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Gambling News by Gambling Headquarters

Saturday, March 31, 2007

Anti-gambling Groups Want A Slowdown On March Madness

 

Anti-gambling groups are asking companies to take it easy during March
Madness. Some researchers say companies could make someone who is addicted
to gambling relapse. Let's face it. Very few of us actually do really well
with our NCAA college basketball brackets. David Letterman must have really
taken a pounding this year. "My prediction, in the final it will be Butler
University and Weber State," Letterman said. Of course, Letterman was
kidding. After all, UCLA is a lock this Saturday. But, even if I really
believed that, some people say you should not bet on them to make the final.
In fact, they are saying you should not bet at all. Institute of Change
Operations Director Frank Roberts said, "I don't think there would ever be a
'sure thing.' There's still an element of risk, there." Roberts says just
the act of participating in a tournament bracket won't turn you into a
problem gambler. But, anti-gambling groups are asking companies not to take
that chance. "It's the illusion of control that's operating in the brain,"
Roberts said. A new study by Bensinger, Dupont & Associates says more people
look for help to stop their sports gambling during March and April, at the
height of March Madness. Roberts says he's treated many clients for gambling
addiction, and they all say it started with something small, even by an
office pool. "Yeah, it can be even smaller than that. One's own triggers are
kind of unique to themselves," Roberts told KSL Newsradio. There are other
risks to the companies involved. Researchers say companies can be sued by
employees for any financial losses if the company started the betting pool.
Also, the BDA survey says productivity goes down, and 10 percent of workers
have called in sick to see a sporting event. Plus, they say betters are more
likely to borrow money from their coworkers. Roberts says gamblers think
they'll be able to pay of their debts after they win. "It's not going to
work, but, yet, the person of addiction continues to be in what we call
denial, or uses defense mechanisms to continue to convince themselves that,
'I can make it work,'" Roberts said. In fact, Roberts says one of the worst
things that could happen to a gambling addict is to win. "The winning would
perpetuate the denial and defense mechanisms that one is using," Roberts
said. Roberts says the cases of someone becoming addicted to gambling are
relatively rare, and usually someone is only triggered by March Madness if
they're already at risk. However, the National Council on Problem Gambling
says four million to eight million people could be considered problem
gamblers every year, and two million can be classified as pathological
gamblers.

Senate passes gambling bill

 

After a 13-hour filibuster, gambling proponents found the Senate votes they
needed early today to expand casino gaming across the state. Following
speeches that dragged late into Wednesday night, the Senate voted 21-19 -
the minimum needed for passage - just after midnight to allow casinos in
Sedgwick and three other counties and as many as 2,800 slot machines at
horse and dog racetracks, including Wichita Greyhound Park. Key swing votes
were cast by Sens. Jean Schodorf, R-Wichita, and Greta Goodwin, D-Winfield.
Schodorf has voted against gambling for her seven years as a lawmaker, but
said she switched because "I believe strongly, so strongly, in the people's
right to vote." Goodwin, a longtime opponent of gambling, told The Eagle on
Monday that she planned to vote against expanded gambling because of the
potential social costs. She was on the Senate floor and not available for
comment early today. Chamber of commerce interests in Goodwin's district
strongly supported the bill, which offers a chance that a casino could go to
Sumner County if Sedgwick County voters don't want one. Under the bill's
provisions, Sedgwick County voters must decide in a special election before
the end of the year. Sumner County voters have already said yes to a casino.
Regardless of whether the casino ends up in Sedgwick County or Sumner
County, both will share in the revenue. Gambling opponents, who had been
confident of victory early in the day, said they were dismayed. "What we've
done is given away the farm," said Sen. Susan Wagle, R-Wichita, who thinks
the state could get more from casino developers than the $25æmillion license
fee the bill specifies. She also pointed out that the bill had never been
put to a public hearing. "This is a poorly written bill, written behind
closed doors." In a political drama the Statehouse hasn't seen in decades,
gambling proponents tied up the floor for hours in a desperate fight to keep
a House-passed gambling bill alive. Opponents bided their time and waited
for the proponents to run out of things to say. Meanwhile, in the House,
Speaker Melvin Neufeld, a gambling opponent, sequestered himself in his
office, declining to appoint members of a conference committee - an action
that could have brought the extended Senate debate to a close.

That left House members sitting in their seats hour after hour, waiting for
either the senators to stop talking or their speaker to let them appoint
conferees.

Longtime members said it was the longest filibuster they could remember -
exceeding a legendary six-hour speech on taxation that then-Rep. Kerry
Patrick delivered in 1988.

With hundreds of millions of dollars on the line, the issue emerged as the
most controversial bill to cross legislators' desks this session.

It passed the House about 2:30 a.m. Saturday, sending it to the Senate.

Wednesday began with a series of parliamentary maneuvers as gambling
supporters tried to ward off attempts to kill the bill.

First, Sen. John Vratil, R-Leawood and Sen. Pete Brungardt, R-Salina, teamed
up to control the Senate floor and force a vote to appoint a conference
committee -three senators and three House members who could negotiate a
final bill for both houses.

Sen. Phil Journey, R-Haysville, spoke for 25 minutes against sending the
bill to conference. At the time, his fellow legislators thought it was
lengthy.

The motion eventually passed 22-18.

But immediately after that vote, Sens. Jim Barnett, R-Emporia, and Wagle
teamed up to engineer a vote to kill the gambling bill.

That action launched the filibuster.

Across the Capitol rotunda, House members sat in their seats and stewed -
unable to do anything but unable to leave without giving potential advantage
to their opponents if the logjam were to break.

They read and played solitaire or listened to basketball games on their desk
computers.

By 10 p.m., tempers were starting to fray.

"This is dumb," said Rep. Dale Swenson, R-Wichita. "There's no reason for
the House to even be here. There's no strategy to this."

Gambling Raid at House on Keystone Ave.

 

Indianapolis Metropolitan Police raided another alleged gambling house
Tuesday, this time on the city's northeast side. "I'm not robbing, killing
or stealing. I am working to feed my kids that's all I'm doing," said
suspect Rodney Wallace. But metro police say what 49-year-old Wallace was
doing is illegal. Police arrested Wallace and two others, 51-year-old
William Clinkscales and 51-year-old Clarence Michael Johnson. "Come down
here bust in on us the way they did stepping all over people and I think
that's ridiculous, it wasn't called for," said Johnson. "All that wasn't
called for. It's like they were looking for a mass murderer or something.
That's ridiculous." Police say a tip from neighbors led them to what looks
like a run down house in the 3700 block of North Keystone. But they say this
is a gambling house called "The Shack" that is wired with video surveillance
equipment. "I go there every day, every day. Shake, I'm there every time.
It's how I pay my rent when I don't go to work. It's how I pay my rent, it's
how my kids get clothes on their back," said Steve Fields. Police gathered
evidence from inside the house while some admitted patrons of the gambling
house watched from the parking lot. "There people out here that sell drugs
and get misdemeanor charges, but you get caught in there it's a felony for
what? We ain't doing. Nothing. We ain't shoot nobody and we don't hurt nob
ody nothing. It's just an honest living you know what I'm saying," Fields
said. This is the fifth gambling house IMPD officers have raided in the
past couple of months. "We are going to continue to do everything we can to
shut these things down," said IMPD Sgt. Matthew Mount. Clinkscales and
Wallace were arrested on preliminary charges of promoting professional
gambling, a D felony, unlawful gambling, a B misdemeanor and maintaining a
dive, an A misdemeanor. Johnson was arrested on preliminary charges of
promoting professional Gambling, a D felony, and illegal gambling, a B
misdemeanor. "This is a job. This is a job. I've got to work just like
you've got to work," Wallace said.

Broker on trial also charged in gambling ring

 

A former Merrill Lynch & Co. broker was arrested on state gambling charges
in New York, postponing his federal trial for selling access to trading
information broadcast over his firm's office intercom. Sign up for: Globe
Headlines e-mail | Breaking News Alerts Timothy O'Connell, 42, of Carle
Place, N.Y., was one of 17 people charged yesterday in connection with an
alleged $30 million online sports gambling ring, Kevin Ryan, a spokesman for
the Queens district attorney, said. "He was a runner," said Ryan. "He was
responsible for soliciting new bettors to the operation, maintaining the
relationship with bettors, and meeting with bettors to collect gambling
losses and pay out winnings." O'Connell's arrest brought his trial in
Brooklyn, N.Y., federal court to a halt this morning. U S District Judge I.
Leo Glasser later adjourned the case for the day. The trial will resume
today. O'Connell is one of seven defendants charged with conspiring to trade
on information broadcast over internal "squawk boxes" at top Wall Street
firms. He and brokers at Citigroup Inc. and Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc.
allowed day traders at A.B. Watley Group Inc., an online brokerage, to
eavesdrop on large institutional orders, according to prosecutors.

Bill hits gambling in clubs and bars

 

Senate President Pro Tem David Long said Wednesday that he plans to expand
his proposal to crack down on illegal gambling, suggesting that the state
should add a special prosecutor just to handle those cases. Long, R-Fort
Wayne, said too many county prosecutors view illegal gambling --
particularly by bars, clubs and other retailers using video machines with
names such as Cherry Master -- as not worth pursuing. A state prosecutor
based at the Indiana Gaming Commission could solve that problem, he said.
"The number of these machines in the state has exploded," Long said. "I
think we need to do something about it. We need to draw a line in the sand."
The Senate Rules Committee, which Long chairs, already is considering his
proposal to provide nearly $2 million to fund 25 excise police officers
dedicated to investigating illegal gambling and increase the criminal
penalties for people charged a second time with promoting professional
gambling.
It also would authorize the state to revoke lottery contracts, retail
merchant permits and state licenses for the sale of tobacco and alcohol for
any companies or organizations found with illegal gambling machines. The
proposal will be considered as an amendment to House Bill 1510, which makes
changes to the state's charity gambling legislation, when the Rules
Committee reconvenes Monday. Long, one of two senators pushing the plan,
said that he has enough votes in the committee and perhaps the Senate to
approve the proposal. In the House, however, support is unclear. House
Speaker Pat Bauer, D-South Bend, said he is uncomfortable creating a state
prosecutor and prefers to leave illegal gambling investigations to local law
enforcement. But he said that Gov. Mitch Daniels has made the problem a
state issue by sending excise police officers who regulate alcohol
establishments in search of video gambling machines. "We may have to take a
look at some of these ideas," Bauer said. Long said he's still working on
details, but the state prosecutor would take cases from excise officers and
other law enforcement from across the state. The cases likely would be filed
in Marion County. Sen. Vi Simpson, who serves on the Senate Rules Committee,
said that she's unsure how to vote on Long's overall proposal. She supports
legalizing and regulating video gambling machines for bars and fraternal
clubs but said if lawmakers don't do that, the state should enforce the law
it has. "I plan to spend my weekend at VFWs and American Legion posts to see
how they feel about this," Simpson said. "Cherry Masters in certain areas of
the state support the charitable causes of these service clubs. I want to
make sure the bill does enough to help them so they can continue those
activities."

Consider the cost of expanded gambling

 

The Kansas House of Representatives passed a bill this week allowing casinos
and slot machines. Lawmakers are betting that gaming will be a cash cow for
the state. If you listen to supporters, "destination" casinos will attract
people from around the region, and their money will boost the state and
local economies. That's enough to sway many legislators. What they're not
looking enough at, though, is how much the increased revenue will cost their
constituents. According to a 2004 study by GVA Marquette Advisors for the
Wichita Downtown Development Corp. and the Greater Wichita Convention and
Visitors Bureau, most participants of a casino in Sedgwick County would live
within a 50-mile radius of Wichita and would provide 75 percent of the
revenue. That money would likely come at the expense of other local
businesses. A study of gambling in Iowa by Loretta Fairchild and Amy
Stickney of Nebraska Wesleyan University and Jonathan Krutz of the Nebraska
Hospice Association showed that gambling has adverse effects on local
economies. Midsize Iowa cities that had casinos had an average growth of 0.7
percent, while cities that didn't have casinos grew 3.4 percent. Another
troubling aspect of casinos is ownership. Even though private entities would
run them, Kansas would be the only state to own casinos. What place does the
state have owning a business that offers so much collateral social damage?
The bill would allot 2 percent of an estimated $200 million in revenue for
addiction treatment. That's $4 million for the Sedgwick County area, and the
money would go first to Topeka, not the local area. That's a skimpy budget
considering the projected social cost. The 2004 local study estimated that
between 1 percent and 1.5 percent of adults "are susceptible to becoming a
pathological gambler." Projected on the metropolitan Wichita area, that
means that 5,000 to 8,000 people may become addicted.

The study estimated the social cost at $13,586 for each person, with an
annual burden on the community ranging from $71 million to $106 million. In
spite of these estimates, the study concluded that "while this community
social burden could be significant, its quantified estimate is still
surpassed by the positive economic impacts measured in this study."

That is a hard sell to families of the addicted.

A study in 2004 by Christiansen Capital Advisors for Harrah's found that 26
percent of players were contributing 82 percent of the profit. A similar
study commissioned by the state of Connecticut in 1997 found that nearly
one-third of gamblers interviewed at casinos were problem gamblers.

In other words, the industry feeds on addiction.

During the House debate, a tearful Rep. Anthony Brown, R-Eudora, recounted
the toll a gambling addiction took on a close relative. He convinced casino
supporters to add an amendment to ban the use of credit cards or ATMs within
the casinos and impose a weekly loss limit of $500.

But when the same legislators realized the restrictions might jeopardize
efforts to attract casino operators, they regrouped and removed the
amendment.

The Senate is now preparing to debate the bill, which Gov. Kathleen Sebelius
supports. But let's hope the appeal of fast cash from casinos won't blind
legislators and Kansans to their negative effects.

Friday, March 30, 2007

Calls to gambling helpline not often from addicts

 

A telephone helpline for problem gamblers set up a year ago by North
Carolina lottery officials has received plenty of calls, but not from its
targeted audience. Up to 85 percent of the calls haven't been from people
with gambling problems, officials said. Instead, callers want to know the
winning Powerball numbers or have questions about their scratch-off tickets.
In February alone, about 300 people called the helpline, but 250 of the
calls came from people who didn't have a gambling problem. The 24-hour
toll-free helpline number is printed on every lottery ticket and scratch
card, along with another telephone number people can call with questions
about the games. The same confusion happens in other states, said Smith
Worth, director of the North Carolina Problem Gambling Program.

Gambling bill stalls in overnight Senate session

 

An odd combination of gambling opponents and supporters stalled legislation
early today that would repeal Missouri's unique gamblers' loss limit in an
attempt to generate tax revenues for college scholarships. Missouri law
currently prohibits casino patrons from buying more than $500 in
slot-machine tokens or table-game chips every two hours - the nation's only
such betting cap. Senate legislation would remove the loss limit - resulting
in a projected 17 percent revenue increase for casinos - while imposing an
additional 1 percent state tax on the top tier of casino revenues. The bill
also would cap the number of casinos in Missouri. A legislative financial
analysis predicts the bill could generate as much as $113 million annually
in additional state casino taxes, which would fund new college scholarships
for Missouri high school graduates. Senators remained in session until
almost 4 a.m. this morning, finally setting the bill aside after attacks
both from gambling foes opposed to the loss limit repeal and from casino
supporters objecting to a limit on the number of casinos. Disagreement also
emerged over the size of the proposed tax increase on casino income. Senate
Majority Leader Charlie Shields, the bill's sponsor, said he wouldn't bring
the bill back for debate until at least some of the differences could be
resolved through private negotiations. Missourians approved casino gambling
in 1992 for boats along the Mississippi and Missouri rivers. That ballot
measure included the $500 loss limit. But casinos - and the Missouri Gaming
Commission that oversees them - have lobbied for years to repeal the loss
limit on grounds it puts Missouri at a competitive disadvantage, especially
with neighboring casino states such as Illinois. Supporters of the repeal
also argue the loss limits have done little to deter problem gamblers.
Adding to the pressure to repeal Missouri's loss limits is a potential
increase in competition from Kansas, where the House recently passed
legislation to expand casino gambling - most notably, in the Kansas City
area. That bill still must make it through the Kansas Senate. Shields, St.
Joseph Republican, is touting the Missouri bill more for its educational
opportunities than its economic competition with out-of-state casinos. The
new Smart Start Scholarships could be used at both public or private
colleges. Their amount would be set by the Department of Higher Education
based on the number of applicants and the total amount of money available.
Shields estimates that each high school graduate could get $2,000 spread
over two years of college.

But others argue that it's not worth reversing the will of voters.

Sen. Chuck Purgason, of Caulfield, said fellow Republicans - many of whom
fought the repeal of loss limits in the past - were following a "path of
stupidity" in now supporting the limits' repeal. He claimed colleagues were
bowing to potential campaign contributions from the casino industry.

"What we're doing here is just reneging on the deal," Purgason said. "What
this is about is raising money for the next election by listening to the
outside interests rather than the people who voted on this at home."

Senators defeated, 23-10, Purgason's amendment that would have referred the
legislation to statewide voters. They also voted down, 21-12, an amendment
that would have raised the 1 percent casino tax increase to 2 percent - on
top of current 20 percent tax on casinos' adjusted gross receipts.

The bill would limit Missouri to 13 casinos, essentially preventing a
further expansion of gambling boats beyond those already in place or being
developed. It also stipulates that any future casino licenses could only be
awarded in the same city or county as where an existing casino closes.

Senators defeated by a 17-11 vote an amendment by Sen. Tim Green, St. Louis
Democrat, that would have set the casino cap at 18 facilities.

Gambling law in the UK

 

Betting is drawing attention in the wake of Bob Woolmer's murder. Even as
speculation is rife that the betting biggies could have been behind the
crime, www.cricketworldcuplatest.com informs that the Jamaica sleuths are
yet to find any evidence regarding match-fixing and betting in Woolmer's
laptop. How big is the betting industry? A Las Vegas-datelined report on
http://abcnews.go.com cites PricewaterhouseCoopers' forecast - that global
revenue from gambling is expected to climb 8.8 percent annually 'to $125
billion by 2010'. However, according to estimates of Global Betting & Gaming
Consultants (GBGC) posted in a dated story on www.out-law.com, gross
turnover for the global gambling industry should be well over $1,000 billion
annually, with a gross profit rate of about 20 per cent. GBGC is of the view
that the UK could become the centre of global gambling; because "the UK has
long been a role model for integrity and regulation in the gambling sector."
To know about the UK laws that apply to betting, Business Line contacted
Jeff Rodwell, Partner in Reed Smith Richards Butler LLP, an international
law firm based in London. Here's Jeff, taking on a few questions on betting.
What is law on betting in the UK? The current legislation governing the
licensing of bookmaking in the UK is the Betting, Gaming & Lotteries Act
1963 as amended by the Gaming Act 1968. They provide for the licensing of
bookmakers and premises used for bookmaking. The Gambling Act 2005 is
partially in effect and is being phased in over time. The licensing
provisions of the Gambling Act 2005 come into effect on September 1, 2007.
Who can apply for a licence? The criteria under both the existing and new
licensing regimes are similar with bookmakers being required to show good
character, financial viability and industry knowledge. Both regimes also
control the use of advertising for any licensed bookmaker and prohibit
advertising for any person not so licensed. Bookmakers with a licence under
the current statute still have to apply for a licence under the new regime.
The period for application for a licence to be granted from September 1,
2007 has already closed but new licences can be applied for and granted
after the current applications (mostly existing bookmakers) have been
reviewed. On online gambling. Traditionally of course, bookmaking has been
done with a physical presence at the race track or a betting office situated
off-track. Over the last 2 years the volume and value of remote gambling
through the Internet or mobile phones has increased substantially. Both the
existing and the new statute provide for licensing in the UK of remote
gambling operations, although this is addressed more directly in the new
statute. Are these operations commercially successful? In the past there has
been little commercial interest in UK registration of remote gambling sites
because of the significant tax imposed on the turnover or profits of the
remote sites. Most of the gambling websites used by UK residents are based
in various offshore jurisdictions such as Gibraltar, Antigua, Curacao, Malta
and Alderney. Can a local person gamble on a foreign site? It is perfectly
legal for a licensed offshore gaming operation to permit UK residents to
gamble on a foreign based website. This is in contrast to the US prohibition
under the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act 2006 on offshore
operators from providing gambling services through the web to US residents.
However in the UK advertising of gambling services not licensed in the UK is
prohibited and such prohibition will be enforced. This applies to
advertisements with a physical nexus to the UK
How then are gambling sites advertised? Obviously much advertising of
gambling websites are made via the Internet, which is legal provided that
the server is based overseas. However in the UK, there is no prohibition on
advertising websites per se, as long as they don't refer to the gambling
activities. Therefore it is quite common to see advertisements on the tube
and in magazines for the Party Poker website, but not the Party Poker gaming
operation. Has the recent UK Budget made any difference to gambling? Prior
to the 2007 Budget speech, there had been considerable speculation that in
order to promote the relocation of many of the offshore gambling operations
to the UK, the government might reduce the relevant tax to 2% or 3%. However
in the Budget speech last week, the UK Chancellor, Gordon Brown, announced
that the tax for remote gaming would be 15%. As a result it is now unlikely
that there will be any major shift of jurisdiction to the UK for those
gambling sites.

June 9 big day for gambling forces

 

Three of four West Virginia racetracks aim to have voters decide June 9
whether to allow table games in their slots-only casinos, but executives say
the timing of votes in Hancock, Ohio and Kanawha counties is more about
urgency than strategy. "I don't think it was really organized. It's just the
first available day we could get,'' Bob Marshall, president of Wheeling
Island Racetrack & Gaming Center, said Tuesday. There will, however, likely
be some advertising coordination between Marshall's Ohio County operation
and the nearby Mountaineer Racetrack & Gaming Resort in Chester. "We would
certainly not want to confuse the media market,'' Marshall said, predicting
the launch of what both tracks call a public education campaign by the end
of April. But a conservative Christian activist group hoping to stop the
referenda says the simultaneous votes are more than coincidence; they are an
effort to divide and conquer the opposition. "I didn't ride in on a turnip
truck, I can assure you,'' said Kevin McCoy, executive director of the West
Virginia Family Foundation. "They know what they're doing. They know our
resources are limited, both in personnel and financial,'' he said. "I see
this as a way to get us off balance, to keep us from being able to organize
effectively in those counties.'' Opponents of gambling would have stood a
better chance of defeating table games if a vote had been held statewide,
McCoy said. But the bill Gov. Joe Manchin signed last week gave only voters
in Hancock, Ohio, Kanawha and Jefferson counties the right to decide whether
their racetracks should become full-blown casinos. After pushing for years
to get blackjack, poker and other games legalized, the owners of West
Virginia's tracks are eager to confront growing competition from
Pennsylvania's new slot parlors by offering something fresh. Wheeling
Island, a subsidiary of Delaware North Companies of Buffalo, N.Y., and
Mountaineer, owned by MTR Gaming Group Inc., face the most immediate
pressure. But two other tracks also stand to benefit -- Tri-State Racetrack
and Gaming Center in Nitro, owned by Michigan-based Hartman & Tyner Inc.,
and the Charles Town Races & Slots, owned by Penn National Gaming Inc. of
Wyomissing, Pa. Track owners can either have the question placed on a 2008
primary or general election ballot or seek a special election this year at
their own expense. Election costs range from $30,000 to $250,000, according
to clerks in the host counties.

Only Charles Town, which has a healthier economy, a booming population and
no immediate threat of competition, has yet to set a date for a vote. John
Finamore, vice president of regional operations for Penn National, could not
immediately be reached for comment Tuesday.

But Daniel Adkins, vice president of Tri-State's parent company, said the
three tracks that are moving quickly all "just want to go sooner rather than
later.''

Though there have been no formal discussions yet, he said it's likely the
tracks will find some way to pool their resources for the months ahead.

"We're right now putting the pieces together,'' Adkins said, so it will be
several more weeks before Tri-State starts to call press conferences and
advertise.

Though Mountaineer has requested and will likely get a June 9 election date,
Mountaineer spokeswoman Tamara Cronin said the Hancock County Commission
won't vote on the request until April 5.

"Each county is unique as far as how they handle their elections and voters,
so I think it's an individual decision,'' she said of the simultaneous
dates.

"When it comes right down to it, this is something we're going to handle as
we do all elections here,'' she said. "All politics is local, and this is
going to be about getting to each and every voter.''

Turnout on election day will be key, and that's where the track's 1,500
employees come in.

"I believe the people who will get this passed are our employees,'' Cronin
said, "because they're the ones who are impacted.''

But the West Virginia Family Foundation is determined to stop the votes by
seeking a court-ordered injunction in one or more counties.

McCoy said he believes table games as part of the state's lottery system are
unconstitutional. The lawsuit he intends to file may also challenge gambling
on moral grounds.

"We're not going to allow a vote,'' he vowed. "We will take whatever action
is necessary to stop it.''

Cary Police Bust Up Poker Gambling Hall

 

Cary Police say they have broken up an illegal poker gambling hall that was
housed in a nondescript warehouse and have arrested over 40 people on
various charges. Acting on an anonymous Crime Stoppers tip, the Cary Police
Department served a search warrant at 233 "M" East Johnson St. on Friday,
March 23rd shortly after midnight. The bland looking warehouse where police
say the gambling operation was located is in the Adams Industrial Park
around the corner from Woody's Tavern in downtown Cary next to Happy Jap's
Auto Repair. The auto repair shop was not involved in the poker operation,
say police. In a report on WRAL-TV, the owner of the Japanese car repair
shop said he often saw a 100 people or more go into the building. In
Friday's bust, Cary Police cited more than 40 people with various charges
related to drugs, alcohol and gambling. No one was hurt during the raid,
say police. Upon entering the unit, Police say that the lessee of the
warehouse space Matthew McCoy, 25, of Bulon Dr., Cary was found to be
"running an illegal poker gaming operation." In a phone interview with the
Raleigh Chronicle on Tuesday, Cary Police Captain Dave Wulff said that the
operation had been going on for at least a month and that the warehouse had
been hosting large poker games up to five times a week. "This was not just a
friendly game of poker, this was a high stakes game for profit," said
Captain Wulff to the Chronicle. According to Captain Wulff, the operation
took a cut of the games to make a profit and also sold liquor to players
without a liquor license for additional revenue. Wulff said there were six
tables present with 10 to 12 seats at each table where the players played
hands of poker. But there were no other gaming tables and regular casino
items such as slot machines or roulette tables were not present, Wulff said.
According to a report on WRAL-TV, over $20,000 in cash was siezed from the
operation. Although many folks play poker for fun, the operator crossed the
line when it was turned into a for profit business, said the police.

"While we realize and appreciate that many friends and neighbors enjoy
playing cards and other games in good fun as part of their recreational
activities, doing so for money simply isn't legal in our state," Wulff said
in a statement to the media.

Police cited NC General Statute 14-292 which says, "any person or
organization that operates any game of chance or any person who plays at or
bets on any game of chance at which any money, property or other thing of
value is bet, whether the same be in stake or not, shall be guilty of a
class 2 misdemeanor."

The warehouse lessee Matthew McCoy was charged with several misdemeanor
charges including one count of gambling, one count of possession for sale of
any alcoholic beverage without permits and one count of unauthorized
possession of liquor.

The Cary Police also say that one of the players present was arrested on
drug charges. William Tillman, 45, of Valley Ct., Raleigh, was charged with
one count each of possession of drug paraphernalia, possession of marijuana,
and gambling.

Thirty-nine other men and women from around the Triangle and state were
charged with a single gambling charge (listed below).

"We were prepared for anything, given that the tip we received suggested
that we might encounter weapons, drugs, and large amounts of cash," said
Captain Dave Wulff in a media statement about the bust. "Thanks to the
assistance of our partnering agencies Alcohol Law Enforcement, the Bureau
of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, the Wake County District Attorney's Office
and the National Guard RAID unit, we were able to halt the illegal activity
without incident."

The Cary Police also said that heroin was found at the scene, but could not
be linked
to any of the arrestees, so no one was charged with possession of it.

The Cary Police said that the gambling violations, alcohol violations,
possession of drug paraphernalia, and possession of marijuana charges are
all class 2 misdemeanors. A class 2 misdemeanor carries a maximum of 1 to
60 days in jail, a fine and court costs.

The following people were each charged with just one class 2 misdemeanor
charge of gambling:

Joint Release from Salvation Army and Methodist Church Ahead of Gambling Vote

 

In advance of Wednesday's votes in Parliament on the geographical
distribution of casino premises licences, The Salvation Army and the
Methodist Church have re-stated their general concerns relating to increased
gambling opportunities, particularly the potentially devastating effects on
the vulnerable. 'Evidence suggests that the new casinos, the increasing
popularity of online gambling and the general drift towards the
"normalisation" of gambling within British culture, could result in many
more people developing a serious gambling addiction over an extended period.
We are not convinced that increasing gambling opportunities is a good thing
for our nation and all of us who live here,' said Alison Jackson, Secretary
for Parliamentary and Political Affairs for the Methodist Church. The 'super
casino' will house up to 1,250 highly addictive unlimited jackpot machines.
The other 16 new casinos will be larger than anything currently operating in
the UK. While the Methodist Church and The Salvation Army have welcomed the
Government's recognition of the need for protection under the Act for
vulnerable people and children, they believe there are still some
fundamental issues to be addressed in this debate. 'The Salvation Army and
the Methodist Church would have preferred to see no new casinos allowed
under the Gambling Act 2005. We therefore welcome any debate which allows
space for a further consideration of the overall impact of increased
gambling opportunities,' said Captain Matt Spencer, of The Salvation Army.
It is estimated that there are already around 400,000 problem gamblers in
the UK and the super casino will house some of the most addictive forms of
gambling. Problem gambling can result in relationship breakdown, financial
ruin, homelessness and in extreme cases, suicide. Its effects are
far-reaching, impacting not only the individual gambler, but also their
family, friends, and the wider community. The Salvation Army and the
Methodist Church campaigned during the passage of the Gambling Bill,
requesting greater measures to protect children and vulnerable people The
Gambling Act includes provision for the proper monitoring of the effects of
these increased gambling opportunities and the two Churches have recently
reminded the government of the need to keep to its commitments to properly
evaluate the effects of the new casinos, wherever they may be sited.

The minimum casino evaluation period of three years must be measured from
the opening of the new casinos, rather than from the awarding of the
licences, as there could be a considerable amount of time between the
license being awarded and the casino actually opening.

The Salvation Army is an international Christian church and registered
charity working in 111 countries worldwide and is one of the largest, most
diverse providers of social welfare in the world.

The Methodist Church is the third-largest Christian church in Great Britain,
with over 300,000 members and regular contact with 1 million more people. It
has over 6,000 churches in Great Britain, and also maintains links with
other Methodist churches totalling a worldwide membership of 70 million.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Panel looks to toughen drive against gambling

 

Citing a proliferation of illegal video gambling machines, members of a key
Senate committee are considering a crackdown on bars, truck stops, clubs and
other retailers caught with the devices. The plan developed by Senate
Republican leaders would be the legislature's first significant step toward
rooting out the tens of thousands of machines that operate under names like
Cherry Master and Pot O' Gold. "They're everywhere, and they're growing in
numbers," said Senate President Pro Tem David Long, R-Fort Wayne, one of the
plan's authors. But the proposal comes as bar owners and some other
lawmakers are pushing to legalize the machines, regulate them and tax their
earnings. Long postponed a vote on the proposal yesterday in the Rules
Committee he chairs, saying members needed more time to learn about the
issue and consider their options. "I wanted to start a discussion and see if
there is something we can do about this," he said. The committee is
considering an amendment to House Bill 1510, a charity gambling regulation
measure. The amendment would provide nearly $2 million for 25 police
officers who would be dedicated to investigating illegal gambling. The
measure also would increase the criminal penalties for people charged a
second time with promoting professional gambling. It also would authorize
the state to revoke lottery contracts, retail merchant permits and state
licenses that allow the sale of tobacco and alcohol held by any company or
organization found with illegal gambling machines. There also would be
administrative and regulatory penalties for illegal gambling, which would
take the issue out of the hands of county prosecutors, who are often
reluctant to take on illegal gambling cases. Currently, the Indiana State
Excise Police raid bars, clubs and restaurants to shut down illegal
machines, which puts the establishments' alcoholic beverage permits in
jeopardy. Last year, excise police cited 435 gambling-related violations and
seized computer chips from about 1,600 illegal video gambling machines. But
excise police Superintendent Alex Huskey told the committee yesterday that
the effort has driven many of the machines into truck stops and other
retailers that don't have alcohol permits. That makes it more difficult for
law enforcement to act without cooperation from a prosecutor. Huskey said
hiring more excise police officers and giving the Alcohol and Tobacco
Commission the authority to take away a retailer's ability to sell
cigarettes would be significant changes. "This is a different approach,"
said Sen. Jim Merritt, R-Indianapolis.

James Maida, president of Gaming Laboratories International, told the
committee that illegal gambling machines can be manipulated to make maximum
profits for owners and pay out little in prizes to players.

"These games are methodically taking players' money in a way that isn't
fair," said Maida, whose company tests legal slot machines and other gaming
devices for Indiana and other states, and in nations around the world.

Maida's staff accompanied the excise police on visits to several bars and
clubs to teach the officers how to recognize an illegal machine and disarm
it. He said the staff found that most of the machines pay out 50 percent to
70 percent of the money that is gambled in winnings to players. That
contrasts with legal slot machines at casinos, which are required by law to
pay out at least 80 percent of their take and typically pay more than 90
percent.

Maida told the committee that Indiana's struggle to deal with the machines
is not unique and that dozens of states are considering similar questions.
Some opt to crack down on the illegal machines to eliminate them, he said,
while others legalize and regulate video gambling.

For years, Indiana lawmakers have been debating the legalization issue. Last
week, Don Marquardt, president of the Indiana Licensed Beverage Association,
urged a Senate committee considering a bill that would put slot machines at
racetracks to remember that bar owners need help as well.

"Please consider an amendment to address our problems," he told the
committee.

Sen. Bob Meeks, R-LaGrange, said then that he appreciated the plight of
local bar owners and fraternal clubs and told the Tax and Fiscal Policy
Committee that lawmakers need to make up their minds about the machines.

"We've got to make them legal or make them illegal," he said.

Expanded Gambling Vote

 

The Kansas House has approved a measure that would allow casinos and slot
machines at dog and horse tracks. The 64-58 vote this mornign gives
supporters of expanded gambling the hope that they could end 15 years of
legislative failures. The measure now heads to the Senate. Backers of the
measure say the state eventually could realize 200 million dollars a year
from the hotel-and-casino complexes and tracks with slots. The bill would
permit large tourist-attracting casinos in Ford County, Wyandotte County,
either Sedgwick or Sumner county, and either Crawford or Cherokee counties.
It also would allow 22-hundred slot machines initially, at Wichita Greyhound
Park; the Woodlands in Kansas City, Kansas, and the now-closed Camptown
Greyhound Park, in Frontenac. The Senate will either okay the measure or
send it to a committee before sending the bill to Governor Sebelius to sign.
One Wichita lawmaker thinks the gambling bill has a good shot at becoming
law. "(The Senate) is within a few votes of being able to approve this,"
says Representative Jason Watkins, a Wichita Republican, "and I think you'll
just have to see how the negotiations go with the senators. We may have a
bill to send to the governor." If the bill is approved, Sedgwick County
would have 180 days to have voters approve or reject a destination casino.
If Sedgwick County gets a casino, 22% of profits would go to the state. The
county would get two percent, while neighboring Sumner County would get one
percent. The bill also requires two percent to be put towards gambling
addiction treatment programs.

Most callers to N.C. gambling helpline want lottery information, not help

 

RALEIGH, N.C. It's a lottery helpline set up to counsel those with gambling
problems. But most callers have different needs. Like what are the winning
Powerball numbers? And can you help me with this scratch-off ticket? The
24-hour phone number -- 877-718-5543 -- is printed on every North Carolina
Education Lottery ticket and scratch card. The Problem Gambling Helpline is
also repeated on T-V and radio ads. Even so, up to 85 percent of callers
during the lottery's first year didn't ask for help for problem gambling. Of
some 300 calls to the helpline last month, more than 250 were screened out
as not having a gambling problem. Smith Worth is director of the state's
Problem Gambling Program. He's not worried about the misuse, noting that
other state lotteries report the same confusion.

Gambling adolescents a growing problem

 

A gambling-watchdog agency, always worried that adults are falling into
dependence on wagering, is seeing unmistakable signs that adolescents are in
even worse peril. The New York State Council on Problem Gambling is about to
publish results of a study that says that, whereas in 1998, 4 percent of
teenagers were at risk to become addicted to gambling, in 2007, 20 percent
are. That astonishing leap is attributable to a number of factors, Assistant
Executive Director Mariangela Millea told the Press-Republican last week.
First of all, what is a "problem gambler?" To the council, it is anyone for
whom gambling adversely affects his or her life. With adolescents, it might
be manifest in spending their lunch money to gamble or missing school, for
example. Eventually, their behavior would get out of control to feed their
habit. Some of the factors that compound gambling problems are: Gambling
isn't stigmatized, the way drinking and drugs are. Says Millea, "Go into a
classroom and ask how many kids have had a drink or taken a drug in the past
month, and no hands will go up. Ask how many have bought a lottery ticket,
and lots of hands will go up." Society imposes little shame on gambling.
Opportunities to gamble have proliferated over the past decade. The state
lottery and Mega-Millions are widely advertised. Video gaming machines are
growing in popularity and are now in sites all over the state. Texas Hold
'Em has gained a foothold. And Internet gambling is available, with
participants merely having to state that they are of age to gain access.
Lottery tickets are now available from vending machines, which have no
oversight for the age of the purchaser. In effect, anyone is welcome to play
the games. Millea says scratch-off tickets are by far the most popular forms
of gambling for kids. "Parents will buy their kids a scratch-off, and when
they win, everybody will be excited for them - hooray! You won!" No stigma
there. The council is trying to get the consequences of gambling entered
into the curriculum of public schools so the dangers will be widely known,
as the dangers of drugs, drinking and sex are now known. The council has
asked newspapers across the state to publish its problem-gambling hotline
daily with the winning lottery numbers. The Press-Republican has been doing
that for several weeks and will continue to do it. Millea is right: Gambling
is broadly accepted, in its moderate forms. The lottery, church bingo and
office pools are seen as harmless - even beneficial - pastimes, in most
circles. But even people who see gambling that way would have to admit that
when kids are targeted, it's time for action. If adolescent gambling has
grown so explosively - multiplied five times in nine years - we need to
respect the danger of this not-so-harmless diversion.

Lottery's gambling helpline callers don't usually need help

 

A telephone helpline for problem gamblers set up a year ago by North
Carolina lottery officials has received plenty of calls, but not from its
targeted audience. Up to 85 percent of the calls haven't been from people
with gambling problems, officials said. Instead, callers want to know the
winning Powerball numbers or have questions about their scratch-off tickets.
In February alone, about 300 people called the helpline but 250 of the calls
came from people who didn't have a gambling problem. The 24-hour toll-free
helpline number is printed on every lottery ticket and scratch card, along
with another telephone number people can call with questions about the
games. The same confusion happens in other states, said Smith Worth,
director of the North Carolina Problem Gambling Program.

