselor and expert on compulsive gambling. "They'll put a lot on Chicago or Indianapolis in the hope that they'll break even for the year. But half of them will be losers. It will be a disaster financially. They will hit rock bottom." Fogel expects to be busy fielding calls from despondent bettors when he walks into work Monday morning at AtlantiCare Behavioral Health in Egg Harbor Township. For losing gamblers, Super Bowl Sunday will be a day of pain, like the alcoholic who deals with a severe hangover after a heavy night of drinking on New Year's Eve. Dave, a recovering compulsive gambler who asked to be identified by his first name only, said the turning point for him was three days before last year's Super Bowl. He was arrested for bookmaking and decided then to give up gambling. He said he had a relapse during the March Madness of the NCAA men's college basketball tournament, but has been straight ever since. For the Super Bowl, I won't put myself in a situation where I'll want to bet," he said. "I won't read the newspapers. I won't watch the game without my family. If I feel the need, I'll reach out to people in the treatment program. It's the same thing during March Madness, because that's weeks of betting action." Experts estimate the NCAA basketball tournament is the nation's largest gambling event, but the Super Bowl is the biggest single game for wagering. Nevada, where sports betting is legal, is expected to take in more than $100 million in Super Bowl wagers. It is anyone's guess how many illegal bets will be placed on the game, although estimates range in the billions of dollars. Sports betting is illegal in New Jersey. Ed Looney, executive director of the New Jersey Council on Compulsive Gambling, said Internet gambling and illicit bookmaking offer easy avenues for Super Bowl betting. However, a recent federal crackdown on Internet gambling, which is illegal in the United States, may force bettors to use bookmakers even more, he noted. "This is going to be the biggest day of the year for sports betting," Looney said. "Traditionally, this seems to be a real big payout for the bookies." In the next four or five weeks, the number of calls likely will surge to the 1-800-GAMBLER hotline that Looney's agency operates. Looney said compulsive gamblers will scurry around for a few weeks after the Super Bowl hoping to find the money to cover their losses, but eventually they give up and call the gambling help line in desperation. Dave, the recovering compulsive gambler, said losers will tap out their bank accounts or credit cards, embezzle from their employers or beg, borrow or steal from family members. "You're making up stories that you know they aren't believing, but you do it anyway because you have to feed your addiction," he said of borrowing money from family members. In the old days, compulsive gamblers would often turn to loan sharks for cash, but now credit cards are a convenient way for them to continue their binges, according to Fogel. "One of the big problems today is the credit card," he said. "A lot of compulsive gamblers are hard workers and have good jobs, but they max out their credit cards. For a while, they get by by paying the minimum. Then it falls down around their ears."

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Gambling Board Says No To Trump

 

The Pennsylvania Gambling Control Board has three words for Donald Trump on why he lost his bid to build a slots casino in Philadelphia: location, location, location. The board decided in December against licensing the proposed $350 million TrumpStreet Casino complex on the edge of North Philadelphia. Instead, it approved projects on two riverfront parcels. On Thursday, the board disclosed the rationale behind the selections. Trump's project would have been built near an "economically depressed (area) with decaying infrastructure," calling into question whether visitors would come and other businesses would invest, the board said.

Governor's bet on Indian gambling called unrealistic

 

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's bet that the state could balance its budget next year with revenue from bigger Indian casinos is unrealistic, a report released Friday by the state's nonpartisan Legislative Analyst said. Schwarzenegger's proposal to let tribes install some 22,500 new slot machines and then collect more than $500 million in new fees and taxes from them is critical to his plan to wipe out the state's chronic budget deficit next year. Legislative Analyst Elizabeth Hill, who in recent weeks has blasted the governor's spending plan for relying on rosy revenue projections, on Friday took aim at its Indian gambling component, saying it would likely take three to 10 years for the state to realize the revenue boost Schwarzenegger is counting on in a matter of months. "The governor's budget assumes that annual general fund revenues related to tribal-state compacts grow from $33 million in 2006-07 to $539 million in 2007-08," Hill wrote. "This projection is not realistic." What's more, according to her report, the compacts could leave California on the hook for millions in unexpected costs. The compacts would require the state to spend millions of the projected revenue increase in coming years to help poor tribes that don't operate casinos - money Schwarzenegger is relying on for the budget. The compacts also would let the richest tribes stop paying into funds for gambling addiction and other programs, the analyst said. "The Legislature could face funding shortfalls for gambling addition, regulatory, and local government programs," she wrote. H.D. Palmer, spokesman for the governor's finance department, downplayed Hill's concerns and said the administration sticks by its projections. "We're confident given the number and timing of the devices we've assumed in these agreements that we have the right dollar amounts," Palmer said. "These tribes are ready to immediately put the machines in place that form the basis of our revenue projections." Another large hurdle for the governor's Indian gambling plan is the Democratic-controlled state Legislature. The Assembly in September squashed the pending compacts, which Schwarzenegger has already signed, over concerns they would weaken the power of casino workers to unionize. The deals still face heated opposition from unions, card clubs, the horse racing industry and the antigambling lobby. Democratic leaders also have said they would need substantial changes before they win approval.

Nevada Considering Problem Gambling Fee

 

Nevada lawmakers will be asked to continue fees imposed for the first time in 2005 on slot machines to fund programs to help problem gamblers in this wide-open gambling state. The fee, approved by the 2005 Legislature, started out at $1 per slot machine and then rose to $2. That has brought in $2.5 million for problem gambling programs in the current two-year budget cycle. Laura Hale, a state Health and Human Services grants manager who helps to staff the state's Advisory Committee on Problem Gambling, said Thursday that continuing the $2 fee during the coming two fiscal years will mean another $3.2 million for the fledgling program. "We have made excellent progress in the first two years," said Hale, adding that it's essential to help people whose gambling addictions could lead to "devastating" problems such as family breakups, loss of jobs and even criminal activity. "The best thing about this is that people who had no access to treatment before now have that access," said Hale. "And the long-range program potential is to do more prevention programs." "Two years ago, it was a first," Hale said. "Many other states have been funding these programs for years, so it's really good that Nevada has finally gotten into this." Gov. Jim Gibbons has supported the fee in the spending plan he has submitted to the 2007 Legislature. When the fee plan passed in 2005 - with heavy casino industry support - it had a "sunset" clause which requires the 2007 Legislature to take action to keep it going. A report on use of the fees so far shows that more than half the money was used for treatment programs while the rest was used for prevention efforts, research and related services. More than 500 people got treatment for gambling problems while more counselors got financial assistance to become certified in gambling counseling. The total of such counselors now stands at 14, and Hale said another 50 to 60 counselors could get through the training in the coming two years. Statistics included in the report show that nearly 20 percent of those getting treatment range in age from 25 to 34, and 22 percent range in age from 45 to 54. Also, there's a 54-46 ratio of men to women who went through treatment. The report also shows that nearly a quarter of those getting treatment make less than $10,000 yearly while another quarter are in the $35,000-$75,000 income range. The document also shows that about a third of those getting treatment are married, while nearly a third are separated or divorced.

A Million Californians Admit to Compulsive Gambling

 

A new report says more and more Californians are hitting the casino regularly. The state-sponsored study found nearly a million people in California consider themselves compulsive gamblers. That's second in the nation only to Nevada. Steve Hedrick with the State Office of Problem Gambling says they're responding by getting the word out. Hedrick: We're in the process right now of starting up a new training program trying to raise awareness among the general public. Just trying to help them understand that gambling can be a problem and some of the signs to recognize that people may have a difficulty. More than 7,000 people were interviewed for the study. Hedrick says it was the largest of its kind.

House Committee Backs 'Social' Gambling Bill

 

Wyoming poker fans are one hand closer to the return of "social" poker games to state bars and restaurants. A House committee is backing a bill that would allow friendly poker circles to play games in public establishments. The Senate has already approved the legislation. Attorney General Pat Crank effectively banned poker games from bars and restaurants in 2004. Crank says the games are illegal because they allow establishments to profit from gambling, even if the profit just comes from people buying drinks. The measure would NOT permit establishments to sponsor tournaments between strangers. The Wyoming State Liquor Association is backing the bill. The group's executive director Mike Moser said the law does NOT expand gambling in the state. He says it just provides clarification of the state's policies. The bill now moves to the full House.

Betonsports Cited for Contempt in U.S. Gambling Case

 

Betonsports Plc, the British Internet sports book indicted in the U.S. on charges of racketeering and violating interstate gambling laws, was found in contempt of court for failing to answer those charges. U.S. District Judge Carol Jackson today in St. Louis found the company in contempt for violating a Dec. 28 order to appear in court. Prosecutors asked her to impose daily fines on the company's officers until a representative comes forth. Betonsports' St. Louis counsel Jeffrey Demerath called the judge's chambers yesterday and ``told us he had been instructed by his client not to appear,'' Jackson said. ``I clearly believe Betonsports' actions are contumacious and disregard the court's order without any excuse.'' The London-based company was indicted last summer, together with its founder Gary Kaplan, then-Chief Executive Officer David Carruthers and nine other individual defendants. Prosecutors are seeking the forfeiture of $4.5 billion. Reached by phone in his office this morning, Demerath, a partner at Armstrong Teasdale, said he hadn't seen a contempt order from the court and couldn't comment on today's proceedings. Carruthers and six other defendants appeared in court on July 31 and entered not guilty pleas. Kaplan and two other defendants are still at large. A not guilty plea was entered by the court on the company's behalf on Jan. 11. Ginny Pulbrook, a London-based spokeswoman for the company, did not return an after-hours phone message seeking comment on today's contempt citation. In November, Demerath was one of two corporate attorneys who signed a civil consent agreement with federal prosecutors paving the way for Jackson to issue an order permanently banning Betonsports from doing business in the U.S. On the eve of the company's scheduled arraignment on the criminal charges last month, Demerath also told the court his clients had instructed him not to answer the charges. Betonsports' decision ``suggests that corporate management is neither in a coma nor dead but, instead, contemptuous and defiant,'' Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Fagan said in court papers asking Jackson to make the contempt finding. ``The defendant is the company,'' former Assistant U.S. Attorney James Montana said in a telephone interview from his office in Chicago. ``It would be appropriate for the company to be fined,'' he said. ``I don't understand how the court could impose fines on officers or directors who are not a party to the lawsuit,'' he said. Now chairman of the litigation practice group at Chicago's Vedder Price Kaufman & Kammholz, Montana was formerly general counsel to casino operator, Bally's Entertainment Corp. Montana said he didn't believe Jackson would grant prosecutors' request to fine the officers. Fines against the corporation, if unpaid, could eventually be converted to a money judgment held by the U.S. and enforceable against Betonsports assets at least in the U.S. and possibly abroad, he said. Betonsports suspended trading of its shares on the London stock exchange on July 18, one day after the U.S. indictment was unsealed. Last month the company was de-listed.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

British Methodists fear fallout from new casinos

 