IAAF defend against potential gambling scandals

 

The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) has moved
swiftly to reduce the likelihood of gambling scandals besetting their sport
after allegations that the death of Pakistan Cricket coach Bob Woolmer was
related to the gambling underworld. Speaking at the World Cross-Country
Championships in Mombasa, Kenya, the association voted to "forbid officials,
athletes, their representatives, managers, coaches, meeting organisers and
trainers from taking part, either directly or indirectly in betting,
gambling and similar events or transactions connected with athlete
competitions under the rules of the IAAF or its members"
In addition, it will also prohibit those in the sport from "having active
stakes in companies, concerns, partnerships, joint ventures or other
organisations that promote, broker, arrange or conduct such events or
transactions". The move comes soon after the launch of athleticbet.com, a
gambling website launched in January specialising in betting for Athletics.
The website is owned by the Austrian agent Robert Wagner, who can count
former Olympic champion Colin Jackson as a former client. Wagner set up the
website in order to make the sport more exciting and donates a quarter of
the website's profits to the IAAF's charitable foundation. It will be
interesting to see how the IAAF deals with Wagner's side-business, as some
of his clients include IAAF members. Though there doesn't seem to be much
more of a future in the website, especially as Wagner took bets on races
involving his own clients, he remains defiant. "I have been expecting this
and I understand the IAAF's position. I will just not be an agent any more.
I will sit down with the IAAF and find a solution. They cannot stop me from
running a betting website," Wagner declared.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Online Gambling: NETeller pulls out of Canada and Turkey

 

The online gambling industry woke up this morning to learn that online money
transfer Giant NETeller has decided to withdraw "no pun intended" from the
Canadian and Turkish markets. Here is a statement the company's board
released to the London Stock Exchange: The NETELLER Plc Group ("NETELLER" or
the "Group") (LSE: NLR), the leading global independent online money
transfer business, today announced several significant changes to its
services in a number of markets. The Group continually assesses the risk
profile and status of the markets its serves. Recent actions by regulators,
payment processors, and online gaming operators have increased the
uncertainty around certain activities related to online gambling in some
jurisdictions. The Board of Directors of the Company reached a decision, on
25 March 2007, that the risk to the Group's ongoing business in Canada and
Turkey has increased in the light of such developments. The Board has
therefore concluded that the Group will no longer process transfers related
to online gambling sites on behalf of Canada or Turkey resident customers.

Brown Budget Dampens UK's gambling aspirations

 

The extent to which the 2007 Budget took the UK gambling industry and
investors by surprise cannot be underestimated. Only a week before Budget
day the Daily Telegraph had proudly trumpeted; "In a surprise move, the
Chancellor will use the Budget to announce that in return for a small amount
of tax - possibly as low as 2pc or 3pc - companies can obtain a UK licence
and still remain based overseas. The new tax will be called Remote Gaming
Duty. This compromise would allow gambling companies to avoid British VAT."
John O'Reilly, the head of online gambing at Ladbrokes was quoted as saying
that he was pleased with the deal, which he described as "quite a
breakthrough," whilst Clive Hawkswood, the chief executive of the
Remote-Gambling Authority, justified a low rate of tax on the grounds that
"these companies have grown up in zero tax jurisdictions. They operate on
very thin profit margins. A 15pc gambling duty would wipe out half the
industry overnight." Unfortunately for Hawkswood, a 15pc gambling duty is
eactly what the 2007 Budget delivered up, alongside a new top rate of 50%
for casinos.

Gambling bill clears first House hurdle

 

Tourist-attracting casinos and slot machines at race tracks were a step
closer to reality when the House gave first-round approval to the idea after
more than a dozen hours of sometimes contentious and emotional debate. The
65-50 vote before dawn Saturday advanced the bill to final action, scheduled
for Monday. House Speaker Melvin Neufeld, R-Ingalls, a gambling opponent,
said he thinks the votes will hold to send the measure to the Senate. A
bipartisan coalition proposal called for state-owned casinos in Wyandotte
County, Sedgwick County and either Crawford or Cherokee county, plus 2,200
slot machines distributed among three race tracks with wagering, the
Woodlands in Kansas City, Wichita Greyhound Park and the now-closed Camptown
Greyhound Park in Frontenac.
After the coalition plan emerged, lawmakers lined up to offer some 50
amendments, with all but a few voted down. Successful amendments permitted
Dodge City to have a casino and allowed the casino in south-central Kansas
to be in either Sedgwick or Sumner county. A third extended a moratorium on
additional casinos or slots at the tracks from 15 years to 25 years. All
casino locations would have to be approved by voters in the county in which
they're located. Supporters said the state eventually could realize $200
million a year from the casinos and tracks, though it would be about three
years before the casinos would be running. Slots at the tracks could be a
reality within a year. 12-hour debate House Majority Leader Ray Merrick
wasn't
surprised by a debate on the bill, which started at 2 p.m. Friday and ended
about 2:30 a.m. Saturday. "You can't tell people they can't run amendments,"
said Merrick, R-Stilwell. "It shows people had strong feelings."
Many amendments were seen as efforts to weigh the bill down and the flurry
of proposals irritated some lawmakers as the night grew late. "As good as
these amendments are, this is about gaming," said Rep. Tim Owens, R-Overland
Park. "We don't need to sit here all night and listen to everybody's
favorite topics."
The coalition offered its 98-page plan as an amendment to a Senate-passed
bill extending the Kansas Lottery, which is due for renewal this year.
Attaching a gambling measure to a Senate bill means the chamber could
quickly accept it or resolve the issue in a House-Senate negotiating
committee. Supporters noted that Kansans already are gambling. Besides the
lottery and wagering at race tracks, there are casinos in Kansas City, Mo.,
and tribal casinos in Oklahoma near the state line. Also, there are four
American Indian casinos in northeast Kansas.

"It provides a revenue stream for things the state needs. It provides a
leisure activity for a lot of our folks and it keeps money in Kansas," said
Rep. Charles Roth, R-Salina, one of the backers of the coalition plan.

But other House members questioned whether the bill is constitutional,
because the Kansas Constitution requires such gambling to be state-owned and
operated and private developers would be involved under the plan.

They also said casinos and slots at the tracks would create more gambling
addicts - and more broken and bankrupt families.

EU Tells Germany to Revise Online Gambling Ban

 

The European Commission has warned German regions to think about revising
plans to ban online gambling or face possible legal action, an official at
the EU's executive arm said last week. This current action is the latest in
string of heated clashes between Brussels and European Union countries over
the gambling industry, which is limited to state-controlled monopolies in
several EU countries. EU Industry Commissioner Guenter Verheugen wrote to
German regional state governments on Friday, giving them a month to amend a
draft agreement on the issue, the EU official stated, verifying earlier
reports by Reuters. 'We asked Germany to reconsider the total ban on lottery
and sports betting on the Internet. We think a proposed total ban is
disproportionate and there are less restrictive measures, such as mandatory
prior registration and strict guarantees on identification,' the Commission
official said. Britain and Austria, two countries with thriving online
gaming industries, have already contested the ban.

How to report gambling winnings

 

Gambling winnings include winnings from lotteries, raffles and sweepstakes,
and proceeds from wagers. Gambling winnings from charity-sponsored events
are also includable in gross income. You may or may not receive Form W-2G
depending on the type of gambling, the amount of gambling winnings, and
generally the ratio of the winnings to the wager. Gambling winnings are
reported on line 21 (Other income) of Form 1040. The amount to report on
line 21 is your gross winnings less the cost of placing the related winning
bet or wager. You cannot net gambling losses against gambling winnings and
report the net amount on line 21. If you have gambling losses, you may be
able to claim them as a miscellaneous itemized deduction on Schedule A, but
only to the extent of gambling winnings. "Professional gamblers" have a
different set of rules to follow. Bernie, Brooklyn, N.Y.: Under what
circumstances would I be subject to a 10% tax penalty on a distribution from
a Health Savings Account? After all, I am using the distribution proceeds
for paying medical bills.

Gambling debate far from over

 

Gov. Joe Manchin has signed the bill allowing local option elections for
table game gambling in the state's four counties with racetrack casinos, but
the debate is not over yet. Manchin signed the bill Wednesday, one day after
the Ohio County Commission scheduled a special election for Saturday, June
9, to allow voters to decide whether to allow Wheeling Island Racetrack and
Gaming Center to have blackjack, poker, roulette, craps and similar games.
Mountaineer Race Track & Gaming Center in Hancock County will petition the
Hancock County Commission at its April 5 meeting for a special election in
early June, spokeswoman Tamara Cronin told The Associated Press. The state
has two other tracks that could ask their county commissions for elections.
Both, however, are in areas where the push for gambling is not as strong as
in the Northern Panhandle. The West Virginia Family Foundation plans to go
to court to stop the Ohio County election and to overturn the law, which the
Legislature approved at its regular session this year. "We're putting the
pieces together now," Kevin McCoy, executive director, told the AP. "We're
pretty much ready to go forward." The West Virginia Family Foundation says
the Legislature did not have the legal authority to enact a bill to allow
local option elections for table games. That requires a constitutional
amendment voted on by the whole state, the foundation says. We have our
doubts about the gambling bill, partly for constitutional reasons and partly
because it solidifies state government's reliance on gambling even more.
Unless the four racetrack casinos develop some awesome business plans, this
is an arms race West Virginia cannot win if Pennsylvania, Ohio and Kentucky
jump into casino gambling. If West Virginia loses, it has a big hole in its
state budget. What started in 1984 as a state lottery offering scratch-off
tickets only has developed into a system that wants to emulate Las Vegas or
Atlantic City. If the Family Foundation pursues its lawsuit, the debate over
casino gambling definitely will not be over until the Supreme Court renders
its judgment. And if the court rules against the new law, it will be back in
the Legislature soon after. So keep watching. This one's not over yet.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Youth Problem Gambling in New York Called an 'Epidemic'

 

March Madness could be affecting your kid. The head of an agency that helps
New Yorkers adversely affected by gambling says there's an "epidemic" of
young people with gambling problems. James Maney, executive director of the
New York Council on Problem Gambling. says if your teen seems preoccupied
with the NCAA basketball tournament brackets, that could be a sign that he
or she has a potential gambling problem. Maney is concerned because a new
survey suggests nearly 20 percent of New York students in grade seven
through 12 have a gambling problem. Maney said that a "perfect storm" of
factors, including heavy promotion of gambling in the media and general
acceptance of gaming, are contributing to the rise in youth gambling. He
said the younger a child starts gambling, the greater the chance he or she
will develop a problem with it.

Online Gambling Payment Processor Neteller Announces Plans to Return Funds

 

Payment processing company for the online gambling industry, Neteller, has
announced its plans to return funds to American customers. In an official
press release, the company stated that it has signed partnership agreements
with the Unites States Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New
York (USAO), as well as Navigant Consulting, a consulting firm that will
provide Neteller with operational consulting services. These new
partnerships will aid Neteller in the process of redistributing frozen funds
to its former US customers. The agreement was officially signed on March 20,
2007, and will outline the terms and a timeline under which Neteller will
organize the release of funds. The specific details are planned to be
released within the next 75 days, however, in the interim, Navigant will
provide a report to the USAO on the group's current financial situation.
Neteller's CEO and President, Ron Martin, said, "We continue to be committed
to returning funds to our US customers and working with the US Attorney's
Office." "Progress, while not always visible to the outside observer, has
been steady and these agreements mark a milestone in the process," he added.
Back in January, Neteller founders John Lefebvre and Stephen Lawrence were
arrested on a charge of conspiracy to transfer funds with the intent to
promote illegal gambling.

Kansas House Debates Expansion of Gambling

 

A bipartisan coalition proposed allowing three tourist-attracting casinos
and slot machines at dog and horse tracks as the House on Friday began
debating whether to expand gambling. The plan called for casinos in
Wyandotte, Sedgwick and Crawford or Cherokee counties and 2,200 slots
distributed among the Woodlands at Kansas City, Wichita Greyhound Park and
Camptown at Frontenac. Voters in the counties where slots or casinos would
be located would have to approve their operation. Casino operators would
have to agree to invest at least $225 million and pay an one-time,
nonrefundable fee of $25 million. The proposal calls for the state to get at
least 22 percent of the casino revenue and 40 percent of the slot revenue
from the tracks. The plan was offered as an amendment to a Senate-passed
bill that makes the Kansas Lottery a permanent fixture, a bill that has to
pass this year for the lottery to stay in business. Supporters say the state
eventually could realize $200 million a year from the casinos and slots,
though it would be two or three years before the casinos would be in
operation. The House also considered a proposed constitutional amendment to
allow privately owned casinos. The state constitution requires gambling
operations to be state owned and operated. Also up for debate was a measure
calling for a study of the impact of expanded gambling on the state.
Although the gambling issue has been around for more than a decade, the
House last debated it in 2003, when it passed a bill and sent it to the
Senate, where it died. Last year, the Senate failed to pass a gambling bill
and said it wouldn't take up the issue again until the House sent it a bill.
Attaching a gambling measure to a Senate bill means that chamber can quickly
accept what the House did or resolve the issue in a House-Senate negotiating
committee. Also, legislators must pass a bill this year to continue lottery
ticket sales after June 30. The lottery began operating in 1987, and state
law required legislators to vote on keeping it alive in 1990, 1995 and 2001.

The push to force action on gambling began Wednesday morning when a motion
was made in the House to put another Senate bill that could become a
gambling bill into position for debate Thursday. The motion was withdrawn
after the House Federal and State Affairs Committee sent the chamber the
lottery bill and it was scheduled for debate.

It was an unusual move and viewed by many as a snub to the committee that
had been conducting hearings this month on various gambling bills. Some
lawmakers felt the committee was moving too slowly.

EU Warns Germany about Internet Gambling Ban, Good Sign for US

 

A spokesman for the EU said today that the European Commission gave an order
for Germany to overturn its imminent Internet gambling ban, or to stop
advertising for its horse betting monopolies, or it will face legal action.
Brussels, Germany hosts a state run betting monopoly which the European
Commission says is illegal according to its laws. The new law passed in
Germany banning Internet gambling sites is being challenged by Austria and
the United Kingdom, two countries in the EU that are legalizing online
betting sites. According to Reuters, EU Industry Commissioner Guenter
Verheugen wrote to German regional state governments on Friday giving them a
month to change a draft treaty on the issue. "We asked Germany to reconsider
the total ban on lottery and sports betting on the Internet. We think a
proposed total ban is disproportionate and there are less restrictive
measures, such as mandatory prior registration and strict guarantees on
identification," a European Union Commission official said on Friday about
the situation. The official said the draft treaty was inconsistent by
banning online lotteries, sports betting and casino games, but allowing
horse racing. This is another very positive sign for Internet gambling sites
in the US. Earlier in the week EU ruled that all European countries in the
Union who have state run lotteries, or in-country casinos, horse tracks, dog
tracks, etc. must also legalize Internet gambling. The German law that was
passed earlier in the year banning Internet gambling is almost identical in
meaning to the US law that was passed in October of last year in that they
ban Internet gambling yet carve out exceptions for forms of gambling in
their own country. Beyond the EU rulings, the WTO has sent a letter to the
US reminding them that they have until April to respond to their ruling in
the Antigua and Barbuda vs. the United States case. The past three weeks
have seen the UIGEA under attack, starting with Barney Frank offering a
repeal against the unjust law, then with the EU ruling against monopolizing
countries in the Union, then with the announcement of Louisiana dropping all
warrants against Internet gambling operators, then with the Neteller case
getting postponed and the promise of the release of millions of dollars in
funds to US clients, and now this EU warning to Germany. Analysts still
doubt a reversal of the UIGEA any time soon, but the facts being presented
by the rest of the world, as mentioned above, may prove those analysts
wrong.

Half of work web traffic is porn, gambling, downloads and webmail

 

Nearly half of web traffic that passes through corporate infrastructure is
not related to work activities, according to a new study. The research
carried out by web security firm ScanSafe found that 49 per cent of traffic
that employees generated concerned mostly gambling, music downloads, porn
and people checking their webmail. The authors of the report said that of
traffic blocked by the company's filtering service, 14 per cent were for
advertising and promotion, 12 per cent were to online chat sites and instant
messaging applications. The company also found that blocks to gambling sites
were up 22 per cent on last year's figures. "Beyond the negative impact on
productivity, uncontrolled use of the web can have serious and costly
consequences for businesses of all sizes including exposure to legal
liability, disclosure of confidential information, breaches of compliance
requirements and unnecessary bandwidth consumption," said Dan Nadir, product
strategy vice president at ScanSafe. The company reported that 24 new types
of malware targeting IM applications surfaced in February, 54 per cent of
these threats targeted MSN, compared to 21 per cent that affected Yahoo
Messenger and 17 per cent that affected AOL Instant Messenger (AIM). MSN
continues to be the most targeted platform for malware. But the study found
that there was a marginal decline in malware in February. Web viruses
remained virtually unchanged in February after growing 27 per cent in
January. Spyware and adware fell 2 per cent in February compared to a 26 per
cent increase the previous month. "Attackers know that malware may have a
better chance of being propagated following the New Year when many users are
returning from the holiday and haven't patched their PCs," said Nadir. "This
seasonality usually corrects itself and we tend to see a steady increase in
malware, particularly spyware, as the year progresses."

Sevier Co. deputies shut down illegal gambling operation

 

Sevier County sheriff's deputies shut down an illegal gambling operation in
Strawberry Plains. Deputies say they went to the Speedway Diner at 844
Asheville Hwy. after several complaints from community members. Sheriff's
deputies tell 6 News that, working on a tip, they went inside Thursday night
and found four illegal poker machines. Capt. Randy Parton showed 6 News how
the machines appeared legitimate at first glance. "This machine right here
was on a video game when we first got there," Parton explains. "And then
when we discovered the remote controls that are used to change them, it went
from a video game over to a draw poker machine." 6 News asked for comment
from the owner, Sharon Tarwater. We were told she wasn't there before an
employee asked us to leave. Investigators say it was word of mouth and
regular customers who were cashing in. Parton adds, "They was operational
from the time they opened in the morning until the time they closed around
10:00 or so in the evening time. Apparently, it was just from repeat
customers knowing that's what they was coming in the business to do."

Monday, March 26, 2007

Slots of fun for gambling nuns

 

Three nuns have been photographed playing slot machines and blackjack at a
gaming fair in Manila, Philippines, embarrassing Roman Catholic bishops. The
church holds a firm stance against gambling of all forms and has announced
that it will launch an inquiry and says that the nuns could face
implications if they are found to have sinned. Archbishop Oscar Cruz has
ordered an investigation to go ahead and will take "steps on the sisters'
actions." Archbishop Cruz said the church strictly forbids people of the
cloth from gambling and recently defrocked a parish priest for gambling in a
casino. The photographs of the nuns gambling at the Gaming Exposition in
Manila were broadcast on television, with Cruz describing their actions as
"shameful". However, Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation spokesman
Edward King dismissed the incident, merely describing it as "innocent". He
claims the nuns "played without money" and denied the nuns were tricked into
playing.

UPDATE 2-EU tells German states to reconsider gambling ban

 

German regions have been told by the European Commission to rethink plans to
ban online gambling or face possible legal action, an official at the EU's
executive arm said on Friday. It is the latest clash between Brussels and
European Union countries over the betting industry, which is restricted to
state-owned monopolies in some EU member countries. EU Industry Commissioner
Guenter Verheugen wrote to German regional state governments on Friday,
giving them a month to change a draft treaty on the issue, the EU official
said, confirming an earlier Reuters story. "We asked Germany to reconsider
the total ban on lottery and sports betting on the Internet. We think a
proposed total ban is disproportionate and there are less restrictive
measures, such as mandatory prior registration and strict guarantees on
identification," the Commission official said. Britain and Austria, two
countries with online gaming industries, have challenged the ban.

Gambling companies hit by losses after Budget blow

 

STANLEY Leisure and the rest of Britain's gambling and casino sector were
yesterday coming to terms with a major blow dealt to them by this week's
Budget.
Rank's share price suffered further losses yesterday on the stock market as
news sank in, and Liverpool-based Stanley Leisure will also be hit by the
higher taxes.
Rank looks set to lose as much as £8m a year extra in gaming duty after the
Chancellor announced it would axe the 2.5% lower band and introduce a flat
15% tax, with a new, higher levy of 50% on casino revenues above £10m.
Shares in the group dived a further 6% yesterday to 211.5p, compounding the
4% losses seen on Wednesday afternoon. Analysts described the Chancellor's
announcement as a "kick in the teeth" for Rank and the wider casino
industry. The Treasury is set to net another £35m a year from the move, but
has defended the tax changes as being vital to ensure the growing casino
sector continued to make a "fair" contribution to tax receipts.

Gambling Sites Take Bets On Who Will Father Britney Spears' Next Child

 

Internet gambling websites are taking bets on who will the father of Britney
Spears' next child. Spears is mother to seven-month-old Jayden James and
19-month-old Sean Preston with estranged husband Kevin Federline. Gambling
site Bodog.com has given model Isaac Cohen, who briefly dated Spears earlier
this year, high odds for becoming the father to her next baby. Federline
follows close behind, while Hugh Hefner and oil heir Brandon Davis have been
named as outsiders, TMZ.com reports.

The gambling mafia has invaded the game

 

Pakistan awoke today to the news that the country's cricket coach had been
murdered and their national sport had once again become embroiled in a
potentially shaming match-fixing conspiracy. As President Pervez Musharraf
prepared to mark Pakistan's national day, speculation was rife that the
region's notorious match-fixing cartels were behind the strangling of Bob
Woolmer, with former Pakistan cricketers at the forefront of the
allegations. "I have been saying that he was a target of gambling mafia,"
said the former Pakistan fast bowler Sarfraz Nawaz. "The gambling mafia has
invaded the game." Former captain Rashid Latif, who exposed a match-fixing
scandal in Pakistan 12 years ago that led to a life ban for former captain
Salim Malik and fines for other players, said he too saw the hand of the
gambling rings in Woolmer's murder. "I have always said cricket has never
been cleansed of corruption despite the measures taken by the International
Cricket Council," Latif said. "They [the syndicates] were still active in
fixing results of some matches. Whoever murdered Woolmer was clearly
desperate or else he would not have been killed in the middle of a World
Cup." Jamaican police said they thought it likely that Mr Woolmer was killed
by someone he knew because he clearly let someone into his hotel room. They
stressed they did not have specific suspects. Pakistan said it was sending a
senior diplomat from Washington to Jamaica.
Raza Ali, a former police inspector from Islamabad, said there were "three
possibilities: either Woolmer was killed by the bookie mafia, by a thug or a
disgruntled Pakistan fan." "No players could be involved or commit such a
crime. Pakistan should send a team of police officers to assist the West
Indian police and co-ordinate in the investigation," Ali added. "It is a
very serious matter for the nation and cannot be taken lightly."

A new spin on Rose's gambling habit

 

Pete Rose has a new spin on his gambling habit. The man who for a decade
swore that he never bet on baseball, then admitted that he did so on
occasion, now says he bet on every game the Cincinnati Reds played during
his five years as manager. Major League Baseball's unequivocal ban on
gambling is posted in every clubhouse. It's as fundamental as fielding a
grounder. So why would Rose now admit he broke the rule 814 times? The only
conclusion is that he somehow thinks the new story will help him rejoin the
game's official family and get the Hall of Fame plaque he so desperately
craves. When John Dowd investigated Rose for MLB, he detected a clear
pattern: Rose, he said, never bet the Reds when Mario Soto or Bill
Gullickson pitched. That's the kind of tip to other gamblers that baseball
rightly fears. So Charlie's new hustle is to recast his gambling as evidence
of love for his team. Sorry, Pete, but no one who really loved his team and
his game would have violated their integrity repeatedly. Care to try again?

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Carwash raided over suspected gambling ring

 

According to story, four people were arrested and 17 others issued summons
for illegal gambling and visiting a common nuisance. Police have
investigated reports of gambling at the carwash several times in recent
years, the article said. According to a 2004 article in the same newspaper,
officers found City-County Council member Monroe Gray Jr. and Center
Township Constable Mark Anthony "Tony" Duncan sitting in a city-owned car in
the carwash's parking lot on Feb. 11, 2004. At the time, Indianapolis police
had investigated the carwash at least four times from 2002-2004, but no
charges had been made and the carwash continued to operate as usual, the
article said.

State moves to revoke gambling license of Hells Angel official

 

SPOKANE, Wash. The Washington State Gambling Commission is seeking to revoke
the license of a Spokane Valley card room security officer because of his
ties with the Hells Angels outlaw motorcycle club. Frank S. Nakayama, a
security supervisor at Ringo's Little Vegas Casino was seen on casino
surveillance tapes wearing his club "colors" in the card room. Because the
Hells Angels is considered a "criminal offender cartel," members are not
allowed to work in the state's tightly regulated gambling industry. Gary
Drumheller, the commission's Eastern Region manager, says the 42-year-old
Nakayama has until April 6th to respond to the charges and request a hearing
before a state administrative law judge. Nakayama had been the vice
president and acting-president of the Washington Nomad Chapter of the Hells
Angels in Spokane. The club's president, Richard "Smilin' Rick" Fabel, and
three other current or former members are on trial on racketeering charges
in U.S. District Court in Seattle. Nakayama is not a defendant in that
trial. As a security supervisor, Nakayama had access to the office where
casino cash is counted. He also had access to casino gaming chips and cards,
the cashiers cage and credit slips, the accounting office and records.

New 'Remote Gaming Duty' Casts Doubt on UK/Online Gambling Marriage

 

Dreams that the United Kingdom would become the standard bearer for the
online-gambling industry were dashed yesterday when UK Finance Minister
(James) Gordon Brown announced a new 'Remote Gaming Duty' (tax) of 15%, a
move ensuring that online firms will not move from friendlier tax havens to
the UK in the near future. In addition, Brown's new budget increases the
levies assessed on land-based casino operations, throwing a major wrench
into the Vegas-style casino expansion popping up across that nation. The 15%
remote duty called for by the new budget is miles apart from the 2-3% range
online companies cited as being low enough to make relocating to the UK
worth the bother; virtually no online casino could give up an extra 12% of
taxable revenues and remain competitive against firms not subject to similar
fees. The announced budget leaves in serious doubt the accords championed by
UK Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell, who led the push to legalize and regulate
online gaming and chaired last October's Ascot racetrack summit conference
of nearly three dozen interested nations. While the 15% tax is, on its face,
a fee equal to the domestic levy charged to bookmakers and bingo halls, it
may be part of a larger strike against gambling in general by Brown's Labor
Party faction. Brown also stripped away the bottom tier of tax levels for
the smallest land-cased casino operations, and replaced it with a new 50%
rate - far over the previous top tier, which was 40%. The jump, affecting
casinos such as the new Manchester casino (which are expected to post annual
gross house wins of over £10 million), could impact these casinos' ability
to become first-class tourist destinations. Efforts to explain Brown's
surprise tax hit have moved in several directions. Some reports have focused
on Brown's strict Presbyterian upbringing, said to be staunchly
anti-gambling at its core, while others see this as a planned boost to Labor
Party efforts to force the scrapping of government plans to allow the
building of 17 new "supercasinos," the first license of which was awarded to
the Manchester facility. An all-or-nothing vote on that topic is scheduled
for the UK's Parliament in the very near future. As with all perceived 'sin'
topics, gambling remains a hot-button concern. No country offers uniformity
or agreement on gambling's regulation and governing. Even as the European
Union has moved forward on the topic of gambling as a whole, the UK has
stepped back from its chance to assume a leadership role.

Gambling a growing problem among seniors

 

There's good news for seniors who may have a gambling problem. A free
national helpline offers information and resources. When it comes to
gambling, the stakes for many seniors may be higher than they suspect. The
number of seniors who gamble has grown; in fact, seniors have become one of
the fastestgrowing groups of gamblers. A recent study found that gambling is
the most frequently identified social activity among adults over 65. Some
gaming venues provide bus transportation, free or discounted meals, special
rewards and other prizes that attract older individuals. Playing slot
machines tends to be the gambling seniors prefer at casinos, but seniors may
also be found at racetracks, offtrack betting parlors, bingo games or
purchasing lotto tickets. Gambling for many seniors is a social activity
that affords them an opportunity for excitement in safe, friendly
surroundings. However, experts say that seniors are often more vulnerable to
gambling. They may use the distraction of gambling to escape the loss of a
spouse or a medical concern. The attention of the casino staff may
temporarily reduce feelings of loneliness or depression. Some may have
financial problems they are hoping to overcome. Some seniors may have
difficulty understanding that, for them, gambling may be a problem. They may
be overspending and neglecting their nutrition, lack funds for medication
and other medical needs or have less working years left to recoup the
financial losses due to gambling. Other seniors may have limited finances
and are looking for that big win to pad their retirement. It is not unusual
for seniors with gambling concerns to be too embarrassed to not seek help.
In some cases, things can spiral out of control quickly. One woman recently
told experts that over a period of five and a half years, she had embezzled
more than $250,000. Being a grandmother didn't prevent her from being
charged with five felony counts and serving more than a year in prison.

Feds Ready To Ask Early Release For Abramoff

 

Former lobbyist Jack Abramoff, the central figure in a Capitol Hill
corruption scandal convicted of fraud in the purchase of the SunCruz Casinos
gambling boats, may be getting out of federal prison earlier than expected.
Federal prosecutors have taken the first steps toward reducing his prison
sentence for the Florida fraud conviction, now set to end in 2011. Documents
filed in federal court in Miami say that Abramoff has provided "substantial
assistance" in a separate Washington corruption scandal and that he
continues to work with investigators from his Maryland federal prison cell.
But prosecutors say in court papers that his cooperation isn't over and
"will not be complete within one year of the defendant's initial
sentencing." Abramoff, once a powerful Washington lobbyist, and ex-partner
Adam Kidan were sentenced last year to nearly six years in prison. They were
accused of concocting a fake $20 million wire transfer during their 2000
purchase of the Fort Lauderdale-based SunCruz Casinos gambling fleet.

Deadwood Hospital Wants To Restrict Gambling

 

Deadwood hospital officials want the city to declare the area around the
hospital as off-limits to casinos. They say the hustle and bustle around
casinos is not compatible with the atmosphere of a hospital. A nearby
landowner says the area is zoned for commercial development and city
officials should leave things as they are. Tim Conrad notes that Deadwood
already has casinos near schools and churches. He says that doesn't seem to
be a problem. Conrad also notes that a change in the zoning would infringe
on his property rights. The Zoning and Planning Commission will meet April
fourth to consider the request to create a no-gambling buffer zone near the
hospital. There has been talk of building a casino and hotel complex on
Conrad's lumberyard property across the street from a hospital.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Budget 2007: A 50% raid on gambling profits

 

A new 50% tax on the profits of larger casinos will reverse years of
favourable treatment for the gambling trade. Industry analysts are now
predicting a huge slump in investment in new and existing sites and said
Britain's first super-casino in Manchester could end up looking 'more like a
big shed full of gaming machines' than a Las Vegas-style palace. Casino
operators reacted with dismay, claiming the Chancellor's crackdown will
undermine the economic regeneration which other ministers have used to
justify a huge expansion in casinos Mr Brown, who was raised as a
Presbyterian - a church which fiercely opposed gambling - also announced a
15% tax level for on-line gambling operators. Betting and poker website
bosses have already indicated they will never relocate to Britain if faced
with such taxes, since foreign countries allow them to operate with low or
zero duty levels. Since Mr Brown's tax grab looks set to keep all operators
away, it has made a nonsense of the Government's efforts to introduce
tougher rules to regulate the fast-expanding online gaming sector. Tessa
Jowell had hoped to make Britain the capital of internet gaming, attracting
websites to base themselves here. That ambition now appears to be holed
below the waterline. The industry had expected the Chancellor to offer a
generous tax level to lure operators back to the UK but he has taken the
opposite approach, effectively banishing website operators.

Kansas gambling debate set for Friday

 

Casinos and slot machines are again front and center in the Kansas
Legislature, and their fate - for this year anyway - could be decided
Friday. Frustrated pro-gambling lawmakers forced the issue into the open
Wednesday, getting it to the House floor. Debate on three bills is set for
Friday. "I expect it to be a full-body fight," said Rep. Arlen Siegfreid,
Olathe Republican and chairman of the panel that has studied gambling this
session. Details are murky, but any plan almost certainly would include a
casino for Wyandotte County and possibly slot machines at horse and dog
tracks. "My feeling is, the House would pass gaming," said Rep. Charles
Roth, a Salina Republican who used an obscure House rule to force gambling
to the forefront. Even if the House approves a gambling bill, it would face
challenges in the Senate. That is where a gambling bill failed last year by
a narrow margin. Right now, the state gets no gambling revenue, even though
thousands of Kansans travel to tribal casinos within the state or one of
several casinos just across the Missouri and Oklahoma borders. Proponents of
expanded gambling - including Gov. Kathleen Sebelius - say the state could
allow more casinos and use the revenue as an alternative to taxes. Yet
despite support, the gambling issue has never won out in Kansas. Many
lawmakers object for moral reasons, arguing the state should not use a
potentially addictive behavior to shore up its budget. And groups supporting
gambling often fight among themselves over details ofproposals. Most
gambling proposals this year would limit casinos to Wyandotte County,
southeast Kansas and possibly Wichita. Some plans would allow slot machines
at dog and horse tracks. Most would require voters in affected counties to
approve gambling referendums if they have not already. After the gambling
operator takes its cut, revenue would be split between local and state
government. Depending on the plan, the state's share would pay for tax cuts,
university maintenance or the state employee retirement plan. None of the
bills up for debate Friday would, as currently written, allow expanded
gambling. But lawmakers often use unrelated bills as "vehicles" for
proposals that didn't get out of legislative committees. It works as long as
the original bill's subject is similar enough to the amendment. Of the three
potential gambling bills, one calls for a legislative study on gambling's
economic impact. Another would renew the state lottery. The third gambling
bill is a constitutional amendment that would remove the state
constitutional requirement that all gambling be state-owned.

Gambling illegal? Don't bet on it

 

I'll see Kim Meltzer's ante and raise her the repeal of state-sponsored
hypocrisy. The state House member from Clinton Township this week proposed
that the state decriminalize NCAA office pools. "What makes March Madness
unique is that all kinds of people and sports fans of all levels fill out
their brackets and enjoy the tournament," she said. "It's a crime we
consider that a crime, and I want to change that." Which is nice, I guess.
It is ludicrous that something so harmless as an office pool is illegal. But
why stop with NCAA pools? What about Super Bowl pools and squares contests?
What about NASCAR fantasy leagues or death pools? Is there really much of a
difference? No. But then I don't see the harm in pools. (A death pool,
incidentally, since I know you're wondering, is a pool popular in, ahem,
some newsrooms wherein the goal is to predict which celebs and notables will
croak during the coming year. I'm personally apalled by those, mostly
because I've never won.) Currently, in fact, I may or may not be involved in
a potential "American Idol" pool that may or may not actually exist,
depending on your law enforcement status. If this pool does exist and if
that little cutey-petootie Melinda Doolittle wins, I may or may not win ...
something. Or possibly nothing.

EU criticises Dutch gambling policy

 

The European Commission is not satisfied with the Dutch government's defence
of its policy regarding sports betting. The Commission is asking The Hague
today for more information, sources in Brussels told the Financieele
Dagblad. The restrictive gambling policy in the Netherlands gives the Lotto
company exclusive permission to run sports betting. European Commissioner
for the Internal Market Charlie McCreevy already demanded clarification on
this arrangement in April 2006. He wants to know whether it is compatible
with the EU's freedom of establishment and services. McCreevy said last year
he did not have plans to liberalise the gambling market. "I don't
underestimate the sensitivities that exist in many member states on the
question of gambling," he said. But he does want every EU member to observe
EU regulations. The commissioner's efforts are in response to complaints
from betting companies. He is also critical about restrictions on the
betting markets in Germany, Finland, Hungary, Italy Sweden, Denmark, Austria
and France. Germany is taking the debate on gambling policy very seriously.
The country's Supreme Court has ruled that the gambling policy maintained by
the separate German states is in violation of EU regulations. The states
have been given until the end of 2007 to make the necessary changes.

Gambling Commission to file charges against Hells Angels member

 

The Washington State Gambling Commission is filing charges against a Hells
Angels member working at a Spokane Valley casino. Frank Nakayama was
photographed during a raid of the Hells Angels club house in Spokane in
2006. Nakayama says he quit the club and is working security at Ringo's Card
Room on east Sprague. An anonymous tip to the Gambling Commission led
investigators to Nakayama. Now after months of surveillance and
investigating, the Gambling Commission says because Nakayama is a Hells
Angel he can not be in the casino business. "The commission has the power to
revoke licenses and at this point we feel there is a danger to the public
interest because of his affiliation with the Hells Angels. And him being in
gaming, we think that the combination is not a good combination, " said Gary
Drumheller of the Gambling Commission.

Lawmakers consider fixes to ban on antique gambling seizure

 

A House committee heard testimony Wednesday but took no action on a bill to
allow businesses to sell up to three antique, now-illegal gambling devices
in a year without a state license. Sen. Verdell Jackson, R-Kalispell, said
the Senate Business and Labor Committee members collaborated on the bill.
They wrote it after reading about the uproar that arose after state gambling
investigators seized $77,000 worth of old-time gambling equipment from the
Cowboy Cabin, a Whitefish antique store, on Jan. 31. State law now forbids
the possession, even in a private home, of this old-time gambling equipment.
However, the law does allow a licensed dealer to pay a $50 license fee and
to sell three antique slot machines every 12 months. Jackson wants to extend
this law to other antique gambling equipment, which is defined as being more
than 25 years old. That would include the blackjack table, chuck-a-luck or
dice in a hourglass-shaped cage, a roulette table and wheel and two
punchboards that the state seized from the Cowboy Cabin earlier this year.
Under Jackson's proposal, retail businesses could display as many antique
gambling devices as they wish, but sell up to three a year without having a
state license. The state has filed no charges against the owners of Cowboy
Cabin, "Cowboy Ron" and Eila Turner, but still has possession of the
gambling devices, including a dismantled roulette wheel built in the 1880s
and featured in Miss Kitty's Long Branch Saloon on the television western
"Gunsmoke." The Turners showed up wearing buckskin jackets to tell their
story to House Business and Labor Committee. So did their daughter and
son-in-law, Alisha and Clint Walker of Whitefish. "These items are all over
the western United States," Ron Turner said. "No one has ever had any
difficulty with any of them." Turner said he and his wife moved from
California to Montana where their daughter and her husband live. He said
they have drawn support from many Montanans and people from all over the
country in their battle with the state Gambling Control Division of the
Justice Department. "The very freedom that Montana stands for was radically
shaken up on January 31," Eila Turner said.

Said Clint Walker: "This incident has brought shame to the state of
Montana."

Jackson said the bill would allow retail businesses to display as many
antique gambling devices as they wish, but, under the law, they could only
sell three a year, unless they were a licensed manufacturer-distributor.

Gene Huntington, administrator of the state Gambling Control Division, asked
the Legislature to clarify the law and set the direction.

"Do you want these devices regulated or not?" Huntington asked.

He defended the current licensing system, saying someone can sell three
antique slot machines in any 12-month period by paying $50 for a three-year
license with the state.

"It lets us know who's doing this," he said.

In addition, he said, it gives the Gambling Control Division a chance to
educate people in the business about the legal restrictions involved with
gambling devices. For example, moving antique gambling devices across state
lines is illegal, he said, and it's unlawful to possess such items while on
an Indian reservation.

Without mentioning the Turners, Huntington said he is concerned if someone
had 10 to 15 antique gambling devices on display but plans to sell only
three of them.

Ronda Wiggers of the Montana Coin Machine Operators supported the bill with
the Justice Department amendments.

She said the licensing and education would protect average citizens and help
prevent them from violating the law.

Jackson concluded by saying the bill would provide "a little bit of freedom
and not have everyone be licensed."

"I think the dealers are honest," he said, adding he believes them if they
say they are not selling more than three antique gambling devices in a year.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Internet gambling charges settled

 

The Saint Landry Parish District Attorney's Office says Internet gambling
charges against an executive with a British company have been dismissed in
exchange for 400,000 dollars after extradition issues left the case nearly
impossible to prosecute. State police, working with Saint Landry
prosecutors, had secure warrants in May in an investigation that focused on
Sportingbet PLC, a company that operates out of England, where online
gambling is legal. The company's former chairman, Peter Dicks, was arrested
on a Louisiana warrant in September in New York. But Dicks was freed because
New York law allows extradition only when the accused was physically present
in the state where the alleged crime was committed. Dicks could have been
arrested had he set foot in Louisiana, but prosecutors did not expect that
to happen any time soon. The dismissal of the gambling charges comes after
Congress passed a law last year that curtailed Internet gambling by
prohibiting the use of credit cards and electronic transfers to pay bets
over the Internet. Louisiana is one of only a handful of states that have
banned online wagering, and the case against Sportingbet was one of the
first since the practice was banned in 1997.

UK gambling firms bemoan budget tax deal

 

Britain's gambling firms and casino operators were left disappointed by
Wednesday's budget after Finance Minister Gordon Brown slapped higher tax on
large casinos and did little to tempt Internet gambling onshore. Internet
gambling firms looking to locate back to Britain from tax havens such as
Gibraltar and Cyprus were dismayed after Brown set the Remote Gaming Duty in
line with land-based bookmakers and bingo firms at 15 percent. Some had
predicted it would be as low as 2 or 3 percent. "The Remote Gaming Duty has
been set breathtakingly high, it will do nothing to attract the existing
offshore industry onshore and it may indeed have the contrary effect," said
BDO Stoy Hayward tax principal Martin Dane. "With the additional VAT and
corporation tax for most companies, it would be almost impossible for a
UK-based operation to compete with offshore businesses, especially those
located in other EU jurisdictions," said Remote Gambling Association
chairman John Coates.

County challenges tribe's gambling plans

 

Amador County is challenging a group that plans a casino in the Plymouth
area, questioning whether it qualifies as a legitimate American Indian
tribe.
County officials fear another casino would usher in a wave of traffic,
environmental destruction and gambling addiction. They say the U.S.
Department of Interior was wrong to list the Ione Band of Miwok Indians as a
federally recognized tribe. The department ruled last September that the
tribe could claim 228 acres in and around Plymouth under the Indian Gaming
Regulatory Act. Amador County's lawsuit says the federal government did not
have a sound basis for that decision. The 535-member Ione Band plans to
build a $250 million hotel and casino complex. "We're very hopeful the
federal court will do the right thing and uphold the Department of
Interior's decision," Miwok Chairman Matthew Franklin said. "We're very
happy with that decision and feel strongly it is just."

Asian Team Marks Launch of Gambling Campaign

 

A performance by a Korean cultural group will open an event to mark the
launch of a campaign to prevent problem gambling at the Fickling Centre in
Mt Roskill at 2pm on Friday. The event organized by the Problem Gambling
Foundation Asian Team precedes a national campaign which kicks off this
Sunday ( 25 March ) with a 30 second television advertisement which
encourages New Zealanders to think about problem gambling, who it affects,
and the impact it has on communities. John Wong, manager of the PGF Asian
services team said that problem gambling affected the lives of many Asian
Kiwis. "Every week we deal with families devastated by gambling harm." he
said. 'This campaign is a much needed effort to get people to realise that
everyone is affected by problem gambling - our families, neighbours, and
workplaces." The Mt Roskill event will include the presentation of community
awards to acknowledge the support and contribution of Asian community
leaders and media in combating problem gambling. The campaign will be
explained and a preview of the television advertisements will be shown
followed by a forum where MPs will discuss how gambling harm can be
eliminated in the Asian community. Mr Wong said, "We want our communities to
know how they can get involved and take action to address this problem."
"There are things people can do to keep themselves and their loved ones safe
from gambling harm."

Colwood attempting to turn tables on gambling addiction

 

Gambling provides big revenue to municipalities with casinos. But
politicians in Colwood also worry about the social problems that accompany
gambling. That is why the municipality decided last week to join the B.C.
Partnership for Responsible Gambling. The partnership, a product of the B.C.
Lottery Corporation, brings together casinos and municipalities like Colwood
that benefit from casino revenue, to look at ways of reducing the harm
caused by gambling. Colwood's 2007 share of revenue from the Great Canadian
Casino - which is actually in View Royal - is projected to be $410,000, up
$1,000 from last year. The gambling partnership's three objectives are to
reduce the incidence of problem gambling, reduce the harmful impacts of
excessive gambling, and encourage responsible gambling. Although less than
five per cent of gamblers are considered addicts, the partnership wants to
help them through information kiosks in gambling halls and by training
casino employees to intervene when addicts start spending too much. Another
aim of the responsible gambling body is to educate the public about how
betting odds are stacked against them, and to provide free counselling to
people with gambling problems. Colwood joins 10 other municipalities, mostly
on the Lower Mainland, that are already members. B.C's Gaming Policy and
Enforcement Branch conducted a provincewide problem gambling survey a couple
of years ago and found the number of gamblers is declining, especially
people buying lottery tickets. However the amount people spend on any kind
of gambling has risen in recent years, the study found, but is pretty
small - two-thirds of gamblers said they spend less than $10 per month. The
study estimates 4.6 percent of people who gamble "are problem gamblers,"
including 4.2 percent who are "moderate problem gamblers" and just under
half a per cent who have a severe gambling problem.
But that still translates into large numbers. Up to 177,100 people in B.C.
are considered problem gamblers, with up to 22,700 having a "severe"
gambling problem, the study found. B.C. has the highest number of people in
the country who potentially fall into the at-risk gamblers category - 11.1
per cent. About 10 per cent of them are young gamblers - 18 to 24 years
old - followed by low-income people with total household incomes of less
than $30,000, who account for nearly seven per cent. Greg Walker, the
lottery corporation's public affairs manager, wasn't sure how much the
responsible gambling parternship will cost Colwood taxpayers, but he noted
Vancouver has a $200,000 "social responsibility fund" used to deal with
problems caused by the Edgewater Casino in downtown Vancouver.

Proximity of casinos or slots worsens gambling problems

 

The number of problem gamblers doubles within a 50-mile radius of a casino
or slot machine parlor once one is built, according to a professor and
problem gambling expert speaking Wednesday in Waterville. Gambling might be
good for the economy, but it can have devastating effects on gamblers who
potentially could lose everything, said Thomas Broffman, an assistant
professor at Eastern Connecticut State University. Broffman said gambling
carries with it all of the pitfalls of drug addiction, but with three
important distinctions: It is legal, socially acceptable and readily
accessible - just look at the supermarket checkout lines where Maine State
Lottery Commission scratch ticket machines stand ready for the left over
buck. Broffman's comments came Wednesday during a presentation at the
Waterville Elks Club as part of a series of workshops being held across the
state as part of "problem gambling awareness week." The workshops are
sponsored by the Maine Office of Substance Abuse.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Commission issues final gambling warning

 

The European commission is to intensify its legal action against Denmark,
Finland, Hungary and Sweden in an effort to open the gambling market across
the entire European Union, Reuters quoted unnamed sources as saying on
Tuesday. A source told the news agency that the commission was "making final
enquiries" in relation to Germany and the Netherlands. The warning is the
last signal to the countries before they face the European Court of Justice.
In April, the commission launched an investigation into state-controlled
gambling monopolies.

Internet gambling charges settled

 

Internet gambling charges against an executive with a British company were
dismissed Tuesday in exchange for $400,000 after extradition issues left the
case nearly impossible to prosecute, St. Landry Parish District Attorney's
Office announced. State Police, working with St. Landry prosecutors, had
secured warrants in May in an investigation that focused on Sportingbet PLC,
a company that operates out of England, where online gambling is legal. The
company's former chairman, Peter Dicks, was arrested on a Louisiana warrant
in September in New York. But Dicks was freed because New York law allows
extradition only when the accused was physically present in the state where
the alleged crime was committed. Dicks could have been arrested had he set
foot in Louisiana, but prosecutors did not expect that to happen any time
soon. "We were at the point where we couldn't get them here," St. Landry
Parish District Attorney Earl Taylor said. ". We tried to do something to
make them pay." Taylor said officials with Sportingbet approached his office
about what could be done to resolve the pending legal case, which could have
remained in limbo for several years. "They wanted to get the arrest warrants
dismissed," Taylor said. He said the $400,000 - delivered by check Tuesday
morning - will be shared by his office, State Police and the state Attorney
General's Office. The District Attorney's Office will use its share of the
money to support programs to tackle Internet-related crimes, such as
identity theft, child pornography and online gambling, Taylor said.
Opelousas attorney Leslie Schiff, local counsel for Sportingbet, confirmed
the arrangement with District Attorney's Office but had no further comment.
The dismissal of the gambling charges comes after Congress passed a law last
year that curtailed Internet gambling by prohibiting the use of credit cards
and electronic transfers to pay bets over the Internet. Louisiana is one of
only a handful of states that have banned online wagering, and the case
against Sportingbet was one of the first since the practice was banned here
in 1997. The case was launched in St. Landry Parish because it was worked by
State Police investigators out of the Opelousas office.

Video Gambling Bill Going on to Full Senate

 

Two new casinos in Central Indiana are one step closer to reality. The vote
was nine to three in a state Senate committee for the bill to permit slot
machines at horse tracks in Anderson and Shelbyville. "We need help and we
need your help. We need slot machines at Indiana's two race tracks," said
Rick Moore of Hoosier Park. The bill now allows 1,500 slot machines at each
track, down from 2,500. The licensing fee to track owners, however, is up
from $100 million to $400 million. The changes produced no complaints. "We
are not asking for a handout. We are asking for a hand. Give us the tools to
allow our industry to remain vital and viable," said John Schuster of
Indiana Downs. Opposition came from the owners of the French Lick and
Belterra casinos. They do not want the competition. "One track was bad
business. Two tracks is poor judgment," said gambling opponent Paul Oakes.
Gambling opponents say that horse racing will never work in Indiana and the
effort to subsidize the industry is dishonest. "This national movement of
placing slot machines at horse tracks is a subtle transformation from track
gambling to casino gambling," said Rev. Daniel Gangler, Indiana Citizens
Against Legalized Gambling. Standing in the back of the room were bar owners
who want video poker legalized. No one offered their amendment. Some of the
money from the slot machines is now targeted for property tax relief. The
bill now goes to the full Senate where former leader and gambling opponent
Bob Garton is no longer there to stop it.

Flandreau Sioux Tribe sues state on gambling compact

 

The Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe has filed a federal lawsuit alleging that
Gov. Mike Rounds and other state officials have unfairly prevented the tribe
from adding more slot machines at its casino in Flandreau. The lawsuit
alleges that the state has negotiated in bad faith as the tribe pursues a
longer gambling compact that allows more slot machines. The tribe is seeking
a court order declaring that the state has violated the federal law on
Indian gambling and a constitutional provision that guarantees equal
protection under the law. While state officials have refused to let each
Indian casino have more than 250 slot machines, they have allowed the number
of slot machines in Deadwood casinos and the number of video lottery
machines in casinos statewide to skyrocket, according to the lawsuit. The
lawsuit, filed Monday in federal court in Sioux Falls, asks a judge to
require that the state and tribe agree on a new gambling compact within 60
days or face mediation. It also asks for a court order requiring the state
to give the tribe the same privileges granted to other forms of gambling in
South Dakota. The complaint and exhibits filed with the court total 845
pages. Officials from many of the Sioux tribes in South Dakota have
complained in recent years that the state was refusing to negotiate in good
faith as they sought new gambling compacts. Clarence Skye, executive
director of United Sioux Tribes, said he believes other tribes will wait and
see what happens in the Flandreau Sioux Tribe lawsuit before deciding
whether to file their own lawsuits. Tribal officials have been frustrated
because the governor will not meet with them to discuss the dispute on
gambling compacts, Skye said. "I've tried everything, and I'm still sitting
on the outside and not getting anywhere." A 1988 federal law says tribes can
generally conduct the same kind of gambling that is allowed elsewhere in the
state, but a tribe first has to negotiate a gaming compact with the state.
Tribes began negotiating compacts to run their own casinos after a state
constitutional amendment allowed casinos to start operating in Deadwood in
1989. Eight of the nine Sioux tribes in South Dakota have gambling compacts.
The Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe is the only one without a casino.

A number of tribes have complained that the state's refusal to let them add
slot machines is preventing them from gaining revenue needed to finance
non-gambling projects.

Rounds did not respond immediately to a request for comment on Tuesday, but
he has said in the past that the state was negotiating in good faith with
tribes. The South Dakota Constitution allows only limited gambling, he said.

"I also have to weigh their interests in unlimited gaming or significantly
increased number of machines with what is required in our constitution,
which is limited gaming," the governor said last year.

However, the lawsuit said Deadwood gambling and the state video lottery are
not very limited.

About 3,000 slot machines are authorized in the casinos located in Deadwood,
a historic town in the northern Black Hills, and approximately 8,500 video
gambling machines are allowed in licensed video lottery casinos around the
state, according to the lawsuit.

Meanwhile, the state has refused to let tribal casinos exceed 250 slot
machines, the lawsuit said. Compacts in Minnesota and Iowa set the number of
slot machines at what the market can bear, according to the suit.

The Flandreau Sioux Tribe's Royal River Casino sometimes loses customers
because people refuse to wait in line for slot machines and instead drive to
nearby casinos in Minnesota and Iowa, the lawsuit said.

The tribe said it sought to gain additional machines and extend the compact
to 20 years so it could secure financing to build a hotel, resort, water
park, family recreation center and event center to draw entertainment acts.
The state has offered a six-year compact.

One proposal by the tribe would have allowed one slot machines for each
$34,000 invested in the complex, but the state rejected that suggestion,
according to the lawsuit.

"The state's intransigence prevents the tribe from raising the capital
necessary to develop high quality facilities sufficient to attract tourists
and customers from areas beyond the borders of the state and denies the
tribe the economic benefits provided to all other citizens of the state,"
according to the lawsuit.

Can Turkey Prevent Online Gambling?

 

Online casinos have conquered the world, and Turkey is no exception. It has
been determined that approximately $ 2 million is spent on online gambling
through credit card transactions in Turkey. Turkish authorities, however,
were not happy with the spread of online gambling in the country and the
Government decided to stop its citizens from accessing and playing on online
gambling sites. Accordingly, the Administrative Regulation prepared by the
Turkish National Lottery Administration on the Prohibition of Organizing and
Marketing Online Gambling ("Regulation") entered into force on 14 March
2006. Under Article 1 of the Regulation, the aim of the Regulation is to
prohibit the organization and marketing of games of chance in virtual media
such as computers, internet, interactive TV, mobile phone and similar
information environments. The advertising of interactive gambling services
is also prohibited under Article 5 of the Regulation. The purpose of the
Regulation is not only to prohibit Turkey-based interactive gambling
services being provided to customers in Turkey but also to prevent the
ability of people resident in Turkey to access online gambling sites located
overseas. In this context, illegal gambling activities will be followed-up
and inspected by the Presidency of the Department of Games of Chance.
Pursuant to Article 6 of the Regulation, the Presidency of the Department of
Games of Chance will prepare examination reports concerning real persons or
legal entities that are domiciled in Turkey or in a foreign country and
organizing or marketing gambling in virtual media. The report will include
the addresses of the virtual media and all related information regarding
such entities in detail. Based on this report, the Department of Law of the
National Lottery Administration will apply to the authorized court for
cessation of the access provided by internet service providers (ISP) to
these websites and seek punishment of the illegal acts. In the event this
request is upheld by the court, the Legal Department of the National Lottery
Administration will notify the decision to the Telecommunication Authority
in order to provide the enforcement of the legal order.

Before this Regulation came into force, no specific law related to online
gambling in Turkey existed. As a result, an increasing rate of online
gambling occurred in Turkey over the past few years. Although the National
Lottery's efforts are expected to decrease online gambling, there are
certain factors that may frustrate attempts to prohibit online gambling. For
instance, internet technology renders prohibition practically futile. The
internet makes it easier to encrypt messages, to change addresses, and to
send and receive messages anonymously. In contrast to the quasi-public and
monolithic postal system, the internet relies on thousands of separate and
wholly owned private service providers to carry out its deliveries.
Providers may simply refuse to cooperate by claiming that it is impossible
to discriminate between illicit gaming information and other internet
traffic.

In addition, principles of national sovereignty will prevent Turkey from
forcing other countries to enforce a ban on online gambling. Turkish
authorities already admitted that they cannot stop overseas gaming
operations because Turkey does not have jurisdiction over the people abroad
who are dealing with online gambling. Consequently, both practical and legal
barriers prevent any domestic ban on online gambling from having
international effect.

Gambling for a change to contribution fund

 

It's not quite characteristic for a city clerk to not like a source of city
revenue. But Clerk Pat Garrity sees one particular revenue stream on
Hibbing's
books that he doesn't like, and he wants something done about it. Garrity
asked the council to consider elimination of the charitable gambling tax,
better known as the 10 percent contribution fund, during a Committee of the
Whole meeting Tuesday. "I feel we should consider whether it's in the best
interest of the city and of the nonprofits that run the operations to
continue taxing charitable gambling groups on a 10 percent basis," said
Garrity while handing out a spreadsheet.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

New center studies gambling

 

Every March, as Americans fill out their NCAA Basketball Tournament brackets
and shell out cash to compete in March Madness pools, gambling enters the
public spotlight, and this year, it is under more scrutiny than usual. In
New Jersey, Rutgers University's School of Social Work recently announced it
would look deeper into the nature of gambling and its effects not only on
gamblers themselves, but on the state economy. "Gambling, both legalized and
online illegal gambling, is one of the fastest-growing industries in the
world," said Lia Nower, director of Rutgers's new Center for Gambling
Studies, where researchers will study gambling addictions and culture. She
said the Rutgers program is unique compared to the few existing research
institutes in the nation because it aims to form a more comprehensive
understanding of gambling, she added. "Most [institutes] either focus on
problem-gambling research, or overall gambling policy development, but not
both," she said, adding the Center's creators saw a need for a place that
would train counselors, evaluate policies and serve as a resource for the
state legislature. Ed Looney, executive director for the Council on
Compulsive Gambling of New Jersey, said he is glad Rutgers opened such a
center on its campus, because he said schools across the nation lack
sufficient education programs. According to Loone, who said he has met with
Nower to discuss the Center, the gambling rate among college students is
twice that of the adult population. Females are growing more susceptible to
addiction, he added, which he said can evolve from innocent sports bets,
including March Madness pools. "They love the action," he said. "Pools are
so easy to join, and after the tournament is over, then baseball starts,
[and then] the NBA playoffs. People get right back into it."

Catawbas suffer gambling setback

 

The Catawba Indian Nation's push to offer electronic gambling took a hit
Monday when the S.C. Supreme Court ruled a state ban on video poker also
applies to the tribe. The Catawbas, South Carolina's only federally
recognized tribe, argued their 1993 land deal with the state allowed them to
put video poker machines on their reservation, despite a statewide ban in
2000. The state contends the land deal means the tribe's reservation falls
under state, not federal, gambling laws. State Attorney General Henry
McMaster, who appealed a lower court's decision in favor of the tribe, said
the higher court made "a sound decision." Catawba attorney Jay Bender
called the ruling a setback, but he expects the U.S. Supreme Court to
eventually decide the case. "The question is, does this tribe have the right
to exercise sovereignty to operate video poker as a government just as the
state of South Carolina operates the lottery as a government?" Bender said.
Sen. Wes Hayes, an attorney and leading gambling opponent, said he doubts
the U.S. Supreme Court would rule against the state high court's unanimous
decision, while a spokesman for Gov. Mark Sanford said the ruling was
important to keep video poker from returning to South Carolina. The tribe
has said it doesn't necessarily want to put video gambling machines on its
York County reservation about 25 miles south of Charlotte, N.C. But the
Catawbas had hoped to use a favorable court ruling as a bargaining chip to
build a high-stakes bingo parlor south of Columbia along Interstate 95.
Local officials want the bingo facility and the estimated 1,800 jobs it
would bring to the rural area. But many lawmakers, including Sanford, oppose
the idea. The Catawbas sued the state after bills allowing the Santee
facility repeatedly failed in the General Assembly. The idea died again in
committee last year. The Catawbas say a new bingo parlor is critical to
their future. The tribe said its York County bingo hall began losing money
after the state lottery started in 2002. The Catawbas were forced to shut
down the operation and have since sold the hall and the surrounding property
in Rock Hill. The tribe's 1993 settlement, which gave the Catawbas $50
million and federal recognition in exchange for relinquishing claims to
144,000 acres, also allowed the Catawbas to operate bingo games in two
locations. But legislative approval is needed for the Santee facility
because the Catawbas want to link it electronically to other tribal bingo
halls nationwide to offer bigger payments, Bender said. He likened it to a
multi-state lottery game, such as Powerball, which the state participates
in. But Hayes called the proposed bingo hall a huge casino with games
resembling video poker. "They call it bingo, but that's in name only," said
the Rock Hill Republican. "It will be much bigger gambling than anything
we've seen in South Carolina before. There's a reason we voted video poker
out. It's the crack cocaine of gambling." Even if the state Supreme Court
had ruled in the tribe's favor, Hayes said he would continue to oppose an
electronic bingo hall anywhere in the state. The ruling only adds to the
tribe's already significant hurdles, he said. Chief Gilbert Blue, who
announced over the weekend he would not seek re-election after leading the
tribe for more than three decades, said he thought the settlement clearly
allowed video gambling.
The high court also offered good news to the tribe, ruling the state cannot
impose an $18 per person fee on the tribe's bingo players. The state created
the fee in 1998 without the tribe's consent, the court said.

Gambling isn't economic development

 

West Virginia lawmakers have wrapped up the 2007 legislative session, and
the major piece of legislation emerging from the 60-day session was the bill
permitting racetracks to add table games, pending approval by voters of the
four counties where the tracks are located. In the last election, the
gambling interests spent nearly $400,000 in direct contributions to their
favored candidates, and who knows how many thousands more in indirect,
unreported support. They were rewarded with legislation that means the first
step in expanding gambling in a way that will change our state forever, if
voters eventually approve table game referendums. In fact, the Associated
Press recently reported that West Virginia will join only one other state --
Iowa -- in regard to allowing venues that provide racing, slots and table
games in the same locations. It is, of course, foolish to pretend, as the
Democrats do, that when voters approved the lottery two decades ago they
were also giving their assent to table games. But our lawmakers have chosen
to take the position that the initiative at that time intended to permit
whatever they mean it to say today. Court challenges will undoubtedly
result, and rightfully so. Voters all over the state, not just in four
counties, deserve the opportunity to express their will in regard to this
massive gamble of our state's future. The gambling interests have promised
hundreds of jobs and vast economic expansion in return for the ability to
provide table games. It was truly fascinating to watch as the promises piled
up and various regions saw the pot sweetened in exchange for the support of
the table games legislation. A few more thousand promised here, a few more
thousand promised there -- and pretty soon, the votes were in order and the
critics were scolded for not caring about jobs or the economy. For me and
many others, our increasing reliance on gambling to solve our economic
problems sends a terrible signal to our children and grandchildren. But,
sadly, this gambling expansion should have been expected from a state whose
TV and radio commercials ask us to play the West Virginia Lottery, but to
"play responsibly," while at the same time buying billboards offering help
if you are a problem gambler. There are sound, proven and lasting ways to
grow a state's economy, but most Democratic legislators refused to address
those methods in any meaningful way.
Decisive reductions in taxes have proven time and again to encourage new
investment and expand the economy, but the Democrats did little but nibble
around the edges of meaningful tax reforms. Instead, they cast their lot
with the gambling lobbyists, and opened the door to a new era of government
preying even further on one of the most addictive and destructive behaviors
known to society.

Aside from gambling legislation, were there any other major accomplishments
this session?

Clearly, no. Long-sought pay raises were cobbled together for teachers and
state workers, but not enough to forestall more headaches on this issue in
the near future. Lawmakers agreed to sell tobacco bonds in the hopes of a
$750 million windfall rather than a higher payout drawn out over a longer
period of time.

West Virginians will have to keep paying the state's "temporary" gas tax, a
few more judges were added around the state, and the privilege tax, which
should be eliminated, was instead softened somewhat by a provision that
would help new residents avoid it, which was better than nothing.

But completely ignored by this Legislature were social conservatives of all
parties, with pro-life bills ignored and gambling initiatives front and
center.

In the end, it is the table games legislation for which this session will be
remembered. In essence, voters chose a legislature in the 2006 elections
that decided the best way to represent their constituents this session was
to expand our state's ability to attract gamblers.

Over the next few months, the Republican Party will begin recruiting
candidates for the 2008 election. I personally invite any Republican to step
forward who will fight for the kind of economic development our state
desperately needs -- candidates who believe in lower taxes, a fairer court
system, an economic climate that encourages businesses to locate here that
provide good-paying jobs and benefits, and the conservative values our state
holds dear.

Man arrested in sweep wanted on gambling charge

 

A New Castle man arrested during Friday's drug sweep was wanted on a bench
warrant for a gambling charge. Jeffrey Zona, 39, was picked up by police as
part of the city and state police drug sweep in New Castle. He was wanted on
a bench warrant on a gambling-related charge dating back to 2005. According
to information from the Lawrence County prothonotary's office, Zona had been
wanted on a bench warrant since Nov. 10, 2005, after he failed to show for
trial in October 2005, for the charge by state police involving the Vita
Nuova Club on East Washington Street. The bench warrant was rescinded Friday
by Lawrence County President Judge Dominick Motto, who instead reinstituted
a bond for Zona and released him on his own recognizance.

Alleged gambling hall broken up in 'Operation March Madness

 

Police arrested a Hamilton man for allegedly running a speakeasy and
gambling parlor that netted more than $1 million a year, police Director
Joseph Santiago said yesterday. It's the fourth time Alvin D. Brown, 61, of
Crawford Court, has been arrested for gambling-related charges. This time he
was charged with operating a gambling facility out of a room on the side of
a home, called a clubhouse, at 296 North Willow Street that was called a
blight on the community. Brown was arrested on gambling charges in 1983,
1993 and in 1999, police said. The investigation started last November after
residents of the street complained to the Mayor Doug Palmer's office about
all the illegal activity happening at the site. People were coming and going
at all hours of the day and night, investigators said. "What's important to
us is this information came to us by the mayor's office of community
affairs. The citizens that cooperated with the police should be commended,"
said police Director Joseph Santiago. "This is what community policing is
all about. For certain our effectiveness greatly depends on our citizens'
involvement, Please, keep calling and you will see our officers responding."
It was while police Lieutenant Daniel Pagnotta, who heads up the police vice
crime division, investigators with Prosecutor Joseph Bocchini and the state
Department of Taxation were investigating the gambling operation, under the
code name "Operation March Madness," they discovered a large-scale drug
operation a few doors down. Because police decided it was more important to
get the drugs off the street, they organized operation "Weeping Willow" that
brought down numerous dealers and cleared 20 kilos of cocaine and other
drugs off the street earlier this year. On Friday, police executed search
warrants at three locations in addition to arresting Brown. At the first
location, 286 North Willow Street, police seized $14,876 in cash, sports
betting records, untaxed cigarettes, an adding machine and calculators. Also
in a room attached accessed by a door to the street, Brown allegedly sold
beer and hard liquor to those placing bets on numbers. He said he asked for
donations for the liquor, police said. At 17 Crawford Court, Hamilton, where
Brown lives, police seized $315,361 in cash, $5,394 in coins, a hand gun,
storage records, a 2003 Ford Explorer, a 1987 Mercedes Benz, a 2003 Mercedes
and two tubs of coins.

At a storage facility located at 43 Old Olden Avenue, police seized $405,931
in cash, gambling records and assorted bank statements.

In all they seized a total of $745,244.88 in cash, police said.

When Brown was arrested on Friday at the Old Willow Street house, police
found $4,720 in his pockets.

Police estimate that the numbers operation netted about $10,000 a day,
totaling about $1 million a year, said Detective Sergeant Pedro Medina.

It took about 700 man hours of police surveillance and investigation to
bring down the operation.

"As a Trenton police officer I am very thankful and ecstatic about the
success of this operation. We will continue combating not only the drug
problem, but any illegal activity that is detrimental to the quality of
living of our citizens," Pagnotta said.

"I would like to thank the citizens that provided the useful information and
assure all of our citizens that we are not taking a back seat to any crime
committed and that indeed our presence will be noticed."

Brown's is only the first arrest in connection with the gambling numbers
operation.

Police are continuing to investigate others -- possible "runners" --
connected with the operation.

Joe O'Gorman, with the state Department of Taxation, will investigate
Brown's
activities to make sure there were no violations of the tax statutes.

Mercer County Prosecutor Joseph Bocchini said Brown faces a maximum sentence
of 5 years in prison if convicted.

"The most serious charges might come from the tax investigation," Bocchini
said.

"A significant criminal aspect could come from the taxation issues."

Miami Couple Plea In $3.3 Billion Online Gambling Operation

 

A Miami, Florida, executive and his wife, charged with participating in an
unlawful online gambling operation that booked more than $3.3 billion in
wagers over a 28-month period, have pleaded guilty to felony charges in the
case. Daniel B. Clarin, 32, and his wife, Melissa Clarin, 31, both of Miami,
Florida, both entered guilty pleas. He pleaded guilty to enterprise
corruption, a violation of New York State's Organized Crime Control Act, and
Mrs. Clarin pleaded guilty to fourth-degree conspiracy before Queens Supreme
Court Justice Stephen Knopf who set sentencing for April 26. The judge
indicated that he would likely sentence Clarin to an indeterminate term of
two and one-third to seven years in prison and order him to forfeit $254,356
and would sentence Mrs. Clarin to a three-year conditional discharge, the
condition being that she forfeit $72,508 in illegal earnings. "The
defendants have admitted to be being major players in an incredibly
lucrative. and illegal, global gambling operation that took in untold
millions of dollars in unlawfully earned proceeds through casinos, shell
corporations and bank accounts in a variety of locations around the globe,
including Central America, the Caribbean, Switzerland, Hong Kong and
elsewhere", Queens district attorney Richard Brown said. Wagers were placed
on a wide variety of sporting events ranging from horseracing, football,
baseball, basketball and hockey to NASCAR, PGA golf and professional tennis,
among others. The District Attorney said that in pleading guilty Clarin
admitted that between July 14, 2004, and Nov. 2, 2006, he worked as the
"comptroller" of the criminal enterprise, Playwithal gambling organization,
and was responsible for managing the enterprise's day-to-day operations and
handling bettor disputes and accounting discrepancies, as well as managing
account information of the various runners and bettors. He further admitted
that he was responsible for monitoring the enterprise's toll-free telephone
numbers and website - including the playwithal.com website specified in the
indictment - which were used to accept and receive bets from bettors and
other individuals located in Queens County and elsewhere. The District
Attorney said Mrs. Clarin admitted that she worked as a "financial officer"
for the enterprise during the same time period and conspired with others to
assist in laundering more than $1 million in illegal gambling proceeds
through various financial institutions overseas and elsewhere to conceal or
disguise the nature, location, source, ownership and control of the proceeds
of the illegal gambling operation and to allow her and other members of the
enterprise to illegally acquire more money.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Sacre Bleu! French Authorities Hand Fine to Gambling Chief

 

Patrick Partouche, the head of French company Groupe Partouche, has been
handed a 40,000 Euro fine and a 12 month suspended prison sentence.
Partouche's punishment relates to his involvement with online poker site
Poker770. France appears to be following in the footsteps of America by
cracking down on online gambling and poker. Patrick Partouche and Partouche
International were handed stiff penalties for their respective involvements
in online poker room Poker770 last Friday. Partouche International, a
subsidiary of the group based in Belgium, was fined 150,000 Euro for
targeting French players for their online gaming activities. Partouche
himself will be facing 12 months in prison should he be found guilty of a
further crime in the near future. His penalty was a 40,000 Euro fine and a
12 month suspended prison sentence. According to French media sources, two
further individuals were also fined 40,000 Euro and handed suspended prison
sentences by a court in Nanterre, Paris. All the individuals involved have
lodged appeals. Last year Bwin officials were arrested in France.
Authorities have requested interviews with other gambling companies based
outside of the country. Poker770 operate on the iPoker network. One of the
most popular networks around, iPoker have reported player numbers of 12,000
or more to be using their software at any one time. Groupe Partouche owns
over fifty land based casinos alongside their online company Partouche
Interactive. Poker770 is managed by a Cyprus registered firm called
Chicoutimi Management Limited for Partouche.

Study shows teen gambling tied to risky behaviors

 

A new study indicates students in the eighth and 11th grades who gamble are
more likely to be involved in risky behaviors such as drinking, carrying
weapons, sexual activity or fighting. "The data are startling," said Jeff
Marotta, problem gambling services manager in the Oregon Department of Human
Services. He said the information has bolstered a plan to make a
seven-minute video by April that will be distributed free to schools, boys
and girls clubs, faith organizations and elsewhere to encourage discussions
about problem gambling. The video will feature Oregon middle school students
talking about gambling, and will be accompanied by activity and discussion
guides. "The video will focus discussion that will help teenagers understand
how to avoid getting into trouble with gambling," Marotta said.

New Web Gambling Study Could Lead to Legal Online Poker in USA Again

 

Two Nevada lawmakers are working on legislation for an 18-month study of
online gambling to determine whether online gambling can be effectively
regulated in the United States. U.S. Reps. Shelley Berkley, D-Nev., and Jon
Porter, R-Nev. are expected to reveal the co-sponsored legislation within
the next few weeks, and they hope to gain a powerful ally in Rep. Barney
Frank, D-Mass. Frank, chairman of the House Financial Services Committee and
a longtime critic of gambling restrictions, has called last year's Unlawful
Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) bill's ban of online gambling
"preposterous" and one of the "stupidest" bills ever passed. Frank has said
he is considering proposing a repeal of the ban, which aims to shut down
2,300 Internet gambling sites producing about $12 billion (about 6.17
billion pounds or Euros 9 billion) per year. Berkley said she talked to
Frank on Wednesday on the House floor about Internet gambling and they plan
to meet again "in the very near future." Any legislation to regulate online
gambling in the US would also require the support of the American Gaming
Association, who has in the past said they would support such a study. "The
purpose of our bill is to provide a comprehensive study with detailed
information on the expanded growth of Internet gambling," Berkley said. To
avoid the political bickering that plagued a federal commission that
completed a two-year study of legalized gambling in June 1999, Berkley and
Porter would assign an 18-month Internet gambling study to the National
Research Council, which is an agency of the National Academy of Sciences.
"This actually is a very independent institution which has the resources to
get the facts to Congress," Porter said. Porter introduced a similar bill
last year, which Berkley co-sponsored. Despite Congress approving an
Internet gambling ban last October, Porter said he thinks lawmakers would
consider a repeal. A date has not been set, but Porter said he still plans
to visit the Isle of Man, Britain, and Madrid, Spain, to observe Internet
gambling operations firsthand.
Berkley's position on Internet gambling has changed since July 2000, when
she voted for an online betting ban proposed by Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R-Va.

It's time to take illegal gambling seriously

 

Recently, the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department cited dozens of
patrons and arrested organizers of an illegal gambling house on the city's
Northeastside. While police should be commended for monitoring this
situation and ultimately stepping in, it is disturbing that known illegal
gambling elsewhere in Marion County is being ignored. The Star reported on,
and even gave the address for, an illegal gambling ring on the Westside last
month. What is truly troubling in this case is that local officials appear
to not be concerned with the issue. Deputy Mayor Steve Campbell stated:
"It's understandable that the police would spend more time on violent crime
and drugs than on gambling." City-County Council President Monroe Gray
refused comment, but was listed in a 2003 police report for being outside a
local illegal gambling house. During a raid at a gambling house on Feb. 6,
state Sen. Glenn Howard arrived at the scene and told police that "the
facility should be left alone even if it is illegal because it doesn't hurt
anybody." Apparently, Howard doesn't realize that illegal drugs, thefts and
other crimes tend to follow illegal gambling. It is time for Mayor Bart
Peterson and his political associates to take crime seriously. Selective
reading of crime statutes does nothing to stem the tide of increasing crime.
Indianapolis must demand leadership that will equally apply the law and
protect its citizens.

Lake Stevens council to discuss gambling moratorium

 

Lake Stevens city officials are looking at ways to make sure the city's low
gambling tax doesn't bring a flood of card rooms and casinos to the city. A
moratorium on such gambling establishments is one option city administrator
Jan Berg plans to discuss with the City Council tonight. "They asked me to
look at all the options," Berg said of the City Council. No vote is expected
at the meeting today, but there's a good chance the council will let Berg
know its preferred course of action, City Council president Heather Coleman
said. "Moratorium is a strong word," she said. "We want to look at the
entire issue a little more closely, but in the meantime everybody has to be
able to do business." In December, the City Council unanimously approved a
new tax on gambling businesses. The tax is less than half of Snohomish
County's gambling tax rate. Before then, the city had no gambling tax, Berg
said. The tax was approved in advance of the addition of Frontier Village to
the city, where the Highway 9 Casino is located. Frontier Village became
part of the city on Dec. 20.The Highway 9 Casino is the only existing casino
in the Lake Stevens area. "We wouldn't like to become the most attractive
place" for card rooms and casinos, Coleman said. The gambling tax will help
pay for policing of the gambling businesses, Police Chief Randy Celori has
said. As of last July, nine Snohomish County cities had prohibitions against
gambling businesses. Statewide, 64 cities and towns and five counties had
such bans, according to the state Gambling Commission.

Legalize and tax gambling machines

 

Come one, come all. Find a bar, convenience store or truck stop in Decatur.
Look in the back room, behind the closed doors, and you'll find one or more
gambling machines. Come play and enjoy yourself. You (probably) won't get in
trouble because law enforcement seems to be looking the other way. I don't
gamble (except the lottery), but I feel gambling should be legalized because
it seems to be unstoppable. The law seems to point a finger at someone or
some organization taking monies under the table. Legalize gambling, license
and tax it.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Two plead guilty in U.S. Internet gambling case

 

A Miami executive and his wife pleaded guilty to participating in a $3.3
billion illegal Internet sports gambling operation in New York on Friday,
the Queens District Attorney's office said. Daniel Clarin, 32, and his wife
Melissa Clarin, 31, pleaded guilty in court to enterprise corruption and
conspiracy charges for taking part in the operation that ran over a 28-month
period, according to a news release. The operation took bets on sports
including horse-racing, football, baseball, basketball, hockey, NASCAR
races, PGA golf and professional tennis, the release said. The couple were
among 27 people indicted in November in Queens County Supreme Court for
participating. The case represents the first time Internet gambling charges
were brought in the United States since President George W. Bush signed the
Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act into law in October. The law
effectively banned online gambling by outlawing gaming financial
transactions.

Frank Considering Bill to Repeal Online Gambling Ban

 

Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.), chairman of the House Financial Services
Committee, said on Thursday that he plans to provide more details in coming
weeks on possible legislation that would overturn the U.S. Internet gambling
ban, Reuters reported. "I'm not ready to give you more details, but I will
be by next week or so.There's no urgency on it," Frank told Reuters. A
representative for Frank told Reuters that he has not drafted a bill and has
no timetable for action. Online gambling by U.S. citizens was outlawed by
legislation signed into law last October by President Bush.

Dunne attacks drink, gambling policies

 

United Future leader Peter Dunne has launched a scathing attack on what he
describes as big government and politically correct bureaucrats. Dunne has
slammed bureaucrats for promoting "woolly" solutions to problem gambling and
drinking, rather than effective answers. He says there was, and remains, a
problem with young people drinking to excess in private homes, so raising
the drinking age was never going to work. Dunne has also attacked the
Ministry of Health's efforts to get more funding from the gaming industry
for problem gambling. He says there is no compelling evidence that problem
gambling is linked to gaming machines, and there is some evidence that the
incidence of problem gambling is falling. Dunne says the government should
listen more to the industries involved if it wants practical solutions to
the problems associated with gambling and excessive drinking.

Trooper caught in gambling raid

 

Indianapolis Metro Police officers cited Indiana State Trooper Kyle Freeman
during a gambling raid Tuesday. They also arrested three men, including the
poker club's promoter, Ryan Row. "I have been informed that I am not
supposed to speak with you," said Row to Eyewitness News. The raid happened
Tuesday night in the Pendleton Trade Center. Officers confiscated several
boxes of poker chips and thousands of dollars in cash. In all, officers
issued summons to 60 people. Now the seven-year police veteran must answer
to a gambling charge as well as an internal investigation. "This state
police officer will be subject to an internal affairs investigation as one
of our officers would be," said Sgt. Matthew Mount of IMPD. Just last week
Freeman stood with Marion County Prosecutor Carl Brizzi at a news
conference. Brizzi dedicated a K-9 to Freeman named after fallen Trooper
Gary Dudley, who was killed in a freak biking accident. "The times that that
happened when I came by, I went home. I didn't want to walk ten minutes to
get to my own office," Mager said. The doors are now locked to the illegal
gambling establishment. A sign on the door tells people on the inside not to
open the door to non-members, but instead call a security guard. Right now
nobody is more relieved about the raid than its neighbor. "You never know
who is showing up and wonder if it breeds other problems," said Mager. Also
arrested were Donald Kincaid, 65, who was charged with carrying a handgun
without a license and illegal gambling and Richard Harvey, 28, charged with
unlawful gambling and outstanding civil contempt. Although the night ended
with 60 people facing gambling charges, it's just the beginning of more
trouble for one law enforcement officer.