Manchester will be the home of the United Kingdom's first super casino, ushering in new "hard forms" of gambling never before seen in the island nations, including unlimited-prize jackpot machines. British Methodist Church officials say the new Gambling Act has paved the way for the Manchester super casino, announced on Jan. 30, and 17 smaller casinos around the country, expected to put huge profits in the pockets of the gambling industry and the UK government. The British Methodist Church is challenging the government and industry to channel "substantial resources to help those many thousands, if not millions" who will develop gambling-related problems, said Anthea Cox, the church's coordinating secretary for public life and social justice. "Unfortunately, evidence suggests that the new casinos, along with the increasing popularity of online gambling and the general normalization of gambling within [Britain], could result in many more people developing a serious gambling addiction over an extended period," Cox said. Research indicates an estimated 370,000 people in the United Kingdom already have gambling problems. A poll commissioned by the Salvation Army shows 56 percent of British people (and 64 percent of British women) do not want a casino to open where they live. Manchester officials cite regeneration of rundown areas, £265 million ($503 million) in investments and up to 2,700 new jobs as good reasons to welcome the super casino. But the Rev. Cris Acher, a Manchester-based Methodist minister, believes his city has "sold out on this one." Acher, who heads up the innovative Night Café ministry catering to 18-30s club-goers in Manchester's City Centre, told United Methodist News Service that Manchester already has culture, commerce and night life without the casino. "There are potential benefits, but at what cost?" he asked. The Rev. Keith Davies, chairman of the Methodist church's Manchester and Stockport District, challenged the city's claims about potential economic benefits. "Most of the jobs created will be low paid and the benefit for the community as a whole will be minimal," he said. Given the potential social costs of gambling, Davies suggested a greater investment in social housing and social amenities would have a far more significant impact on people living in the area of the proposed casino site - one of the most deprived communities in the United Kingdom. "When the act came in, we decided that we had no choice but to live with it, but we're still banging on about the problem," said Alison Jackson, a member of the Joint Pubic Issues Team for the British Methodist Church. "There's been a massive consultation since the bill became an act (of Parliament) and we've been talking to the government about how they will implement provisions to protect people from problem gambling."

The team has contributed to the design of a government study that will chart British attitudes and actions as more gambling opportunities are introduced. The first stage of a five-year study is already under way.

Church officials acknowledge there is no evidence showing how a new regional casino will affect the United Kingdom. However, they cite the U.S. experience of rising gambling-related debt, crime, bankruptcy and associated social problems - including unemployment and family breakdown - as a predictor of what could happen here.

Jackson said British Methodists are just as worried about Internet gambling, noting that recent crackdowns in the United States will push this form of gambling underground.

"There are always ways of getting your money to gambling sites on the Internet regardless of what the U.S. does," said Jackson. If Internet gambling goes underground, she said, people will be at risk both from gambling itself and from unscrupulous people who will charge extortionate rates to channel money to Internet sites.

Government officials in British cities such as Blackpool and Greenwich, which lost out to Manchester, hope more super casinos will be sanctioned, though officials overseeing the Gambling Act say they won't approve more regional casinos for the next three years.

Provisions in the gambling law require "proper monitoring" by the government of the effects of increased gambling opportunities. British Methodists say they will be "keeping an eye on the situation" to make sure the government keeps its promise.

Supercasino attracts the gambling giants

 

THE world's biggest gaming company could join the race to build Britain's first supercasino in Manchester. Harrah's Entertainment, the Nevada-based firm behind Caesar's Palace in Las Vegas, said it was `looking forward' to finding out about the bidding process and claimed it would offer `the most complete package for the UK'. Stanley Leisure, Britain's biggest casino firm, also confirmed its interest and called for a `truly open and transparent bidding process'. The news follows Tuesday's shock announcement that Manchester had been chosen as the site of Britain's first supercasino, with more than 1,000 unlimited-jackpot slot machines. While council chiefs had already chosen a site outside the City of Manchester stadium and a preferred operator - Kerzner International - the law states that the competition has to be reopened. Kerzner's plan was for a £265m complex, including a 5,000-seat arena, swimming pool and hotel plus the casino itself - which would have taken up just six per cent of floorspace. But interest is expected to be much greater now Manchester is the only city that will be able to operate a supercasino. The Kerzner consortium has so far refused to confirm they will be bidding again. In a statement, they said they were `proud' to have played a role in helping Manchester win the supercasino, adding: "Our bid, with its key elements of stunning design, joined-up regeneration and maximum economic benefits, clearly made a compelling case. "The consortium notes that due process in this project involves a competitive tender to comply fully with the Gambling Act and keenly awaits more details on the process which will lead to the regional casino being developed in Manchester." Michael Riddy, finance director for Liverpool-based Stanley Leisure, said: "I think a standalone UK casino operator might struggle to compete against bidders from, say, the US, but our position now as part of a multi-national group is a very strong one." But it is Harrah's, which has revenues of more than £3.5bn a year, that is likely to prove the biggest threat to any renewed bid by Kerzner. Andrew Tottenham, of Harrah's, said: "We look forward to learning the details of the public tendering process necessary to objectively select the casino operator to ensure the local community of Manchester will realise the maximum benefit of this planned development.

"Harrah's Entertainment offers the most complete package for the UK as we have a proven, worldwide track record of responsibly operating successful casino-integrated resort complexes."

Developers are already predicting a boom in property prices, with Mike Kidd - manager with Edward Mellor in Gorton - telling the M.E.N. after the announcement that people were `hanging out the bunting'.

House prices in many areas near the stadium have already doubled in just two years as a result of other post-Commonwealth Games regeneration in the area.

Israel ban online gambling

 

Israel has effectively banned online poker and casino websites from offering services to Israeli customers following a court case ruling against Victor Chandler's CEO Michael Carlton. The new ruling closes a legal uncertainty that online gambling companies previously operated in. "A foreign company operating an online gambling site may not hide behind the fact that the company and its servers sit in another country, and it is breaking the law if does not block access to Israelis," Judge Abraham Heiman said. Israel has become increasingly perturbed with Gibraltar-based Victor Chandler's presence in Israel as they sought to challenge the state-run gambling monopoly that operates there. Last year Victor Chandler embarked on an aggressive advertising campaign in Israel that offered greatly improved incentives than the state-run services. Accordingly, Israel swiftly became the second largest market for Victor Chandler. And as such has since caused much concern for Israeli authorities, culminating in Carlton being detained in Tel Aviv in January.

Speakers back table gambling at hearing

 

Unlike past public hearings on legislation to legalize racetrack games, which were split evenly, Thursday's hearing on the latest version of the bill was a one-sided affair. Pro-table games speakers outnumbered anti-gambling advocates by a 52-16 margin at a two-hour, 40-minute hearing in the House of Delegates Thursday. For the first hour, the hearing alternated between supporters and opponents of the legislation. After that, it was all speakers touting the economic and tourism potential of legalizing the casino-style gaming. "Personally, I was surprised at the disparity of the number of people for it as to those against it," said House Judiciary Chairwoman Carrie Webster, D-Kanawha. "It's a huge issue for the people who are for it, that's how I personally perceived it," said Webster, whose committee is expected to take first crack at the bill (HB2718) next week. The turnout Thursday may have some influence on legislators, Webster said, but the bill's future ultimately will come down to legal, constitutional and fiscal issues. The Rev. Dennis Sparks of the state Council of Churches, a leading opponent of gambling expansion, said he was not surprised that opponents of the bill were vastly outnumbered. He said it is difficult to mobilize opponents of gambling on short notice, suggesting that the racetracks didn't have that disadvantage. "All the gambling industry has to do is go to their employees and say, 'Take the day off and go to Charleston to testify,' " Sparks said. While the list of speakers did include a number of employees of the four racetracks, the advocates also included representatives of the tourism industry and various county and city officials, including Charleston Mayor Danny Jones.

Gambling trial delayed for Franklin judge's ruling

 

A Coshocton man has waived his right to a speedy trial in anticipation of what's happening in Franklin County Common Pleas Court. Rich Pica, owner of High Caliber Pit Stop on Chestnut Street, entered a not guilty plea in Coshocton Municipal Court on a first-degree misdemeanor charge of allowing gambling on his premises in November 2006. Pica contacted the Coshocton County Sheriff's Office on Nov. 17, 2006, letting them know he'd plugged in his six Tic-Tac Fruit machines located at the gas station/convenience store. Earlier that month the State of Ohio Attorney General's Office had issued an opinion the machines were illegal, and local authorities had notified operators to unplug their machines or face charges. Pica's jury trial was initially scheduled for Friday, Jan. 26, but Judge Tim France granted a continuance after the prosecutor asked for time to locate an expert in gambling. The trial was then rescheduled for 9 a.m. Wednesday, Feb. 7. However Pica's attorney, Eric Yavitch, asked the trial be postponed to await a declaratory judgment in a case of Tic-Tac Fruit manufacturers and distributors against the Department of Public Safety that should take place in the next couple of months in Franklin County Common Pleas Court. "Rather than litigate this over and over, the prosecutor, our office and Mr. Pica just feel it's a better use of resources to see what happens in Franklin County," Yavitch said. "Once a ruling is issued, the prosecutor will revisit the case and make his own evaluation."

Korea's son of Kim lives high life in gambling paradise

 

CHINA has secretly harboured the eldest son of North Korean dictator Kim Jong-il in Macau for three years, despite the US-led crackdown on North Korea's finances in the former Portuguese colony, local reports say. Kim Jong-nam, the North Korean leader's eldest son and former heir apparent, has been living with his family in Macau, dividing his time between five-star hotels and a family villa, the South China Morning Post reported yesterday citing a six-week investigation. The newspaper said the younger Kim had made Macau his home, and was not just a frequent visitor as previously thought. In contrast to the deprived conditions, and in some cases starvation, suffered by most North Korean citizens, Mr Kim spends much of his time wining, dining and gambling in Macau's growing number of casinos and slot machine parlours, and travels frequently to the mainland and abroad using passports from the Dominican Republic and Portugal, the paper said. The rotund younger Kim hit the headlines in 2001 when he was deported from Japan after trying to enter with his wife and then four-year-old son on a fake passport, apparently to visit Tokyo Disneyland. The humiliation led his father Kim Jong-il to cancel a planned visit to China. Macau, like neighbouring Hong Kong, is a special administrative region of China and as such enjoys limited autonomy. But there is little doubt that Beijing would be aware of Mr Kim's presence in Macau as North Korea is such a touchy issue. "He's been on the move for much of the decade but Macau is the place he calls home now," a source familiar with Mr Kim's movements told the South China Morning Post. "He's been free to stay as long as he lives quietly. He believes he is among friends and he appears to be happy." Macau has been a key conduit for North Korean financial dealings for more than 40 years, but in November 2005 the Macau Government froze $US24 billion ($A31.7 billion) in North Korean-linked accounts at the request of the US Treasury, which said they were used for money laundering. The financial bans strangled Kim Jong-il's cash flow and North Korea angrily blamed them for the breakdown of talks. If confirmed, the news that China has been harbouring Kim Jong-il's son is likely to embarrass Beijing, which has been under intense international pressure to use its much vaunted influence to pull North Korea back into line after it tested its first nuclear device last October. China voted in favour of unprecedented Security Council sanctions against North Korea after the October 9 nuclear test and North Korea eventually agreed to return to six-party talks in December. These are due to resume in Beijing next Wednesday.