Gambling pushed banker to steal $1.4 million

 

Deb Anderson didn't begin her 27-year banking career as a thief. She started
as a teller at Pioneer Bank, the lender in her hometown of 3,300 on the
outskirts of Sioux City. She won promotions, despite a lack of college or
any formal training in banking or accounting. By 1991 she was named
cashier - a respected and powerful job at most community banks. "I had a
tremendous amount of trust in her and her position," bank President Richard
Aadland said. But in 1996, 18 years into her career at Pioneer, Anderson
developed a dark side - gambling. She started with bingo and switched to
quarter slot machines, according to court testimony. Casinos to the north,
in Sioux City, and to the south, outside of Sloan, proved so irresistible
that she concocted a scheme that flew in the face of all her outward
appearances of normalcy. Anderson also helped herself to $32,000 from the
Community United Methodist Church, where she kept the books for many years.
Anderson, 49, pleaded guilty to one count of defrauding the bank in U.S.
District Court in Sioux City. She was sentenced Friday to three years and
five months in prison and five years of probation. Her sentencing happened
to fall during National Problem Gambling Awareness Week. She also was
ordered to repay the bank all of the money that she stole, and she faces
federal and state tax bills and penalties on $1.5 million of income that was
not reported. "I'm ashamed and remorseful and didn't set out to hurt anyone,
but I hurt everyone," she testified Friday. A gambling counselor testified
that Anderson was making a successful recovery from her gambling addiction.
In documents asking the court for leniency, Jack Faith, Anderson's lawyer,
wrote that in 1993 she developed anxiety attacks and depression, and later
began gambling and stealing from Pioneer once her addiction spun out of
control. Lisa Pierce, director of the Central Iowa Gambling Treatment
Program, said that for some people gambling can release chemicals in their
bodies that fight the effects of depression. In front of a slot machine or
card table can be "the only place where they don't feel pain," Pierce said.
Keith Whyte, executive director of the National Council on Problem Gambling,
acknowledged that depression can play a role in addictive gambling but said
tying the two together can be like pairing the proverbial chicken and egg.
"Was it their gambling, or their depression" that caused their problems, he
asked.

Young adults face gambling problem

 

Young adults are being called on to help friends who may have a gambling
problems. Through friends4friends, an awareness campaign launched in 2005 by
the Responsible Gambling Council (RGC), young people are made aware of the
hazards of uncontrolled gambling. The campaign provides strategies for
people to recognize and help friends with gambling problems. The RGC
recently released a gambling prevalence study and results from their poker
poll, which demonstrated both the growing popularity of poker and internet
gambling among young adults.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Private hospital move signals growing concern over gambling

 

Companies are unaware of the potential risks and dangers to their workplace
from pathological gambling, addiction specialists have warned. While the
government recently announced the go-ahead of the first super-casino to be
built in Manchester, spanning 5,000sqm and housing up to 1,250
unlimited-jackpot slot machines, Capio Nightingale, a private psychiatric
care hospital based in London, launched a dedicated gambling addiction
service to meet the increasing prevalence of problem gamblers. The
hospital's
joint lead consultant psychiatrist, Dr Henrietta Bowden-Jones, told Health
Insurance that employers were still unaware of the chaos it can cause in the
workplace. "A lot of people gamble for fun, but many have a predisposition
to have problems - 0.8% of the population become pathological gamblers," she
said. "Gambling pre-occupies their thoughts and activities so they not only
disregard expected duties with family and friends but it will affect their
work." Problem gamblers typically present decreased productivity, are more
aggressive or irritable with colleagues, and can perform badly at their
occupation. "A lot of tension is typically built up before a manager or
employer even recognises that there is a problem," she said. The stress of
gambling can lead to further personal problems for the individual, such as
an increase in alcohol or drug taking, depression and even legal and
financial problems for the company.
"There have been cases of employees stealing to supplement their gambling,
and there may be a risk to a company, but this is very much an exception
rather than a rule. What is really the risk is that the employee is so
preoccupied with gambling they are out of step with the mission of the
company and morale of the workforce suffers. I have seen cases of very high
level managers creating ripple effects of problems that have affected a
whole company. There is a major problem when a key person has their eye off
the ball," warned Bowden-Jones. While some board directors and HR personnel
are aware of problem gambling, there needs to be as much understanding as
there is for alcohol and drug addiction, she said. "The effect that gambling
has on the mental health of employees is not an area that has been explored
in depth enough yet. Any manager or employer who suspects that someone has a
problem should start with a very frank discussion and then raise their own
awareness of pathological gambling and what it leads people to do."

Short film addresses problem of gambling among youths

 

Gambling is not an addiction that is usually associated with young people.
But it is a social problem, according to the National Council on Problem
Gambling, especially if left unchecked. That is why it has produced a short
film, hoping to address the issue before it is too late. The main character
in the 15-minute film "'RISK" develops an addiction to soccer betting. The
movie is produced by the National Council on Problem Gambling, in
collaboration with the South East Community Development Council. It examines
the psychology and attitudes of young gamblers. Ian Tan, Executive Producer,
Risk", said, "This film is actually a youth-to-youth production where we are
trying to convey a message of problem gambling among youths. We hope that
this film will actually entertain but yet educate youths on the issues of
problem gambling, especially in terms of soccer betting." Matthias Yao,
South East CDC, said, "I do think that it is a growing problem; gambling is
much more accessible now to the young people, especially gambling that is
now available on the internet, so young people can access gambling in the
privacy of their own rooms. Among the young people that we speak to, they
know that many of their friends and classmates are engaged in gambling. If
we don't do anything about it early enough, I think it may be a growing
problem." A survey conducted by the Ministry of Community Development, Youth
and Sports has shown that nearly half of gamblers in Singapore started when
they were between 18 and 24, an age group when they are more susceptible to
social influences. Debra Soon, Chairperson Youth Sub-Committee, National
Council on Problem Gambling, said, "From the focus groups, we know that
there are certain attitudes towards soccer gambling; they almost see it as
something they can predict, and that gambling is a problem for adults and
not for young people. And so some of these myths associated with gambling we
needed to correct, which is why the movie brought out some of those
messages."

Salvation Army 'Deeply Concerned' by Gambling Advertising Regulations

 

The Salvation Army has said it is "deeply concerned" by the possible effects
of new gambling advertising regulations on society. Captain Matt Spencer,
from The Salvation Army's Public Affairs Unit, said: "Despite some
safeguards that appear to be incorporated into the new guidelines, The
Salvation Army remains deeply concerned about the introduction of new
gambling advertising and the potential effect that this may have on
society." Now The Salvation Army fears that an increase in gambling
advertising will lead to an increase in the number of gambling addicts.
"Adverts are designed to stimulate demand and, as gambling advertising
increases, our fear is that more people will be drawn into an addiction
which can be devastating for individuals, families and the communities in
which they live," said Captain Spencer. Gambling advertising may also
normalise gambling, he added. "Advertising may also have the effect of
further 'normalising' gambling in our culture, but gambling should not be
considered a normal 'leisure' activity since it can be highly addictive and
damaging. "The effects of increased gambling advertising need to be closely
monitored to assess its impact on gambling trends and any associated
potential rise in problem gambling."

'March Madness' Gambling Can Be First Step To Addiction

 

The 2007 NCAA men's basketball tournament is now underway, and people across
the nation are frantically checking scores and updating the status of their
tournament brackets. Central Michigan University faculty member Tim Otteman,
a leading authority on sports-related gambling, has a few initial thoughts
on sports gambling trends, particularly as they relate to so-called "March
Madness." "Sports gambling has truly replaced baseball as America's pastime.
From buying Super Bowl squares to filling out NCAA tournament brackets to
betting on the Internet to gambling directly with a bookmaker, sports
gambling is one of the most popular sports participation activities in the
U.S. The NCAA estimates that one in 10 Americans will complete a bracket for
the NCAA tournament." "While completing a tournament bracket for $5 or $10
seems to be a harmless activity, in reality it potentially starts the
slippery slope toward gambling addiction. No one becomes an alcoholic before
they have their first drink, and no one becomes a drug addict before they
smoke their first joint. Similarly, no one becomes addicted to gambling on
sports before they make their first bet - and frequently the first bet is
filling out a bracket for the NCAA tournament." "Numerous studies indicate
that college students are two to four times more likely to become
pathological gamblers than the general adult population. Combine that with
the tremendous amount of information available about the games via the
Internet, the 50/50 odds on predicting a winner with the point spread, the
popularity of college athletics, the competitive spirit of former
interscholastic athletes and the disposable time a college student enjoys,
and you have the perfect recipe for involvement in sports gambling." Otteman
is an authority in sport administration and management, sports sociology,
and sports gambling.

Office pools should be legal, do not pose high risk of gambling problems

 

We at the Echo assume most of you are watching the NCAA men's basketball
tournament with some pecuniary interest. We've arranged our brackets,
entered our pools, made our speculations. Many offices similar to ours have
even have bet some small amount of cash, since without something riding on
the outcome, few would be able to muster much appetite for the opening
rounds. But, we hasten to add in print, this is illegal. Like speeding or
underage drinking. Which leads to an odd disjunction in the public
discourse. We all know the brackets offered by places like ESPN and even the
Ann Arbor News would not be nearly as popular if the ubiquitous office pools
didn't exist. And yet, we have to keep up the legal fiction of law-abiding,
lest we be subject to capricious law-enforcement whims up to the tune of
$1,000. Which is why we support the legislation proposed by State
Representative Kim Meltzer (R-Clinton Township), which would decriminalize
small office pools. While we understand some of the appeal of office pools
is the feeling of just barely breaking the law, an illicity that can add to
the furtive joy of slipping sheets around the cubicles, but a law so widely
flouted obviously no longer represents the will of the people. Indeed, the
frequent experience of lawbreaking may discourage respect for other laws.
One of the reasons this proposal earns our support is it is limited.
Michigan does have a gambling problem, and the legal fiction of "Native
Americans" running casinos that act more as enablers of addiction than
legitimate industry doesn't win any real support here. But office pools are
more like poker (another legal gray area recently made mainstream) than
slots, and while there is a potential for abuse, it's mitigated by the
limited nature of the participation and the fact the NCAA basketball
tournament comes but once a year (though we suppose any office truly
motivated could create a pool on the NCAA gymnastics tourney too). We
applaud this recognition by lawmakers that when an activity harms very few
and is practiced widely there should be no real justification for the
intervention of the state. We can only hope this moment of clarity extends
further in the statehouse to other harmless entertainments currently
prohibited, and we hope this legislation is passed in time for next year's
tourney.

Northside carwash targeted in gambling raid

 

Investigators are looking into whether officers with the Indianapolis
Metropolitan Police Department frequented a Northeastside poker club shut
down earlier this week. Meanwhile, the department on Thursday raided a
Northside carwash, arresting three people on preliminary charges of
promoting gambling and seizing five handguns, gambling paraphernalia and
$1,800 in cash. It was the third such raid since the beginning of February
and the second this week. Police insisted the recent focus on illegal
gambling wasn't part of any new policy initiative. "No, we've been
conducting these investigations for a number of months, and they're coming
to fruition," said Matthew Mount, metropolitan police spokesman. "It's a
continuing, ongoing campaign we have against any illegal activity." But the
raids and the internal investigation were raising anxiety both inside and
outside the department. Mount said the internal affairs branch has been
investigating for more than a week allegations that IMPD officers played
poker or worked security for the Indianapolis Pinnacle Club, 3936 Pendleton
Way. "We are extremely interested in any information regarding any IMPD
officers who may be involved in any illegal clubs or visiting any illegal
gaming establishments," Mount said. An Indiana State Police officer was
placed on desk duty Wednesday after he was cited in connection with a raid
on the club. Trooper Kyle D. Freeman, 30, a seven-year veteran assigned to
the Indianapolis post, faces a preliminary charge of illegal gambling, a
misdemeanor. He was among 60 people who police said were playing poker
Tuesday when metropolitan police vice officers shut down the Indianapolis
Pinnacle Club. An internal investigation will be conducted, 1st Sgt. Dave
Bursten, a State Police spokesman, said in a written statement. Sixty poker
players, including Freeman, were issued court summonses and face preliminary
charges of misdemeanor illegal gambling. Police arrested three men they said
were running the games -- Ryan Roe, 36, Donald Kincaid, 65, and Richard
Harvey, 28 -- on felony charges of illegal gambling. Kincaid faces an
additional charge of carrying a handgun without a license. The carwash
raided Thursday at 148 W. 38th St. has been raided many times over the
years, including in December 2003, when police found now-City-County Council
President Monroe Gray Jr. in a city-owned car in the business's parking lot,
according to a police report. Gray said he never went inside and was merely
talking about city business while parked outside the carwash. The carwash
has operated under several names over the years. On Thursday, the name
Mike's Car Wash was painted in light blue letters on the side of the
building. The business is not part of the Mike's chain with multiple
locations in Indianapolis. Police arrested four people, and 17 others were
cited on charges of illegal gambling and visiting a common nuisance. "It was
just a matter of time before they raided the place," said James Bradley, 74,
one of the people who received a citation. "They didn't ask me anything,
they just gave me a citation." The carwash, a former service station on the
northeast corner of 38th Street and Capitol Avenue, was raided around 12:45
p.m. Thursday. As in previous years, metropolitan police said they had
received complaints about gambling there, mostly card games. They went to
the business with a search warrant after getting information from someone
who had gambled inside. Arrested on preliminary charges of promoting
gambling were: Marvin Colbert, 53; Michael Smith, 59; and Michael Smith Jr.,
38. Deangelo Dupree, 46, and Smith Jr. also face preliminary charges of
carrying a handgun without a license.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

House committee to study gambling bills

 

A key state legislator Thursday upped the ante on casino gambling by
offering a bill to allow casinos and lower property taxes. "Good times have
come back and we need to start sharing those revenues again," said state
Rep. Arlen Siegfreid, R-Olathe, chairman of the House Federal and State
Affairs Committee. Siegfreid's committee started hearings Friday on various
proposals to expand gambling in Kansas. Last Thursday, House bills 2568 and
2569 were sent to his committee for consideration. The bills essentially
would set up a commission that would develop large destination casinos. The
casinos could be built only after voter approval in the home and adjacent
counties. Currently, casino-style gambling is only allowed at four American
Indian casinos in northeast Kansas from which the state receives no revenue.
Under Siegfreid's plan, some of the revenue from the proposed destination
casinos would go into a fund to reduce local property taxes by $75 million
per year. "One of the problems we have had in the state of Kansas (is)
property taxes are just relentlessly going up," he said. But his proposal
would not allow slots at existing pari-mutuel horse and dog tracks. "These
are private businesses. It should not be the state's position to prop up
private business," he said. Wichita Greyhound Park and The Woodlands in
Kansas City, Kan., have been struggling for years and have asked to be
allowed to put slots at the tracks. Siegfreid said his bill wouldn't
prohibit tracks from bidding to develop a destination casino. The Federal
and State Affairs Committee had an informational hearing Tuesday and then
will convene for at least three days of hearings next week on gambling
bills. House Speaker Melvin Neufeld, R-Ingalls, said he wants to have a
thorough airing of the issue. "For the first time in a long time there are
going to be actually extensive hearings on the gambling issue to try to
ferret out what the people actually want to support," Neufeld said.

Congressman looking at revoking gambling ban

 

US Democrat Barney Frank is considering a bill to repeal last year's
anti-gambling legislation according to a spokesperson for the congressman,
who chairs the House of Representatives Financial Services Committee.
Frank's office confirmed that he was considering legislation, but added he
had not drafted the bill and had no timetable for legislation. According to
the UK's Financial Times newspaper, Frank called the law the 'stupidest ever
passed' and wrote on his website: "I am working on legislation to cut back
on this Internet gambling thing. "I think it's preposterous... maybe we can
make some money off it,' he added.

Legislator expects debate on expanded gambling

 

House Federal and State Committee Chairman Arlen Siegfreid, R-Olathe, said
Wednesday that one way or the other, this year the chamber will debate
expanded gambling. This week, Siegfreid's committee is hearing from
supporters and opponents of three bills. One pushed by the gambling industry
calls for casinos and slot machines at pari-mutuel race tracks, another
allows casinos in counties that border out-of-state counties with a casino,
and the third allows state-owned and operated casinos. He hopes the
committee will have a bill ready next week. "If we fail to get a bill out of
here, you'll hear gaming on the floor," he said. "Someone will offer an
amendment and that'll set it off."

New Gambling Rules Reveal Government Double Standards

 

The Evangelical Alliance, representing more than a million evangelicals in
the UK, has spoken out against the consistency of the government's stance in
key issues currently being debated in the UK. "New liberalised gambling
advertising rules fly in the face of the Government's position on cigarette
advertising and the debate around advertising unhealthy food to children",
the Evangelical Alliance has said in a press release this week. The alliance
continued: "The relaxed rules.will allow the first TV and radio commercials
for gambling facilities from September." The new rules were revealed on the
same day that religious groups - including the Alliance - held a meeting
with the Responsibility in Gambling Trust, a charity which exists to tackle
problem gambling in Britain through the funding of treatment, research and
education programmes. Jennifer Hogg, an Evangelical Alliance volunteer
advisor on gambling issues and mother of two said: "I find it extraordinary
that on the same day we met with the Responsibility in Gambling Trust, these
new gambling advertising rules were published. "While we were discussing
distributing RIGT's excellent Government-backed education resources on
gambling to youth organisations, rules were being published that will allow
families to be bombarded with gambling advertising on TV and on public
transport." The Evangelical Alliance believes that legalising gambling
advertising, combined with the explosion in online gambling, will
drastically increase the availability and attractiveness of gambling. It
agrees with Professor Mark Griffiths of Nottingham Trent University, who has
stated that gambling advertising should have heath warnings and that the
national lottery proves that advertising stimulates demand. Gareth Wallace,
Westminster Parliamentary Officer for the Evangelical Alliance, said: "This
smacks of a lack of joined up government. It also features marked double
standards, since the Government is keen to ban all tobacco advertising. But
gambling could be just as damaging to the nation's health. "The consequences
of problem gambling are well documented in respect of personal and family
costs. "There can be no 'socially responsible' advertising of gambling,
which can be highly addictive. Children will be able to view gambling
advertisements on TV and in public spaces."

Revised gambling compacts win final legislative approval

 

Lawmakers have approved new gambling agreements with Indian tribes that will
increase the state's share of tribal casinos in exchange for extending the
term of compacts for 30 years. The House voted 53-16 on Wednesday to endorse
the gambling compacts negotiated by Gov. Bill Richardson and tribal
representatives. The Senate approved the agreements a day earlier. The next
step is for Richardson and individual tribes to sign compacts, which then
must be approved by the secretary of the U.S. Interior Department. The new
agreements will run until 2037 and replace existing compacts that are to
expire in 2015. The state is projected to get an additional $650 million
from tribal casinos by 2037. Ten of New Mexico's 13 tribes with casinos
currently support the proposed changes. Tribes that didn't sign on would
continue to operate under the existing agreements.

SMU gets grant to study gambling

 

Saint Mary's University researchers have received $345,000 from the Nova
Scotia Gaming Corp. to study the impact of gambling on teens. "Our research
is aimed at uncovering the common themes coming from youth concerning the
commercial advertising of gambling and its impact on their perceptions of
gambling and their play behaviours," John McMullan, a sociology and
criminology professor who's the project's lead researcher, said in a news
release this week. The four-year project will look at advertising for
gambling from the Atlantic Lottery Corp., Casino Nova Scotia and the
Maritime Provinces Harness Racing Association, and unregulated advertising
from websites, television and radio from Jan. 1, 2004, to Dec. 31, 2006,
will be reviewed. Researchers will then interview teens to analyze the
impact advertising has on them, the news release said, and the last part of
the project will track beliefs and behaviours using continuous advertising
snapshots over time.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Police break up illegal gambling raid

 

An Indiana State trooper is in trouble, caught in the middle of a police
raid. The raid happened Tuesday night in the 3900 block of Pendleton Way on
the northeast side. Police say what might look like a legitimate business
was actually an illegal Texas Hold'Em operation with $100 and $500 tables.
Tuesday night, an off-duty state police officer got caught in the middle of
the action. Boxes and boxes of chips, different denominations are now
evidence. And three men are under arrest, including the owner, arrested on
gambling charges. Eyewitness News asked the following questions as the owner
was being taken into custody: Is this a regular gambling place? Is it high
stakes? Cards? "I've been informed not to speak with you," he answered. One
man was arrested on another outstanding warrant. Another man said he was
arrested because he had a gun. "16 people ranging from the ages of 18 to 70,
male and female, and tonight they all had equal opportunity to be arrested,"
said IMPD Sgt. Matt Mount. Boxes loaded with cash, including hundreds, were
also taken into custody. "Last week we had a report from the owner of the
establishment that he's been robbed of $11,000, so obviously it is a type of
activity that's illegal and attracts even more violent crime," said Sgt.
Mount
In the past, operators of these kinds of games have claimed they are legal
games of skill. The government has claimed otherwise. The other 60 people at
the poker game, including the off-duty Indiana State Trooper, were all
issued citations to appear in court on gambling charges.

PROBLEM GAMBLING SELF-TEST

 

1. Have there ever been periods lasting 2 weeks or longer when you spent a
lot of time thinking about your gambling experiences, planning out future
gambling ventures or bets, or thinking about ways of getting money to gamble
with? Yes/No 2. Have there ever been periods when you needed to gamble with
increasing amounts of money or with larger bets than before in order to get
the same feeling of excitement? Yes/No 3. Have you ever felt restless or
irritable when trying to stop, cut down, or control your gambling? Yes/No 4.
Have you tried and not succeeded in stopping, cutting down, or controlling
your gambling three or more times in your life? Yes/No 5. Have you ever
gambled to escape from personal problems, or to relieve uncomfortable
feelings such as guilt, anxiety, helplessness, or depression? Yes/No 6. Has
there ever been a period when, if you lost money gambling one day, you would
often return another day to get even? Yes/No 7. Have you lied to family
members, friends, or others about how much you gamble, and/or about how much
money you lost on gambling, on at least three occasions? Yes/No 8. Have you
ever written a bad check or taken money that didn't belong to you from
family members, friends, or anyone else in order to pay for your gambling?
Yes/No 9. Has your gambling ever caused serious or repeated problems in your
relationships with any of your family members or friends? Or, has your
gambling ever caused you problems at work or at school? Yes/No 10. Have you
ever needed to ask family members, friends, a lending institution, or anyone
else to loan you money or otherwise bail you out of a desperate money
situation that was largely caused by your gambling? Yes/No According to
Keith S. Whyte, the executive director of the National Council on Problem
Gambling, a "Yes" answer to five or more of these questions is indicative of
a pathological condition. A "Yes" answer to one to four is indicative of a
varying degree of a problem.

Senate approves gambling compact

 

The Senate has approved a new state-tribal gambling compact that would last
until 2037 and boost the state's share of the profits from Indian casinos.
The proposal was approved Tuesday on a vote of 27-14. It also has to be
endorsed by the House before Gov. Bill Richardson and the tribes could sign
the new agreements they negotiated. They would replace existing compacts,
which are slated to expire in 2015. Ten of New Mexico's 13 tribes with
casinos currently support the proposed changes. Tribes that didn't sign on
would continue to operate under the existing agreements. Richardson has
urged lawmakers to approve the new compacts before the Legislature finishes
its 60-day session Saturday. Sen. Richard Martinez, D-Espanola, who chaired
the legislative committee that reviewed the proposal, said it would bring
certainty and stability to New Mexico's gambling industry and provide the
state more money. Revenue sharing _ the amount the tribes pay the state _
would increase gradually from the current maximum of 8 percent of slot
machine proceeds to a maximum of 10.75 percent. Over the next 30 years, that
could provide the state about $650 million more than it would have received
under the current compacts _ but only if all 13 tribes sign the new
agreements. Tribes want the extended compact period so they can get more
advantageous financing for their casino, resort and tribal infrastructure
projects. The new agreements also limit off-reservation casinos at race
tracks to six _ there are now five _ and freeze their hours of operation and
number of slot machines at the current levels, 18 hours a day and a maximum
of 750 machines. Opponents complain it doesn't make sense for the state to
lock itself into agreements for the next three decades. While the state, the
tribes or the governor could request new negotiations during that period,
nothing guarantees that would occur. Some lawmakers also object that tribal
gambling in New Mexico has created disparity, leaving the non-gambling
tribes mired in poverty. The new compacts don't address that problem, they
said. "The gaming tribes have become part of the 'haves', but the
'have-nots' still exist," said Sen. Joseph Carraro, R-Albuquerque, who voted
for the proposal. By law, legislators can vote for or against the proposed
compact but not change it. The legislative Committee on Compacts had asked
the governor and the tribes to add a provision to the agreement that would
funnel money into an infrastructure fund for non-gambling tribes, but that
was rejected.

The gambling tribes objected to paying out the extra 1 percent of slot
machine proceeds required by that proposed change.

Opponents of the new compacts also said not enough money is being set aside
to deal with problem gamblers. Martinez said $1.7 million was set aside last
year, and he cited a variety of programs.

Opponents also objected that the state was rushing into new agreements when
the current pacts don't expire until 2015.

HEAVY SENTENCES FOR CHINESE ONLINE GAMBLING ACCUSEDS

 

Reporting the theft of a large sum of money to the police, yet being unable
to explain the source of the money in the first place led to a major online
gambling bust in China, reports the Shanghai Daily this week. A Chinese
court has sentenced six members of an online gambling operation in Shanghai
to heavy punishments this week in what is reported to be the city's largest
online gambling case, with wagers surpassing five billion yuan (US$646
million), and it all started with a report of theft to the police. Gang
leader Ren Bin was handed seven years in prison and a fine of six million
yuan for illegal gambling by the People's Court in Luwan District today.
Five other gang members, Liu Ping, Liu Guoliang, Liu Baolin, Guo Qin and Ni
Liqiang were sentenced to between 12 months to 54 months of imprisonment and
fines. The police had been following the group since May last year but
didn't have sufficient evidence linking them to illegal gambling until they
received a theft report from one of the accused, Liu Baolin at the end of
that month. Boalin reported to the police that someone had broken into his
apartment, which he shared with Ren, and had stolen at least one million
yuan in cash. However, neither Ren nor Boalin could explain the source of
the missing cash and a further five million yuan they had in a safe on the
premises, which triggered further police investigations, revealing that gang
members were collecting funds from online gambling.
Ren had earlier opened an overseas online gambling company and developed
subordinate agencies and accounts for gamblers. Police found 5.25 billion
yuan in wager cash in Ren's account alone. The criminals confessed to
conducting an online gambling operation soon after they were arrested. Ren
told the court that anyone who wants to get rich with gambling will
ultimately lose. "They win less than they pay, and will pay more when they
lose," Ren said.

Confusing positions on varieties of gambling

 

I'm really confused by Gov. Mitch Daniels. On one hand he says he won't
allow slot machines at racetracks because he doesn't want to encourage more
gambling in the state. Then he turns around and wants to privatize the
lottery, which would have to increase gambling to make a profit. Want to bet
I'm not the only one confused?

Local colleges say student gambling not major problem here

 

Gambling on campus has become a social event at fraternities and dormitories
alike - even a "study break" for some - as one recent University of
Pennsylvania graduate put it. Although gambling, particularly online, has
grown rapidly in recent years, local universities say problems related to
student gaming are few. At Temple University's counseling center, "gambling
addiction issues are actually less than 1 percent of the types of issues
that students bring to them over the course of a year," said Ray Betzner,
director of communications. "There's no kind of widespread problem," with
student gambling at the University of Pennsylvania, said Ron Ozio, director
of media relations. "There's no special program for it because there's been
no demand for it." Counseling is provided to students in any kind of
trouble, Ozio said. Other schools including La Salle and Saint Joseph's
provide similar counseling. Despite few reported problems, recent Penn grad
Eian More, of Penn's Annenberg Public Policy Center, said that during his
student days poker nights had become "pretty regular" as a "social
gathering" and a "study break." It extended from the frats into the dorms as
"a way to introduce kids who don't know each other," he said. "I know a lot
of our house was involved in online poker playing," because people wanted to
be "involved in the action," More said. And, like the general population,
March Madness and Super Bowl pools were a given.
After graduating several years ago, most of his fraternity brothers cut back
on gambling because they don't have the time for it now, he said. But one
brother did so well online that he quit his regular job to earn an income
gambling. The counseling center at St. Joe's provides information on its Web
pages about gambling, including this: "Problem/compulsive gamblers are
disproportionately represented among males, fraternity/sorority members,
binge drinkers, alcoholics, drug abusers, 16 to 23 year olds, and those
obsessed with video games."

Thursday, March 15, 2007

UK Gambling Advertising Ban Lifted

 

A ban on TV adverts for gambling is being lifted under new laws. Casinos,
betting shops and online gambling sites will be able to advertise on
television for the first time but the commercials must comply with a code
which aims to ensure they are "socially responsible". This means the adverts
must not imply gambling can be a solution to financial problems but some
campaigners remain "deeply concerned". Salvation Army public affairs unit
spokesman Captain Matt Spencer said: "Adverts are designed to stimulate
demand and, as gambling advertising increases, our fear is that more people
will be drawn into an addiction which can be devastating for individuals,
families and the communities in which they live. "Advertising may also have
the effect of further 'normalising' gambling in our culture, but gambling
should not be considered a normal leisure activity since it can be highly
addictive and damaging." "The effects of increased gambling advertising need
to be closely monitored to assess its impact on gambling trends and any
associated potential rise in problem gambling." Minister for Sport Richard
Caborn welcomed the new advertising codes, saying: "They set out clearly
what is and isn't acceptable advertising practice for all gambling operators
while making sure that the protection of children and vulnerable people is a
central consideration of all advertising campaigns. "But we are not
complacent and will monitor the impact of the new advertising rules."

What are the secrets of getting FREE Gambling Junkets?

 

How about the secret of getting free gambling junkets? Junkets, along with
comps, provide a lot of free services to the crapshooter! For example, you
can get RFB (Room, Food and Beverages) from both junkets and comps. Further,
once you establish yourself as a steady gambler you will be invited back,
and in doing so, the casino will offer you more free rooms, free food and
free beverages in return for your continued gambling! Junkets first started
on the East Coast, as a means to lure seasoned gamblers away from Las Vegas
and into Atlantic City. Now, Las Vegas casinos do the same thing, in order
to lure people away from the East Coast and into their own golden coffers.
Wanna know how craps pros get free gambling junkets? Let's find out! A
junket always involves travel, and usually involves a group. The junket
operator (hired by the casino) will charter an airline to take 80 or so
gamblers to one specific casino. They will all receive full RFB, and have
run of the casino. In return, they all pay the junket operator a certain
amount of money (usually between $5,000 and $10,000) up front. When they get
to the casino they can use this money to gamble with. Sometimes they get
casino credit, and sometimes the operator gives them the full amount back in
non-negotiable, playable chips. Either way, you always pay your junket
expenses in advance of your travel and your gambling sessions. Comps, on the
other hand, are given to you after you gamble. Although airline
reimbursement is possible, it will not happen until after you play and meet
a certain minimum playing criteria, like $100 average bets for four hours a
day. Certain comps (like a buffet) are also available to players who bet as
little as $5 - but junkets are available only to higher rollers. There is a
third way to get some free casino services, which is a combination of the
junket and comps. This is called a turnaround, and is a day trip to the
casino, either by bus or train. Like the junket you need to pay in advance,
but it is only $200 or so, and you will usually receive the same amount of
non-negotiable playable chips in return. They will transport you to your
favorite casino early in the morning, and then will bring you back to your
starting point late at night. You will usually get two free buffets as well.
Turnarounds are very popular with Indian casinos and resorts that cater to
locals. If you're interested in these types of trips, just call your
favorite casino and ask them for information. If your gambling budget is
$5000-$10,000 ask about junkets. If you gamble with $500 to $5000 ask what
kind of comps you can get. And if you gamble with $200 or so, ask if they
have any turnaround trips.

Race for Table Gambling Is On

 

Officials of two Northern Panhandle racetracks are betting local voters will
support the addition of table gambling to their facilities. Ohio County
officials are working with Wheeling Island Racetrack and Gaming Center to
hold a special election that could take place as early as June 20 - the
Mountain State's birthday - while Mountaineer Racetrack & Gaming Resort is
aiming for a vote in Hancock County sometime after June 9. Both facilities
have been bracing for anticipated customer losses that are expected when
61,000 slot machines come online in neighboring Pennsylvania. According to
Robert Marshall, president and general manager at the Wheeling Island
facility, an exact date for the elections cannot be set until Gov. Joe
Manchin signs legislation approved by lawmakers last week that would allow
table games to be offered at the state's four racetracks. The legislation
states table gambling must be approved by voters in the four counties where
the tracks are located before the games can be put in place. "We are just
waiting on the final bill, but preparations for the potential passage of a
local referendum are under way," said Marshall. "We have started the process
and are working to expand our facility to accommodate the table games." Job
creation and benefits to local businesses will dominate the racetracks'
election campaigns, and the tracks will wage their campaigns by word of
mouth and advertising. But the West Virginia Council of Churches will be
involved in the battle, too, arguing that people should vote against the
measures on moral and economic grounds. "Yes, the jobs card will be played
hard," said the Rev. Dennis Sparks, president of the council. "But in the 20
years since gambling came to West Virginia, West Virginia has continued to
decline economically, not keep up with the rest of the country. This is
creating a false economy." And although Marshall said he has in no way ruled
out any predictable challenges, he is adamant that the addition of table
gambling would only benefit the state's economic status. He also said an
additional hotel is in the future for Wheeling Island, which, in turn, would
provide jobs for several Ohio Valley residents. The West Virginia Family
Foundation has said it will sue to block the referendum votes; Sparks said
his organization has not decided whether to join that case. However, the
council will try to rally gambling opponents who may have felt powerless to
stop the legislation in Charleston. Barring a court injunction, track owners
have two choices: They can have the question placed on a 2008 primary or
general election ballot or seek a special election this year at their own
expense. Election costs range from $30,000 to $250,000, according to clerks
in the host counties. In addition to the creation of hundreds of jobs,
Marshall also believes table games would draw more conventioneers and form
partnerships with area businesses. Table game players, for example, might
want to golf at Oglebay Resort and Conference Center. And an accession of
employees could benefit the housing market. Ted Arneault, president of
Mountaineer, said table gambling could add 500 jobs in Chester and
jump-start plans for indoor parking, a shopping mall, a golf course and
housing. Mountaineer, owned by MTR Gaming Group Inc., also is promising a
new synthetic track that would be easier on horses and require less
maintenance. The table gambling bill allocates money for schools and in-home
care for senior citizens, as well as funds for breeders and horsemen. West
Virginia's racetracks are located in Ohio, Hancock, Kanawha and Jefferson
counties. Because Jefferson and Kanawha counties have stronger economies
than those of the Northern Panhandle, table gambling at the Tri-State
Racetrack and Gaming Center in Nitro and at the Charles Town Races & Slots
could face stronger opposition if placed on the local ballot.

Laudatory report misstates conclusions on gambling

 

The Another Voice column that appeared in the Feb. 28 Buffalo News by
Jonathan Taylor, hired by the Seneca Gaming Corp. to produce an economic
report, misleads. Taylor claims that studies commissioned by the National
Gambling Impact Study Commission "concluded that economic benefits greatly
exceed costs." In support of this claim, Taylor cites a study by Adam Rose.
However, Rose says in his executive summary: "This assessment does not
factor in social costs of gambling, which are beyond the scope of this study
. . ." Taylor also cites a study by the National Opinion Research Council, a
commercial group associated with the University of Chicago, and says that
"the study found no discernible change in three measures of bankruptcy,
seven measures of crime or in infant mortality" and that "casino proximity
correlated with economic health." In fact, the council found, in its own
words, "The availability of a casino within 50 miles (versus 50 to 250
miles) is associated with about double the prevalence of problem and
pathological gamblers" and that "pathological and problem gamblers are more
likely than other gamblers or nongamblers to have been on welfare, declared
bankruptcy, and to have been arrested or incarcerated." Indeed, the
commission itself was unwilling to conclude that the benefits of gambling
exceeded its costs. Instead, it concluded: "We have recommended a pause in
the expansion of gambling in order to allow time for an assessment of the
costs and benefits . . ." Since then, research has been completed in various
locations, including other countries. A summary of this work in "Gambling In
America: Costs and Benefits" (by one of the authors of this piece, Earl L.
Grinols, Cambridge University Press, 2004) concludes that the reverse is
true: Social costs typically exceed benefits, 3-to-1. Finally, Taylor
claimed that polls have "consistently" shown a majority of Erie County
residents favor a downtown casino. This, too, is untrue. The results of the
two media-sponsored polls are contradictory. The poll commissioned by the
Seneca Gaming Corp. shows a majority in favor, but that was a transparent
"push-poll." The only time the residents have had a good opportunity to
express themselves - at October's Common Council hearing on the proposed
sale of Fulton Street - 53 speakers spoke against the casino and the sale,
and only five in favor. If nothing else, that is an indication of intensity
of feeling on the subject. Earl L. Grinols is distinguished professor of
economics at Baylor University and author of "Gambling In America: Costs and
Benefits." Joel S. Rose is co-chairman of Citizens Against Casino Gambling
in Erie County.

Patrick keeps options open on gambling

 

In another sign that he is seriously considering casino gambling as a ready
source of cash for state government, Gov. Deval Patrick met separately
yesterday with groups of state legislators on both sides of the issue.
''He's really trying to get a handle on it and make some decisions and go
forward,'' Sen. Joan M. Menard, D-Fall River, said after gambling proponents
met with Patrick for an hour in his Statehouse office. ''I think he's
absolutely neutral.'' Menard has filed legislation that would allow a casino
in Bristol County and another casino in the western part of the state. The
pro-casino group that met with Patrick also included Kathi-Anne Reinstein,
D-Revere, Sen. Michael Morrissey, D-Quincy, and other legislators. Later,
Patrick met with gaming opponents, including Rep. Daniel Bosley, D-North
Adams, Rep. Michael Rodrigues, D-Westport, and other lawmakers. Patrick told
reporters that the meetings were informative, but that a decision was not
imminent. He laughed when asked whether he was closer to a decision after
meeting with the two groups of lawmakers. ''I'm glad we didn't have a fight
in there between the pro-gaming and the anti-gaming folks,'' he said.
''''¦Yes, I'm closer, but am I close? No, I'm not close yet.'' Daniel
O'Connell, Patrick's secretary of Housing and Economic Development, is
leading an administration task force that is studying the gaming issue.
O'Connell participated in yesterday's meetings.
As for the moral objections, Menard argued that the state already has
legalized gambling in the form of the state Lottery, which provides more
than $900 million a year in aid to cities and towns. ''My answer to that is
we are doing it on a large scale already,'' Menard said. Lawmakers said some
of the topics in the meeting included societal impacts of gambling, allowing
slot machines at the state's four race tracks, the effect on the state
Lottery, and the recent federal recognition of the Mashpee Wampanoag.
Massachusetts is trying to close a $1.3 billion shortfall in revenue to
maintain state services next fiscal year, which begins July 1. Bosley argued
to Patrick that gambling would not return the money the state is seeking,
given its negative effects on society and other forms of economic
development.
Bosley pointed to state budget problems over the years in Connecticut and
New Jersey, which allow casino gambling. ''Gambling has not been a panacea
in those states,'' Bosley said after the meeting. ''It will not be a panacea
here.'' Bosley and Menard both said Patrick discussed the emergence of the
state's second federally recognized tribe. The Mashpee Wampanoag, like the
Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head (Aquinnah) on Martha's Vineyard, will be
entitled under federal Indian gaming law to offer casinos or slot parlors if
they are allowed under state law. The Mashpee tribe is seeking a location
for an off-Cape casino. First, the tribe must find land in Southeastern
Massachusetts to be held in trust, and negotiate a gaming compact with state
government. Scott Ferson, a spokesman for the Mashpee Wampanoag, said in an
interview that the tribe continues to search for appropriate land to be held
in federal trust, not just for a casino, but for such needs as housing,
education and health care. The town of Middleboro recently pitched several
casino locations to the tribe.

What are the secrets of getting FREE Gambling Junkets?

 

How about the secret of getting free gambling junkets? Junkets, along with
comps, provide a lot of free services to the crapshooter! For example, you
can get RFB (Room, Food and Beverages) from both junkets and comps. Further,
once you establish yourself as a steady gambler you will be invited back,
and in doing so, the casino will offer you more free rooms, free food and
free beverages in return for your continued gambling! Junkets first started
on the East Coast, as a means to lure seasoned gamblers away from Las Vegas
and into Atlantic City. Now, Las Vegas casinos do the same thing, in order
to lure people away from the East Coast and into their own golden coffers.
Wanna know how craps pros get free gambling junkets? Let's find out! A
junket always involves travel, and usually involves a group. The junket
operator (hired by the casino) will charter an airline to take 80 or so
gamblers to one specific casino. They will all receive full RFB, and have
run of the casino. In return, they all pay the junket operator a certain
amount of money (usually between $5,000 and $10,000) up front. When they get
to the casino they can use this money to gamble with. Sometimes they get
casino credit, and sometimes the operator gives them the full amount back in
non-negotiable, playable chips. Either way, you always pay your junket
expenses in advance of your travel and your gambling sessions. Comps, on the
other hand, are given to you after you gamble. Although airline
reimbursement is possible, it will not happen until after you play and meet
a certain minimum playing criteria, like $100 average bets for four hours a
day. Certain comps (like a buffet) are also available to players who bet as
little as $5 - but junkets are available only to higher rollers. There is a
third way to get some free casino services, which is a combination of the
junket and comps. This is called a turnaround, and is a day trip to the
casino, either by bus or train. Like the junket you need to pay in advance,
but it is only $200 or so, and you will usually receive the same amount of
non-negotiable playable chips in return. They will transport you to your
favorite casino early in the morning, and then will bring you back to your
starting point late at night. You will usually get two free buffets as well.
Turnarounds are very popular with Indian casinos and resorts that cater to
locals. If you're interested in these types of trips, just call your
favorite casino and ask them for information. If your gambling budget is
$5000-$10,000 ask about junkets. If you gamble with $500 to $5000 ask what
kind of comps you can get. And if you gamble with $200 or so, ask if they
have any turnaround trips.

Race for Table Gambling Is On

 

Officials of two Northern Panhandle racetracks are betting local voters will
support the addition of table gambling to their facilities. Ohio County
officials are working with Wheeling Island Racetrack and Gaming Center to
hold a special election that could take place as early as June 20 - the
Mountain State's birthday - while Mountaineer Racetrack & Gaming Resort is
aiming for a vote in Hancock County sometime after June 9. Both facilities
have been bracing for anticipated customer losses that are expected when
61,000 slot machines come online in neighboring Pennsylvania. According to
Robert Marshall, president and general manager at the Wheeling Island
facility, an exact date for the elections cannot be set until Gov. Joe
Manchin signs legislation approved by lawmakers last week that would allow
table games to be offered at the state's four racetracks. The legislation
states table gambling must be approved by voters in the four counties where
the tracks are located before the games can be put in place. "We are just
waiting on the final bill, but preparations for the potential passage of a
local referendum are under way," said Marshall. "We have started the process
and are working to expand our facility to accommodate the table games." Job
creation and benefits to local businesses will dominate the racetracks'
election campaigns, and the tracks will wage their campaigns by word of
mouth and advertising. But the West Virginia Council of Churches will be
involved in the battle, too, arguing that people should vote against the
measures on moral and economic grounds. "Yes, the jobs card will be played
hard," said the Rev. Dennis Sparks, president of the council. "But in the 20
years since gambling came to West Virginia, West Virginia has continued to
decline economically, not keep up with the rest of the country. This is
creating a false economy." And although Marshall said he has in no way ruled
out any predictable challenges, he is adamant that the addition of table
gambling would only benefit the state's economic status. He also said an
additional hotel is in the future for Wheeling Island, which, in turn, would
provide jobs for several Ohio Valley residents. The West Virginia Family
Foundation has said it will sue to block the referendum votes; Sparks said
his organization has not decided whether to join that case. However, the
council will try to rally gambling opponents who may have felt powerless to
stop the legislation in Charleston. Barring a court injunction, track owners
have two choices: They can have the question placed on a 2008 primary or
general election ballot or seek a special election this year at their own
expense. Election costs range from $30,000 to $250,000, according to clerks
in the host counties. In addition to the creation of hundreds of jobs,
Marshall also believes table games would draw more conventioneers and form
partnerships with area businesses. Table game players, for example, might
want to golf at Oglebay Resort and Conference Center. And an accession of
employees could benefit the housing market. Ted Arneault, president of
Mountaineer, said table gambling could add 500 jobs in Chester and
jump-start plans for indoor parking, a shopping mall, a golf course and
housing. Mountaineer, owned by MTR Gaming Group Inc., also is promising a
new synthetic track that would be easier on horses and require less
maintenance. The table gambling bill allocates money for schools and in-home
care for senior citizens, as well as funds for breeders and horsemen. West
Virginia's racetracks are located in Ohio, Hancock, Kanawha and Jefferson
counties. Because Jefferson and Kanawha counties have stronger economies
than those of the Northern Panhandle, table gambling at the Tri-State
Racetrack and Gaming Center in Nitro and at the Charles Town Races & Slots
could face stronger opposition if placed on the local ballot.

Race for Table Gambling Is On

 

Officials of two Northern Panhandle racetracks are betting local voters will
support the addition of table gambling to their facilities. Ohio County
officials are working with Wheeling Island Racetrack and Gaming Center to
hold a special election that could take place as early as June 20 - the
Mountain State's birthday - while Mountaineer Racetrack & Gaming Resort is
aiming for a vote in Hancock County sometime after June 9. Both facilities
have been bracing for anticipated customer losses that are expected when
61,000 slot machines come online in neighboring Pennsylvania. According to
Robert Marshall, president and general manager at the Wheeling Island
facility, an exact date for the elections cannot be set until Gov. Joe
Manchin signs legislation approved by lawmakers last week that would allow
table games to be offered at the state's four racetracks. The legislation
states table gambling must be approved by voters in the four counties where
the tracks are located before the games can be put in place. "We are just
waiting on the final bill, but preparations for the potential passage of a
local referendum are under way," said Marshall. "We have started the process
and are working to expand our facility to accommodate the table games." Job
creation and benefits to local businesses will dominate the racetracks'
election campaigns, and the tracks will wage their campaigns by word of
mouth and advertising. But the West Virginia Council of Churches will be
involved in the battle, too, arguing that people should vote against the
measures on moral and economic grounds. "Yes, the jobs card will be played
hard," said the Rev. Dennis Sparks, president of the council. "But in the 20
years since gambling came to West Virginia, West Virginia has continued to
decline economically, not keep up with the rest of the country. This is
creating a false economy." And although Marshall said he has in no way ruled
out any predictable challenges, he is adamant that the addition of table
gambling would only benefit the state's economic status. He also said an
additional hotel is in the future for Wheeling Island, which, in turn, would
provide jobs for several Ohio Valley residents. The West Virginia Family
Foundation has said it will sue to block the referendum votes; Sparks said
his organization has not decided whether to join that case. However, the
council will try to rally gambling opponents who may have felt powerless to
stop the legislation in Charleston. Barring a court injunction, track owners
have two choices: They can have the question placed on a 2008 primary or
general election ballot or seek a special election this year at their own
expense. Election costs range from $30,000 to $250,000, according to clerks
in the host counties. In addition to the creation of hundreds of jobs,
Marshall also believes table games would draw more conventioneers and form
partnerships with area businesses. Table game players, for example, might
want to golf at Oglebay Resort and Conference Center. And an accession of
employees could benefit the housing market. Ted Arneault, president of
Mountaineer, said table gambling could add 500 jobs in Chester and
jump-start plans for indoor parking, a shopping mall, a golf course and
housing. Mountaineer, owned by MTR Gaming Group Inc., also is promising a
new synthetic track that would be easier on horses and require less
maintenance. The table gambling bill allocates money for schools and in-home
care for senior citizens, as well as funds for breeders and horsemen. West
Virginia's racetracks are located in Ohio, Hancock, Kanawha and Jefferson
counties. Because Jefferson and Kanawha counties have stronger economies
than those of the Northern Panhandle, table gambling at the Tri-State
Racetrack and Gaming Center in Nitro and at the Charles Town Races & Slots
could face stronger opposition if placed on the local ballot.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Gambling coalition wants to rework its bill

 

Even before its bill is out of committee, a coalition of gambling supporters
is pushing to change the legislation to focus more on casinos than slot
machines at pari-mutuel racetracks. Dubbed the "industry bill," it was
considered Monday by the House Federal and State Affairs Committee in a room
packed with spectators, many wearing yellow stickers of support. The
committee will consider two other bills this week focusing on casinos.
Chairman Arlen Siegfreid, R-Olathe, said the committee will vote next week,
but added, "I have no idea at this point which will come out." The Kansas
Wins! coalition wants to change its bill, which calls for casinos in Kansas
City, Kan., and southeast Kansas, as well as slots at horse and dog tracks
in Crawford, Sedgwick and Wyandotte counties, and in Dodge City if a track
is built and voters approve having slots there. Coalition spokesman Doug
Lawrence said the group now wants to have a casino rather than slots in
Dodge City and add Sumner and Sedgwick counties as areas where there could
be a casino. Sumner County voters in 2005 authorized a casino; Sedgwick
County voters would have until the end of the year to decide. Whatever
version emerges from the committee, supporters of the industry bill will try
to amend its provisions to whatever is being debated. "We're going to see to
it that the House has an opportunity to vote on the proposals we have on the
table," Lawrence said. He said by the fifth year, the industry bill would
generate some $800 million. The state would get about $200 million as its
share to fix buildings on college campuses, provide property tax relief,
bolster the state pension fund while giving a 3 percent cost-of-living
increase to retirees and providing money for general government programs.
Among those attending the committee hearing was Mark Goodrum, a Wellington
real estate developer who said he can drive from his hometown to an Oklahoma
casino in about a half hour. "We're looking at border wars. We're
outsourcing our money," he said. "The revenue is out there. There's no need
to give it to other states." In addition to the lottery and wagering on
horse and dog races, there are four American Indian casinos in northeast
Kansas. There also are gambling boats in Kansas City, Mo., and some two
dozen Indian casinos in Oklahoma less than an hour's drive from the state
line. Legislators routinely have rejected efforts to expand gambling, but
Lawrence said this year could be different. "This is the best year we've
had. It's finally sunk in to legislators that we have a billion dollar
gaming market sitting on our borders," he said.

House Majority Leader Ray Merrick gave even odds for a gambling bill
clearing his chamber. He said he is bothered by parts of the legislation.

"To me slots at the tracks are a nonstarter. I'm not here to bail them out,"
said Merrick, R-Stilwell. "I think all the money should go to the general
fund and let everyone get in line for the money."

The House holds the key this year. In past years, gambling bills started in
the Senate and died there, often after being expanded to the point that some
supporters backed off.

N.M. lawmakers to revise gambling agreements

 

"With six days to go in this year's legislative session, lawmakers have
already answered what amounted to a $5.7-billion question. ".The Senate
listened to four hours of testimony Sunday on revising the tribal-state
agreements governing gambling. "The new compacts were negotiated by tribes
and representatives of the Governor's Office. They have the backing of 10 of
the 13 tribes that operate casinos. "Among the key changes, they would:
"Remain in effect until 2037. Current compacts, which were approved in 2001,
will expire in 2015. "Increase the payments from tribes to the state. The
state is projected to get an additional $650 million by 2037. That estimate
is based on all 13 tribes agreeing to the new compact. "Limit how many
casinos each tribe can operate and cap the number of off-reservation
racetracks.

NBI v. Internet gambling

 

GOING after alleged operators of Internet casinos seemed easy enough for the
National Bureau of Investigation (NBI). But in the real world, where law
enforcement and investigative tasks ought to be conducted "by the book,"
such is one hard thing to do. Here's some background on the NBI's raid and
filing of illegal gambling case against an alleged Internet gambling
operator in Clark Field: Pinoy Votes: Sun.Star Election 2007 Coverage On
September 22 last year, the NBI Special Action Unit received a letter from
the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. requesting for an investigation, a
suspected Internet gambling operation in Clark Field. The request prompted
the NBI to conduct surveillance operations on operators of the alleged
Internet casino. On October 17 last year, NBI agents were able to secure a
search warrant from Regional Trial Court Branch 57 Presiding Judge Omar
Viola and raided the premises of British Grand Vision International Company,
Inc. and Transglobal Pacific Airways, Inc., at Hangar 7260 at the Civil
Aviation Complex. Chinese and Filipino employees and dealers were allegedly
found manning casino tables and "in the act of dealing" playing cards with
video cameras and computer monitors in front of them. The NBI, through
lawyer and senior agent Renato Marcuap, filed charges of illegal gambling
(violation of Presidential Decree 1602) against several Taiwanese officials
and 33 Filipino online dealers of the two companies. On November 17 last
year, Second Assistant City Prosecutor Oliver Garcia dismissed the case "for
lack of merit." He said a law that specifically prohibits gambling over the
Internet is necessary in order to indict or prosecute alleged Internet-based
gambling operators, since it is not covered by PD 1602. He stressed that the
absence of real players in the alleged Internet gambling casino -- which
means there were no dealer and bettor to constitute an "illegal gambling
activity," as stated by PD 1602 -- was enough reason to dismiss the case. He
said "one could not charge the dealer alone without indicting the supposed
bettor." The NBI has filed a Petition for Review on the case, which is
pending at the Department of Justice. The investigation agency maintains
that although there were "no live players," there were actual online players
who bet money on games that depend wholly or chiefly upon chance or
hazard -- which is outlawed by PD 1602 and Article 195 of the Revised Penal
Code. On November 27 last year, the respondents, through lawyers Jackson
Yabut and Sheryl Santos, filed a Motion to Quash or invalidate the search
warrant used by the NBI in raiding the alleged Internet casino at the Civil
Aviation Complex.

On December 28 last year, Judge Viola granted the respondents' motion and
ordered the immediate release of the casino tables, playing cards, computer
sets, webcams, network and video servers, and other equipment seized by the
NBI during the raid.

On January 15, the NBI filed a motion for reconsideration, maintaining that
the search warrant was valid.

On February 20, Judge Viola ordered the respondents to submit within 10 days
"without extension" their comment to the NBI's motion for reconsideration.
The court has yet to decide on the NBI's motion.

Law enforcement agencies, anti-gambling crusaders, and operators of online
gambling sites all over the world have been waiting with anticipation the
final outcome of the NBI's case against the British Grand Vision
International Company, Inc. and Transglobal Pacific Airways, which is
pending before the Department of Justice.

Legal Poker Under Prohibition 2.0

 

Bill Frist, then Majority Leader of the U.S. Senate and now ex-would-be
presidential candidate, designed the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement
Act ("Prohibition 2.0") to cover Internet poker. He defined "bet or wager"
as including risking something of value on the outcome of a contest, sports
event "or a game subject to chance." Is there any game, even chess, that is
not "subject to chance?" But Frist, whose arrogance was matched only by his
incompetence, actually created the greatest explosion of creativity in the
poker industry that I have ever seen. Everyone wants to be the next
PartyPoker.com, to figure out a way to spread legal poker games online. The
cleanest way to run a traditional Internet poker site that does not violate
any federal or state law is to be licensed by a state and limit players to
people who are physically present in that state. Even in this situation, it
is possible the federal Department of Justice might say there is a violation
of the Wire Act, since a phone line might pass temporarily into another
state. But the DOJ would lose this argument for many reasons. The sole
purpose the Wire Act was enacted in 1961 was to help the states enforce
their public policy, which, at the time, was prohibition. What could
possibly be the justification for preventing a state, like Nevada, from
allowing its residents to bet with its own state-licensed poker sites? The
main obstacle to every state licensing, regulating, and of course, taxing,
their own Internet poker sites is politics. Utah is not the only place
where legislators would hesitate to authorize even the most limited form of
online gaming. In Nevada, the problem is the opposite: there are already so
many (landbased) licensed poker rooms that it is difficult to work out the
details for sharing the new online revenue, and there is fear of diverting
players away from the existing gaming floors. In general, the answer is
"skins." Players will log on to Caesars Palace's future online poker room
and choose which game they want to play, say $5 - $10 Hold'em. They then
are placed at a table that has a Caesars Palace logo on it. They probably
will not know, or care, that other players may see different logos because
they signed up through different casino websites. Computers ensure that
each casino gets its correct share of the table's revenue. But there are at
least three other ways to have legal online poker. All gambling requires
prize, consideration and chance. Eliminate any one, and it is not gambling.
A site could charge money, even for games of chance, so long as it does not
give valuable prizes. Bragging rights don't count. So, someone could start
a contest for the world's greatest poker player, if all they win is a
trophy, no cash.

Some poker sites allow players to play for free. For example, at BetZip.com
(one of my clients), anyone from more than 20 states can enter by merely
mailing in a hand-written card. This is not gambling, even though players
can win up to $10,000 cash. Since there is no consideration, it does not
violate federal law or the laws of most states.

Others are looking at showing that poker is a game of skill. I am writing a
Legal Opinion for one of the biggest operators that at least tournament
poker is predominantly skill, and therefore legal under federal law and the
laws of most states.

Online Gambling CEO's Fail To Make This Years Forbes List

 

Since the passing of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA),
online casino CEO's Calvin Ayre, founder of Bodog, and PartyGaming founders
Russell DeLeon and Ruth Parasol, did not make this years billionaire list
for Forbes Magazine. Calvin Ayre, the founder of online casino favorite,
Bodog.com, was dropped off the list after being on the cover of Forbes
Magazine for the same list last year. Ayre is originally from Canada, and
took the cover of Forbes when his net worth hit $1 billion. After the
passing of the UIGEA, American players are no longer placing bets, which
have caused stocks to fall. PartyGaming founders Russell DeLeon and Ruth
Parasol were placed in the middle of the billionaire list for 2006, worth
$1.8 billion each, but the start of 2007 has been shaky after being forced
to stop taking bets from Americans. Although some of online gambling's
leading CEO's have fallen short for this year's list, one gambling
entrepreneur kept his spot. Anurag Dikshit from India finished 618th with a
net worth of $1.6 billion.

Chinese pursue virtual sanity in online gambling

 

Although the Chinese government recently announced a purifying moratorium on
internet cafes - the same week the Communist Youth League penned a contract
with leading gaming developer Playtech to provide software for large scale
internet-based gambling tournaments - the cadres in Beijing know that
internet cafes are only an embodiment of something much larger and more
threatening, according to the Financial Times. The government took its
assault on the internet gaming world a step further this week with an
announcement that it perceives the explosion in virtual currencies used in a
variety of online gaming forums - everything from Second Life to World of
Warfare to virtual poker rooms - as a serious threat to its national
security. "The People's Bank of China will strengthen management of the
virtual currencies used in online games and will stay on the lookout for any
assault by such virtual currencies on the real economic and financial
order," the government statement read. Such currencies have been used in the
United States to circumvent the tentacles of the Unlawful Internet Gambling
Enforcement Act (UIGEA), which prohibit American financial institutions from
processing transactions for internet gambling companies. The Chinese are
particularly concerned with the wildly popular "QQ Coins", issued by Hong
Kong messaging and game provider Tencent, which are used by two thirds of
Chinese internet users and which can now be traded or accepted as currency
by third party companies. Beijing clearly understands that any kind of
financial instrument outside of its direct control can impact the wider
economy, and that just because something is virtual doesn't mean it can't
have economic value to real people. The Chinese invented paper money, and
paper money itself is a kind of virtual currency, symbolic of the economic
clout of its issuer. Aside from the fact that it isn't immediately clear
what differentiates, say, Linden Dollars from easily convertible airline
miles, and why one should be prohibited and not the other, the practical
issues of prohibition could well be more trouble than they are worth.
Unfortunately for the Chinese (and the Treasury Department), human beings
are capable of investing anything with value, be it shells, polished stones,
internet bandwidth, or paper. Previous crackdowns in 2002 and 2004 haven't
seemed to do much. As their slippery fingered brethren at the American
Department of Justice could tell them, it's a lot easier to say you're going
to slay the internet dragon than to do so.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Washington State Bets On Gambling

 

State gambling regulators have opened the door to more slot machines,
24-hour casinos, high-stakes games and more. Although the deal seems certain
to go through, Republicans in the Washington Legislature are voicing
concerns about the largest expansion of gambling in the state's history. By
a 5-3 vote, the Washington Gambling Commission approved a series of new
compacts with 27 tribes that will allow those tribes to draw more gamblers,
and also to draw a lot more of their money. But the pacts also place a limit
on the number of casinos and require tribes to help finance programs aimed
at problem gambling and smoking-cessation programs. The big expansion must
still be signed by Governor Christine Gregoire, but her approval is
expected. After her approval, the tribes will send them to the U.S. Interior
Department for approval. The entire process is expected to take about five
months.

Gambling in Oklahoma having effect on Kansas debate

 

Pressure in the Statehouse to expand gambling in Kansas may not come this
year from inside the Sunflower State. Thank Oklahoma for that. In recent
years, the debate among legislators has focused on the number of casinos in
Kansas City, Mo., the four American Indian casinos in northeast Kansas and
the flights leaving for Las Vegas and Atlantic City. Supporters say Kansans
have the gambling bug but are dropping their disposable money in slots that
don't benefit the state. Opponents say that's fine. They contend Kansas
doesn't need the casino headache and the state is still puritanical enough
that many consider gambling a sin.
But in recent years, Oklahoma has added a new wrinkle. There are at least
two dozen casinos or bingo parlors within 60 miles of the Kansas border,
mainly in northeast Oklahoma. Advertisements in Kansas newspapers offer
residents low-cost day trips to the Sooner State to gamble. For example,
each Monday a Crossroads Travel tour bus from Joplin, Mo., pulls into
Meadowbrook Mall in Pittsburg. For $15, 55 senior citizens load up for the
hour-long ride to the Cherokee Resort Casino off Interstate 44 in Tulsa.
Seniors are given vouchers from the casino. "It doesn't cost them anything
to go," said Jim Willard, owner of the travel line.
Though he said it might cost him a little business, Willard, who is also a
property owner in Kansas, says the state should expand its gambling
opportunities. "I think we ought to, instead of money going across the
border," he said. "It's what's best for the state, and that's revenue for
the state." A House committee began a series of hearings last week to
consider gambling legislation. It largely follows previous proposals,
putting slot machines at dog and horse tracks, with provisions for allowing
a limited number of casinos elsewhere. Sen. Phil Journey, R-Haysville, an
opponent of expanded gambling, said the proliferation of casinos in Oklahoma
shouldn't build support in Kansas. He said bringing casinos to Kansas will
increase problems associated with them, such as gambling addiction. He also
dismissed the argument that Kansas should have casinos because they're
prevalent elsewhere. "Everybody's speeding, so we might as well, too?" he
said. "Did your mother tell you that just because everybody is jumping off a
cliff, you should, too?" Supporters say the window of opportunity for
casinos in Kansas is quickly closing.
Senate Minority Leader Anthony Hensley noted that developers are interested
in building a casino in Cherokee County, on 700 acres close to both Missouri
and Oklahoma. "And then not too far down the road, maybe 45 miles, is
Arkansas," said Hensley, D-Topeka. "We could have a casino located there and
attract a lot of different people, I would think, from those different
states." He said it's important to pass a bill this year because "pretty
soon, we're going to run out of options in terms of our competitiveness
because of the proliferation of casinos in Oklahoma." That proliferation in
Oklahoma has caused some lawmakers who've traditionally opposed expanded
gambling to rethink their positions. Among them are Senate President Steve
Morris, R-Hugoton, and House Minority Leader Dennis McKinney, D-Greensburg.

McKinney said he still doesn't want casinos in his area, but he's willing to
support legislation if it's limited to "areas that have competition right
across the state line."

"I've never been a gambling supporter, but what these people are saying is,
'Look, it's in my community. It just happens to be across the state. Just
give us a chance to keep this money in our community, because we have all
down sides and none of the up side.' That's certainly the nature of the
debate, even for people like me."

Others aren't so easily swayed.

House Speaker Melvin Neufeld, R-Ingalls, hasn't rethought his opposition but
acknowledged that Oklahoma's casinos are influencing the debate.

"Clearly, that's probably the main driving force, the expansion of gambling
in Oklahoma," he said.

Last year, Senate leaders thought they had enough support to finally pass a
gambling bill, only to see the votes dry up at the last moment. They vowed
to wait for the bill to get traction in the House before showing their cards
in this year's debate.

Rep. Tom Sawyer, D-Wichita, said legislators seem more aware of how much
gambling is around Kansas.

"The realization is gambling is here. More Kansans are gambling than ever
before," Sawyer said. "Maybe it's time for us to try to keep some of that
money in Kansas."

Rep. Doug Gatewood, D-Cherokee, said some of his constituents need only a
five- or seven-minute drive to get to a casino in Oklahoma.

Offshore sites bet on U.S. business

 

Thinking of going online and wagering on a few games in the upcoming NCAA
basketball tournament? Uncle Sam doesn't want you to, but he's having
trouble stopping anyone. The government's latest effort to get Americans to
stop gambling via the Internet has been largely ineffective, according to
the online gambling industry. In autumn, Congress passed -- and President
Bush signed into law -- the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act. U.S.
lawmakers can't crack down on the online betting sites because most operate
from foreign countries, so they instead moved to cut off the flow of money.
The law makes it illegal for American financial institutions, such as banks
and credit card companies, to transfer funds between U.S. citizens and
online gambling sites that offer sports wagering, poker or casino games. If
online gamblers can't get money to the online sites to gamble with -- and
more importantly, can't collect their winnings -- they'll stop gambling,
lawmakers figured. They figured wrong. "Some people have stopped betting on
sports online because of (the law), but savvy bettors know how to get around
the law," said Russ Hawkins, an expert on the online sports betting
industry. Hawkins runs MajorWager, a Web site that doesn't offer sports
betting but presents news and information about the industry, as well as
advertising for online sportsbooks. As he is in regular contact with more
than 40 Internet sportsbook operators around the world who buy advertising
on his site, Hawkins knows what's going on in the online sports betting
industry. "The number of people betting online on (the) Super Bowl was down
about 35 percent from a year ago," Hawkins said. "I expect to see the same
drop-off for the NCAA basketball tournament," he said. "But within a year, I
expect online sports betting levels to be back to normal." Online sports
bettors from the United States who used to use credit cards, bank wires or
Western Union cash transfers to fund online sports wagering accounts could
no longer do so after passage of the Internet gambling law, Hawkins said, so
most bettors simply adjusted and started using foreign payment methods
instead. Internet money-transfer services -- known as e-wallets -- based
outside the United States were more than happy to pick up the slack left
behind by U.S. financial institutions controlled by the new law, he said.
"Eventually, Americans will not use American currency to make wagers
online," Hawkins said. "That's ultimately how to beat the government
crackdown. "They'll use pounds or euros or Canadian dollars, and then the
U.S. financial system won't be involved at all. How this will all be done
exactly, I'm not sure, but something will be set up. Online gambling is not
going away." Among the foreign e-wallets used by American online gamblers
are NuCharge, Make a Deposit and EcoCard. Online sportsbooks are encouraging
American bettors to use these and similar methods to fund online gambling.
DimeLine Sports, an Internet sportsbook based in Curacao, last month sent an
e-mail message to its U.S. customers telling them how to get around the new
law and bet online on the upcoming NCAA basketball tournament.

"Check out our new deposit and payout methods for USA clients," a copy of
the e-mail obtained by The Chronicle declares.

The e-mail goes on to tell American clients how to "fund your cashier
account using Make a Deposit." It also notes that "EcoCard is a fast and
easy way to fund your account."

Los Angeles sportscaster, gambling expert and acknowledged online sports
bettor Fred Wallin hosts a national radio show, "Sports Biz," on the
Business TalkRadio Network that frequently delves into the world of online
sports betting.

"The federal government's ridiculous anti-online gambling legislation hasn't
ended online sports betting, but it certainly has put a crimp into it for
thousands of sports fans in this nation that prides itself on individual
liberties for all," Wallin said.

"This prohibition will eventually fail and be overturned, as right-thinking
people will come to their senses," he said.

According to U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., a supporter of the
Internet gambling law, "While the advent of the Internet has clearly been
beneficial to American society, the same cannot be said for Internet-based
gambling activity. Internet gambling has become too easily accessible to
minors, subject to fraud and criminal misuse, and too easily used to evade
state gambling laws."

The law's passage was the second major offensive by the federal government
against online gambling.

In 1998, Attorney General Janet Reno issued arrest warrants for 21 people
the Justice Department said were involved in Internet gambling operations
around the world.

Three of the 21 -- Jay Cohen, Steve Schillinger and Haden Ware -- were San
Franciscans operating an online sports betting operation from Antigua.

British Schools Offer Gambling Classes

 

At least two private schools in Britain have responded to the increasing
problem of student gambling by offering courses about the risky pursuit.
With many British students become increasingly active in the world of online
gambling, both the Harlow School and King's College School have responded by
teaching students of the dangers of gambling, the Sunday Telegraph said.
King's College School even went so far as to bring in a recovered compulsive
gambler to talk about his own woes to the middle school children. A recent
study in Britain found that of the 8,000 children surveyed, a quarter said
they had gambled in the last week. Barnaby Lenon, the headmaster at the
Harlow School, said getting parents involved was integral in helping
children ignore the lure of online gambling. "These sites are very, very
addictive. At boarding schools it is slightly easier to manage because we
can monitor its use," he told the paper. "It is harder when pupils are using
the Internet at home and parents are not really aware of what their children
are doing."

Five nabbed for gambling

 

Five town residents are now in jail after their arrest Saturday for
violation of Republic Act 9287, or illegal gambling, in Brgy. 2 poblacion,
E.B. Magalona, Negros Occidental. Nabbed were John Renato Gonzales, 19;
Jesus Gonzales, 49; Antonio Gonzales, 56; Renato Maja,68; and Maruy Grace
Puray, 26, all of the barangay. Senior Inspector Santiago Rapiz, E.B.
Magalona police chief, yesterday said the arrest of the five suspects
yielded P1,232 in cash believed to be gambling bets, two sets of playing
cards, a table and chairs.

Gambling Raids Bust Four Austin Businesses

 

Austin Police mounted a series of raids against illegal gambling operations.
Police say officers busted four game rooms with illegal 8-liner machines.
8-liners are video game machines, similar to a slot machine. Officers
confiscated nearly 150 machines during Friday night's bust. Since June of
last year, area law enforcement officers have seized an estimated 2-thousand
machines as part of an effort to stop illegal gambling in Central Texas.
Police say the illegal businesses attract a lot of crime. "We have targeted
these places because they've been hot spots for robbers to go and rob and
get some quick money," said Austin Police Commander Duane McNeill.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Bill would let voters decide gambling

 

Texas voters would get to decide whether to open Speaking Rock Casino and 11
other gaming destinations state wide and dedicate some of the gambling
revenue to financial aid for college students under a bill filed Thursday.
"Texans are already voting with their feet and going out of state" to
gamble, said state Sen. Rodney Ellis, D-Houston. "It's time for Texas to
reap the economic benefits and use that revenue to help Texas students go to
college." If two-thirds of the state's 181 legislators and a majority of
Texas voters approve the measure, a newly created Texas Gaming Commission
would be able to grant operating licenses to 12 casino projects. Three of
those casinos would be on tribal land in Texas, including the Tigua's
Speaking Rock Casino in El Paso. "We're all in favor of anything that's
going to keep the revenue in Texas, and I'm glad they're including us in the
bill," said Tigua tribal Gov. Art Senclair. State Sen. John Carona,
R-Dallas, has long opposed gambling, but he joined Ellis in filing the
casino

GAMBLING CONVICTION OVERTURNED

 

MSNBC is reporting that a U.S. federal appeals court has overturned the
conviction of the proprietor of a North Dakota-based account wagering
operation who was jailed on illegal gambling charges. Susan Bala, who
founded Racing Services in 1990, had served 18 months of a 27-month sentence
after initially being convicted at a jury trial in 2005 of 12 felony counts
of money-laundering and operating an illegal gambling business. The United
States Court of Appeals for the Eighth District ruled on Tuesday that the
government had "insufficient" evidence to convict Bala. The three-judge
appeals court also overturned the lower court's order for Bala to forfeit
$99 million in illegal gambling proceeds.

Treasurer accused of gambling church money

 

A church treasurer has been accused of stealing thousands of dollars after
officials learned he had lost more than $58,000 at gambling boats since
2002. George Lowman Jr., 68, of Valparaiso, was charged with a felony count
of theft, which carries a sentence of six months to three years in prison. A
representative of Boone Grove Christian Church in Hebron, about 20 miles
southeast of Gary, told police that elders had not had church books audited
since 2001 because they had come to trust Lowman, court documents state. But
Lowman refused to provide paperwork when church officials asked about
finances. Records showed that Lowman had written numerous checks to his wife
from church accounts at several banks. Multiple withdrawals also were made
from area gambling boats. Lowman admitted to police that he was only
authorized to write checks for church business and that his wife had never
done any work for the northwest Indiana church. Lowman also admitted he and
his wife visited area gambling boats frequently. A Porter Circuit Court
judge issued a warrant for Lowman and set his bond at $10,000. The
Associated Press left a message seeking comment Thursday at a number listed
for Lowman.

Squaring off on slots gambling

 

Opponents of legalized casino gambling had a chance to make their case at
the state's first legislative oversight committee meeting, held Thursday
morning at the Woodlands Inn & Resort. But their warnings of doom were
overwhelmed by support for Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs as an economic spark
and a committed corporate citizen. During his allotted 10-minute
presentation, Bill Kearney, a fierce gambling foe from Philadelphia,
discounted the contention that casino gambling is just a harmless form of
entertainment. "This ain't the ball field. This ain't going to the theater,"
Kearney said. Instead, he described gambling as a business designed simply
to separate people from their money. Kearney, who says he is a former
compulsive gambler in Atlantic City casinos, has particular criticism of
player cards and other complimentary services that provide incentives for
gambling more. "This is their syringe," he said as he waved a card to a
dozen members of the House Gaming Oversight Committee who attended the
session. "The more you gamble, the more they're going to give you." Kearney
also is championing a bill that would force casinos to send monthly or
quarterly statements to patrons. "Let the people see what they're doing," he
said. "This statement would be preventative medicine." State Rep. Fred
McIlhattan, R-Armstrong County, pressed Downs president Robert Soper on
whether it was feasible to provide patrons with statements of their gambling
activity. Soper replied that doing so would hurt Pennsylvania casinos,
already taxed at 55 percent or more, by adding the expense of producing and
mailing statements. And, he argued, there is no demand for the service.
"Entertainment is about providing what your customers want," Soper said, and
in his experience patrons haven't asked for statements. "If a customer wants
to know how much they play, they can call us." Kearney contends statements
mailed to gamblers' homes might alert family members to potential problems
before they get out of hand. "Why are we waiting for the casualties?" he
asked.
David Lee, executive director of United Way of Wyoming Valley, does not see
a deterrent effect against problem gambling in statements. "It's not like
people don't know" what they are spending, he said after the hearing. A
professional therapist, Lee said in his experience people must recognize
they have a problem before they can be helped. "To a certain degree I have
to wait until a person says, 'I need help,' " he said. To stay ahead of
potential problems, Lee said Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs has helped fund
training for 20 additional clinicians, some of them to become certified
trainers in their own right.

So far they haven't been needed; Lee said his agency has not seen an
increase in demand for treatment of problem gamblers.

Lee said he has been surprised by how many people he knows enjoy going to
the casino, "just as they say about the hockey team" and other entertainment
venues.

During his presentation Soper outlined the economic benefits provided by
Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs, which opened a temporary facility - the state's
first operating casino - on Nov. 14. He said the casino was drawing an
average of more than 6,000 patrons a day, about half of them coming from
outside Luzerne and Lackawanna counties.

More than 400 jobs have been created so far, and he said 600 more would be
needed to staff a permanent casino that will be finished late this year or
early in 2008. In addition, the entire construction project will employ
3,500 workers and the casino spends significant amounts with local vendors
and service providers - approximately $500,000 in January alone, Soper said.

Luzerne County Commissioner Todd Vonderheid and Plains Township Commissioner
Chairman Ron Filippini echoed Lee's praise for the casino and both said
there have been no problems beyond minor auto accidents in the parking lot.

Plains Township will receive about $2.2 million this year from special local
taxes paid by the casino. Filippini said the first payment of more than
$295,000 came in the same day township officials were trying to figure out
how to handle $20,000 in overtime costs caused by the Valentine's Day
snowstorm.

He said most of the money will be used to address infrastructure and
emergency services that have suffered in part because the township tax rate
is at the state maximum. Already two police officers have been added to the
force.

The hearing became testy when state Rep. Eddie Day Pashinski, D-121, who
served as the host for the session, took Kearney to task for his
characterization of Northeastern Pennsylvanians as "hillbillies" who would
be easy marks for gambling interests.

"The people of the Wyoming Valley are not hillbillies," he said sternly to
Kearney at the opening of a question-and-answer session. Backing down
slightly, Kearney said he was referring to the lack of experience with a
gambling facility locally.

Soper had led committee members and staff on a tour of the casino Wednesday.
The majority of the 28-member committee did not attend the hearing.

Columbia Sussex won't buy Casino Queen

 

The Casino Queen in East St. Louis said Thursday that it terminated its plan
to be bought by a Kentucky company that has had difficulty obtaining gaming
licenses in Illinois and Missouri. Columbia Sussex Corp.'s $200 million bid
was good only through the end of last month. No deal was made because
Columbia did not get approval from the Illinois Gaming Board for a license.
Columbia abandoned an earlier bid to buy a Missouri casino after learning
that regulators there were unlikely to grant a license.

Stakes raised in gambling battle

 

Texans would get to decide whether to allow casino resorts in cities such as
Galveston and slot machines at dog tracks like the one in La Marque under
legislation proposed Thursday by two Texas senators. But if history is a
teacher, you can bet on a battle royale, even among some gambling
proponents. The issue for many comes down to money and morality. Old island
families, Houston hospitality moguls, West End landowners and influential
mainland business leaders all have a stake and a say in the legislation.
State Sens. John Carona, R-Dallas, and Rodney Ellis, D-Houston, are
proposing Senate Joint Resolution 45 and Senate Bill 1359, which they say
would generate about $4 billion a year in revenues for the state and would
earmark $1 billion for higher education financial aid programs. The
resolution calls for a constitutional amendment that would allow - if voters
approved it - limited casino gambling in Texas, including on resort islands
and video lottery games at horse and greyhound racetracks around the state.
The constitutional amendment would need approval of two-thirds of the
Legislature before it went before voters in November. Counties in which
casino operators seek permits also could reject gambling, the lawmakers say.
"If voters of Texas don't want it, turn it down," Ellis said. "And even if
voters legalize it statewide, if the county doesn't want it, turn it down.
It's hard for me to see what the big political uproar is about." SB 1359
provides the detailed legal framework to regulate gambling in a state where
social conservatives time and again have rejected casinos and slot machines.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Teens seen as vulnerable to gambling addictions

 

His gambling started with marbles in the schoolyard. By the time he was in
high school, he played poker with friends and considered himself a pool
shark. "I bounced a lot of checks; I stole a lot of money. . . . I would
pretty much gamble however much money I had available," he said. Gambling
cost him jobs, relationships and thousands of dollars, said Carson, who is a
member of Gamblers Anonymous and, as a result, doesn't give his last name
when speaking to the press. This morning, more than two years after laying
down his last bet, Carson will tell his story to a group of students at
Torrey Pines High School. The same risk-taking mindset that leads teenagers
to like skateboarding and extreme sports puts them at greater risk of
becoming problem gamblers than adults, said Fred Becker, a Carlsbad
educator. "They're apt to take higher risks," he said. "They're more
spontaneous in their actions. They're thrilled by the novelty of taking
risk. They don't have the skills of moderation, of long-term thinking."
Today's teens see ads for casinos and racetracks on television, billboards
and ballparks. They go to schools funded, in part, through the state
lottery. Many are big fans of televised poker tournaments and regularly play
poker for money with friends. And nearly all have access to the Internet,
where it's easy to gamble in secret. "This is the first generation of kids
growing up in a gambling-permissive society," said Bruce Roberts, head of
the California Council on Problem Gambling, a nonprofit group that is
helping coordinate the first-of-its-kind presentation at Torrey Pines High.
Underage gambling is a serious issue, said Charlene Simmons, assistant
director of the California Research Bureau. Studies have found that
"adolescents, particularly boys, who engage in adult forms of gambling are
more likely to develop into problem and pathological gamblers," she told
members of a state Senate committee last week. Data collected in Oregon
suggest "California could have as many as 600,000 adolescent problem and
pathological gamblers," Simmons said. Yet, Simmons said, "as far as I could
find out, no California lottery retailer, racetrack or card room has been
seriously disciplined for allowing . . . minors to engage in gambling."
It's unclear how prevalent gambling is among high school students. "We have
quite a few students who are active in gaming and gambling," said Scott
Chodorow, director of student activities at Torrey Pines. "To what extent, I
do not know." Poker is popular, he said. "That's the biggest game around
here, with all the press and ESPN's World Series of Poker, it's gotten a lot
of publicity," he said. Local Indian casinos are on the lookout for young
gamblers, Becker said. At Viejas, for instance, those 17 and younger are
allowed on the casino floor only if they're walking to a restaurant with an
adult, and not at all after 8 p.m. or before 8 a.m., said spokesman Robert
Scheid.