Under the deal brokered by China last year to resume the stalled talks, the US agreed to hold separate meetings with North Korea on the Macau bank accounts.

The latest talks on this issue ended in Beijing on Wednesday but afterwards a source told Reuters that the North Koreans might threaten to conduct a second nuclear test at the resumption of six-party talks next week if the US did not lift the Macau financial bans.

Monday, February 05, 2007

WTO raps US over online gambling law

 

The World Trade Organisation (WTO) has ruled against the US in an online gambling dispute with the Caribbean island of Antigua and Barbuda. The US is breaking international trade rules, it is expected to say. Though the ruling is still private, Reuters has reported that the WTO has found the US guilty of not complying with a 2005 order in the case. Antigua and Barbuda has built up a significant internet gambling industry to replace falling tourist revenue and took the US to the WTO over entry to the US gaming market. Laws passed previously banned non-US companies from operating in the US gaming market. Antigua argued that this was an illegal trade restriction and broke a free trade pact that the US had signed. A WTO dispute resolution panel found in Antigua's favour in 2003. The US appealed but the Appeals Board found largely for Antigua in 2005. The WTO has now found that the US has not tried hard enough to stick to that decision. Antigua had taken a case relating to a ban on all bets placed across state lines. The WTO, though, only ruled in its favour in relation to the narrower issue of horse race betting across state lines. It found that foreign bookmakers seemed to suffer discrimination. The WTO has provided both sides with a preliminary report on its findings. Both parties can submit further comments to it before a final report is published in March. A spokesperson for the US Trade Representative told Reuters that the ruling was only a minor issue. "[We] did not agree with the United States that we had taken the necessary steps to comply with that ruling," she said. "The panel's findings issued today involve a narrow issue of federal law." Since the disputed laws were passed in the US further, more stringent anti-online gambling legislation has been passed. Last autumn, the US passed laws which made almost all internet gambling illegal in the US and several online gambling executives have been held by US authorities.

Are Any of Your Employees in Danger of Becoming Addicted to Gambling?

 

Online gambling 24 hours a day. EuroMillions jackpots in the tens of millions of pounds, and now the UK's first "super-casino" in Manchester. Never before have there been so many opportunities - and incentives - for people to become seriously addicted to gambling. According to the British Medical Association there are an estimated 300,000 'problem gamblers' in the UK, and the BMA expects this figure to rise with September's introduction of the Gambling Act 2005, which will lift entry restrictions on casinos and bingo halls, and permit TV advertising for casinos. Gambling now has the potential to reach far more than those individuals who are currently classed as addicts. Research by Morse into the habits of office workers (January 2007), for example, found that one in three of these workers gamble at least once a week for at least 15 minutes during work time. To help deal with these issues, Professor Mark Griffiths, co-author of the BMA report, has called for addiction services to be made available countrywide, and stated that money is needed for prevention campaigns. Until such time as these resources are introduced (assuming they ever are), if you are an employer it's important to be on the lookout for any employees who may be developing a gambling habit, especially because - as with other forms of addiction - once established it can be far more difficult to break. 'Unlike drug or alcohol addiction, there are no obvious physical signs of a compulsive gambler. Like other addicts, however, they will typically deny any problem until they hit rock bottom and are desperate for help.' explains Business Stress Consultant Carole Spiers of The Carole Spiers Group. 'Among the clearest indications of a serious gambling problem are borrowing money to gamble or pay off debts; any effort to conceal gambling (as this implies guilt that there is a problem); and the amount of leisure time devoted to gambling. Pre-internet, compulsive gamblers might have had poor attendance records due to their gambling, but it may now be necessary to look for subtler signs such as only having half their mind on their job; appearing withdrawn and less of a team player; secrecy; reduced productivity; irregular time-keeping or general capability issues.'

The importance of dealing with gambling before it takes hold is highlighted by research showing that by the time most compulsive gamblers seek help, they are hugely in debt and their family life is a shambles. Around 80% seriously consider suicide, and up to 20% attempt or succeed in killing themselves. Three studies of Gamblers Anonymous members and others in treatment also found that roughly two-thirds admitted to committing crimes or fraud to finance their gambling; while in another study, 47% of the Gamblers Anonymous members surveyed admitted to engaging in some form of insurance fraud, embezzlement or arson.

"What started as a simple bit of fun almost ended up costing me my life, says one reformed gambler. I couldn't sleep, couldn't pay my bills, was constantly lying to cover up what I'd been doing, but I simply couldn't stop. I used to steal money from my wife's purse, and was making her and our family's life an absolute misery. Fortunately a work colleague spotted that I had a problem and persuaded me to see a specialist counsellor. If he hadn't, I might not be here today."

To help employers deal with these issues, Carole Spiers Group operates a nationwide network of fully trained counsellors, capable of providing specialist advice on the best ways of tackling gambling addiction. Carole has also contributed an article on gambling at work to Gambling Trends, published by Independence Educational Publishers, click link to view details.

'If you suspect an employee is regularly engaged in internet gambling, use a performance review to draw attention to any concerns. Prior to this, talk to the employee about any stressors they are experiencing, as people can gamble when they see 'no way out', and an early intervention could resolve this,' concludes Carole Spiers.

'If their work appears to be suffering you should ensure regular appraisals especially if jobs are not completed on time. If you find someone has been gambling online during work hours, use an informal warning, followed by a more formal approach if the problem persists. And in extreme cases, seriously consider recommending the employee for help with their gambling addiction.'

European and US gambling law update

 

Over the years bettingmarket.com has provided a comprehensive analysis of European and US gambling law. In the case of Europe, we did not succumb to the post-Gambelli euphoria that befell many leading lawyers in the field and many online gambling companies. In the case of the US, we refused to perpetrate the myth that the only person ever charged in relation to online gambling, was one Mr Jay Cohen. Our seminal rticle in this area; "The War against online gambling" has been read over 1/2 million times! At the country level, our main area of focus has been Sweden and France. Sweden, where a new Government promises to review exisiting gambling legislation, and France, where the government has chosen to get tough with online gambling operators.

Gambling portals defy net ban

 

The Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006 makes unlawful the receipt by a gambling business of proceeds or monies in connection with unlawful internet gambling. The Act, which represents the first piece of Federal legislation to explicitly deal with online gambling, makes clear the US government's intention to stop the flow of funds from Americans to online gaming operators through criminal sanction. The scope of the act is broad, in so far as a "Restricted transaction" is taken to mean any transmittal of money involved with unlawful Internet gambling, whilst a "bet" is construed as including; "any instruction or information pertaining to the establishment or movement of funds by the bettor or customer in, to, or from an account with the business of betting or wagering." The Act also provides that an interactive computer service (ISP) may be asked by an Attorney or an Attorney General to remove, or disable access to any online site that violates the prohibitions contained within the Act. The site in question must reside "on a computer server that such service controls or operates." This raises the prospect that the likes of Google and Yahoo might be asked to erase from their search engines any links to websites that are seen to violate the prohibitions contained in the act. This would include links to some of the most infamous US-facing gambling portals; EOG, Casino City, theonlinewire, Major Wager and Gambling911. Prior to the passing of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006, much time was spent musing over whether advertisements for online gambling constituted "aiding and abetting" within the meaning of the U.S. Criminal Code. In Casino City, Inc. v. U.S. Dep't of Justice, Civil Action, Casino City, funded by a number of online sportsbooks, filed a suit against the Department Of Justice in Louisiana, claiming that they it a right under the First Amendment to carry online gambling advertisements. The Court claimed that there was no right under the First Amendment to advertise services that are illegal or to claim, or give the impression that online gambling was legal, when it clearly was not. Drakos was subsequently convicted and sentenced to 90 days on a manual labour program and three years' probation for illegally promoting gambling. County Assistant Prosecutor Melanie Smith said that under state law, a person is guilty of promoting gambling when he or she knowingly engages in conduct that "...materially aids any form of gambling activity." In a recent case brought by Nassau County Legislator Jeffrey Toback, it was claimed that Google promoted and profited from child pornography, to the degree that it formed part of the company's business model. Toback was reported as saying;

"Defendant is willing to accede to the demands of the Chinese autocrats to block the search term 'democracy,'" the complaint states, "but when it comes to the protection and well-being of our nation's innocent children, Defendant refuses to spend a dime's worth of resources to block child pornography from reaching children."

In repsonse to the charge, a Google spokesperson said that the company would remove such material from its website where it had been made aware of it. This policy is consistent with UK and US law, which states that a search engine must remove illegal material, when it has been brought to its attention.

It is not inconceivable that the scope of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006, combined with a mindset that links online gambling with child pornography, will lead to U.S. Attorneys or state Attorney Generals enforcing a major clampdown on online gambling advertisements. This is likely to include requests to google and yahoo to remove links to any sites that are known to be violating the act.

CALIFORNIA PROBLEM GAMBLING STUDY RELEASED

 

The California Department of Alcohol and Drug Programs released a study on the prevalence of problem gambling "in the nation" this week, but did not identify which company conducted the research, how big a sample it covered or whether it was confined solely to land gambling. The department's Office of Problem Gambling (OPG) said that the study had revealed that between 750 000 and 1.2 million California adults are considered pathological or problem gamblers. "The legislation that created the Office of Problem Gambling focused resources on prevention and research," said Steve Hedrick, director of OPG. "Now with this prevalence study we'll be able to develop more effective prevention strategies and better understand how to help people with gambling problems." Key findings included: The prevalence of problem and pathological gambling is particularly high among men, people with disabilities and unemployed individuals. Between 296 500 and 490 000 adults in California are classified as lifetime pathological gamblers. Between 450 000 and 713 400 others experience significant problems but do not meet the established criteria for pathological gamblers. The majority of adults in California (83 percent) have gambled some time in their lives. Playing the lottery is the favourite gambling activity for Californians in the past year. Casinos are the preferred place to gamble. Card rooms and internet gaming account for the greatest personal losses, but these are not adequately explained. The multi-lingual telephone survey was conducted between 2005 and 2006 and included California residents aged 18 and over. Full methodology and the identity of the organisation which conducted the study was not disclosed in the public statement announcing he study's findings.