The casino does allow people 18 and older to gamble.

It has trained staff members to look for underage and problem gamblers, he
said.

"Ultimately, they're destructive to themselves, their families and their
communities," he said. "Frankly, it's not good for business."

Mobile gambling set to reach $16b by 2011

 

The total value of bets placed worldwide on mobile phones will reach $16b a
year by 2011, according to market research analysts Juniper Research. The
US's
crackdown on internet gambling had caused a tentative year for the
newly-blooming industry with the implementation of the Unlawful Internet
Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) forcing many within the industry to
readjust their focus and to consolidate in uncertain times. "The tightening
of the legal barriers to online and mobile gambling in the US in 2006 have
had an impact throughout the industry, stifling the growth of the young and
fragile mobile channel," said report author Bruce Gibson. "A number of the
leisure brands that we saw beginning to focus on the mobile channel early in
2006 have changed their priorities in the light of industry developments in
the second half of the year." Juniper predicts that the biggest growth in
mobile gambling will come from the sports betting and lotteries sectors,
given the ease of use and simplicity of the products. Currently, $1.35
billion is spent globally at mobile casinos, mobile poker rooms, lotteries
and sports betting services. Europe is the largest mobile gambling market in
the world with $665 million placed in bets in 2006, with the UK thought to
be the location that could support the strongest growth in Europe.
Internationally, there is no surprise that the Asia Pacific market has been
targeted as the region that will show the most growth in mobile gambling,
estimated to grow from $647 million in 2006 to $6.7 billion by 2011. "There
is a lot of emphasis in developing core business in potentially lucrative
Asian markets. However we are still convinced that mobile's time will come,"
said Gibson.

High Profile Senators Set To Propose Casino Gambling Plan

 

Two high-profile senators are joining forces to propose a plan for
legalizing casino gambling and sending some of the profits to help Texans
pay for college tuition.
Republican Sen. John Carona of Dallas and Democratic Sen. Rodney Ellis of
Houston are to announce more details Thursday about their proposal to
legalize a limited number of "destination resort casinos" across the state
and video slot machines at racetracks. Several bills already have been filed
on the subject, and there have been backroom rumblings throughout this
legislative session about a push to expand gambling. Proponents argue that
Texans are already spending their money on casinos in neighboring states.
The Baptist lobby's Christian Life Commission and some social conservatives
in the Legislature oppose new forms of gambling.

OASES aims to increase parental awareness of underage gambling

 

State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services Commissioner Karen
Carpenter-Palumbo Wednesday announced that New York State is observing
Problem Gambling Awareness Week from March 5-11. As part of this observance,
OASAS has launched a statewide Public Service Announcement in an effort to
encourage communication between parents and youth about the warning signs
associated with underage gambling. "OASAS is observing Problem Gambling
Awareness Week to shed light on this important addiction issue," said
Carpenter-Palumbo. "While the majority of New Yorkers who gamble do so
responsibly, we also know that compulsive gambling behaviors may pose
harmful consequences for youth. This week, OASAS continues its pro-active
prevention efforts in the realm of underage gambling by releasing a
statewide PSA. OASAS has also undertaken a number of research measures to
better understand and highlight the scope of problem gambling behaviors
among adolescents." Results of the OASAS survey of students in grades 7-12
indicate that almost 20 percent of these youth have a gambling problem based
on diagnostic criteria. In addition, males surveyed were nearly twice as
likely as females to have gambled within the past 30 days. The survey also
indicated that, of those students in grades 7-12 identified with a substance
abuse problem, almost half (42%) also had a gambling problem. Problem
gambling is considered a "hidden addiction" because there are no outward
warning signs of a problem. The consequences of this addiction, however, are
real. Preliminary research on the risk factors of adolescent gambling
indicates that the earlier a child begins gambling, the more likely they are
to develop a gambling problem. Adolescents may gamble to make themselves
feel important or as a way to increase their self esteem.

Texas legislators tackle cancer, steroids, gambling

 

It's an ambitious goal: finding a cancer cure. It's a lot of money,
amounting to a $3 billion investment. Leading lawmakers filed legislation
Wednesday that would invest up to $300 million a year to fund a wide range
of cancer research initiatives in Texas. Gov. Rick Perry, joined by a
bipartisan group of lawmakers, called the proposal a "landmark investment in
a collaborative research effort that can put Texas on the leading edge of
developing new therapies for cancer treatment."
The plan would have to go before Texas voters in November to determine
whether the state could borrow against bonds to fund the Cancer Research
Institute of Texas. In his budget proposal, Perry had proposed using
proceeds from selling the state lottery to a private company, but
legislators have appeared cool to that funding idea. The American Cancer
Society, the Susan G. Komen breast cancer foundation and the Lance Armstrong
Foundation would participate in collaboration with private companies, state
universities, medical schools and the University of Texas M.D. Anderson
Cancer Center.

Teens seen as vulnerable to gambling addictions

 

His gambling started with marbles in the schoolyard. By the time he was in
high school, he played poker with friends and considered himself a pool
shark. "I bounced a lot of checks; I stole a lot of money. . . . I would
pretty much gamble however much money I had available," he said. Gambling
cost him jobs, relationships and thousands of dollars, said Carson, who is a
member of Gamblers Anonymous and, as a result, doesn't give his last name
when speaking to the press. This morning, more than two years after laying
down his last bet, Carson will tell his story to a group of students at
Torrey Pines High School. The same risk-taking mindset that leads teenagers
to like skateboarding and extreme sports puts them at greater risk of
becoming problem gamblers than adults, said Fred Becker, a Carlsbad
educator. "They're apt to take higher risks," he said. "They're more
spontaneous in their actions. They're thrilled by the novelty of taking
risk. They don't have the skills of moderation, of long-term thinking."
Today's teens see ads for casinos and racetracks on television, billboards
and ballparks. They go to schools funded, in part, through the state
lottery. Many are big fans of televised poker tournaments and regularly play
poker for money with friends. And nearly all have access to the Internet,
where it's easy to gamble in secret. "This is the first generation of kids
growing up in a gambling-permissive society," said Bruce Roberts, head of
the California Council on Problem Gambling, a nonprofit group that is
helping coordinate the first-of-its-kind presentation at Torrey Pines High.
Underage gambling is a serious issue, said Charlene Simmons, assistant
director of the California Research Bureau. Studies have found that
"adolescents, particularly boys, who engage in adult forms of gambling are
more likely to develop into problem and pathological gamblers," she told
members of a state Senate committee last week. Data collected in Oregon
suggest "California could have as many as 600,000 adolescent problem and
pathological gamblers," Simmons said. Yet, Simmons said, "as far as I could
find out, no California lottery retailer, racetrack or card room has been
seriously disciplined for allowing . . . minors to engage in gambling."
It's unclear how prevalent gambling is among high school students. "We have
quite a few students who are active in gaming and gambling," said Scott
Chodorow, director of student activities at Torrey Pines. "To what extent, I
do not know." Poker is popular, he said. "That's the biggest game around
here, with all the press and ESPN's World Series of Poker, it's gotten a lot
of publicity," he said. Local Indian casinos are on the lookout for young
gamblers, Becker said. At Viejas, for instance, those 17 and younger are
allowed on the casino floor only if they're walking to a restaurant with an
adult, and not at all after 8 p.m. or before 8 a.m., said spokesman Robert
Scheid.

The casino does allow people 18 and older to gamble.

It has trained staff members to look for underage and problem gamblers, he
said.

"Ultimately, they're destructive to themselves, their families and their
communities," he said. "Frankly, it's not good for business."

Saturday, March 10, 2007

State failing to provide gambling data

 

Howard E. Daniels II has been arrested for stealing more than $20,000 from
Colchester during his duties as gatekeeper at the transfer station. In the
affidavit for his arrest, Daniels admits to the theft to fund his and his
wife's gambling losses at Mohegan Sun, which totaled more than $50,000.
Daniels is not the first town employee in Eastern Connecticut to steal from
the town that employed them to fuel casino gambling. Sprague, Norwich and
Ledyard have all had money stolen from municipal coffers. Daniels, likely,
will not be the last, either. Connecticut has failed to study the effects of
legalized gambling since 1996. It has put the state at a great disadvantage
to understand the nature of problem gambling and the other impacts legalized
gambling has had on the state. Marvin Steinberg, executive director of
Connecticut Council on Problem Gambling, said stories involving the theft of
town money are just a small part of the story. He has seen bank managers,
comptrollers of private businesses and small business owners lose it all to
gambling.

Council says no to gambling

 

The City Council on Monday voted unanimously on a resolution apposing any
gambling at Pease, the port or on any other land within the city's
boundaries. "It was pretty all-inclusive," said Mayor Steve Marchand. The
resolution is in response to Senate Bill 225, which would allow for a casino
to be built at the tradeport or in the city of Berlin. The bill's lone
sponsor is Sen. John Gallus, R-Berlin. The resolution specifically excluded
Berlin because, according to Marchand, the council wanted to take a firm
stance on gambling specifically in Portsmouth. "Gambling in other parts of
the state was not unanimous on the council, and we didn't want that to
compromise the Portsmouth part," he said.

Rutgers opens center for gambling studies

 

In a state where legalized gambling is a key component of the economy and a
fixture of the entertainment scene, Rutgers University has opened a center
to study the industry from legal, societal and economic angles, and make
recommendations to key decision-makers on how to deal with the industry's
promise and problems. The university's School of Social Work has opened the
Center for Gambling Studies in New Brunswick. An important part of the
center's work will be to train counselors in issues relating to problem
gambling.

Louisiana rises to the top in its treatment of gambling addiction

 

Louisiana continues to set a national example of how to treat gambling
addiction, said state officials at a news conference Tuesday in Shreveport.
"This area is a leader in gambling addiction programs," said Louisiana
Attorney General Charles C. Foti Jr. A new case management system - CIBERLaw
CRIMES, which is customized to track compulsive gambling and related
criminal activity - will be used in conjunction with the Gambling Treatment
Referral Program initiated in the 26th Judicial District in 2004. This week,
through Sunday, is National Problem Gambling Awareness Week in Louisiana. In
Shreveport at the Center for Recovery to make the announcement were Foti,
Michael Duffy, assistant secretary for the Office for Addictive Disorders,
and 26th Judicial District Attorney J. Schuyler Marvin. Problem gambling is
a serious issue in Louisiana facing as many as 200,000 residents, according
to state figures. The Gambling Treatment Referral Program gives nonviolent
offenders who are directly related to a gambling problem a chance to get
help for their addiction instead of going to prison. Offenders who fit the
profile are directed to outpatient help from Office for Addictive Disorders
counselors or in-patient treatment at CORE, the only state-funded
residential facility for gambling addiction of its kind in the United
States. The 26th Judicial District, the pilot site for the gambling referral
program, is also the pilot site for CRIMES. "It's a very useful program,"
Marvin said. "The system has simplified document generation, eliminated
redundant tasks and provided automatic reminders so we're always sure to
meet deadlines." CRIMES can update and track cases throughout the legal
process and they can be maintained as part of the overall legal history for
criminal, traffic, worthless checks, investigations, civil, defense, adult,
family and juvenile matters. "This is a way to track their progress in the
rehabilitation process," Marvin said. "If they slip and they are not working
the program, this gives us a way to snatch them back up." As much as 95
percent of large thefts can be attributed to a gambling or drug addiction
problem, said Marvin. "You're never going to find that money or stolen goods
sitting around somewhere that you can return to the owners," he said. Foti
praised the state efforts and in particular northwest Louisiana in the
effort to treat gambling addiction.

"This program has gained national attention from all over. People in Las
Vegas and other places have come to see how we've done it," Foti said.

In addition to court referrals, CORE - a 21-bed facility for men and women -
gets client referrals from all over: employers, friends, family members and
walk-ins, to name a few.

Sixteen of the beds are contracted to the state, and the five remaining can
be filled with out-of-state referrals on availability. CORE charges a fee of
$5,400 for the 36-day program for these out-of-state clients.

"Gamblers don't have money; that's why it's free to Louisiana residents. But
the state can't afford to pay full costs for out-of-state clients," said
Reece Middleton, executive director of CORE, who has seen more than 1,000
people get help at CORE since the doors opened.

"That's a very reasonable cost, about a 10th of what's charged at other
national programs. And we can use that money toward our matching funds
required by the state."

After Hurricane Katrina shut down CORE South in New Orleans, the Shreveport
location, which opened in 1999, remains the only one in the state. Other
free compulsive gambling counseling services offered to Louisiana citizens
can be accessed through a toll-free helpline (877) 770-7867 or through the
state's Web site and the Louisiana Association on Compulsive Gambling.

The state is also targeting youth with a multimedia, neon-colored Web site
hosted by a cartoon frog.

Middleton is looking forward to the addition of a halfway house to be built
next to CORE at 635 Stoner Ave. The halfway house would allow gambling
addicts to recover for a much longer period of time.

"That's where recovery really happens," said Middleton, who went back to
school for a master's degree and began working with addictive disorders
following his own recovery from an addiction. "It is helpful to stay
involved in this type of program as long as I don't forget what my recovery
is about."

Louisiana rises to the top in its treatment of gambling addiction

 

Louisiana continues to set a national example of how to treat gambling
addiction, said state officials at a news conference Tuesday in Shreveport.
"This area is a leader in gambling addiction programs," said Louisiana
Attorney General Charles C. Foti Jr. A new case management system - CIBERLaw
CRIMES, which is customized to track compulsive gambling and related
criminal activity - will be used in conjunction with the Gambling Treatment
Referral Program initiated in the 26th Judicial District in 2004. This week,
through Sunday, is National Problem Gambling Awareness Week in Louisiana. In
Shreveport at the Center for Recovery to make the announcement were Foti,
Michael Duffy, assistant secretary for the Office for Addictive Disorders,
and 26th Judicial District Attorney J. Schuyler Marvin. Problem gambling is
a serious issue in Louisiana facing as many as 200,000 residents, according
to state figures. The Gambling Treatment Referral Program gives nonviolent
offenders who are directly related to a gambling problem a chance to get
help for their addiction instead of going to prison. Offenders who fit the
profile are directed to outpatient help from Office for Addictive Disorders
counselors or in-patient treatment at CORE, the only state-funded
residential facility for gambling addiction of its kind in the United
States. The 26th Judicial District, the pilot site for the gambling referral
program, is also the pilot site for CRIMES. "It's a very useful program,"
Marvin said. "The system has simplified document generation, eliminated
redundant tasks and provided automatic reminders so we're always sure to
meet deadlines." CRIMES can update and track cases throughout the legal
process and they can be maintained as part of the overall legal history for
criminal, traffic, worthless checks, investigations, civil, defense, adult,
family and juvenile matters. "This is a way to track their progress in the
rehabilitation process," Marvin said. "If they slip and they are not working
the program, this gives us a way to snatch them back up." As much as 95
percent of large thefts can be attributed to a gambling or drug addiction
problem, said Marvin. "You're never going to find that money or stolen goods
sitting around somewhere that you can return to the owners," he said. Foti
praised the state efforts and in particular northwest Louisiana in the
effort to treat gambling addiction.

"This program has gained national attention from all over. People in Las
Vegas and other places have come to see how we've done it," Foti said.

In addition to court referrals, CORE - a 21-bed facility for men and women -
gets client referrals from all over: employers, friends, family members and
walk-ins, to name a few.

Sixteen of the beds are contracted to the state, and the five remaining can
be filled with out-of-state referrals on availability. CORE charges a fee of
$5,400 for the 36-day program for these out-of-state clients.

"Gamblers don't have money; that's why it's free to Louisiana residents. But
the state can't afford to pay full costs for out-of-state clients," said
Reece Middleton, executive director of CORE, who has seen more than 1,000
people get help at CORE since the doors opened.

"That's a very reasonable cost, about a 10th of what's charged at other
national programs. And we can use that money toward our matching funds
required by the state."

After Hurricane Katrina shut down CORE South in New Orleans, the Shreveport
location, which opened in 1999, remains the only one in the state. Other
free compulsive gambling counseling services offered to Louisiana citizens
can be accessed through a toll-free helpline (877) 770-7867 or through the
state's Web site and the Louisiana Association on Compulsive Gambling.

The state is also targeting youth with a multimedia, neon-colored Web site
hosted by a cartoon frog.

Middleton is looking forward to the addition of a halfway house to be built
next to CORE at 635 Stoner Ave. The halfway house would allow gambling
addicts to recover for a much longer period of time.

"That's where recovery really happens," said Middleton, who went back to
school for a master's degree and began working with addictive disorders
following his own recovery from an addiction. "It is helpful to stay
involved in this type of program as long as I don't forget what my recovery
is about."

Rutgers opens center for gambling studies

 

In a state where legalized gambling is a key component of the economy and a
fixture of the entertainment scene, Rutgers University has opened a center
to study the industry from legal, societal and economic angles, and make
recommendations to key decision-makers on how to deal with the industry's
promise and problems. The university's School of Social Work has opened the
Center for Gambling Studies in New Brunswick. An important part of the
center's work will be to train counselors in issues relating to problem
gambling.

Gambling debts unenforceable in California

 

Two casinos who claim a Daly City couple wrote $43,000 in bad checks to
cover gambling debts cannot use California courts to collect, a judge ruled.
San Mateo County Superior Court Judge Quentin Kopp dismissed a lawsuit
against Manuel and Mercedita Luna on Monday, citing California's
"deep-rooted policy" against enforcing debts owed to casinos that extend
credit to gamblers. A collection agency sued the couple in 2005, claiming
the couple bounced a $15,000 check to the El Dorado Hotel Casino in Reno,
Nev., and a $28,000 check to Cache Creek Casino in Yolo County. "Enforcement
of such claims is prohibited" in California despite growing acceptance of
gambling in the state, wrote Kopp, a retired judge who continues to hear
cases under a state program.

State failing to provide gambling data

 

Howard E. Daniels II has been arrested for stealing more than $20,000 from
Colchester during his duties as gatekeeper at the transfer station. In the
affidavit for his arrest, Daniels admits to the theft to fund his and his
wife's gambling losses at Mohegan Sun, which totaled more than $50,000.
Daniels is not the first town employee in Eastern Connecticut to steal from
the town that employed them to fuel casino gambling. Sprague, Norwich and
Ledyard have all had money stolen from municipal coffers. Daniels, likely,
will not be the last, either. Connecticut has failed to study the effects of
legalized gambling since 1996. It has put the state at a great disadvantage
to understand the nature of problem gambling and the other impacts legalized
gambling has had on the state. Marvin Steinberg, executive director of
Connecticut Council on Problem Gambling, said stories involving the theft of
town money are just a small part of the story. He has seen bank managers,
comptrollers of private businesses and small business owners lose it all to
gambling.

W.Va. Senate Passes Table Gambling

 

Legislation that would allow county voters to permit table gambling at West
Virginia's four racetracks is one step closer to becoming law. The West
Virginia Senate passed the table gambling legislation Tuesday by a vote of
20-13. The amended House Bill 2718 then went back to the House of Delegates
for concurrence. House members will now be asked to approve changes to the
measure made in the Senate, and this could occur as soon as this afternoon.
The House's concurrence would give the bill final passage and send it on to
Gov. Joe Manchin for his signature. House Majority Leader Joe DeLong,
D-Hancock, thinks the House ultimately will approve the bill. "It will be a
lot easier for us to do it after the changes the Senate made during the
second and third readings," DeLong said. "The allocation language that came
out in the legislation during the committees was nothing more than a
disaster. But on the second and third readings they made changes, and this
brought comfort to many of the House. We will deal with it on Wednesday one
way or another." If the House opts not to concur with the Senate's changes,
the legislation will be negotiated by a conference committee comprised of
members of both chambers. Manchin has indicated he would sign a table
gambling bill, providing it included a provision calling for a referendum
"vote of the people." The legislation currently before lawmakers permits
officials at West Virginia's four racetracks to petition their respective
county commissions to place a table gambling referendum on the ballot.
Opponents to the legislation had sought to add an amendment calling for a
statewide referendum, but this was rejected in the Senate. Prior to
Tuesday's
vote in the Senate, the West Virginia Council of Churches held a vigil
outside the Senate chamber and prayed for legislators to have guidance in
their decision. "People ask us why we've been here when it seemed like an
already done deal," said West Virginia Council of Churches President Dennis
Sparks. "It's because we wanted to set the momentum for when this goes to a
county vote. We will immediately start to work. "In the Northern Panhandle,
the vote isn't as clear cut as some may say," he added. Surveys of voter
opinion have been biased toward the tracks and table gambling, Sparks
claimed. But he gave the racetracks credit for "being organized."

Council says no to gambling

 

The City Council on Monday voted unanimously on a resolution apposing any
gambling at Pease, the port or on any other land within the city's
boundaries. "It was pretty all-inclusive," said Mayor Steve Marchand. The
resolution is in response to Senate Bill 225, which would allow for a casino
to be built at the tradeport or in the city of Berlin. The bill's lone
sponsor is Sen. John Gallus, R-Berlin. The resolution specifically excluded
Berlin because, according to Marchand, the council wanted to take a firm
stance on gambling specifically in Portsmouth. "Gambling in other parts of
the state was not unanimous on the council, and we didn't want that to
compromise the Portsmouth part," he said.

State failing to provide gambling data

 

Howard E. Daniels II has been arrested for stealing more than $20,000 from
Colchester during his duties as gatekeeper at the transfer station. In the
affidavit for his arrest, Daniels admits to the theft to fund his and his
wife's gambling losses at Mohegan Sun, which totaled more than $50,000.
Daniels is not the first town employee in Eastern Connecticut to steal from
the town that employed them to fuel casino gambling. Sprague, Norwich and
Ledyard have all had money stolen from municipal coffers. Daniels, likely,
will not be the last, either. Connecticut has failed to study the effects of
legalized gambling since 1996. It has put the state at a great disadvantage
to understand the nature of problem gambling and the other impacts legalized
gambling has had on the state. Marvin Steinberg, executive director of
Connecticut Council on Problem Gambling, said stories involving the theft of
town money are just a small part of the story. He has seen bank managers,
comptrollers of private businesses and small business owners lose it all to
gambling.

W.Va. Senate Passes Table Gambling

 

Legislation that would allow county voters to permit table gambling at West
Virginia's four racetracks is one step closer to becoming law. The West
Virginia Senate passed the table gambling legislation Tuesday by a vote of
20-13. The amended House Bill 2718 then went back to the House of Delegates
for concurrence. House members will now be asked to approve changes to the
measure made in the Senate, and this could occur as soon as this afternoon.
The House's concurrence would give the bill final passage and send it on to
Gov. Joe Manchin for his signature. House Majority Leader Joe DeLong,
D-Hancock, thinks the House ultimately will approve the bill. "It will be a
lot easier for us to do it after the changes the Senate made during the
second and third readings," DeLong said. "The allocation language that came
out in the legislation during the committees was nothing more than a
disaster. But on the second and third readings they made changes, and this
brought comfort to many of the House. We will deal with it on Wednesday one
way or another." If the House opts not to concur with the Senate's changes,
the legislation will be negotiated by a conference committee comprised of
members of both chambers. Manchin has indicated he would sign a table
gambling bill, providing it included a provision calling for a referendum
"vote of the people." The legislation currently before lawmakers permits
officials at West Virginia's four racetracks to petition their respective
county commissions to place a table gambling referendum on the ballot.
Opponents to the legislation had sought to add an amendment calling for a
statewide referendum, but this was rejected in the Senate. Prior to
Tuesday's
vote in the Senate, the West Virginia Council of Churches held a vigil
outside the Senate chamber and prayed for legislators to have guidance in
their decision. "People ask us why we've been here when it seemed like an
already done deal," said West Virginia Council of Churches President Dennis
Sparks. "It's because we wanted to set the momentum for when this goes to a
county vote. We will immediately start to work. "In the Northern Panhandle,
the vote isn't as clear cut as some may say," he added. Surveys of voter
opinion have been biased toward the tracks and table gambling, Sparks
claimed. But he gave the racetracks credit for "being organized."

Gambling debts unenforceable in California

 

Two casinos who claim a Daly City couple wrote $43,000 in bad checks to
cover gambling debts cannot use California courts to collect, a judge ruled.
San Mateo County Superior Court Judge Quentin Kopp dismissed a lawsuit
against Manuel and Mercedita Luna on Monday, citing California's
"deep-rooted policy" against enforcing debts owed to casinos that extend
credit to gamblers. A collection agency sued the couple in 2005, claiming
the couple bounced a $15,000 check to the El Dorado Hotel Casino in Reno,
Nev., and a $28,000 check to Cache Creek Casino in Yolo County. "Enforcement
of such claims is prohibited" in California despite growing acceptance of
gambling in the state, wrote Kopp, a retired judge who continues to hear
cases under a state program.

Rutgers opens center for gambling studies

 

In a state where legalized gambling is a key component of the economy and a
fixture of the entertainment scene, Rutgers University has opened a center
to study the industry from legal, societal and economic angles, and make
recommendations to key decision-makers on how to deal with the industry's
promise and problems. The university's School of Social Work has opened the
Center for Gambling Studies in New Brunswick. An important part of the
center's work will be to train counselors in issues relating to problem
gambling.

Council says no to gambling

 

The City Council on Monday voted unanimously on a resolution apposing any
gambling at Pease, the port or on any other land within the city's
boundaries. "It was pretty all-inclusive," said Mayor Steve Marchand. The
resolution is in response to Senate Bill 225, which would allow for a casino
to be built at the tradeport or in the city of Berlin. The bill's lone
sponsor is Sen. John Gallus, R-Berlin. The resolution specifically excluded
Berlin because, according to Marchand, the council wanted to take a firm
stance on gambling specifically in Portsmouth. "Gambling in other parts of
the state was not unanimous on the council, and we didn't want that to
compromise the Portsmouth part," he said.

Louisiana rises to the top in its treatment of gambling addiction

 

Louisiana continues to set a national example of how to treat gambling
addiction, said state officials at a news conference Tuesday in Shreveport.
"This area is a leader in gambling addiction programs," said Louisiana
Attorney General Charles C. Foti Jr. A new case management system - CIBERLaw
CRIMES, which is customized to track compulsive gambling and related
criminal activity - will be used in conjunction with the Gambling Treatment
Referral Program initiated in the 26th Judicial District in 2004. This week,
through Sunday, is National Problem Gambling Awareness Week in Louisiana. In
Shreveport at the Center for Recovery to make the announcement were Foti,
Michael Duffy, assistant secretary for the Office for Addictive Disorders,
and 26th Judicial District Attorney J. Schuyler Marvin. Problem gambling is
a serious issue in Louisiana facing as many as 200,000 residents, according
to state figures. The Gambling Treatment Referral Program gives nonviolent
offenders who are directly related to a gambling problem a chance to get
help for their addiction instead of going to prison. Offenders who fit the
profile are directed to outpatient help from Office for Addictive Disorders
counselors or in-patient treatment at CORE, the only state-funded
residential facility for gambling addiction of its kind in the United
States. The 26th Judicial District, the pilot site for the gambling referral
program, is also the pilot site for CRIMES. "It's a very useful program,"
Marvin said. "The system has simplified document generation, eliminated
redundant tasks and provided automatic reminders so we're always sure to
meet deadlines." CRIMES can update and track cases throughout the legal
process and they can be maintained as part of the overall legal history for
criminal, traffic, worthless checks, investigations, civil, defense, adult,
family and juvenile matters. "This is a way to track their progress in the
rehabilitation process," Marvin said. "If they slip and they are not working
the program, this gives us a way to snatch them back up." As much as 95
percent of large thefts can be attributed to a gambling or drug addiction
problem, said Marvin. "You're never going to find that money or stolen goods
sitting around somewhere that you can return to the owners," he said. Foti
praised the state efforts and in particular northwest Louisiana in the
effort to treat gambling addiction.

"This program has gained national attention from all over. People in Las
Vegas and other places have come to see how we've done it," Foti said.

In addition to court referrals, CORE - a 21-bed facility for men and women -
gets client referrals from all over: employers, friends, family members and
walk-ins, to name a few.

Sixteen of the beds are contracted to the state, and the five remaining can
be filled with out-of-state referrals on availability. CORE charges a fee of
$5,400 for the 36-day program for these out-of-state clients.

"Gamblers don't have money; that's why it's free to Louisiana residents. But
the state can't afford to pay full costs for out-of-state clients," said
Reece Middleton, executive director of CORE, who has seen more than 1,000
people get help at CORE since the doors opened.

"That's a very reasonable cost, about a 10th of what's charged at other
national programs. And we can use that money toward our matching funds
required by the state."

After Hurricane Katrina shut down CORE South in New Orleans, the Shreveport
location, which opened in 1999, remains the only one in the state. Other
free compulsive gambling counseling services offered to Louisiana citizens
can be accessed through a toll-free helpline (877) 770-7867 or through the
state's Web site and the Louisiana Association on Compulsive Gambling.

The state is also targeting youth with a multimedia, neon-colored Web site
hosted by a cartoon frog.

Middleton is looking forward to the addition of a halfway house to be built
next to CORE at 635 Stoner Ave. The halfway house would allow gambling
addicts to recover for a much longer period of time.

"That's where recovery really happens," said Middleton, who went back to
school for a master's degree and began working with addictive disorders
following his own recovery from an addiction. "It is helpful to stay
involved in this type of program as long as I don't forget what my recovery
is about."

W.Va. Senate Passes Table Gambling

 

Legislation that would allow county voters to permit table gambling at West
Virginia's four racetracks is one step closer to becoming law. The West
Virginia Senate passed the table gambling legislation Tuesday by a vote of
20-13. The amended House Bill 2718 then went back to the House of Delegates
for concurrence. House members will now be asked to approve changes to the
measure made in the Senate, and this could occur as soon as this afternoon.
The House's concurrence would give the bill final passage and send it on to
Gov. Joe Manchin for his signature. House Majority Leader Joe DeLong,
D-Hancock, thinks the House ultimately will approve the bill. "It will be a
lot easier for us to do it after the changes the Senate made during the
second and third readings," DeLong said. "The allocation language that came
out in the legislation during the committees was nothing more than a
disaster. But on the second and third readings they made changes, and this
brought comfort to many of the House. We will deal with it on Wednesday one
way or another." If the House opts not to concur with the Senate's changes,
the legislation will be negotiated by a conference committee comprised of
members of both chambers. Manchin has indicated he would sign a table
gambling bill, providing it included a provision calling for a referendum
"vote of the people." The legislation currently before lawmakers permits
officials at West Virginia's four racetracks to petition their respective
county commissions to place a table gambling referendum on the ballot.
Opponents to the legislation had sought to add an amendment calling for a
statewide referendum, but this was rejected in the Senate. Prior to
Tuesday's
vote in the Senate, the West Virginia Council of Churches held a vigil
outside the Senate chamber and prayed for legislators to have guidance in
their decision. "People ask us why we've been here when it seemed like an
already done deal," said West Virginia Council of Churches President Dennis
Sparks. "It's because we wanted to set the momentum for when this goes to a
county vote. We will immediately start to work. "In the Northern Panhandle,
the vote isn't as clear cut as some may say," he added. Surveys of voter
opinion have been biased toward the tracks and table gambling, Sparks
claimed. But he gave the racetracks credit for "being organized."

Gambling debts unenforceable in California

 

Two casinos who claim a Daly City couple wrote $43,000 in bad checks to
cover gambling debts cannot use California courts to collect, a judge ruled.
San Mateo County Superior Court Judge Quentin Kopp dismissed a lawsuit
against Manuel and Mercedita Luna on Monday, citing California's
"deep-rooted policy" against enforcing debts owed to casinos that extend
credit to gamblers. A collection agency sued the couple in 2005, claiming
the couple bounced a $15,000 check to the El Dorado Hotel Casino in Reno,
Nev., and a $28,000 check to Cache Creek Casino in Yolo County. "Enforcement
of such claims is prohibited" in California despite growing acceptance of
gambling in the state, wrote Kopp, a retired judge who continues to hear
cases under a state program.

Council says no to gambling

 

The City Council on Monday voted unanimously on a resolution apposing any
gambling at Pease, the port or on any other land within the city's
boundaries. "It was pretty all-inclusive," said Mayor Steve Marchand. The
resolution is in response to Senate Bill 225, which would allow for a casino
to be built at the tradeport or in the city of Berlin. The bill's lone
sponsor is Sen. John Gallus, R-Berlin. The resolution specifically excluded
Berlin because, according to Marchand, the council wanted to take a firm
stance on gambling specifically in Portsmouth. "Gambling in other parts of
the state was not unanimous on the council, and we didn't want that to
compromise the Portsmouth part," he said.

Rutgers opens center for gambling studies

 

In a state where legalized gambling is a key component of the economy and a
fixture of the entertainment scene, Rutgers University has opened a center
to study the industry from legal, societal and economic angles, and make
recommendations to key decision-makers on how to deal with the industry's
promise and problems. The university's School of Social Work has opened the
Center for Gambling Studies in New Brunswick. An important part of the
center's work will be to train counselors in issues relating to problem
gambling.

State failing to provide gambling data

 

Howard E. Daniels II has been arrested for stealing more than $20,000 from
Colchester during his duties as gatekeeper at the transfer station. In the
affidavit for his arrest, Daniels admits to the theft to fund his and his
wife's gambling losses at Mohegan Sun, which totaled more than $50,000.
Daniels is not the first town employee in Eastern Connecticut to steal from
the town that employed them to fuel casino gambling. Sprague, Norwich and
Ledyard have all had money stolen from municipal coffers. Daniels, likely,
will not be the last, either. Connecticut has failed to study the effects of
legalized gambling since 1996. It has put the state at a great disadvantage
to understand the nature of problem gambling and the other impacts legalized
gambling has had on the state. Marvin Steinberg, executive director of
Connecticut Council on Problem Gambling, said stories involving the theft of
town money are just a small part of the story. He has seen bank managers,
comptrollers of private businesses and small business owners lose it all to
gambling.

Louisiana rises to the top in its treatment of gambling addiction

 

Louisiana continues to set a national example of how to treat gambling
addiction, said state officials at a news conference Tuesday in Shreveport.
"This area is a leader in gambling addiction programs," said Louisiana
Attorney General Charles C. Foti Jr. A new case management system - CIBERLaw
CRIMES, which is customized to track compulsive gambling and related
criminal activity - will be used in conjunction with the Gambling Treatment
Referral Program initiated in the 26th Judicial District in 2004. This week,
through Sunday, is National Problem Gambling Awareness Week in Louisiana. In
Shreveport at the Center for Recovery to make the announcement were Foti,
Michael Duffy, assistant secretary for the Office for Addictive Disorders,
and 26th Judicial District Attorney J. Schuyler Marvin. Problem gambling is
a serious issue in Louisiana facing as many as 200,000 residents, according
to state figures. The Gambling Treatment Referral Program gives nonviolent
offenders who are directly related to a gambling problem a chance to get
help for their addiction instead of going to prison. Offenders who fit the
profile are directed to outpatient help from Office for Addictive Disorders
counselors or in-patient treatment at CORE, the only state-funded
residential facility for gambling addiction of its kind in the United
States. The 26th Judicial District, the pilot site for the gambling referral
program, is also the pilot site for CRIMES. "It's a very useful program,"
Marvin said. "The system has simplified document generation, eliminated
redundant tasks and provided automatic reminders so we're always sure to
meet deadlines." CRIMES can update and track cases throughout the legal
process and they can be maintained as part of the overall legal history for
criminal, traffic, worthless checks, investigations, civil, defense, adult,
family and juvenile matters. "This is a way to track their progress in the
rehabilitation process," Marvin said. "If they slip and they are not working
the program, this gives us a way to snatch them back up." As much as 95
percent of large thefts can be attributed to a gambling or drug addiction
problem, said Marvin. "You're never going to find that money or stolen goods
sitting around somewhere that you can return to the owners," he said. Foti
praised the state efforts and in particular northwest Louisiana in the
effort to treat gambling addiction.

"This program has gained national attention from all over. People in Las
Vegas and other places have come to see how we've done it," Foti said.

In addition to court referrals, CORE - a 21-bed facility for men and women -
gets client referrals from all over: employers, friends, family members and
walk-ins, to name a few.

Sixteen of the beds are contracted to the state, and the five remaining can
be filled with out-of-state referrals on availability. CORE charges a fee of
$5,400 for the 36-day program for these out-of-state clients.

"Gamblers don't have money; that's why it's free to Louisiana residents. But
the state can't afford to pay full costs for out-of-state clients," said
Reece Middleton, executive director of CORE, who has seen more than 1,000
people get help at CORE since the doors opened.

"That's a very reasonable cost, about a 10th of what's charged at other
national programs. And we can use that money toward our matching funds
required by the state."

After Hurricane Katrina shut down CORE South in New Orleans, the Shreveport
location, which opened in 1999, remains the only one in the state. Other
free compulsive gambling counseling services offered to Louisiana citizens
can be accessed through a toll-free helpline (877) 770-7867 or through the
state's Web site and the Louisiana Association on Compulsive Gambling.

The state is also targeting youth with a multimedia, neon-colored Web site
hosted by a cartoon frog.

Middleton is looking forward to the addition of a halfway house to be built
next to CORE at 635 Stoner Ave. The halfway house would allow gambling
addicts to recover for a much longer period of time.

"That's where recovery really happens," said Middleton, who went back to
school for a master's degree and began working with addictive disorders
following his own recovery from an addiction. "It is helpful to stay
involved in this type of program as long as I don't forget what my recovery
is about."

Friday, March 09, 2007

Study looks for link between Parkinson's and gambling

 

An Ontario study will look at whether Parkinson's patients who follow a
common drug regimen are prone to gambling addiction. A doctor at Toronto
Western Hospital says preliminary research indicates a link with the
medication levodopa. A U.S. study released in April of last year found
patients being treated for Parkinson's were prone to problem gambling and
compulsive shopping, as well as hypersexuality. Parkinson's disease is a
chronic, progressive disorder of the central nervous system that belongs to
a group of conditions called motor system disorders.

EU court strikes down Italian gambling restriction

 

The European Court of Justice in Luxembourg today ruled Italy can't use
criminal law to stop gaming companies licensed in other EU nations,
including the UK's Stanley Leisure Plc, from taking bets in the country. A
law barring publicly traded companies from obtaining licenses restricts "the
freedom to provide services." State monopolies in France, Germany and other
countries have been criticized by companies such as Ladbrokes Plc for
blocking their cross-border online gaming business. Shares of providers such
as Austrian Web bookmaker Bwin Interactive Entertainment AG surged after
today's court decision, which may remove some restrictions on the EU's ?50
billion ($66 billion) industry. "This is a step further toward a
liberalization of the European gambling markets," said Lode Van Den Hende, a
lawyer in the Brussels office of Herbert Smith. "Overall this is very good
now for the gaming operators. If this had gone against them they could have
closed shop." A spokesman for Italy's state monopoly, which oversees gaming
in Italy, wasn't immediately available to comment. Massimiliano Placanica
and two other people who operated shops in Italy where people could place
online bets with Stanley's office in Liverpool, England, faced criminal
charges under Italian law because Stanley didn't have a local gaming
license. Stanley argued its UK license should be recognized by all EU
countries. The court prohibited the use of criminal law in particular in
cases where foreign betting companies were refused the required license by
the country, as was the case for Stanley. "The Italian criminal penalties
for the collecting of bets by intermediaries acting on behalf of foreign
companies are contrary," to EU rules, an 11-judge panel of the court said.
The tribunal today left it to the national courts to decide whether by
restricting the number of operators in the gaming and betting industry in
the country, Italy was "genuinely" contributing to the goal of preventing
crime. Stanley said it was a "landmark" decision that will put pressure on
governments and the European Commission, the EU's executive arm in Brussels,
to end national protectionism. "We think it's time that the commission and
national lawmakers act now to end this protectionism," said Adrian Morris,
deputy director-general of Stanley. "This judgment is another step along the
road to fairer competition in Europe," Christopher Bell, chief executive of
Ladbrokes, said in an e-mailed statement. "We have already seen Italy and
Spain move to open up their betting markets and this judgment supports our
view that the policies of many EU governments are inappropriate and
disproportionate in restricting free and fair competition." Bwin said the
decision was a "milestone toward the opening of the European gambling
market." The commission last year started probing 10 EU countries including
Italy, Germany, the Netherlands and France for discrimination by barring
rivals from offering the same services as their state lotteries. They face
being taken to the EU court depending on the outcome of the investigation.
Stock in Bwin, whose co-CEO were detained for three days in September by
French authorities, rose as much as ?5.20, or 21%, to ?29.60, heading for
its biggest one-day gain in almost seven years. They traded at ?28.49 as of
3:54 p.m. in Vienna. Unibet advanced as much as 15.50 kronor, or 9.2%, to
183.5 kronor in Stockholm, the biggest jump since December 2005. The company
sponsors a professional cycling team whose members were barred last month by
the organizers of a French race from wearing uniforms that displayed
Unibet's Web site address. Ladbrokes shares gained as much as 3.1% to 408.75
pence in London trading. Sportingbet Plc, the online bookmaker that owns
Paradise Poker, advanced as much as 4.25 pence, or 8.7%, to 53.25 pence in
London. Gaming VC Holdings SA, a Web casino company that gets most of its
sales from Germany and Austria, rose as much as 8 pence, or 7.8%, to 111
pence. Still, lawyers including Quirino Mancini at Sinisi Ceschini Mancini
and Partners in Rome said today's decision may be limited to the
circumstances in this case. The court focused on Stanley's business, which
"isn't pure online betting," he said. "Those who will now claim this is a
big ruling for the whole online betting industry may be wrong," he said.
Other bookmakers, including Bwin have a different model and may not directly
benefit until another round of court proceedings. The decision won't have
any effect on Germany's state monopoly, said Friedhelm Repnik, spokesman for
the association of the Lotto corporations, Germany's lottery. "The situation
in Italy is a completely different," he said. "They have a partially open
market, here in Germany we have a clear state monopoly, whose central goal
it is to prevent gambling addiction." The court has previously backed gaming
monopolies if they're designed to prevent gambling addiction, he said. Italy
had already opened up its gaming market by introducing new rules in July
2006, said Mancini. Three months later it offered 16,000 licenses, which
"caused a major change in the whole gaming distribution network in Italy,"
he said. British operators Ladbrokes and William Hill Plc are just two
non-Italian companies that got a license to set up betting shops in Italy,
he said. The case numbers are C-338/04, C-359/04, C-360/04 Procuratore della
Repubblica v Massimiliano Placanica, Christian Palazzese and Angelo
Sorrichio Placanica.

Court documents claim Mafia bookies did $1 billion in Internet gambling

 

An alleged Mafia underboss was running a sport bookmaking syndicate through
which almost half a billion dollars flowed in a period of just 11 months,
according to police. Authorities claim Francesco del Balso, 36, ran 25
bookmaking operations in Montreal, Ottawa and Toronto, which del Balso
himself allegedly boasted did more than $1 billion in business. In Quebec,
del Balso and his partner Lorenzo Giordano, 43, allegedly operated Internet
and telephone sports gambling out of houses in Kahnawake, Montreal and
Laval, according to police. According to newly released court documents, the
bookmaking shop in Kahnawake from December 2004 to November 2005 did $391.9
million in business. Police charged del Balso and Giordano last November
with drug trafficking, illegal gambling, money laundering and gangsterism.
They were part of a takedown of 91 alleged Mafia members. Giordano also
faces an attempted murder charge. Del Balso is in jail awaiting trial while
Giordano is a fugitive. All the bets were made through a website called
betwsc.com. Many of the betters were given lines of credit and codes with
which to make their bets online. Del Balso, according to police, allegedly
had his finger on every aspect of the business including controlling the
books, recovering money from losers and paying off winners, establishing
credit margins and deciding who was allowed to place bets and get credit.

Proposed Rules On Indian Gambling

 

Officials say a federal agency's proposal to limit development of new
American Indian casinos on off-reservation sites would not have much effect
on Indian gambling in South Dakota, One portion has to do with whether
tribes will need to prove a historical connection to the land on which they
want to build a casino.
Attorney General Larry Long says it won't affect South Dakota because no
displaced tribes can make historical land claims in the state. Mike
Jandreau, the chairman of the Lower Brule Sioux Tribe, says there's a
different reason Indian gambling will not expand. He says it's because
Governor Rounds is against it.
Federal law requires states to negotiate gambling compacts with tribes.
Jandreau says Rounds has refused to reopen the compacts with tribes that
want to expand gambling.

Helping those addicted to gambling

 

Who hasn't fantasized about a life of ease? What would it be like to have
enough money to build a beautiful house, buy that expensive car, travel?
Those dreams, along with more down-to-earth thoughts of having some money
left over after paying the bills, are what drive so many Americans to
gamble. It is estimated that, in 1997, Americans collectively wagered more
than half a trillion dollars. Some 85 percent of American adults have
gambled at least once in their lives, more than 70 percent at least once in
the past year. It is important to remember that most adults gamble
responsibly. However, according to the National Council on Problem Gambling
(NCPG), some three million adults are pathological gamblers, and another
three to six million have less significant, but still serious problems.
Problem gambling involves behavior that compromises, disrupts, or damages
the gambler's personal life, relationships, finances, and/or work. The
gambler feels a need to bet more money more often, becomes restless or
irritable when not gambling or when trying to stop, may be secretive about
his/her gambling habits, and keeps on gambling despite all the negative
consequences. Indeed, a person can become addicted to gambling, getting a
"high" which has the same effect that another person might get through
alcohol or drugs. The frequency of gambling may increase as the gambler
tries to recreate that feeling. Tolerance may develop such that more intense
gambling is necessary to achieve the same emotional impact. The gambler
experiences increasingly powerful cravings to gamble which become harder and
harder to resist. Some problem gamblers are more likely to abuse drugs
and/or alcohol, and a number of problem gamblers were raised in families
where one or both parents had a problem with drinking and/or gambling.
Problem gamblers are more at risk for depression and even suicide. Adverse
consequences for families can include domestic violence and child
neglect/abuse.

The NCPG has identified the following signs of pathological gambling:

1. You have often gambled longer than you had planned.

2. You have often gambled until your last dollar was gone.

3. Thoughts of gambling have caused you to lose sleep.

4. You have used your income or savings to gamble while letting bills go
unpaid.

5. You have made repeated, unsuccessful attempts to stop gambling.

6. You have broken the law or considered breaking the law to finance your
gambling.

7. You have borrowed money to finance your gambling.

8. You have felt depressed or suicidal because of your gambling losses.

9. You have been remorseful after gambling.

10. You have gambled to get money to meet your financial obligations."

CIBER Helps Louisiana District Become First in Nation to Monitor Problem Gambling Statistics

 

At a press conference in Shreveport, La., this morning, CIBER, Inc. (NYSE:
CBR), Louisiana Attorney General Charles C. Foti, Jr., and 26th Judicial
District
Attorney J. Schuyler Marvin announced the successful launch of CIBERLaw
CRIMES(TM), a case management system that helps manage and automate
caseloads in district attorneys' offices. During the implementation, CIBER
customized the application to be able to track compulsive gambling and
related criminal activity, making the 26th judicial district the first
office nationwide to be able to monitor this activity. The announcement
coincides with a proclamation from Governor Kathleen Babineaux Blanco
declaring March 5 - 11 National Problem Gambling Awareness Week in
Louisiana. The proclamation was presented to Reece Middleton, Executive
Director of the Louisiana Association on Compulsive Gambling, by Attorney
General Foti and Michael Duffy, Assistant Secretary for the Office for
Addictive Disorders, Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals. The press
conference was held at the Center of Recovery (CORE), Louisiana's
residential problem gambling treatment facility in Shreveport. The 26th
Judicial District of Louisiana, which includes Bossier and Webster Parishes,
selected the CIBERLaw CRIMES(TM) (Case Records Information Management
Exchange System) case management solution to help it manage cases and
automate many routine tasks so attorneys, staff, and investigators can
allocate their time toward more complex and pressing activities. CRIMES(TM)
provides the parishes with a standard database and a customizable user
interface that can be quickly and easily tailored to meet the parishes'
specific needs, such as the parishes' recent initiative to track compulsive
gambling activity and related crimes. "Bossier and Webster Parishes have
just implemented CIBERLaw CRIMES(TM) to help us manage our heavy caseload,"
said Marvin. "CIBER implemented the system quickly and smoothly, and we're
seeing results already. The system has simplified document generation,
eliminated redundant tasks, and provided automatic reminders so we're always
sure to meet deadlines. One of our initiatives is to track compulsive
gambling activity, and CIBER quickly customized their product so we can
easily track this data. As a result, my district is the first one cited
within the nation to track compulsive gambling activity, its repercussions,
and costs to society." CRIMES(TM) offers an integrated workflow engine to
automate the flow of case documents and communication through the legal
system, providing automatic reminders of events and deadlines to ensure
timely completion of legal tasks. A document generation module simplifies
the production of standard and case-specific legal documents, while a robust
reporting module enables staff to easily respond to requests for information
and government reporting requirements."CIBER is very pleased to have our
product selected by Louisiana's 26th Judicial District to help with the
compulsive gambling data initiative," said Ed Burns, President of CIBER's
State and Local Government Division.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Gambling ate up most of GST fraudster's $540,000

 

A 22-year-old accountant has been jailed for defrauding the Inland Revenue
Department of more than half a million dollars in one of the biggest GST
frauds in the country's history. Roydon Glenn McLaughlin, who left school at
16 to study accounting at university and "kept needing challenges in his
life", used a network of bogus partnerships, trusts and companies to
mastermind a scheme described as "basic fraud on a grand scale". He filed
false GST returns for the fake entities over 2 years, evading detection by
keeping the returns to a modest level and thereby ensuring refunds were
automatically generated by the IRD's computer system. But despite a talent
for accounting and no previous convictions, McLaughlin also had a serious
gambling problem and frittered away nearly all of the money. Of more than
$540,000 in GST refunds he received, only $16,000 was recovered, the rest
swallowed by an addiction to betting on horses and other gambling. The fraud
was discovered when a receptionist at the department's Palmerston North
office became suspicious of new IRD numbers for different entities sharing
the same postal address in Hastings. McLaughlin had been employed by
accounting firms in Napier and Hastings and most recently worked in
Tauranga. In the Tauranga District Court yesterday, he was sentenced to two
years and 10 months in prison. He displayed a range of emotions as the court
heard about the fraud. McLaughlin faced 44 charges of dishonestly using a
document, with many of the charges covering multiple false GST returns.
Judge Louis Bidois said the crimes were deliberate and highly premeditated.
He said McLaughlin had created an "elaborate scheme that must have taken
time and effort and could be described as a complex web".
McLaughlin shook his head as the judge said that a probation report had
shown he had little remorse. In a psychiatric report his family paid for,
McLaughlin was also assessed as lacking confidence and suffering from
chronic depression, but possessing full cognitive function. His mother,
Diane, flew from Australia to speak at the sentencing, sparking tears from
her son as she recalled his precocity as a child. "He was very quick to run
before he could walk," she said. "He kept needing challenges in his life to
keep him interested in what he was doing." Addictions in the family were
also "numerous" and he accepted gambling as "something you do as part of
your natural daily life", she said. In a six-page letter to the court,
McLaughlin claimed the fraud was unplanned.

"There was no elaborate plot, no massive scheme to get this money," he
wrote. "It was something that simply happened."

Creating the various entities had been part of a plan to better understand
the accounting profession, and he claimed it worked.

"My understanding became greater than anyone else with a similar
experience."

Crown prosecutor Rob Ronayne rejected the claim as "disingenuous nonsense",
saying it was incompatible with McLaughlin's guilty plea.

Mr Ronayne also rejected a statement by McLaughlin that he wanted to turn
his life around, saying the 22-year-old had filed further false returns
totalling $8000 while on bail and all of the money had disappeared.

"The offending was simply motivated by greed," Mr Ronayne said. "This man
took the money and gambled it away."

The loss incurred by the IRD had been huge - "indeed, one of the highest the
department has come across," Mr Ronayne said.

The prosecutor suggested a starting point of five years' imprisonment but
McLaughlin's lawyer, David Bates, argued for a community-based sentence,
saying his client's letter was "from the heart" and he accepted "full
responsibility".

Mr Bates said McLaughlin's guilty plea had saved taxpayers the further
expense of a trial.

Last night, the department said the tax system relied on voluntary
compliance but IRD had recently formed a new risk and intelligence unit to
improve monitoring.

Richard Phelp, assurance manager of investigations, said McLaughlin's prison
sentence was a warning for fraudsters that they would get caught. "It's a
question of not if, but when."

Seminole Tribe Completes Hard Rock Deal

 

The Seminole Tribe of Florida completed its $965 million purchase of the
Hard Rock cafes, hotels, casinos and music memorabilia from The Rank Group
PLC on Monday through a combination of a bond offering and an equity
contribution from the tribe. Jim Allen, CEO of Seminole Gaming, said the
deal with UK-based Rank Group for Hard Rock International was composed of a
$525 million bond offering and a $500 million equity contribution. The
additional $35 million was for closing costs and working capital, Allen
said. The deal was completed after details were worked out in London, New
York and Florida. It marks the tribe's entry in the worldwide hospitality
industry and gives the tribe's gaming operations a foothold in states where
gambling is legal. The purchase was first announced in December and approved
by Rank Group shareholders in January. To celebrate the deal, more than 200
tribe members attended a colorful signing ceremony, which featured music, a
poetry reading and speeches by Seminole council members in English and
Miccosukee, a Seminole language. Then, tribal leaders gathered under the
Council Oak tree to sign documents symbolizing the sale's completion. "The
acquisition of the Rank-Hard Rock system today makes our economic survival a
little bit more sure," tribe vice chairman Moses Osceola said, with black,
red and yellow flags serving as a backdrop. "We are bound and determined to
make this thing work." The Hard Rock business includes 124 Hard Rock Cafes,
five Hard Rock Hotels, two Hard Rock Casino Hotels, two Hard Rock Live!
concert venues and stakes in three unbranded hotels. It also features a
collection of rock 'n' roll memorabilia that includes 70,000 pieces,
including guitars owned by Jimi Hendrix and Eric Clapton. The Seminoles were
the first Native American tribe to get into the gambling business, and it
says the deal is an American tribe's first purchase of a major international
corporation. "The Seminole Tribe has paved the way for Native Americans to
get into the big business industry," tribe chairman Mitchell Cypress said.
The tribe has about 3,300 members and owns and operates seven casinos in
Florida, including Hard Rock Hotel and Casinos in Tampa and Hollywood.
Before it entered the cigarette and gambling business, the tribe was mired
in poverty. Today, more than 90 percent of the tribe's budget is made up of
gaming revenue, which stands at about $500 million, according to court
records cited by the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. Each tribal member receives
a monthly dividend from operations. Revenue generated by the tribe's
businesses goes into education, health care and other services. "It was a
good effort by the council to position the tribe for the 21st century in a
business sense," said tribe member Joe Frank, who lives on the Big Cypress
reservation. "Tribal membership is growing and we need to diversify our
business assets to ensure that all our tribal members have a good future."

The tribe already has plans to expand the business, with the number of Hard
Rock hotels to grow to 15 in the next three to four years, Allen said. This
year, Hard Rock plans to finish reconstruction of a hotel and casino in
Biloxi, Miss., that was damaged by Hurricane Katrina. It also plans to open
a hotel in San Diego, begin development of a hotel and casino in Macau and
start building condo-hotel properties at the Copper Mountain Resort in
Colorado and in Palm Springs, Calif.

Monday's deal does not include Hard Rock's Las Vegas casino, which is owned
by Morgans Hotel Group, or Morgans' rights to Hard Rock intellectual
property in Australia, Brazil, Israel, Venezuela and many areas of the
United States west of the Mississippi River.

Rank has said the sale freed the company to concentrate on gambling. It
retained the Hard Rock Casino in London and plans to change it to the Rank
Gaming brand.

In a Rank Group earnings report filed Friday, Hard Rock International
reported operating profits increased 18.7 percent to $74.8 million, from $63
million the year before. It saw continued growth and improvement in all four
business divisions comprising company-owned cafes, franchise cafes, hotels
and casinos, a news release said.

March Madness: Does the Media Promote Gambling?

 

If you are doing a story on the NCAA Basketball Tournament, you might want
to look at betting on this event and the issue of compulsive gambling. I
wonder how many college students will have a bet on the games and whether or
not some athletes also have bets on the games as well. It is easier to
gamble than it is to buy cigarettes or a can of beer on college campuses all
over the country. The National Gambling Study Commission said that there are
"5 million compulsive gamblers and 15 million at risk in the U.S." Forty
eight percent of the people who gamble bet on sports. Get the real scoop:
Talk to Arnie Wexler who is one of the nation's leading experts on the
subject of compulsive gambling and a recovering compulsive gambler himself,
who placed his last bet on April 10, 1968. He has been involved in helping
compulsive gamblers for the last 38 years.Through the years, Wexler has
spoken to more compulsive gamblers than anyone else in America.
Arnie has spoken to students who gamble in college, day and night. They even
gamble during class, and it even goes on in high school lunch rooms.
According to a Harvard study a few years ago, 4.67 percent of young people
have a gambling problem. Experts tell us that the earlier a person starts to
gamble, the greater the risk of them becoming a compulsive gambler. In
another survey, 96 percent of adult male recovering gamblers stated that
they started gambling before the age of 14.

Gambling pays off

 

So says Tom Blair, former mayor of Deadwood and one of the driving forces
behind the legalization of gambling in the small town of 1,800 people. It's
been 20 years since the legislature nixed plans to bring legalized gambling
to Deadwood, in an effort to turn back the slow demise of the Wild West
town. That effort began back in the summer of 1986, when Blair and his wife
Linda, Bill Walsh, Melody Nelson, Mike Trucano, Mary Dunn and David Larson
got together and began brainstorming ways to revitalize the downtown. They
looked to the past and realized reviving gambling in Deadwood was just the
ticket. Together the group formed the Deadwood You Bet Committee in November
of that year and began the task of convincing South Dakota legislators the
state needed legalized gambling. They went to the legislature in 1987, but
they got nowhere with the body. "There were 100 different issues from 100
different people during this campaign, and the legislators weren't sure what
this was about, so they voted no," said Blair. Another thing learned from
the defeat was that people wanted to know what money being raised by
gambling would be used for. "You have to title the money, and we were able
to do that, with events like the Syndicate fire, and then the county's
attempt to tear down the historic courthouse. We told the people of the
state that gambling would help save Deadwood, otherwise it could end up
being lost," Blair said.Even with a defeat under their belts, the Deadwood
You Bet Committee was ready to pick up the fight again. "We were eternal
optimists. Here we were in a conservative state, trying to convince the
people of South Dakota to do this. Fortunately, we had people who really
believed this was the way to 0go," said Blair. The group gathered
signatures, and filed a petition for the election of 1988 in late 1987. They
then spent all of 1988 campaigning for the issue. And it wasn't just this
gang of seven that worked on the project. "We had hundreds of people from
all over the Lead-Deadwood area coming in, and we had a huge office where
Hickok's is now, and they would come in and answer phones and perform other
duties," he said. The seven members of the committee took turns speaking
wherever they could, from small meetings to large events. They even procured
a wagon and rode in parades. Blair said the committee begged borrowed or
stole whatever and whenever they could. In three years, the members spent
about $120,000 on the campaign, some of it out of their own pockets.
Finally, in November 1988, voters approved the measure.

"We were lucky to start on November 1 when we did. The last days of October
were crazy. There were only two or three casinos in Deadwood that day, and
they were scrambling to get their people in place by the First," he said.

A downside to gambling in the eyes of many was the demise of retail stores
on Deadwood's main street that were replaced by casinos. But Blair
acknowledges this by saying while gambling is the focus of Main Street now,
that does not mean normal retail businesses can't resume business on the
outskirts of town.

"The city of Deadwood worked with Lead to help attract retail businesses,
and they were able to get a commitment from a developer and the result was
the Twin City Mall, which still operates and houses a grocery store and
bowling alley and department store.

In the meantime, it was thought if wages could rise above the $5 limit, both
Deadwood and the entire state would benefit. Deadwood certainly would
attract high rollers, or at least those who could afford to place a higher
bet.

Actor Kevin Costner said he needed the higher limits to support his planned
Dunbar resort on Deadwood Hill just north of town. But voters were not
convinced and the measure failed. One more attempt failed as well, but in
November 2000, the increase was approved.

Since the inception of gambling in 1989, over $10 billion has been wagered
in Deadwood, and $71 million has been collected as taxes. That money is
earmarked for tourism promotion, Lawrence County and historic preservation.
Deadwood Historic Preservation funds have been used for a wide variety of
projects all over the state, as well as the city itself.

Tom Blair is proud of what he and his colleagues accomplished. "We took an
idea, and we presented it to the people of South Dakota. The result is we've
been able to revitalize a town that was slowly dying, and make it a
destination for millions of visitors. And we've also had a hand in
preserving the history of the area and the whole state. That's what I want
to be remembered for."

Ontario studies Parkinson drug, problem gambling link

 

The Ontario Problem Gambling Research Centre (OPGRC) has announced a
$209,040 research project to study the increased incidence of problem
gambling among Parkinson's Disease patients who follow a common drug regimen
to cope with the disease. The Institute of Neurosciences, Mental Health and
Addiction (INMHA) and Parkinson Society Canada have agreed to join the
Centre in funding the study. Both clinicians and researchers are interested
in recent studies indicating that certain people taking medicine for
Parkinson's disease may engage in compulsive behaviour, including gambling.
Parkinson's disease (PD) is a neurodegenerative disease. Movement in the
body is normally controlled by a chemical called dopamine. When brain cells
that produce dopamine die, the symptoms of PD appear. People with PD
experience shaking, as well as difficulty with walking, movement and
co-ordination. Currently there is no cure. It is estimated that about
100,000 Canadians have PD. Medications that treat the symptoms of PD include
levodopa, which is converted into dopamine, or dopamine agonists, which are
compounds that mimic the action of dopamine. The theory behind the proposed
one-year research study is that behaviours associated with problem gambling
in PD may actually be fuelled by the medications. The result of these
behaviours can have devastating consequences for the individuals and their
families. Preliminary research has indicated a link for Parkinson's patients
being treated with levodopa, according to Dr. Antonio Strafella who would
serve as the principal investigator in the study. Dr. Strafella (Movement
Disorders Centre, Toronto Western Hospital, University Health Network) is a
neurologist with expertise in movement disorders and sub-specialization in
neurophysiology and brain imaging. He will lead a team of researchers from
Toronto Western Hospital and the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health.
"What we've seen in the very early stages of our research is that the
increased turnover of dopamine activity in the brain contributes to
pathological gambling," Dr. Strafella said. "This grant will allow us to
look into this area in much greater depth and will benefit Parkinson's
patients as well as people in the general population by giving us a better
understanding of how the brain functions when it comes to problem gambling."
The research will focus on a group of 44 Parkinson's patients, fifty per
cent of whom have identified problem gambling behaviours and fifty per cent
who have not. The study will employ the use of Positron Emission Technology
(PET), an imaging technique which produces a three-dimensional image or map
of functional processes in the brain.

Dr. Strafella added it is his hope that the research could provide new
knowledge that eventually may lead to new therapeutic approaches to treat
and prevent problem gambling.

The OPGRC is an arms-length provincial agency with a mandate that includes
the scientific study of effective prevention and treatment responses to
problem gambling.

Parkinson Society Canada is a not-for-profit, national charitable
organization whose mission is easing the burden and finding a cure for
Parkinson's disease through research, education, advocacy and support
services.

The Institute of Neurosciences, Mental Health and Addiction (an Institute of
the Canadian Institutes of Health Research) is a national funding agency
that supports innovative research to provide new knowledge of the biological
and socio-cultural processes underlying neurological, mental, and addictive
disorders.

Table Gambling Bill Time Limited

 

Reports during the weekend that Pennsylvania officials may allow operators
of video gambling casinos to install what amounts to virtual table gambling
make it clear that West Virginia legislators need to act on real table
gambling this week. Video gambling is just now coming on line in the
Keystone State. Officials at West Virginia racetracks - where thousands of
video gambling machines are in operation - worry that the competition to the
north may result in loss of an enormous amount of revenue to the tracks
here. That could mean loss of jobs - as well as a major reduction in the
amount of money state government collects from video gambling. It is being
speculated in Pennsylvania that electronic versions of table gambling,
perhaps with players seated at tables around monitors on which the "games"
are shown, may be considered by state officials. In part because of
Pennsylvania, racetrack officials say they need to be allowed to add
full-scale casino-style table gambling in order to be able to compete. A
bill that would clear the way for them to do so already has been approved by
the House of Delegates. The state Senate is to vote on its version of the
bill - one much better than the House measure - this week. If it passes the
Senate, that bill and the House measure will have to be reconciled by a
conference committee. The final version would have to be approved by both
the House and the state Senate. There isn't much time left in the
legislative session for all of that to happen. The session ends at midnight
Saturday. Clearly, lawmakers have no time to waste if they are to ensure
that a table gambling bill gets to a final vote. We encourage members of
both the state Senate and the House of Delegates to work quickly - but
responsibly - on the table gambling measure. As we have noted previously,
the state Senate version offers a far more equitable distribution of the
proceeds of table gambling to the people of West Virginia. It is the version
that should be accepted by both houses.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Casino gambling is poor bet

 

"You gotta know when to hold 'em, know when to fold 'em, know when to walk
away, know when to run," as the classic Kenny Rogers tune goes. SouthCoast
residents should run from any notion of organized casino gambling in their
midst as proposed by New Bedford City Councilor David Alves. Mr. Alves and
countless others, including, possibly, Gov. Deval Patrick, are willing to
make economic stability in Massachusetts a crap shoot rather than return to
the values of hard work and Christian faith, which established this
Commonwealth over 350 years ago. Casino gambling is a poor bet for many
reasons. Lest we think that casinos are the economic jackpot we seek, let us
consider the example of Atlantic City, best summed up this way: "... look at
Atlantic City. It used to be a slum by the sea, and now it's a slum by the
sea with casinos." (Los Angeles Daily News, Aug. 7, 1994). According to
research, most casinos attract 80 percent or more of their market from a
35-50 mile radius. Casinos absorb existing entertainment, restaurant and
hotel business, and deplete dollars available to other retail businesses.
That destroys other jobs in the trade area and eliminates their sales,
employment and property tax contributions (Grinols, Earl L. "Gambling in
America, Costs and Benefits"). While politicians wish to focus the public's
attention on big payoffs, I, as a pastor of a Christian church, am compelled
to warn of the spiritual danger casino gambling poses to us and to our
communities. Gambling is seen by many rational, intelligent people as a
completely harmless activity, but how harmless is it really? Gambling is a
violation of five well-established biblical principles. The early church
pastor, Tertullian said, "If you say that you are a Christian when you are a
dice-player, you say you are what you are not, because you are a partner
with the world." 1. Gambling is idolatrous. We live under God's providential
care, but when a person gambles, the focus is altogether different -
shifting to luck, chance, and fortune instead. 2. Gambling is poor
stewardship of what God provides for us. Many spend money needed for
clothing and food for their families on gambling in hope of "striking it
rich." Those who can least afford to lose their money are the ones who are
the most addicted to gambling. The American Psychiatric Association says
between 1 and 3 percent of the U.S. population is addicted to gambling,
depending on location and demographics. 3. Many gamble hoping to strike it
rich or at least win enough money so they will not have to work. The Bible
says that the lazy person who will not work should not eat. Those that
subscribe to the philosophy of "wanting something for nothing" violate the
work principle given by God. 4. Gambling is based on covetousness! The
desire to gamble is fueled by the love of money, and we know "... the love
of money is a root of all kinds of evil" (I Timothy 6:10). Note the rest of
the verse: "Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and
pierced themselves with many griefs." Gambling insidiously leads its
participants further and further from the way of God. The question residents
have to ask themselves is this: Is this really a Christian nation, or a
Christian community, or is the word just used when it suits some political
agenda? If the answer is "no." and there is no wish for the founding faith
to inform the current culture, then casino gambling will be the wedge - the
disconnect that completely separates legislation from morality and opens the
door to legalized prostitution and hard core drugs over the counter. If,
however, voters see the sense in morality and yearn to return their
communities back to paths of righteousness, they will be informed and
inspired by the Scriptures and by commons sense, and not by the desperate
ploys of a government that has no better answers.

Is Macau a safe bet?

 

Chinese businessman Cao Yanglin let his lunch of slow-cooked beef rib with
truffle puree and lemon cream sauce go cold as he talked about his gambling
spree the night before at the baccarat tables in Macau - the world's new
epicenter for gambling. The 58-year-old property developer said he won
$3,840 at the Las Vegas-style Wynn Macau casino hotel, where he was enjoying
his noon meal. But he said he lost $7,680 at the new Grand Lisboa, shaped
like a giant Faberge egg covered in flashing lights. The sting of losing so
much money seemed to have faded for the smiling Cao, who resembled a TV
anchorman with a deep voice, square jaw, dyed black hair and a blue blazer.
He was busy musing about the amazing ongoing changes in China and how Macau
would profit from the increasingly wealthy Chinese who have a reputation for
wagering more than Americans. "My father was a railroad worker who never
left the country," said Cao, from the northern city of Tianjin, near
Beijing. "But I've been to Macau more than 10 times and I've even been to
Vegas. They need to have more baccarat tables there."
It's gamblers like Cao who helped this tiny city on the southeastern Chinese
coast bump off the Las Vegas Strip last year as the world's gambling center.
The city raked in $6.95 billion in gambling revenue, while the Strip made
$6.69 billion, regulators in both cities said. Macau says it's just getting
started. More casinos, malls, convention centers, resorts and thousands of
hotel rooms are being built in the city. Those investing billions could be
on the dream team of the global casino industry: MGM Mirage Inc., U.S.
tycoon Steve Wynn and Las Vegas Sands Corp. head Sheldon Adelson, ranked No.
3 on Forbes' list of the richest Americans.
Also involved is James Packer, executive chairman of Australia's biggest
media and gambling company, Publishing & Broadcasting Ltd. And the
flamboyant Richard Branson of Britain's Virgin Group Ltd. has been talking
about investing in a casino resort. The tycoons say Macau is a financial
no-brainer. They're certain that booming China will continue to get richer
and millions of new gamblers will flood into the casinos. The moguls also
plan to follow the same blueprint that was wildly successful in transforming
Las Vegas from a seedy casino town to a global hot spot for dining, shows,
conventions and shopping. "Macau is the safest bet on Earth," Wynn, who
opened his $1.2 billion casino resort here in September, told The Associated
Press. But some analysts are warning there are plenty of risks. China could
get hit with political upheaval or an economic meltdown. New gambling
resorts in Singapore and other parts of Asia could lure visitors. Or the
shoppers, conventioneers and families just might not show up like they did
in Las Vegas. "I think things could get pretty ugly there pretty fast," said
Matt Hoult, a portfolio manager at ABN AMRO Asset Management who is
predicting a glut in hotel rooms.

Business models that succeed in one part of the world sometimes flop in
another. Wal-Mart retreated from South Korea and Germany. Disney struggled
in France and its newest park in Hong Kong has been a disappointment. Will
Macau be a boom or a bust?

Macau - a peninsula and two islands - was ruled by Portugal for 442 years
before it was returned to China as a semiautonomous territory in 1999,
becoming the last European settlement in Asia.

It has one of Asia's most intriguing and charming blends of East and West.
Street signs are in Portuguese and Chinese. The signature snack is the
creamy egg tart on puff pastry. There are still plenty of colonial-style
mansions, churches and government buildings painted in pastel yellow, pink
and peach. The city center, with streets paved with mosaic tiles, is on
UNESCO's World Heritage List.

But Macau's dreary side is easy to find. The beautiful buildings are far
outnumbered by drab concrete apartment blocks that often have rusty
anti-theft bars and cages over the windows and balconies.

In the old casino district on the peninsula, the streets are lined with
small stores illuminated with headache-inducing bright fluorescent lights.
Shop windows are crammed with watches, Zippo-knockoff lighters, gaudy
jewelry and Buddhas made of gold. Cashiers stare glumly at customers from
elevated booths made of bulletproof glass.

Macau was a darker, more dangerous place in the late 1990s when the
Portuguese were preparing to leave. Criminal gangs waged turf wars with
frequent drive-by shootings, kidnappings and car bombs.

In a desperate bid to lure back visitors, one security official famously
proclaimed there was nothing to fear in Macau because the triad assassins
were professional killers who didn't miss their targets.

The violence mostly ended after 1999 when the Chinese People's Liberation
Army marched into Macau. But the biggest change came a day after the
hand-over.

The Chinese government announced it was ending the four-decade monopoly on
gambling held by Hong Kong tycoon Stanley Ho. The news created a huge stir
in the global gambling world, and more than 20 bidders vied for the three
concessions that were offered.

Internet Gambling the fastest-growing industry

 

Internet gambling is the fastest-growing area of gambling, and it is worth
billions of dollars annually. Its popularity lies in a number of factors,
most obviously its convenience to the online user, as it allows the customer
to play their choice of game from the comfort of their own home. The result
of this is that new Internet gambling sites are springing up every day, and
there is more choice than ever before for the online gamer.

California gambling on losing streak

 

The state-run lottery has run out of luck with its in-state lotto and
controversial participation in multistate Mega Millions, suffering a drought
of big jackpots, and is being forced to cut allocations to schools - $136
million less than last year. At the same time, a new study indicating
taxpayers may be the biggest losers in the California gambling industry has
also drawn the attention of lawmakers. The benefit of government cuts of
gambling revenues may be nearly outweighed by the costs of gaming-related
woes, such as crimes by problem gamblers and caring for poor families torn
apart by those afflicted with the disease, according to a California
Research Bureau report. The booming, $13 billion-plus business of gambling
in California - from the lottery and Indian casinos to card rooms and horse
racing - is under scrutiny by lawmakers who believe the state is doing too
little to ease the impact. We have to figure out what is most important,
said Sen. Dean Florez, a Fresno area Democrat who chairs the government
committee that oversees gambling. In the lotterys case, players havent won
any monster jackpots lately, despite Californias much-touted entrance into
Mega Millions lotto in mid-2005. Lottery officials said the problem thats
hurting their operation and allocations of revenue to schools is puzzling -
there just havent been any huge jackpots. At an unusually fast pace, players
have been nabbing Mega Millions and in-state Super Lotto prizes while they
are still relatively small and before they can build up. The lottery says it
is going to have to cut back scratch-off ticket games because it cant afford
to pay the prizes. Retail outlets will make less in commission. And lottery
officials are rethinking their overall strategy. But effects go deeper -
schools will receive less funding. During the last half of 2006, there was
an unusual absence or drought of large jackpots to fuel lotto mania - ticket
buying sprees that bolster revenue for the state agency that runs on a July
1 to June 30 fiscal year, according to lottery spokesman Rob McAndrews.
Jackpot levels are out of the lotterys control and have been significantly
below average this year, the Lottery Commission said in a statement. The
panel, largely due to drops in lotto game sales, lowered projected 2006-07
revenues by $400 million, from $3.6 billion to $3.2 billion. Its the first
such mid-year change in a decade and follows a record sales year in 2005-06
of nearly $3.6 billion. At the outset of Mega Millions participation, there
were jackpots of $170 million, $258 million and $315 million. But recently,
there have been fewer attention-grabbing prizes. As a result, public
schools - which are required to get at least 34 percent of sales - will
receive less too. Education will get an estimated $1.13 billion - $136
million less than last year.

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack OConnell says lottery
funding provides only a small fraction of the education budget but that
every dollar counts.

Occasional dips in lottery revenue mean trouble for some local districts
that have been pressured into putting the fluctuating money flow into fixed
teacher salaries, according to education officials.

The allocations are supposed to be used for instructional materials and
other items that can easily be cut back.

Due to developments, the lottery is researching its games more intensely,
dropped plans for some offerings such as the Saturday Big Spin TV show and
slashed its administrative spending reserve.

Meanwhile, at a Senate government committee hearing, lawmakers were handed a
troubling California Research Bureau Report, ordered by the attorney
generals office, which regulates gambling.

The report found Californias efforts to deal with gambling-related problems
is inadequate and underfunded.

Dagestan bans gambling

 

The parliament of Dagestan has passed a bill banning gambling. The bill was
passed in line with the federal law dated December 29, 2006 on state
regulation of organizing gambling. As of July 1, 2007 it prohibits gambling
in the territory of Dagestan. In March 2005, the imams of Makhachkala urged
the owners of saunas, nightclubs, casinos and gambling arcades to close down
or remodel their institutions and threatened to notify the local
authorities, the media and relatives about what they were doing. In October
2005, the Popular Assembly of Dagestan passed a local bill on the operation
of gambling institutions imposing severe restrictions on gambling.