Casino - a colossal blunder

 

As The Gazette launches its most important ever campaign - to save Blackpool's casino and regeneration dreams - SHELAGH PARKINSON and NICK HYDE speak to those who believe it is vital we keep fighting That is message as the dust settles on the resort's supercasino snub. Amazement, anger, bewilderment - the list is endless when trying to describe the sense of feeling against what many see as a gross injustice. "Blackpool had the best case, proved it and still lost" is a sentiment shared by a town in shock at the decision to award the lucrative prize to Manchester. Our North West neighbours were, said the CAP, the best bet on all counts - for helping assist regeneration of a poor district and as the social impact test bed for Las Vegas-style glitz and gambling. Not so, say MPs, council leaders and Gazette readers who today made an 11th hour appeal to Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell to think again ahead of the crucial Parliamentary vote on the matter. Blackpool will lose millions in potential regeneration revenue by the decision to hand the one-and-only licence to a modern, cosmopolitan city already having benefited from £2bn of private sector investment in the last five years.The reason for such strong support for Blackpool's case locally comes from the 180-page CAP report - the same one which so publically damned the resort's bid. It stated the casino was not enough to boost Blackpool's fortunes, would not be instrumental in its rebirth and claimed Blackpool was not in terminal decline. The Fylde's four MPs have branded the Casino Advisory Panel report as littered with "inconsistencies" and "contradictions". They have accused the panel of missing the point when it came to assessing the "catalystic potential" of the super casino to trigger further massive investment in Blackpool. They also argue the decision to locate the development in a residential area of Manchester is completely at odds with previous recommendations that such premises are not located close to people's homes. Blackpool Council chief executive Steve Weaver and his team are now formulting their official response to the panel's ruling. But in Westminster, the Fylde's four MPs are already calling for a full debate on the issue. Blackpool North and Fleetwood MP Joan Humble said: "The panel report says a single casino will not regenerate our town, but they are ignoring the effect the casino would have on pulling in other private sector investment to Blackpool. "We have always referred to the casino as a catalyst yet the panel doesn't take that as an issue. "Of particular concern to me is the fact that they don't believe our proposal would represent the best test for social impact because the customers would be visitors who would then go home. "But that was always one of the most positive parts of our proposals that a destination casino in a resort like Blackpool would have a minimal effect on the impact of problem gambling." Blackpool South MP Gordon Marsden accused the panel of systematically failing to adhere to the remit given to them. He said: "There are serious questions to be asked about the inconsistencies within the report. "Firstly, Blackpool is criticised in that it wouldn't be able to handle so-called doorstep gambling because the proposal site was in a residential area, and yet the committee seem to have passed without comment the fact they are proposing to site it in one of the most deprived areas of East Manchester. "Secondly, they appear to have paid no attention whatsoever to the instructions Parliament gave them to look at the regional context of the development. We had the support of the Northwest Regional Development Agency but that seems to have been ignored." Fylde MP Michael Jack added: "The thing that surprised me was the emphasis given to the social implications of gambling and therefore the reference to Manchester as the best test bed, which was a fundamental shift from the main point which I think everyone thought was the impact of this kind of development on regeneration.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Casino gambling war is officially on in Legislature

 

Heading into the second third of this legislative session, the casino gambling war officially is on, and opposition forces wasted no time Tuesday with words and threats. In the House, a longtime foe, Delegate Kelli Sobonya, R-Cabell, is preparing 40 amendments to the proposal that would let voters in dog-and-horse track counties of Hancock, Jefferson, Ohio and Kanawha vote on table games. "I have every intention to kill the bill," she declared, moments before the House version of the table measure game was officially put on the list of fresh bills. "I believe absolutely it will require a statewide vote, a change in the Constitution." Mindful a statewide vote would assuredly bury table games, industry figures are steeling themselves for this tack, one they argue isn't supported by the Constitution. But Sobonya strongly disagrees, pointing to the constitutional amendment needed to approve scratch-off games by a state-run lottery. "It's not what people envisioned when they approved of the lottery, not Las Vegas-styled casino games," she said. Republicans are divided in both chambers on the issue. In fact, the first lawmakers listed as co-sponsors in the Senate are Sens. Karen Facemyer, R-Jackson, and Andy McKenzie, R-Ohio. The gambling industry is trying to use the jobs argument to brush the Constitution under the rug," Sobonya complained. "I'm here to say if they want to crack open the code, we need to make it beneficial to the state of West Virginia. If you have a West Virginia gaming industry and tracks willing to spend $50 million for a slot license in Pennsylvania, they can do it here." In the Beckley area, Ray Lambert, chairman of the West Virginia Family Foundation, sees table games as another expansion of gambling. "We've already seen the harm that gambling has done to West Virginia families in that it's a regressive tax on those who can least afford it," Lambert said. "Their hopes and dreams are placed upon winning the lottery, when, in fact, all they're doing is taking money from the families that otherwise could be used to pay bills, put clothes on their children and food on their tables." Lambert's position, mirroring that of Sobonya, is that any vote should be put before the entire state, not just the four counties directly affected, because "the negative impact" will embrace all of West Virginia, he said. As a 29-year business operator, Lambert said "it infuriates me" the state taxes businesses and individuals, and uses those dollars to compete with state businesses by promoting gambling. Lambert suggested the state abide by a long-held credo of the medical community and "do no harm" to the electorate by approving gambling legislation. Otherwise, he warned, expanding gambling through table games would merely be "breeding a new wave of addicts" whose costs will be borne by society at large.

Conference tackles problem gambling

 

The 10th annual Educational and Awareness Conference sponsored by the Kentucky Council of Problem Gambling will be held Thursday and Friday at the Holiday Inn North in Lexington. Arch Gleason, president of the Kentucky Lottery Corp., and Keith Whyte, executive director of the National Council on Problem Gambling in Washington, D.C., will be among the conference speakers. The conference will focus on issues faced by counselors of serious gamblers and financial and economic problems that gambling can cause. A series of roundtable discussions will center on issues, trends and future needs in combating problem gambling. Attendance is open to the public; the registration fee is $90 for members of the Kentucky Council on Problem Gambling and $115 for non-members. Registration is available on site.

Taking a punt on new casinos

 

MANCHESTER has beaten off the more fancied Blackpool and Greenwich in the race to host the UK's first Las Vegas-style super casino. Scarborough and Leeds are to get smaller casinos too. Altogether, there will be 17 new gambling houses built across the country. But where does yesterday's announcement leave York's chances of one day having its own casino? And will the new wave of casinos lead to a surge in gambling addiction and associated problems? A casino for York? YORK could still be in the running for a new casino in a few years time - and the city would be an obvious place to have one, a local businessman insisted today. York did not apply to be among the 17 cities whose new casinos were announced yesterday. If it had, believes Scarborough businessman Don Robinson, who is behind plans to turn the derelict ikon & Diva nightclub at Clifton Moor into a casino, it would have been a shoe-in. "York used to be all chocolate factories. Now it is Britain's third biggest tourist destination after London and Edinburgh," Mr Robinson said. "It will boom over the next ten to 20 years with ever more tourists coming. It has the racecourse, the shopping malls on the outskirts, the latest leisure facilities and hotels being built. It is an obvious place for a casino." The next wave of casino licences is likely to be announced within two or three years, Mr Robinson said. "And I think York will be in the forefront then. If the city council had applied for a casino licence this time, I'm sure they would have got one." The ruling Liberal Democrats in York are famously ambivalent about whether a casino would be good for the city. They stopped short of passing a "no casino" resolution which would have slammed the door for good on the idea, but applying for a casino licence in this first wave of new casinos was never on the cards. So might the council reconsider in future? The council's deputy leader Andrew Waller is, personally, opposed to a casino, but left the door on a future bid cautiously open today. "I'm sure there will be some members who are hoping for it and there will be others like myself who don't see that," he said. The next round of applications would not be due for about three years, he said. "We will have the debate again then." Labour appears more keen on a casino for York. Scarborough's recently-opened Opera House Casino had definitely been good news for the town, said York Labour councillor Paul Blanchard.

"We would need to take all the facts into full consideration and York residents must have a say in any application," he said.

"But if the local community supports the idea, I think York could benefit greatly from having a casino.

"York is a historic city that relies on tourism. A casino would create jobs and draw in a new kind of visitor, one who likes to gamble and be entertained.

"Gambling already exists in the city - betting offices, amusement arcades and even in internet cafes. A casino provides facilities to gamble in a strictly controlled and regulated environment. It could be a great source of revenue and additional visitors.

"But there has to be a full debate as to whether the residents of York want it. The main concern really is the necessary steps to ensure that any gambling in the city would not be a source of crime, disorder or antisocial behaviour. Children and other vulnerable people should also be protected from being harmed or exploited by gambling."

The city may have already missed the boat, warns Neil Horwell, one of the businessmen behind proposals for an £8 million casino and leisure complex off Foss Islands road.

Mr Horwell said he and his associates would push ahead with their plans. "But realistically, I think City of York Council has been so slow in recognising the need for a casino they have let the ship leave the harbour," he said.

That was a wasted opportunity, he said. York without a casino was "like not having a racecourse".

Gambling problem can affect restless legs patients

 

The impulsive behavior that sometimes develops as a side effect of treatment with "dopamine agonists" drugs may not be limited just to patients with Parkinson's disease. Patients with restless legs syndrome who are treated with a drug belonging to this class may also be at increased risk for pathologic gambling, according to a report in the medical journal Neurology. Dopamine agonists are a class of drugs that contain agents commonly used to treat Parkinson's disease and restless legs syndrome, both neurological disorders. Some of these drugs commonly used for one or both conditions include Requip (generic name ropinirole), Mirapex (pramipexole) and Sinemet (levodopa plus carbidopa).Dr. M. Tippmann-Peikert and colleagues from the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine, Rochester, Minnesota, conducted a review of the available medical literature, and found that the lifetime prevalence of pathologic gambling in the general U.S. population is 1.93 percent. "A similar or even higher frequency has been suggested in patients with Parkinson's disease treated with dopamine agonists," they report in the medical journal Neurology The researchers described the case history of three patients -- two middle-aged women and an older man -- with restless legs syndrome who became pathologic gamblers after treatment with dopamine agonists began. Restless legs syndrome is a neurological disorder that causes unpleasant sensations in the legs and an uncontrollable urge to move to get relief. Patients have described the sensations as a burning or creeping feeling, or like insects are crawling inside the legs. What characterized the syndrome is that patients primarily develop symptoms when they are trying to relax or sleep. None of the three patients had signs of parkinsonism on neurologic examination, and none was aware of the possible link between dopamine agonists and pathologic gambling reported for Parkinson's disease patients. One of the patients had never gambled before starting dopamine agonist therapy, and the other two patients had just a little past experience of recreational gambling. At the time gambling commenced or worsened, the three patients were taking an average of 0.5 mg/day of pramipexole, and one other patients was on a daily dose of 0.25 mg of ropinirole. The gambling behavior got worse with each dose increase. The patients had been treated with dopamine agonists for an average 9.3 months when the gambling compulsions began.

Gambling industry touts table game legislation

 

Industry leaders teamed with local officials this week to tout casino-style gambling as the doorway to more jobs and tourist bucks, while fighting off slot machine competition in cross-border Pennsylvania. Before they spoke, bipartisan bills surfaced in both the House of Delegates and Senate seeking local option referendums in the dog-and-horse track counties of Ohio, Jefferson, Kanawha and Hancock. And it appears the House - normally the dead-end of such legislation - is taking the lead this time. New Judiciary Chair Carrie Webster, D-Kanawha, reserved the House chamber for an afternoon hearing Thursday and indicated she intended to work the bill in her committee next week. Is this the year the measure escapes the Legislature? "If this isn't, I'll be shocked," said Sen. Ed Bowman, D-Hancock, who represents one county directly affected. "I really believe the people in the areas of the four tracks and people want this. We've been working for three years now. It's an issue that simply says, just let us have the right to vote in our counties." Those same four counties would gladly allow any other county to exercise the same power at the ballot box, Bowman said. John Cavacini, president of the West Virginia Racing Association, suggested the opposition is firing blanks at the idea by demanding a statewide constitutional change to accommodate casino gambling. Already, he said, voters have exercised similar votes in eight counties, with five losing and three passing, and "the most notable" was the defeat of casino gambling in 2000 at The Greenbrier in Greenbrier County. "We already have a table games statute on the books in the state of West Virginia," he said. "So the issue of table games has been addressed by previous legislators. The process worked. The racetracks are asking the Legislature to give us the same opportunity that they gave the citizens of Greenbrier County in 2000, and this is to allow citizens of racetrack counties to vote on adding table games." With pressure coming from Pennsylvania's slot machines, he warned, West Virginia could lose a revenue stream of $423 million, while local governments stand to sacrifice some $17 million. The tracks face the lose of $17 million in its purse, he said. Cavacini portrayed the tracks as "an integral part" of the tourism industry, pointing out 12 million non-residents visited the tracks last year, not just to gamble, but to take in a variety of amenities from live entertainment to restaurants and athletic events such as boxing. Charleston Mayor Danny Jones agreed, saying, "If you don't think this attracts people, you don't know much about the motor coach business."

Jones said each of the four counties could add that many good-paying jobs with health care benefits by adding table games.

"Tell these legislators to 'let's save these jobs, let's expand this business in West Virginia, and let's help these people keep their jobs. Let's vote.'"

Hancock County Commissioner Dan Greathouse portrayed Mountaineer Track as a good neighbor, making up shortfalls in the United Way's budget, giving money to boys and girls clubs and buying holiday turkeys for the jobless.

Police crack down on gambling

 

Warner Robins Police raided three businesses Friday in a crackdown on video poker machines. "We have a history of problems with them," said, Lt. Lance Watson of the Warner Robins Police Department Narcotics Intelligence Unit. Watson said he was working with the District Attorney's Office on the crackdown on video gambling. "We gave them a warning. Kelly (Burke, DA) gave a seminar," to local business owners. The investigation revealed that several businesses were paying cash for winning tickets from gambling devices, while they are only allowed to issue vouchers for in-store merchandise. "This is what happens," Watson said. "Maybe this will serve notice." "We'll probably go try another in a few weeks, he added." On Friday, the Warner Robins Police Department Narcotics Intelligence Unit executed three search warrants at the following locations in reference to commercial gambling: Andy's Food Mart, 1101 North Houston Road; All-In-One Gifts, 748 C North Houston Road: and Quick Stop Food Mart, 935 Coder Road. As a result of the search warrants, approximately $8,000 in cash and 24 gambling devices were seized and the following persons were arrested on charges of commercial gambling, keeping a gambling place, and possession of gambling device or equipment: At Andy's Food Mart, Anilaben Patel, 44, and Jitendra Patel, 48, both of 107 Montview Way, Centerville; At Quick Stop Food Mart, Ambitbhai Patel, 61, and Shakuntalaben Patel, 57, both of 102 Plaza Drive, Perry; At All-In-One Gifts, Teresita Woods, 63, of 822 Pine St., Warner Robins. The commercial gambling charge is a felony, while the other two charges - keeping a gambling place, and possession of gambling device or equipment are misdemeanors. The felony charge has a $1,100 bond, while the misdemeanors are $600 each. All five have been released from jail, each paying $1,700 to bond out. Watson said the city is looking at an ordinance on the gaming machines like neighboring municipalities have. Perry has such an ordinance. "The biggest problem is controlling it," Watson said. "If we could get a handle on them. If there were five and we knew where they were, it would be easier. Right now we have so many locations in the city."

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Lottery foes try to restrict gambling, with little success

 

Some New York lawmakers want the state to tell lottery-ticket buyers how slim the odds are of winning, and raise the gambling age from 18 to 21 to try to discourage gambling sprees. But those who oppose change have a ready rejoinder: The state is, in effect, addicted to the billions in revenue that Lottery games generate. The status quo is likely to prevail. "If you put in the ad 'The New York Lottery jackpot is now $10 million' and in the next graph say the odds of wining are 1 in 12 million, will that affect sales? Sure," said John Cape, who was state budget director during the administration of former Gov. George Pataki. "Then we could spend less on education." So while some lawmakers decry what they see as the harmful effects of gambling in general and promoting Lottery sales in particular, their attempts to rein in the program over the almost four decades it has been in place have been mostly futile. In fact, the Lottery has expanded. Tinkering with the New York Lottery would result in billions less for state education and higher property taxes, some state lawmakers say, and despite a few vocal critics, the games have been largely untouched by legislation recently. "Where are you going to get that kind of money if you don't have this system?" said Senate Racing, Gaming and Wagering Committee Chairman William Larkin, R-New Windsor, Orange County, referring to the $2.2 billion the Lottery raised in 2005-06. The majority of funding for education in the state comes from state and local property taxes, which are among the highest in the nation. Lottery supporters say that without the games, the taxes would be even higher. "One of the hardest things to do in this state is deal with property taxes," Larkin said. "The total amount of Lottery money would go down to education" if the Lottery was restricted. Lawmakers defeated some Pataki proposals to expand Lottery games, said Duane Motley. He is head of an evangelical Christian group called New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedoms, which is the largest member of the newly formed Coalition Against Gambling in New York. For example, lawmakers turned down a Pataki plan to allow the Quick Draw keno game around the clock instead of 13 hours a day, and also rejected the introduction of some new scratch-off games.

Don't look for a big change in the Lottery because a new governor has taken office. Gov. Eliot Spitzer hasn't taken a position on the Lottery, according to spokeswoman Christine Anderson.

Critics of the Lottery in the state Legislature introduced several bills last year that would place restrictions on advertising and other regulations, but they languished in committee.

Larkin said the bills introduced, like changing the legal gambling age from 18 to 21 or limiting where Lottery vending machines can be, aren't victims of typical Albany gridlock. They're just not realistic.

That hasn't dissuaded some in the Legislature from hammering away at the issue that they fear will cost the state more in the long run.

"The problem is that state government is addicted to gambling," said Assemblyman Sam Hoyt, D-Buffalo. "Under the Pataki administration, we have seen one of the largest expansions of state-sponsored gambling in New York state from all of the casinos and all the expansion of the video slot machines."

In the last five years, Hoyt has proposed several restrictions on the Lottery. Few have made it out of committee. Meanwhile, he has seen advertisements become increasingly sophisticated.

"They are flashier and more seductive and more misleading than ever before," Hoyt said of the ads, since they emphasize more than ever the extremely rare event of getting rich by just buying a ticket. "And they certainly don't offer the truth about the 'dollar and a dream.' They talk about becoming a millionaire, but the chances of you succeeding are a million to one."

Hoyt called for the state to advertise the odds of winning in television commercial and print ads.

Sen. Frank Padavan, R-Queens, another critic of the Lottery, also introduced a measure that would require the odds of winning to be shown in advertisements.

"It advertises in a fashion that is obscene using every gimmick you can think of," Padavan said. "They latch on in some way or another to entice individuals and get young people to play as well."

Hoyt and Padavan both want to raise the legal age to gamble from 18 to 21. That, too, has remained in committees of both houses. Children as young as 10 can develop a gambling problem, according to anti-gambling advocates.

The limp-wristed regulation of gambling won't work

 

The decision to give Britain's one super-casino to Manchester is inexplicable. If just one of these airless temples to 24-hour addiction is so badly needed as to require state sponsorship, then the obvious place is Blackpool - if not the Goodwin Sands. Blackpool is Britain's citadel of vulgarity, indulgence and self-abuse, and could have done with a boost. It is the perfect site. To capitulate to Manchester's slick marketing is as gratuitous as would have been a decision for the Greenwich dome. But what is this to do with government? Libertarians have long pondered how far politicians should stop the free market from meeting the demands of citizens who wish to please or harm themselves. Most adults are responsible for their actions, which is why they are held guilty if they disobey the law. If these actions damage their families, as gambling certainly does, or disrupt their communities or annoy their neighbours, then authority customarily intervenes. But to what extent is an open question. As an inhabitant of the libertarian fringe, I may dislike all sorts of things but am reluctant to ban people from doing them: be it drinking, smoking, taking drugs, hunting foxes, reading pornography, or excluding women from clubs and men from book prizes. Nor should government be overprescriptive in restricting the offence such activities cause to others. The job of government may be to ban certain antisocial behaviour, but mostly it should be to install frameworks whereby local communities can make such decisions for themselves. If Westminster does not want a film shown within its borders or Wales does not want drinking on a Sunday, I may laugh; but that is their decision. Gambling proliferates in Britain, from bingo to betting on horses and dogs, scratchcards, raffles, lotteries, fruit machines and poker clubs. There are casinos aplenty already. Anyone wanting to pull a one-armed bandit or dabble in roulette, blackjack and poker can find somewhere to do so. As a result, the stake value of gambling under Labour has soared from £7bn in 1997 to £48bn in 2005, plus a further £5bn on the lottery. This is hardly an industry that seems in chronic need of government support. Most countries are paranoid about supercasinos, treating them like gargantuan opium dens. Across America they are confined to a few resorts such as Las Vegas and to native American reservations (such as the "world's biggest" at the Pequots' Foxwoods casino, in Connecticut). The federal government has also recently declared all online gaming illegal. Russia is restricting gambling to designated zones from 2009. Both countries clearly regard easy access to betting as a social menace - as does most of Europe.

So what persuaded Tessa Jowell to welcome supercasinos to Britain's shores with open arms? The answer is that the Las Vegas cartel, already under pressure at home, targeted Britain as the "soft underbelly" of new-wave gaming in Europe. Either the law or the mafia had the market sewn up in Scandinavia, France, Italy, Germany and Spain. Blair's government was regarded as an easy touch, and tens of millions of pounds were spent lobbying for it. Philip Anschutz invited John Prescott to his Colorado ranch not for the colour of his eyes. Anschutz's interest in the dome was as a supercasino, as he made abundantly clear. The only amazement is that none of the Vegas money appears to have reached Labour party coffers (or will I have to eat these words?)

Blair and Jowell capitulated with astonishing speed. They passed no laws against online gaming. Under the 2005 act Jowell said she wanted not one but 40 supercasinos and was beaten back only by the massed ranks of the church and anti-addiction lobbies. She did not take no for an answer. She retreated from 40 to eight and then to just one, an inexplicable outcome. Why make big punters burn petrol crossing the country to Manchester rather than stay closer to home? Why benefit just one operator and eliminate competition? If super-gambling is to be suppressed, stop it. If not, leave it to the free market. The appearance of limp-wristed semi-regulation was incoherent, like a government trying to be half a virgin.

Jowell's department seems unable to carry the weight of moral responsibility placed on it. Under pressure from the drinks lobby she legislated to liberate alcohol consumption in pubs across the land - while those who supply cannabis and ecstasy in those same pubs are imprisoned in ever greater numbers. She allows thousands to be crammed into basement raves across England's cities, yet persecutes any church or social club that dares to put on a string quartet. She is for more gambling yet against "problem gaming". There is no rhyme or reason to her nannydom.

Whenever the government tries to ban something people enjoy, it makes a mess. It tried to ban off-course horse-race betting and had to capitulate to the high-street betting shop. In an earlier age it capitulated to the gin shop and the brothel, and then half-uncapitulated to the latter. Now it is trying to pretend that it disapproves of high-stakes casino gambling while at the same time wishing to appease the casino lobby.

I imagine this whole argument is on the way to oblivion. The supercasino is so unappealing (and now inconveniently located) as to be easily undercut by smaller local ones and by internet sites. In a few years we shall be reading of casino bankruptcies and closures. The free market will make decisions that ministers find it hard to make for themselves.

The one question remaining is by what moral compass the cabinet is guided. How can Jowell and her colleagues patronise the alcohol and gambling lobbies and yet blindly repress other indulgences and addictions, notably street drugs. Why are they filling city centres with drunks and gamblers yet filling prisons with drug users?

The obvious answer to the assault of the supercasino lobby would have been to leave decisions to the cities in which operators wanted to locate their premises and to decide on size and regional impact if necessary at planning appeal. As long as gambling is legal and Blackpool council wants a larger casino, it should not be the business of London or Jowell or the cabinet to say no. This is not a matter of postcode morality but of postcode choice. Instead the government has handed millions of pounds and thousands of jobs to Manchester, which does not need them, and denied them to Blackpool, which does. It is plain unfair.

Spokane gambling deal could benefit casinos in county

 

If other Washington tribes succeed in getting the liberalized gambling rules that are part of a new state agreement with the Spokane Indian Tribe, it could set off a new round of expansion for the 25 Washington state tribal casinos that generated about $1.2 billion in net receipts in 2006. In a prepared statement, Lummi Nation chairwoman Evelyn Jefferson said the tribe prefers not to comment on its negotiations with the state on gambling issues. But she also noted that Lummi Nation's gambling agreement "allows incorporation of new features that other tribes have gained through negotiations with the state." The Lummis expanded their Silver Reef Casino last year, adding more gaming machines and a hotel. Silver Reef's current total of 675 machines is the maximum allowed under the existing compact, but that could change if the Spokanes get permission to operate a larger number of machines. Mike Wootan, general manager of the Nooksack Indian Tribe's Nooksack River Casino, said he could not speak for the tribe. But he thinks some features of the Spokane agreement would be welcome at the Nooksack casino. The 2,300-member Spokane Tribe is the only tribe in Washington state that still operates gambling casinos without a compact - a deal between the tribe and the state that limits gambling operations. The proposed Spokane compact, worked out between the tribe and Washington Gambling Commission staff, needs the approval of that commission, Gov. Chris Gregoire and the U.S. Department of the Interior. Rick Day, executive director of the gambling commission, said it's important for both the state and the tribe to get Spokane gambling out of legal limbo. The deal will make it easier for the tribe to arrange financing of new gambling development, while the state gets some limits on the tribe's gambling growth, Day said.

residents favor Bay State gambling, casino

 

The poll, conducted by the Center for Policy Analysis at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, found 57 percent of respondents support the authorization of a resort casino, 30 percent are opposed and 14 percent are undecided. The poll and behavioral survey of 1,041 Massachusetts residents was conducted between September and November last year, according to the CFPA. When asked to rate a location for a casino, residents statewide favored western Massachusetts, Boston and the New Bedford/Fall River region, in that order, as preferred sites. They ranked Cape Cod and the Plymouth area as the least desirable locations for a casino, the CFPA said in a statement. "Support for casino gambling in Massachusetts runs deep through virtually every region, group and socio-economic strata," said Dr. Clyde W. Barrow, the CFPA's director. "Massachusetts residents strongly believe it is time the commonwealth authorize a casino to compete with Connecticut for the gambling, entertainment and tourism dollars associated with Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun." Residents also rated the potential fiscal and economic benefits of a casino above their concern over any potential social costs, with 76 percent agreeing that a casino will generate new tax revenues for the state, 69 percent believing it will spawn new job creation for Massachusetts residents, 67 percent citing its benefits to increased tourism, 62 percent believing a casino will recapture gambling monies being lost to other states, such as Connecticut and Rhode Island, and 56 percent saying it will stimulate economic development, according to the CFPA. Residents did, however, express concerns that a casino could increase political corruption. Political corruption was cited as a concern for 44 percent of respondents while gambling addiction in the state was a concern for 48 percent. The survey results echo the findings of a Boston Business Journal Business Pulse online survey conducted in early January. 65 percent of BBJ readers who took the survey said they favored legalized gambling in Massachusetts.

US online gambling ban is protectionist, says EU official

 

The US is discriminating against foreign gambling companies by banning payments to betting Web sites, said Charlie McCreevy, commissioner for the European Union's internal market. McCreevy told a panel of lawmakers on Tuesday that the EU should complain to the US over the October 13 bar to online gaming. McCreevy, who doesn't have authority over external trade, said he'll ask his staff to raise the issue with his colleague in charge of trade, Peter Mandelson. "In order to protect, I'd say, their own business, their industry there, they have de facto prevented foreigners from online betting into the United States," McCreevy said at the European Parliament in Brussels. To journalists afterward he labeled it "a protectionist measure." The legislation seeks to close the business to people in the US, representing half of the world's Internet gaming market. Its backers argued that a past ban on online gaming in the US had just pushed the business offshore. A spokesman for the US in Brussels declined to comment, saying it was premature to respond to remarks by a commissioner where no action has been taken. To crimp the flow of funds to betting sites, Congress passed the bill September 30 to bar credit card companies from processing payments to such businesses. Bush signed the measure into law on October 13. Online gaming shares plunged and companies including Sportingbet Plc, Leisure & Gaming Plc, PartyGaming Plc and Empire Online Ltd. ceased US operations or sold them for nominal amounts. "It is probably a restrictive practice and we might take it up in another forum," McCreevy said at the EU Parliament's Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee. Asked by journalists afterward if that referred to a World Trade Organization complaint, McCreevy said, "The WTO talks have enough to be going on with at the present time without adding this in. It's not something that has major momentum." The US is contesting a WTO decision from 2004, based on a complaint brought by Antigua and Barbuda, that the ban on Internet gaming is illegal. A group representing US casino operators such as Harrah's Entertainment Inc. and MGM Mirage has pushed Congress to fund a study of whether online gambling could be regulated, as a possible way to get into the business themselves.

Office of Problem Gambling Releases Largest Prevalence Study in the Nation

 

Today, the Office of Problem Gambling (OPG) today unveiled the most comprehensive prevalence study of problem gambling ever conducted in the nation. The survey found that between 750,000 and 1.2 million California adults are considered pathological or problem gamblers. "The legislation that created the Office of Problem Gambling focused resources on prevention and research," said Steve Hedrick, director of OPG. "Now with this prevalence study we'll be able to develop more effective prevention strategies and better understand how to help people with gambling problems." Key findings include: The prevalence of problem and pathological gambling is particularly high among men, people with disabilities and unemployed individuals. Between 296,500 and 490,000 adults in California are classified as lifetime pathological gamblers. Between 450,000 and 713,400 others experience significant problems but do not meet the established criteria for pathological gamblers. The majority of adults in California (83%) have gambled some time in their lives. Playing the lottery is the gambling activity for Californians in the past year. Casinos are the preferred place to gamble. Card rooms and internet gaming account for the greatest personal losses. The multi-lingual telephone survey was conducted between 2005 and 2006 and included California residents aged 18 and over. Over the past three years, OPG completed implemented a number of prevention programs including: Public awareness campaigns Two gambling help lines Community and government organization training on recognizing problem gambling and available resources About Problem Gambling: Gambling problems vary in severity and duration. Pathological gambling is the most severe gambling problem. Pathological gambling is a treatable mental disorder characterized by loss of control over gambling, lies and deception, family and job disruption, financial bailouts and illegal acts.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Fears problem gambling could increase

 

Relaxing restrictions on slot machines and casino-building later this year could lead to rising numbers suffering from gambling problems, doctors and church leaders fear. The British Medical Association (BMA) said earlier this month it was particularly concerned about adolescent gamblers and called for a review of whether slot machine gambling -- popular among teenagers -- should be banned to anyone under 18. In a report on gambling addiction, the BMA said there were believed to be at least 300,000 people with gambling problems in Britain at present. The Salvation Army and Methodist Church put the number even higher at 370,000. In a joint statement, they called for new casinos to be monitored for adverse affects on their local community for up to five years, longer than the three years currently stipulated. They were particularly concerned about so-called "regional" casinos -- huge, Las Vegas-style supercasinos that will be able to have up to 1,250 unlimited jackpot fruit machines. "There is no evidence to show what effect a regional casino may have on a UK community, but experience in the United States shows a rise in gambling-related debt, crime, bankruptcy and associated social problems including unemployment and family breakdown," they said.

McCreevy may oppose US gambling laws

 

US restrictions on online gambling may be challenged by the European Union, the bloc's top financial regulator said today. The legality of Internet gambling in the United States was ambiguous for many years, but it was effectively banned last October when US President George W. Bush signed legislation outlawing financial transactions for gaming. Several British online gambling firms were forced out of the US market as a result. "In my view it is probably a restrictive practice and we might take it up in another fora," EU Internal Market Commissioner Charlie McCreevy told the European Parliament. The United States was protecting its own gambling industry by stopping foreign companies from entering the online betting sector, Mr McCreevy said. "It's not my intention to bring forward a harmonised piece of legislation on gambling in the European Union," McCreevy added. US pressure on the industry continues. The US Justice Department last week demanded information from some of the world's biggest investment banks as part of the probe into online gambling companies such as Britain's PartyGaming. The move was the latest in a US crackdown on online gaming, which began with the arrest of BETonSPORTS' Scottish Chief Executive David Carruthers in Texas last July. Mr McCreevy later told reporters the US rules were a "prima facie" case of protectionism and that the World Trade Organisation was a possible venue for tackling them. However, due to the WTO's protracted negotiations to secure a new world trade agreement, he would not rush to file a complaint. "It's not something of major momentum," Mr McCreevy said. There have been no face-to-face talks about the issue with Peter Mandelson, the EU trade commissioner, Mr McCreevy said. Mr McCreevy has launched legal actions against several EU countries to tackle obstacles to foreign competition.

Mass. residents favor Bay State gambling, casino

 

The poll, conducted by the Center for Policy Analysis at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, found 57 percent of respondents support the authorization of a resort casino, 30 percent are opposed and 14 percent are undecided. The poll and behavioral survey of 1,041 Massachusetts residents was conducted between September and November last year, according to the CFPA. When asked to rate a location for a casino, residents statewide favored western Massachusetts, Boston and the New Bedford/Fall River region, in that order, as preferred sites. They ranked Cape Cod and the Plymouth area as the least desirable locations for a casino, the CFPA said in a statement. "Support for casino gambling in Massachusetts runs deep through virtually every region, group and socio-economic strata," said Dr. Clyde W. Barrow, the CFPA's director. "Massachusetts residents strongly believe it is time the commonwealth authorize a casino to compete with Connecticut for the gambling, entertainment and tourism dollars associated with Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun." Residents also rated the potential fiscal and economic benefits of a casino above their concern over any potential social costs, with 76 percent agreeing that a casino will generate new tax revenues for the state, 69 percent believing it will spawn new job creation for Massachusetts residents, 67 percent citing its benefits to increased tourism, 62 percent believing a casino will recapture gambling monies being lost to other states, such as Connecticut and Rhode Island, and 56 percent saying it will stimulate economic development, according to the CFPA. Residents did, however, express concerns that a casino could increase political corruption. Political corruption was cited as a concern for 44 percent of respondents while gambling addiction in the state was a concern for 48 percent. The survey results echo the findings of a Boston Business Journal Business Pulse online survey conducted in early January. 65 percent of BBJ readers who took the survey said they favored legalized gambling in Massachusetts.

Video gambling a cash cow even for smaller states

 

Surveying West Virginia's rural neighborhoods, where most people lack broadband access to the Internet, you would never guess the state is a lottery cash cow. That is until you drove by the racetracks that dot major population centers. There you would see crowds of people shoving streams of dollars into buzzing and blinking video lottery terminals - the reason this small state, with one of the country's lowest per-capita incomes - is home to one of the most lucrative lotteries in the nation. While the New York Lottery is the largest and most profitable in the country, several other states less than half New York's size have found a way to close the gap: video lottery terminals, or VLTs. The results of instituting the slot-like machines have been dramatic, with states that use them earning as much as five times more money per capita than New York. Rhode Island leads the nation in lottery sales per capita, pulling in more than $1,500 for every one of its nearly 1.1 million residents, or $1.6 billion in fiscal 2005, according to the most recent data from the North American Association of State and Provincial Lotteries. South Dakota is second with its $675 million in lottery sales, representing nearly $880 per resident. No. 4 on the list is West Virginia, which took in $1.4 billion in lottery sales in 2005, or $772 per resident. By comparison, New York's nation-leading lottery sales of $6.3 billion amounted to just $325 per person last fiscal year. New York has about 5,000 video lottery terminals at six upstate racetracks and another 5,500 at Yonkers Raceway. As many as 7,500 VLTs have been authorized for the Yonkers racetrack. The state is considering plans for another 5,000 machines at Aqueduct Race Track in Queens. West Virginia, which has 1.8 million residents compared with New York's 19 million, has 9,000 authorized machines in operation. "(Our customers are) spending a lot on the lottery," said Libby White, marketing director of the West Virginia Lottery. "You have astronomical per-capita revenues simply because you have a product, VLT." Per-capita sales are total lottery sales divided by the number of residents in a state. Since some states are larger than others and report substantially higher lottery sales, the measure is used as a way to compare performance.

On that scale, Delaware also does quite well, pulling in about $830 per person for a total of $689 million a year.

"It's the excitement to win dollars just as any other lottery, but we are are probably doing better than states that just offer Lotto products and scratch products," said Norman Lingle, director of the South Dakota Lottery, which was the first state to introduce video lottery, in 1989, a year after legislators approved the state's lottery program.

If any state knows the value of VLTs, however, it's West Virginia.

In 1994, before VLTs, the state's lottery brought in $142 million, White said. Last year, lottery sales totaled $1.4 billion. Of that, $942 million, or nearly 70 percent, came from VLTs, she said. About $283 million was spent on video gaming in 1999.

"It is a tourism industry. That is why the revenue is so high," said White, noting the state's proximity to Cleveland, Pittsburgh and other major metropolitan areas.

Still, there has been some criticism of video gaming, with some calling it the most addictive form of gambling.

Residents in many states, however, welcome VLTs. In South Dakota, video lottery revenues are deposited in the state's property-tax relief fund, and provide an annual 30 percent reduction in property taxes, Lingle said.

The popularity of the terminals has led many states to expand their operations. Pennsylvania lawmakers have authorized the use of up to 61,000 VLTs in gaming facilities.

And, taking a cue from the popular Mega Millions and Powerball multistate lotteries, Delaware, Rhode Island and West Virginia have created Cashola, the first multistate video lottery.

Jackpots start at $250,000 and grow until someone wins. It's expected that jackpots will climb to about $1 million once a month.

UK gambling ad laws to be relaxed

 

In the build up to the government announcing the location of the UK's first supercasino, it has emerged that TV advertising laws for UK gambling operators are to be relaxed. However, those gambling operators that are based outside Europe and Gibraltar wishing to advertise in the UK will have to apply for a special licence and prove that they are based in a jurisdiction that employs tight regulatory policies. The aim of the new legislation, which will be implemented with the new Gambling Act 2005 on September 1, is to seal a loophole in current laws that allow gambling companies from badly regulated regions to dodge British rules, thus protecting consumers. However, concerns are being raised that an increase in television advertising from gambling companies could be a danger to vulnerable groups and children. Mark Griffiths, Professor of Gambling Studies at Nottingham Trent University is wary of the dangers and believes the new laws should be accompanied by public awareness campaigns. "Hardly any work has been carried out on whether advertising contributes to problem gambling, but in my view is does," Griffiths said. Tessa Jowell, Culture Secretary, is hopeful that gambling operators will help fund counselling for addicts through a levy. Although The Responsibility in Gambling Trust has announced that the industry is £3 million short of agreed contributions, Jowell has instructed ministers to put in place procedures that would force companies to make significant payments.

Understanding Money Management When Gambling

 

The idea of money management and having a bankroll specifically for gambling is a foreign concept to many casino players. Most casual players simply deposit money when they want to play and that is fine, but unless you understand money management, you could be putting more at risk than just your bet. Money management is not a system for winning at Roulette, conquering the Baccarat tables or beating any other game of chance. It's simply a way to ensure that you have fun, extend your game play and don't lose more than you can comfortably afford. The opportunity for a big win is certainly possible for anyone, but you need to make sure your money lasts long enough to give yourself that chance. Money management and gambling may sound like complete opposites, but in reality those who understand gambling realize that money management is vital to success. If you are used to entering a casino or playing casino games online without using any money management techniques, then this article is for you. Here are some tips to keep in mind when you are playing at online casinos: Your "bankroll" is a sum of money that is set aside specifically for gambling purposes. By having a bankroll it means that you are only ever gambling with money that you can afford to lose. You are not gambling with the rent or grocery money. If you lose you are not hurting yourself or loved ones. It is important because those who do not have a bankroll are taking online gambling from being fun to being a serious issue if things go wrong. Only ever gamble with your bankroll and within your limits. By having a bankroll your can control what you risk. Have a plan and set a limit that you are happy to wager and if you reach your limit then walk away and take a break. Understand that gambling involves a lot of luck and so you can't win all the time. When you are on a losing streak then resist the temptation to place larger bets. Doubling your bets when losing is a mythical betting system that simply does not work. Also do not try and win back all of your losses with one big bet. This is unnecessarily risky and will only cause more grief is the losing continues. A better approach is to increase your bet sizes when you are winning and try to take advantage of the good run, and reduce your bet sizes when you are losing to minimize the damage. If you've had an excellent winning session then do not let it go to your head. Be thankful that the dice rolled your way on this occasion and be happy to cash out a profit. Do not think you are now a high roller and start to play at limits that are beyond your bankroll. You should only play at limits where your bankroll can handle the variance of either big winning or losing sessions. When you win, cash out and enjoy your success.

When you're in the middle of a losing session you need to have patience to work your way through it to come out in front. Don't be concerned if you go on a bad streak, as each game is a new event and the previous results have absolutely no impact on the next game. Statistically you are the same chance of winning the next game as you were the last, no matter how many times the dealer turns over Blackjack!

Be smart with your money and enjoy your time gambling at online casinos so that you are never in a situation where you've lost more than you can afford. Remember that gambling should always be fun and you'll enjoy it much more when, thanks to your wise money management techniques, you still have cash in the Online Slots when that huge jackpot strikes!

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Christian groups fear explosion in gambling

 

Christian groups today warned the opening of Britain's first supercasino could lead to an explosion in the number of gambling addicts. Tomorrow the Government's Casino Advisory Panel will announce the location for the first Las Vegas-style gaming complex, with the Dome and Blackpool heading the race. But a report by the Methodist Church and the Salvation Army said today that "substantial" resources would be needed to help victims of Labour's gambling reforms. Anthea Cox, a co-ordinating secretary of the Methodist Church, said: "Evidence suggests the new casinos, along with the increasing popularity of online gambling and the general normalisation of gambling in this country, could result in many more people developing a serious gambling addiction over an extended period. "The gambling industry and the Government will benefit most... We are challenging them to channel substantial resources to help those many thousands if not millions of people who will experience problems." Lieutenant-Colonel Royston Bartlett, of The Salvation Army, added: "Much has been made of the potential economic benefit of casinos but that needs to be balanced against the potential devastating effects of problem gambling." Meanwhile the Dome's owner, Anschutz Entertainment Group, warned it might have to cancel £350 million of investment in the Greenwich site if it failed to win its bid to host a supercasino. David Campbell, AEG's chief executive in Europe said: "There is no plan B. If we don't get the casino, we have to take a view on the decision and whether we should challenge it."

Online Gambling Laws and What They Mean to You

 

As one of the world's largest and most popular entertainment and news sites focusing on "events" betting odds, whether that be related to sports, political elections, celebrity breakups, awards shows and so on, Gambling911.com realizes the need for clarity in laws imposed by local, state, country jurisdictions. As such, through extensive research, we offer our readers an easy-to-follow breakdown of current laws and restrictions pertaining to online gambling. Ambiguity is not just present in US law - which has been a main focus of late as it relates to online gambling - there are jurisdictions throughout the world that allow betting on some forms of activity and not others. Some online gambling jurisdictions do not allow betting with online casinos and sportsbooks located in the country itself by their own citizens while taking bets from outside the nation are okay and placing bets outside the nation is not clearly illegal. France reportedly has no laws prohibiting its citizens from betting online with gambling sites located outside the country but has been aggressively going after those individuals who run said sites (even outside the country - similar to the stance of the US). Recently, a law passed on the US Federal level clarifies that the acceptance of bets on US soil remains illegal but has now been adapted to the internet. The law further seeks to have banking institutions monitor such transactions that may be made from US citizens in order to prevent operators from collecting said betting funds. However, the banks and others have been lobbying to remove such language from this law that would hold financial institutions liable. Legislators have admitted that the wording in this law needs to be studied over the next several months. Poker may still be exempt from this measure, though that is yet to be determined as of January 30, 2007. For actual gamblers/bettors, the law is not applicable to them. Amazingly, under the new US law, gamblers themselves will not be held liable. The law only serves to focus on bet-takers and banks. This is why with US law, we will focus on individual states appearing below. This report focuses exclusively on the placement of bets in various jurisdictions with the knowledge that many of our readers may be interested in gambling online (as opposed to taking bets from others). Clearly, it is illegal for anyone in the US to operate an online casino or sportsbook within US borders. Likewise, it is illegal for anyone to physically collect money from another individual that relates to the proceeds derived from online gambling. Furthermore, our focus is on individual states within the US since we are unaware of any internet-specific laws outside the US pertaining to the actual bettor.

Program gives students a head's up about gambling

 

The Responsible Gambling Council is 'betting' that college-age students will be smarter about gambling once they 'Know the Score.' The council, a non-profit, independent organization committed to problem gambling prevention, is running the program this week at Fleming College in Lindsay. Co-ordinator Tim Hawkes said that while most people gamble responsibly, gambling online, especially poker, is on the rise among college and university-age youth. In a study conducted in 2005, the council found that while fewer people in Ontario are gambling, the 18 to 24 age group of gamblers is growing, especially in poker and other online games. "It's just so easy to play online, and the 'celebrity factor,' where they see people winning big money or making a living playing poker makes it pretty attractive," said Mr. Hawkes. "The aim of the program is to educate the students about gambling responsibly." The program is broken into four parts. The first dispels the myths about gambling. The second outlines the signs of addiction. The third highlights treatment agencies and the fourth shows ways to limit the risks. Mr. Hawkes said students aren't the only ones who have shown interest in the program, which is visiting more than 30 colleges and universities in Ontario. "We even have faculty members who have noticed students who seem to have a problem," he said. Problem gambling is an addiction, Mr. Hawkes said, adding the signs are there. They might start skipping classes, lying to their family and friends, or spending money to win back losses. Student Shawn Parks took the quiz, and told This Week that while he doesn't gamble much himself, some of his friends "are really into the Pro-Line sports online." "It's usually just a couple of bucks here and there, but you could get into trouble," he said. "But, most of my friends are pretty good; it's just for fun."

Proposed Gambling Zones See Prices Rocket

 

Real estate prices in two of the four zones designated for legal gambling, set to come into existence in mid-2009, have seen a spectacular rise since the beginning of the year. Under a new anti-gambling law, which received President Vladimir Putin's official approval Dec. 31, gambling in Russia will be restricted to four zones from July 1, 2009. Elsewhere in the country, gambling will become illegal. The positioning of the zones -- the Baltic exclave of Kaliningrad, the Primorye region, the Siberian Altai region and the southern Krasnodar-Rostov area -- raised eyebrows when it was first announced in December. Besides the Primorye region, which already attracts a large number of gamblers from nearby China, the economic logic behind the selection of the other zones seemed unclear. Investors, however, now appear keen to get on board the potential gaming boom, which has caused real estate prices to skyrocket. One of the intended zones, a 1,000-hectare site by the Sea of Azov, on the border between the southern regions of Rostov and Krasnodar, has seen real estate prices shoot up tenfold in recent weeks, Vedomosti reported Thursday. This is despite the fact that civil servants will only settle on the exact parameters of the zone in early February. Private businesses are expected to invest up to $2.5 billion by 2010, with the government putting in $500 million for initial infrastructure, Krasnodar Deputy Governor Alexander Remezkova said in a statement published on the region's official web site. The reports of a meteoric price rise in the Krasnodar-Rostov zone followed similar news from Altai, where another of the gambling zones will be situated. With investors from all over Russia looking to buy up land for potential hotel redevelopment, prices have quadrupled in the village of Solonovka, on the edge of the intended zone, Rossiiskaya Gazeta reported Jan. 11. Former inhabitants have even begun returning to reclaim any land they once owned, local news agency Amic reported. Describing the proposed site as little more than a cluster of typical Russian villages, Alexander Smirnov, director of the Altai-based Tourist Agency Plot, expressed incredulity at the expected rate of change. "Its difficult to imagine that this will become a Russian Las Vegas, but that's what they've said will happen," Smirnov said. "You know what Russians are like -- they'll spend today and wait to see what happens tomorrow." Officials in Kaliningrad and the Primorye region could not be contacted for similar figures Friday.

Some analysts, however, are skeptical about the accuracy of such high growth rates and questioned the wisdom of any speculative investment in the proposed zones.

"We are getting interest from various hotel chains in the Russian regions but no particular interest expressed in the proposed gambling zones," said Konstantin Demetriou, national director at the capital markets department of Jones Lang La Salle.

With presidential elections scheduled before the law's implementation, Demetriou questioned whether the gambling law would ever come into effect and who would risk investing in the areas at such an early stage.

"It is far too early to talk about a possible surge in prices, and I seriously doubt that the figures are as dramatic as claimed", said Oleg Repchenko, director of the analytical department at IRN.ru, a web site that tracks the market.

Lavrenty Gubin, spokesman for Storm International, one of the country's biggest gaming companies, which runs the Super Slots chain and several Moscow casinos, said his company had no intention of venturing into the gambling zones before carrying out marketing research.

Also, although foreign gaming giants are backed by the necessary financial resources, they will not be prepared to risk investing in the zones without guarantees that the gambling law will come into effect and with the limited infrastructure in place, Gubin said.

"This is Russia, and anything could happen. It is obvious that these zones are not going to start functioning in 2 1/2 years," he said.

However, supporters of the gambling law see it as a way to wrest control of the industry from the criminal elements that controlled it during the '90s.

Uprooting the gaming industry piecemeal and relocating it to remote locations, with the state able to determine how any new operating contracts are divvied up, will give the industry a clean start, proponents of the move argue.

Poll finds majority back casino gambling in Mass.

 

Most Massachusetts residents support the legalization of casino gambling in the state, according to a poll released today by the Center for Policy Analysis at the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth. About 57 percent of those surveyed said they support the authorization of a resort casino in the state, while 30 percent were opposed and 14 percent were undecided. The poll, which was conducted this past fall, involved more than 1,000 Massachusetts residents. Percentages add up to more than 100 because of rounding. Respondents in general said the increase in tax revenue and jobs that a casino would bring outweighed the social costs. But nearly half expressed concerns about the potential for increased gambling addiction and political corruption should casino gambling be allowed in the state. Asked to pick the best location for a casino, respondents favored Western Massachusetts, Boston and the New Bedford/Fall River area, in that order. They ranked Cape Cod and the Plymouth area as the worst places in the state for a casino. The Cape & Islands region was the only part of the state where less than 50 percent of respondents supported a casino. There, 43 percent were in favor and 41 percent were opposed. In Southeastern Massachusetts, excluding Cape Cod and the Islands, 57 percent favored allowing casino gambling in Massachusetts while 31 percent were against it. Men were more likely to support a casino, with 63 percent saying they approved of casino gambling in the state. About 51 percent of women supported casinos. About 52 percent of people making more than $150,000 opposed casino gambling, but majorities in all other income levels supported it. ''Massachusetts residents strongly believe it is time the commonwealth authorize a casino to compete with Connecticut for the gambling, entertainment and tourism dollars associated with Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun,'' said Clyde Barrow, the director of the Center for Policy Analysis and a casino supporter. ''They understand the amount of money that Bay Staters are gambling out-of-state. They grasp the potential fiscal and economic benefits, and they understand that there are potential social costs involved.'' The issue of whether the state should allow casino gambling periodically comes before the Legislature. The question is expected to resurface this year, especially because the state is facing a possible $1 billion budget shortfall, putting pressure on state officials to look for new sources of revenue.

Anytime, Anywhere Online Gambling Fuels Culture of Fast Money

 

Jay Melancon hunkered down in an auditorium chair for his morning psychology class at the University of Minnesota, flipped open his laptop and logged on. The instructor yammered on at the front of the room, but Melancon wasn't listening. He was exhausted from staying up all night playing online poker. And now, sitting in the back of the class, he was playing again. On his screen, tiny decks of cards flipped and twisted in cyberspace, and Melancon placed bets with the click of his mouse. The profits just kept getting bigger. $1,000. $2,000. $3,000. Dude, check this out, he told his buddy. As class ended and the other students got up to leave, he checked his total one more time. In the space of an hour, he'd won just about $4,000. Melancon closed his laptop and walked out into the cold December air. What am I doing in school? he wondered. Why don't I just do this all the time? Poker is red hot on college campuses these days. A small number of students have made it a full-time job, turning what is a game for most into a profession where tens of thousands of dollars can come and go in a single night. Today's college students are among the first to grow up with gambling so accessible. Credit is easily available. Casinos, once relegated to Las Vegas and Atlantic City, are now scattered across 37 states. Poker is a regular feature on cable TV. Going to the casino has become a rite of passage for students as they turn 18. Freshmen play poker in dorm rooms, fraternities and bars host Texas Hold 'Em tournaments, and students hold sports betting pools and use wireless Internet connections to play anytime, anywhere. "I make a joke that ... the second-best gambling environment in America is the college dorm," said Ken Winters, a professor at the University of Minnesota who has studied youth addictions, including gambling. "You've got your privacy, you've got your high-speed Internet, you have independence from a parent, you probably now have some credit card money. ... It's like a little mini casino right in your laptop. ... It's almost too easy." College-age men, especially, have embraced the poker phenomenon. Card-playing and Internet gambling have increased among college-age males over the past five years, the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania found. About 16 percent of them played cards weekly in 2006, up from nearly 13 percent in 2005, and nearly 6 percent of them gambled online weekly, up from 2.3 percent in 2005. At Canterbury Card Club in Shakopee, Minn., crowds are getting younger, said Kevin Gorg, media relations manager. "Because of the popularity of poker on TV, it's become, you know, kind of the cool, in-vogue thing to do." On that cold December morning in 2005, Melancon, now 21, decided to quit college. He and a group of friends have since bet their livelihood on cards. They spend hours at card tables and computers, winning and losing thousands of dollars at a time. They make fast money from less experienced players who don't know what they're doing. They don't want to do this forever, they say, but they're going to ride the poker train as long as it keeps paying.

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