Angeles raid a test case for war on Net gambling

 

The government's campaign against the proliferation of illegal Internet
gambling activities hangs in the balance as a judge in Angeles City today
hears the motion for reconsideration on the quashing of the search warrant
used to raid an alleged illegal Internet gambling operation in a hangar in
Clark Field in Pampanga last year.
The National Bureau of Investigation, on behalf of Philippine Amusement and
Gaming Corp. (Pagcor), raided a hangar leased by British Grand Vision
International Co. and TransGlobal Pacific Airways in November last year
after weeks of surveillance. The NBI team led by special agent lawyer Renato
Murcuap confiscated various casino and online computer gaming paraphernalia,
resulting in the filing of cases against the two firms' employees and
officials. Among those charged were Steve Huang and Edgar Lim. But through
the ensuing months attended by various legal twists and turns, Pagcor and
NBI have found their carefully investigated and documented case under
serious threat, with its cornerstone search warrant being quashed in court
and the government's own city prosecutor in Angeles City issuing a "novel"
finding that Presidential Decree 1602 (anti-illegal gambling law) "does not
punish the crime of Internet gambling." Marcos-era PD 1602 was promulgated
years before the magic of the Internet revolutionized instantaneous,
real-time communication as we know it today. Murcuap and the Pagcor legal
team are strongly arguing their case before the sala of Judge Omar Viola of
the Third Judicial Region's Regional Trial Court Branch 57 in Angeles City.
The motion for reconsideration points out that "the complainant [in this
case Murcuap himself] having registered and posed as online bettor on the
illegal gambling activities which were exposed, and his witness [who trained
and worked as one of the online dealers in the illegal operations] both
[did] have personal knowledge of the facts upon which the search warrant was
issued," and that "illegal gambling was committed by the respondents." The
Angeles City RTC is also clearly told how "all the elements of gambling are
present in the case and that all the respondents are guilty of illegal
gambling as the operation of the online casino games are not licensed." It
is further pointed out that "while there are no live players, there are real
and actual players of the online casino game being operated by the
respondent in the Philippines. The actual gambling done by Murcuap in the
course of investigation proves this." And it now undeniably stands as the
gateway legislation that, if properly upheld, could help regulate the
onslaught of widespread, illegal gambling.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Smoke-Free Gambling Site Thrives Amid Debate on Ban

 

In a vast, dimly lit room with a low ceiling and frosted glass chandeliers -
but without the scent or sight of a smoky haze - video lottery terminals are
arrayed in ranks like soldiers. "I used to go to Atlantic City and I hated
it when people would sit next to me smoking a cigarette," said Rosa
Rodriguez of the Bronx, who stood outside Yonkers Raceway this week smoking
a cigarette during a break from the video slot machines. "I'm a smoker, but
you pick up secondhand smoke and it gets in your clothes." To hear casino
operators and some lawmakers, however, Ms. Rodriquez is the exception and
not the rule. In New Jersey, antismoking advocates are regularly reminded
when it comes to casinos that progress is often measured in inches. And now
in New York, where an agreement with the St. Regis Mohawks has paved the way
for a casino in the Catskills, they are finding that it is a game played in
the fine print. In both states, arguments over the dangers of secondhand
smoke run headlong into the mantra of casino owners that smoking bans will
jeopardize their ability to do business and will send gamblers fleeing to
less restrictive areas or to other forms of gambling. But the owners of
racinos, racetracks with video slot machines, say smoking bans have not cut
into their popularity or their profitability. So far, say officials at
Yonkers Raceway, one of seven such gambling emporiums in New York State, the
smoking ban has proved to be more of an attraction than a deterrent to
business. While racinos, with their slot machines, blur the lines with
casinos, with their table games, there is little question that operations
like the one in Yonkers have brought new revenue to the tracks and to the
state, rescuing harness and thoroughbred racing from extinction.
In New Jersey, the efforts to ban smoking have been as tremulous as a smoke
ring. Last year the Legislature approved a total ban on smoking in
restaurants and bars, but exempted casinos. This year, the City Council in
Atlantic City, under pressure from antismoking advocates and casino
employees, broached the notion of a total smoking ban. After casino
operators warned of economic harm, the Council relented and last month
approved a measure allowing smoking on 25 percent of the gambling floors.
About three weeks later, the State Senate Health Committee unanimously
passed a measure that would do away with the exemption, but obstacles thrown
up by the casino operators are considerable, and prospects for its final
passage are uncertain. Besides the millions in revenue they bring into the
state, casino operators are also large political contributors. In New York,
a coalition of antismoking groups has raised concerns about a new pact with
the St. Regis Mohawks, which on its face would require that their proposed
casino observe the state's ban on smoking in the workplace. But according to
Peter Slocum, a spokesman for the antismoking groups, buried in the 92-page
agreement is wording that would allow only a "portion" of the casino floor
to be smoke-free.

A statement from Gov. Eliot Spitzer's office on the compact with the St.
Regis Mohawks initially said the tribe would observe all state health and
safety laws even though the proposed casino would be on sovereign Indian
land. But Christine Pritchard, a Spitzer spokeswoman, conceded that the
compact's language regarding smoking was inconsistent, and that efforts were
being made to resolve any confusion.

Russell Sciandra, president of the American Cancer Society, one of the
groups favoring a ban, said in a letter to Governor Spitzer, "We believe the
compact's failure to meaningfully address smoking is backsliding and a bad
deal for the health of New Yorkers."

A similar kind of buyer's remorse has descended on some New Jersey
legislators who supported last year's exemption for casinos. State Senator
Joseph Vitale, a co-sponsor of the latest bill calling for a total smoking
ban, said he accepted the exemption because 95 percent of bars and
restaurants would be covered. "But afterward, a number of lawmakers
regretted granting the exemption, based partly on the outcry from unions
representing casino workers," Mr. Vitale said. "I feel confident that we can
get this complete ban out of the Senate."

Casinos should pay price for gambling addictions

 

ACalifornia Senate committee recently learned that while many of us love to
gamble, quite a few suffer from addiction as casinos empty their pockets.
The state's legal gambling operations make $13 billion a year - and rising -
yet such operations put no money into assisting those with gambling
problems, including addiction. The committee also learned some disturbing
facts - there are 1.5 million problem gamblers and much of the state's
efforts in this area center on a hot line number. Experts say there are only
15 state counselors certified to deal with pathological gambling. The state
spends a paltry $3 million on the problem - to say this is inadequate is an
understatement. The Senate Governmental Organization Committee vows to get
to the bottom of this problem. A statewide plan was introduced in February
by the Office of Problem Gambling that would center on public awareness,
prevention services and building a better treatment infrastructure at a cost
of $150 million annually. Thirty states have such programs. A national
organization is pushing for federal legislation to help with the problem. We
would like to offer our own suggestion. Instead of figuring out how to fold
this problem into the state budget and creating more bureaucracy, why can't
we shift the cost to the casinos and gambling establishments that are raking
in billions from gamblers and - quite frankly - we're not talking about a
huge chunk of their profits. Casinos do not contribute much toward the
treatment of gambling addiction, other than cases with their own employees.
The state of California hasn't been a big help, either. We have too few
qualified professionals to deal with gambling addicts, who often end up
resorting to crime or committing suicide. And, lawmakers were so brilliant
that they gave back $3 million donated by Indian casinos years ago to
address problem gambling because it was never used. In 2002, U.S. legal
gaming revenue amounted to $68.7 billion. The National Council of Problem
Gambling says up to 9 million Americans have a problem. California is a
pacesetter in many areas, here's another where we could be. Gambling
establishments in this state should voluntarily come together and make major
donations toward centers and programs to help those with gambling problems.
It could be a model for the rest of the nation. If the establishments hedge
their bets, perhaps the state should levy a tax on these businesses, maybe
draw funds from state-commissioned operations like horse racing to help
those in need. Gambling establishments have received numerous breaks on
taxes and land acquisition, among other things; now it's time to show that
Californians are more than just paying customers.

Online Gambling: BestLine Sports Looks to Capitalize

 

BestLine Sports is positioning itself as one of the leading online gambling
establishments in the world of sports betting for North American sporting
enthusiasts as they capitalize on a void left by its competitors. Once a
small niche book, BestLine Sports (see website here) since the start of the
new year has transformed itself by taking over a nice size chunk of Pinnacle
Sports players looking to bet with reduced juice (BestLine Sports
offers -107 reduced juice and is one of the few US facing online betting
shops to do so). The company also has one of the best processing systems in
place, which allows for a rather high credit card acceptance rate.
"For Gambling911.com readers, it is important to realize that BestLine
Sports is the second longest tenured online sportsbook on the Gambling911
website," commented Payton O'Brien, the marketing brainchild behind the G911
website. BestLine Sports has been part of the Gambling911.com family since
2002. During the football season, BLS took some time off to refine its
business following a move to a much larger facility in Panama City, Panama.
"For years, BestLine Sports has been running like clockwork but now its
owners are taking the business to a whole other level while some of the
competition is bowing out," said O'Brien.
Marketing wise, the company now utilizes one of the most powerful firms in
online gambling. From a processing standpoint, the feedback has been very
positive ever since NETeller pulled out of the US facing market. BestLine
Sports has also embraced professional sports bettors. "BestLine Sports has
filled a void left by PinnacleSports," commented O'Brien. "Many sports
bettors were overjoyed when BestLine Sports came in to assist those left
blindsided by PinnacleSports sudden decision to leave the US market without
warning." The company offers 15% signup bonuses when opening an account
with $100 or more and $1 minimum bets. In addition, customers are permitted
one free payout per month (meaning you won't be charged any credit card,
bank wire, etc.. fees to withdraw).

Authorities Crack Down On Illegal Gambling

 

The district attorney is making it harder for illegal gambling to take place
in Allegheny County. The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reported that 400 video
poker machines were confiscated during raids throughout the week. State,
local, county police and the liquor control board said they are targeting
organized criminal activity, but have not made any arrests in connection
with the poker machines. Giving payouts on video poker play is a misdemeanor
in Pennsylvania.

Any bets on when Catholic board's gambling habit will end?

 

Calgary Catholic schools are back where they started. Those Catholic schools
currently raising cash through gambling still don't have a date to stop
sucking up casino and bingo bucks after a school board task force couldn't
come to a decision. But Catholic school board chair Cathie Williams says the
board will now huddle and decide on a date later this month. "We have to
come up with a date. It has to be resolved," says Cathie. "I would think
within a month we'll have this all wrapped up. We can't leave it open. Our
schools can't continue to keep doing what they're doing. We know where the
bishop wants us to be." Schools are all over the map about when they want to
stop making money off casinos and bingos, some desiring as much as seven
years to wean themselves off the loot. This isn't easy stuff. Recall the
argy-bargy leading to a handshake between Bishop Fred Henry and the board
last September? To many souls it probably seemed a curious conflict. When
you can fit the accumulated consistency of most so-called leaders into a
thimble, Bishop Fred actually has a backbone. Like him or loathe him, the
words he speaks mean something. In this situation, Bishop Fred drew the line
in the theological sand. Stop taking gambling money to raise funds for
schools. It is immoral, he said. It preys on the vulnerable, he continued.
Schools need money. The provincial Tories do not put sufficient dollars into
education. But the end does not justify the means. Catholic schools must act
Catholic. Otherwise what is it to be a Catholic? The bishop was willing to
give wiggle room on the date when schools had to stop taking the moolah. But
they had to quit the cash. The bishop is one tough cookie. He's taken on the
likes of Ralph and Conrad Black and got grief from the Alberta Human Rights
Commission. Bringing the local Catholic school board back into the fold
should have been a piece of cake. It wasn't. The school board disagreed with
the bishop. They insisted they were taking the money for the good of
students. The bishop was not amused. He didn't celebrate the district mass
marking the opening of the school year. He threatened to pull priests out of
schools not toeing the line. He talked of stripping the Catholic designation
from schools defying his position. The bishop and board talked and last
September there finally was a deal. A board task force would set a Get Out
of Gambling date in early 2007. Hello, early 2007. There was supposed to be
"disengagement" from gambling "as quickly as possible." Well, the task force
asked schools when they were willing to exit from the proceeds of gambling.
Elementary and junior highs wanted a five year maximum reprieve and senior
high schools wanted seven.
Six out of 10 schools expected to opt out of bingos and casinos earlier, by
June 2009, but some wanted to drag things out until June 2014. The task
force waffled. Some members wanted schools to decide for themselves within
the five-year and seven-year suggested deadlines.

Others agreed but also wanted to "encourage" schools to go faster.

A third group backed the bishop and, according to this week's task force
report, "expressed the view bingos and casinos are immoral and therefore
schools should get out of them right away."

For them, "there is a strong desire to disassociate the Church from an
activity that is seen as morally problematic."

The only puzzler. What were all the others thinking?

As for a district target date to be out of casinos and bingos, numbers were
thrown around, with no agreement.

Now, it's up to the trustees.

"We always wanted to work with the bishop," says Cathie, insisting there
will soon be "a reasonable ending" to end the aggravation on this issue.

"Our difficulty was in doing what the bishop wants us to do without harming
the schools."

Last fall, Williams and Bishop Fred did a grip-and-grin for the cameras,
cementing their agreement to come up with a no-gambling date.

"We're there," said Cathie at the time to the bishop.

Yesterday, she's not backing away much.

"We'll get there," she says.

Club owner gets probation in gambling case

 

The two-year saga surrounding a $100,000 Super Bowl pool ended Friday with
the co-owner of the Legacy Supper Club placed on probation for one year on
gambling charges. Mary Blair, 54, appeared before Outagamie County Circuit
Judge John Des Jardins on twin charges of permitting premises to be used for
gambling and placing a bet. Des Jardins endorsed a plea agreement that
recommended one year of probation, 25 hours of community service and $120 in
court costs. But it was clear Des Jardins was uncomfortable sentencing
someone for operating a sports pool of the kind found in most workplaces
this time of year. "Gambling is pretty pervasive and this is March madness
right now and you can go anywhere in the community and place a bet," said
Des Jardins. Des Jardins acknowledged the unusual size of the $1,000-a-bet
board drew the attention of authorities. "The reason we have laws is so
citizens know where the line is and if they cross it they can be prosecuted
for that," he said "It would be helpful to know that. I don't feel it is a
very serious crime and the people participated in it voluntarily." The case
started in February 2005 when agents from the state Department of Justice's
Division of Criminal Investigation executed a search warrant at the Legacy
Supper Club, N5334 N. Richmond St., Grand Chute. They seized $101,848 in
cash and betting records, with the majority of participants betting under
nicknames. The pool consisted of 100 squares costing the bettor $1,000 each
with a payout at the end of each quarter. The pool was designed to pay out
$95,000 with $5,000 retained by the house. About six months later the case
was turned over to the Outagamie County District Attorney's office for
prosecution. The case languished there for another 18 months before District
Attorney Carrie Schneider issued charges last week. Then, only Mary Blair,
not her husband, Robert Blair, was charged. "She was the one who wanted to
run the pool and she was the one who kept the records," said Assistant
District Attorney Melinda Tempelis, who handled the sentencing hearing. It
was revealed at the sentencing that the money seized was forfeited to
federal authorities. On the same day the Legacy Supper Club was raided, a
consent search was conducted at Tommy G's, a Kaukauna tavern, where between
$10,000 and $15,000 were seized as part of another Super Bowl pool.
Schneider was asked about the status of that case earlier this week. "Given
the scope, I will likely not be pursuing charges in that case," said
Schneider. "The scope was not anything near what we had at the Legacy."

Des Jardins suggested he was left conflicted by the prosecution of a
gambling case where more and more gambling is now legal or conducted in the
workplace.

"It puts the court is a difficult position," he said. "And then there is
legal betting and the court has seen the results of that here where we have
had huge embezzlement cases. The majority of the people in the community
have participated in illegal bets."

Monday, March 05, 2007

Iowa gambling regulators agree to delay on expansion

 

State gambling regulators have agreed to delay until next year a debate on
whether to issue new licenses allowing additional casinos in the state. The
Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission decided unanimously Thursday that more
time is needed to assess the financial performance of four new casinos that
were granted licenses in 2005 before deciding if the state can support
additional casinos. Three of the casinos which received licenses have
already opened -- in Worth County, Emmetsburg and Riverside. A fourth casino
in Waterloo has faced repeated construction delays and is not expected to
open until summer, officials said. Commission head Kate Cutler, of Council
Bluffs, said she doesn't expect the panel to take up the issue of additional
licenses until at least January. Even if the panel decided to consider
applications for new licenses, a timeline for considering them likely would
stretch until March of 2008, she said. Officials from Ottumwa, Fort Dodge
and Tama have all expressed interest in applying for a casino license. Iowa
currently has 19 casinos, which took in more than $1.1. billion last year.
The Waterloo complex will be the 20th.

Don't say 'don't' in anti-gambling ads: teens

 

"Don't do it" is the wrong message to send teenagers if you want them not to
gamble, a new study says. Based on 30 focus groups with teenagers in
southeastern Ontario and Montreal, two researchers concluded that it's easy
for ad campaigns designed to discourage certain behaviours to run afoul of
the target audience.
Carmen Messerlian and Jeffrey Derevensky concluded that teenagers: Reject
one-sided campaigns as unrealistic. Don't respond to don't do it. Get bored
with ads that are repeated too often. In an anti-gambling campaign, the
teenagers thought ads that focused on the negatives - loss of sleep, missing
school or work, harm to friends and family, emotional stress and financial
costs - would be most effective. They also said they were concerned that the
government makes money from gambling. And the gambling industry didn't
escape criticism.

National Problem Gambling Awareness Week Begins on Monday

 

The National Council on Problem Gambling (NCPG) is announcing the National
Problem Gambling Awareness Week which is set to run from March 5 - 11. The
information displayed during the week will help people decipher warning
signs of problem gambling and make people aware of places they can call if
they discover a problem. The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) is
providing information on their website and many Pennsylvania casinos and
gambling interest groups will sponsor the NPGAW event. The PGCB will also
make available information discovered throughout the week on their website.
"The information that we are providing to the public includes documents
developed by the National Counsel on Problem Gambling such as: Signs of a
Problem Gambler; Older Adults and Gambling; and Signs of a Possible Gambling
Problem in Students," says Nanette Horner, the PGCB's Director of Compulsive
and Problem Gambling. The gambling board is not saying that gambling should
be avoided completely, just that it can lead to ill times for many people
who have a hard time controlling the impulsive desire to participate in
gaming activities. The NPGAW has several casinos and other gambling interest
groups sponsoring the event such as, Harrahs, the Pennsylvania Lottery, the
Horse Racing Commision, the Mohegun Sun at Pocono Downs, and others.

Bwin puts temporary halt on Turkey gambling offers

 

Austrian internet bookmaker bwin.com said on Friday it would temporarily
withdraw its online gaming offers from Turkey after a new law was passed on
Feb 28.
"Although on one hand, the new law prohibits online games of chance, on the
other it also provides for the possibility of acquiring a license at a later
date," bwin said in a statement. Bwin generates about six percent of its
gross gaming revenues in the country, which meant the halt on its Turkey
business could slash gross gaming revenues by 15-20 million euros ($26.3
million) per year, according to a spokesman. Bwin said it would aim to
acquire a license if Turkish authorities chose to issue any, adding it was
unclear when this could be the case. Online gambling companies are facing
increasingly stringent regulation in the United States and Europe, with
governments curbing Internet gambling to protect customers and state-run
lotteries. Last year, bwin wrote off most of the value of its U.S. poker
website, which it acquired for more than 500 million euros earlier in 2006,
after the United States effectively outlawed Internet gambling. By 1550 GMT,
bwin shares traded down 3.0 percent at 24.00 euros, making it the top
percentage loser in Austria's blue-chip index ATX which was up 0.75 percent.

Full Senate Gets Gambling Bill

 

West Virginia's racetracks would pay an additional 1 percent of net profits
for the privilege of offering table gambling under legislation passed
Thursday out of the Senate Finance Committee. The tax rate would be raised
from 35 to 36 percent under an amendment proposed by state Sen. Vic Sprouse,
R-Kanawha. The additional money would be used for the gradual reduction of
limited video lottery machines in West Virginia communities - not those
already at racetracks. The table gambling legislation, House Bill 2718,
passed the Finance Committee by a 10-6 vote Thursday. The measure gets its
first reading before the entire Senate today, with a second reading and
amendments scheduled for Monday and a vote on the bill set for Tuesday. The
Senate's version of the table gambling bill is significantly different than
that earlier passed by the House. If the full Senate passes the legislation,
the House would next have to vote to concur with the changes before the
measure is final. All legislation must be passed before the lawmakers
adjourn at midnight March 10. If approved, officials at the state's four
racetracks would get the right to petition to place a local referendum on
table gambling before their respective county's voters. The racetracks are
located in Ohio, Hancock, Kanawha and Jefferson counties. Local state Sens.
Jeff Kessler, D-Marshall; Ed Bowman, D-Hancock; and Andy McKenzie, R-Ohio,
crafted most of the changes inserted into the Senate's table gambling
legislation when it was before the Senate Judiciary Committee. These changes
cut in half the table gambling tax proceeds earmarked for race purses and
redirected the funds to counties and municipalities where the state's four
tracks are located. "We are pleased that the Finance Committee adopted the
changes we made to the bill," Bowman said. "Senators Kessler, McKenzie and I
worked together diligently on this legislation. We believed our first duty
was to take care of our municipalities." Bowman, both a Finance Committee
member and an employee of the Mountaineer Race Track and Gaming Resort, was
permitted to vote on the bill Thursday. He asked chairman Sen. Walt Helmick,
D-Pocahontas, for a ruling on whether he would be allowed.
Helmick told Bowman he falls into the class of many teachers who serve in
the Legislature who are permitted to vote on teachers' pay raises. Bowman
voted in favor. McKenzie said it was important that the bill allow county
residents to vote on table gambling, and that money generated from table
gambling be returned to racetrack communities. As a result of the changes,
the city of Wheeling is expected to receive an additional $800,000 annually;
the city of Bethlehem, $50,000; and the town of Bethany, $18,000, according
to McKenzie.

Kessler said he believed the additional 1 percent tax added by Sprouse to be
"more symbolic than effective."

"The 1 percent tax would generate $1.5 million annually," he said. "The
limited video lottery machines brought in net revenue of $152 million last
year.

"To suggest that this could be used as a financial incentive to help reduce
the limited video lottery machines is absurd. It would be like trying to
kill an elephant with a pea shooter."

Kessler, instead, suggested that the state consider changes in the number of
limited video lottery machines permitted in the state when the licenses for
these machines come up for renewal in 2011. His thought is to reduce the
overall number of machines in the state, while allowing more to be placed at
one location.

"This would have the overall effect of reducing the number of ... machines
in the community," he said.

Wheeling Island Racetrack and Gaming Center President and General Manager
Robert Marshall said he feels confident about the legislation's eventual
passage, but he is concerned about paying more of the profits from table
gambling to the state.

"This will further impede the amount of investment we can make at the
tracks," he said. "It's just another percent we can't reinvest."

Ted Arneault, president and chief executive officer at Mountaineer Race
Track and Gaming Resort, concurred that the additional percent "would make
it more difficult for the facility."

"We will work to try to rectify it," he said. "Otherwise, we'll just have to
work with it."

Officials at both tracks have said table gambling is needed if they are to
continue to be profitable once video lottery machines in Pennsylvania go
online.

Both Marshall and Arneault have remained in Charleston as the legislation is
considered by lawmakers - though Arneault was absent Wednesday, as he
attended the opening of his new track and gambling facility in Erie, Pa.

West Virginia Racing Association President John Cavacini added that the
tracks, thus far, have not actively opposed the tax rates imposed upon them
in the legislation.

"We felt we acted in good faith by accepting them," he said.

Any attempt to limit the number of limited video lottery machines should
have been contained in a separate piece of legislation, he added.

Delegate Randy Swartzmiller, D-Hancock, who introduced the table gambling
bill in the House, said he expects the House to largely agree with changes
to the bill made in the Senate.

"I was a little surprised by the additional 1 percent tax amendment," he
added. "But it's not a back-breaking amendment. It won't doom the bill."

Agents bust illegal gambling house

 

State and local law enforcement busted an illegal gaming operation at a
Baltimore City bowling alley Thursday. Agents with the Maryland
Comptroller's
Office and officers with the Baltimore City Police Department seized more
than $3,000 in cash and more than 900 containers of beer along with two half
kegs, and two quarter kegs of beer from Charm City Duckpin Lanes at 3540 S.
Hanover St. Baltimore police forcibly opened the video gaming machines and
seized $2,754 in cash. An additional $676 was seized from other areas of the
business, state officials said. Authorities also confiscated pay out slips,
indicating cash payments had been made to players, along with the machine's
internal circuitry and power units. Charm City's manager, Glen Curtis
Hendricks Jr., 49, manager of the bowling alley, faces two counts of selling
sale of alcoholic beverages without a license, three counts of illegally
possessing alcoholic beverages for purpose of sale, unlawfully doing
business without a trader's license and unlawfully doing business without a
restaurant license. All charges are misdemeanors. Baltimore City is expected
to file separate video gaming charges. "The Comptroller's Office is serious
about going after illegal sales and gaming in Maryland. Working with our
partners in Baltimore City, we are sending a message that unlawful activity
will not be tolerated," said Comptroller Peter Franchot said in a statement.
Officers said the unlawful alcoholic beverages were brought in by those
visiting the business, which had failed to register with the Baltimore City
Liquor Board as a "Bottle Club" and was operating illegally. Hendricks is
the 38th person arrested for alcohol violations this fiscal year. So far,
the total alcoholic beverages confiscated have a value of approximately
$156,426, Franchot's office said.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Lost Opportunities Hurting Americans

 

Once you leave the U.S. the situation becomes rather clear and quite
depressing. The rest of the world is full of potential and opportunity when
it comes to online gambling. New choices and options merely await
implementation in this business which seemingly changes every six months.
The U.S. once held all the cards in this market, but has been forced to
fold. So it goes for Americans caught up in the high-stakes game we call the
online gambling industry. Spending time in Macau, the new king of gambling,
made me almost too depressed to think about the future. The American
government has succeeded in scaring away the majority of the industry from
even contemplating a future which includes us. Everyone knows online
gambling won't completely turn its back on Americans, but we won't be at the
forefront. The newest and best options will pass us by. The newest
wrinkles and twists on betting will only come to us second-hand. Worst of
all, the endless opportunities for jobs and taxes will instead go to people
in Malta, the Philippines, or any of a number of countries embracing the
industry. America is so fat and rich it turns its back on high-paying jobs
in a quickly growing technology sector. Other countries are fighting to
create loopholes and tax breaks that send out a red carpet for this nascent
industry which merely serves burgeoning demand. Even China, not exactly a
beacon of freedom of choice, grudgingly accepts they must allow some online
gambling or face it being an essentially uncontrolled industry. American
policy makers and law enforcement somehow believe they can do what even
tightly controlled China cannot. People will gamble and won't accept
theoretical limits on how they can do it. While its clear the wish to keep
these activities an American endeavor on U.S. soil drives these misguided
efforts, the rest of the world is going in a completely opposite direction.
Many influential companies have just throw their hands in the air and stated
they will just serve the willing and leave Americans to their folly. Sadly
we must accept the fact that while most of us crave the biggest and best
action, it won't be seen on our shores first. Just a year ago only a fool
in this industry would have thought anything of a business plan where the
best ideas and investments ignored the American market. Asia still has
virtually no legal online gambling and many European countries are saturated
in it.

So thank Congress and Bill Frist for sending us all into a state of
pointless decay. Yes slightly fewer people might gamble online, but how do
we as a society win from this? Money not wagered online still tends to
find a way into action. The gambling activities are rarely subverted in
whole. Besides last time I checked Americans are not lacking in frivolous
or downright dumb ways to spend their money.

Many of these ways to spend money increasingly support lower paid service
jobs and areas with little American value added. Shopping to your heart's
content and buying made in China products does a lot less good than products
designed by Americans, sold by Americans, and taxed by Americans Instead
some young Filipino will double his earnings opportunity just because he
speaks English, while some potential American sportsbook employee will have
to continue to compete against an outsourced Indian or Chinese resource.

Even worse Americans are in the vanguard of these efforts and could be
selling ideas and taking countless bets from foreign lands. You would think
lawmakers would realize attempting to stop unstoppable forces only means
wasted opportunities. Maybe instead of listening to religious groups tell
them what harm online betting does to society, our lawmakers should take a
tour of an international book to see there really are winners when this
industry operates within reasonable guidelines.

Gambling problems more likely with unaware parents

 

New research suggests the risk of becoming a problem gambler is more than
five times higher for teens whose parents aren't aware of their gambling
activities. The research by the Responsible Gambling Council stems from a
previously released study about the gambling habits of Ontario teenagers
aged 15 to 17. The council is launching a campaign to persuade parents to
talk to their children about gambling in the hopes that household
discussions will reduce the risk of problems down the road. "If you're going
to talk about alcohol, if you're going to talk about drugs or sex, talk
about gambling too, because you can influence the future of your son or
daughter and quite possibly give them an attitude to gambling that's less
likely to get them into trouble down the road,'' said council CEO Jon Kelly.
Kelly, who has two children in their 20s, said he doesn't want parents to
approach the topic like it's another "big talk.'' He said kids would respond
better if the subject comes up naturally, such as when a poker tournament is
on TV. If a teenager -- or anyone else -- looks at gambling as a way to make
money, or thinks he or she can win back lost money, those are warning signs
of a potential problem gambler, Kelly said. "It's not about prohibition,''
he said. "It's about understanding that gambling is an activity which is OK
as a recreational activity but can lead to quite serious problems for some
people.'' The initial study, released in January, found that of the 2,140
Ontario teens surveyed, more than one-third gambled for money. The study
showed that more than 40 per cent of those teens played poker, 36 per cent
bought raffle tickets, 23 per cent bet on sports, 15 per cent played dice
games, and 10 per cent gambled online.

Gambling Commission Paper Reveals UK Gambling Habit

 

The latest paper from UK Gambling Commission has shed light on the extent of
the nation's gambling habit. It found that eight percent of the country's
adults have dabbled in at least one form of remote gambling in the previous
month. According to the 'Survey Data on Remote Gambling Participation', the
National Lottery was the most popular form of remote gambling, with over
five percent of respondents admitting to having gambled remotely on the
Lottery in the last month. Online poker came in as the second most popular
choice at two percent, with betting third at just under two percent. Remote
gambling using a computer, laptop or handheld device was the most popular
option at five percent, closely followed by gambling via mobile phone and
interactive/digital TV. The survey also discovered that people in the 18 to
34 age group were the most likely to gamble. Commenting the survey, Gambling
Commission chairman Peter Dean said, "This new series is an important part
of the Commission's monitoring. The figures reflect the uptake of new
technology with people choosing to gamble via the internet as well as
through mobile phones and interactive television."

Macau's thriving gambling industry

 

I cannot quite remember whether it was the Vino Tinto - perhaps you know the
sort, slightly gruff and moody but heart-warming nonetheless. Or maybe it
was the outrageously sensuous and fickly-named Serradura, a pudding so
seductive it would have broken laws in any other incarnation. Either way I
finished my meal at La Lorcha with the conclusion that if you are looking
for an authentic culinary experience that hits every spot in the stomach and
still has pretensions to being healthy, it has to be Portuguese. After
supper, I walked through the Avenidas and Estradas past the Dom Pedro V
Theatre and the various monasteries while catching, I thought, a slight hint
of southern Europe's perfumed air. And then I saw the egg - an electronic
egg. No, an electronic Faberge egg. Again - an electronic Faberge egg that
was 100 feet tall and still greater in girth. "Welcome," it greeted me in
tens of millions of flashing pixels, "to the Hotel Lisboa!"

We're gambling away our future

 

As parents we worry. We worry about whether our kids are too fat or too
thin, how to get them into good schools and whether they'll fall off their
bikes or be abducted. Then they get a bit older and we anguish over whether
they're smoking pot, having sex or hanging out with the wrong crowd. Then,
no sooner have we resigned ourselves to the fact that they're teenagers and
are probably doing all three, do we start to worry about what job they'll
get and whether they'll still be living at home when they're 36. Now, to add
to these concerns, we face the delightful prospect that our tender offspring
may well be lured into gambling by the government's ludicrous plan to turn
our green and pleasant land into another Vegas. Hello Blair, Jowell and
anyone else who thinks this is a good idea, have you entirely lost the plot?
Do you not know that many people's debts are already spiralling out of
control and that according to research most don't even want more casinos?
Haven't you twigged that gambling is addictive and addiction leads to crime?
It's all very well to say that responsible adults are too sensible to get
hooked. But what about those who aren't responsible or who aren't adults? We
all know of kids who are addicted to computer games. So what's to stop an
11-year-old who spends hours trying to win points on Nintendo from becoming
a 16-year-old who spends them trying to win the jackpot on a fruit machine?
Especially as fruit machines nowadays are skilfully designed to trick
players into thinking they're about to win so they'll carry on playing? The
new supercasinos, offering unlimited prizes, will be the most tempting of
all and just because only one is being built for the moment doesn't mean
there won't be more in future. That rich American with the ranch who
generously gave John Prescott the fetching cowboy outfit is bound to build
one at the Dome sooner or later. And he won't be the only tycoon eager to
profit from vulnerable people frittering away hundreds or thousands of
pounds on gaming machines and roulette.

PRC taking 'proactive role' in response to gambling allegations

 

The state Public Regulation Commission wants to have its workers attend
training sessions on gambling in the wake of an investigation into
allegations that PRC employees took part in a type of lottery dubbed "dollar
roll." PRC Chairman Ben R. Luján on Thursday sent a letter asking the Gaming
Control Board to conduct two training sessions, which would be mandatory for
all agency employees. "The commission is taking a very proactive role,"
Luján said. Luján made his remarks after commissioners discussed an ongoing
investigation into the gambling allegations for roughly 45 minutes behind
closed doors. Commissioners took no action during the closed session, Luján
said. One employee remains on unpaid leave pending the investigation, Luján
said. He would not identify the worker, saying it was a personnel matter.
Public Regulation Commissioner Sandy Jones on Thursday said the agency is
close to finishing its investigation of the gambling allegations.
The PRC last week suspended the unidentified employee without pay. PRC Chief
of Staff Daniel Mayfield last week e-mailed a letter to agency employees
saying the PRC was investigating the allegations, and gambling on PRC
premises or during work hours would result in disciplinary action. An
anonymous letter mailed to The New Mexican in an Insurance Division envelope
alleged that several employees of that branch of the PRC and the agency's
Transportation Division were taking part every payday in a gambling game
called "dollar roll." According to the letter, dollar roll is a type of
lottery where players write their name on an adhesive note and attach it to
a dollar bill. The dollar is rolled, bound with a rubber band and placed in
a box. The winner's name then is drawn from the box, and the winner gets all
the money in the box, according to the letter. The Gaming Control Board has
forwarded the anonymous letter to the state Department of Public Safety,
said John Monforte, executive director of the board. Monforte said the
agency likely would provide a seminar for PRC employees on state gaming laws
once it receives Luján's letter. "We probably would be open-minded and
assist in that," Monforte said.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Lawmakers to tackle problem gambling

 

Legal gambling operations make $13 billion a year from California's booming
gaming industry but do little to aid the hundreds of thousands whose lives
it ruins or ease damage to society, lawmakers said Tuesday. A Senate
committee, which intends to swiftly tackle the problem, was surprised at
some findings during a nearly four-hour informational hearing: A government
Web site for the state's estimated 1.5 million problem gamblers included a
link to a private firm that offers gaming. Officials promised to comply with
lawmakers' request to remove the link. Some $3 million donated by Indian
casinos years ago to address problem gambling was given back when it went
unused by the state. Much of the state's efforts center around a hotline
number - 1-800-GAMBLER - that does not necessarily lead to true help.
Experts said there are only 15 counselors in the state who are certified to
deal with pathological gambling. Lawmakers said that in general they found
an underfunded, inadequate effort by the state, which has set up the tiny
state Office of Problem Gambling and four other small gambling-related
agencies. Steve Hedrick, director of the Office of Problem Gambling, said
his agency released an 18-page statewide plan this month but said he was
uncertain what it would cost to implement it. "We're preparing for the day
when we have the money," Hedrick told the Senate Governmental Organization
Committee, which oversees gambling.
Sen. Dean Florez, a Fresno-area Democrat who chairs the committee, demanded
Hedrick report back to the committee as the Legislature's dominant Democrats
prepare to consider Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's proposed 2007-08
budget. The gambling plan, which cost up to $150 million annually, would
primarily center on public awareness, prevention services and building a
better treatment infrastructure for the disease of pathological gambling.
Pilot programs would likely be centered in Los Angeles and the Bay Area. The
state is currently spending about $3 million on the problem. As one of the
committee's first emergency steps, Florez said they hope to hasten state
plans for pathological gamblers to place themselves on lists barring them
from entering card rooms and other gambling establishments, for instance. A
parade of state officials, regulators, and experts testifying before the
committee, described a grim impact of Indian casinos, card rooms, the
state-run lottery, horse racing and illegal gambling on the Internet and
elsewhere. Problem gamblers' fates range from killing themselves to
committing crimes.

Bruce Roberts, of the nonprofit California Council on Problem Gambling, said
about a third of California's overcrowded prisons house inmates whose
downfall involved gambling in some way.

"You can't gamble your society to prosperity," said Fred Jones of the
California Coalition Against Gambling Expansion.

Tim Fong of the Gambling Studies Program at the University of California,
Los Angeles, said ethnic minorities and the poor gamble in disproportionate
numbers.

Efforts to help them are dwarfed by programs run by much smaller states such
as Iowa, experts said.

Anthony Miranda, of the California Nations Indian Gaming Association,
described casinos' efforts as generous and aggressive. But he acknowledged
that newer compacts, still lucrative for cash-strapped state coffers, no
longer include automatic allocations for gambling-problem programs.

Officials from the $3 billion-plus a year state-run lottery described their
problem-gambling program, which includes a hot-line number, but acknowledged
that only $100,000 is allocated to the effort annually.

Florez questioned whether some of the lottery games themes are aimed at
certain groups such as youths.

Editorial on Gambling Machines Is Puzzling

 

I was somewhat puzzled to read your editorial opposing the introduction of
"gambling machines" to help fund transportation needs. While I assume you
support more funding for transportation, you evidently have a problem with
allowing consenting adults to make the decision on whether they want to
entertain themselves with what are essentially slot machines. You trot out
the old anti-gambling rhetoric about regressive taxation and compulsive
gambling, which is as predictable as it is disingenuous. If the state, this
newspaper or anybody else was that concerned about the impact on the poor,
there would be an outcry to end the state lottery. Not only is it usurious,
taking 50 to 60 percent on the dollar, but it uses tax monies to advertise
itself. It is marvelously ironic that religious groups and other parties can
muster enough outrage to prevent off-track betting in Northern Virginia,
which is a legal extension of the state's horse racing industry and a far
fairer gambling proposition, yet are apparently not bothered by the lottery.
So now the state proposes something in-between the lottery and horse racing,
for a good cause by the way, and you're ready to protect the innocents.
Apparently the lottery is a good idea because it raises money for the state,
but gambling machines aren't. Where is the logic in that? And if gambling in
general is so abhorrent, where have you and the legislators been while the
lottery has been stealing from people for decades?
So pardon me if you're indignation seems a little hollow and hard to take
seriously.

France cracking down on online gambling?

 

Meanwhile, John Anderson, the former chief executive of 888 Holdings, has
been summoned for interview by the French authorities, prompting speculation
that French authorities are about to crackdown on online gambling. This in
itself is prompting speculation that the French and American governments
actually agree on something. After the US clampdown on internet gambling
last October, the last thing PartyGaming and other gambling groups need is
yet more uncertainty over the legality of their operations. While current
legal opinion says that online gambling is legal in the EU, our Gallic
friends have been lobbying against this. It is probably no coincidence that
the French government controls two related gambling monopolies - PMU for
betting and Francaise de Jeux for gaming. The success of online gambling
constitutes a threat to these operations. 888 has marketed itself
aggressively in France, including a short-lived shirt sponsorship deal with
Toulouse FC. This was before French football authorities banned online
gambling firms from such marketing. It is believed that the French
authorities' request to question 888's John Anderson has something to do
with this sponsorship deal.

AFL hands down fines for illegal gambling

 

"The AFL has vowed to do 'everything in its power' to detect and punish
players who gamble on football matches and warned that any future breaches
of its anti-gambling rules will trigger automatic suspension. ".Confronted
with the first examples of players who had flouted the AFL's anti-gambling
code framed after the Shane Warne-Mark Waugh bookie scandal, the league
resisted the temptation to suspend the players, settling for mandatory
counselling sessions and a sliding scale of financial penalties according to
the size and number of bets placed, and earnings of the players. "The most
severe penalty was handed to Adelaide midfielder Simon Goodwin, who was
discovered by UK agency Betfair to have placed four bets connected to
football games totally $16,024.58. One of those bets was pound stg. 2000
(about $4600) on the West Coast Eagles to win last year's grand final.
"Goodwin was fined $40,000, $20,000, of which was suspended. ".Next in line
was Melbourne's Daniel Ward, another problem gambler who placed 18
multi-bets totalling $3705 which all involved a football match. ".Ward was
fined $5000, with a further $5000 suspended and ordered to attend
counselling 'for as long as deemed appropriate by the counsellor and the
player in consultation with the Melbourne Football Club and the AFL'.

Goodwin cops $40,000 gambling fine

 

The AFL has vowed to do "everything in its power" to detect and punish
players who gamble on football matches and warned that any future breaches
of its anti-gambling rules will trigger automatic suspension. But in
revealing the penalties for four players caught betting on games last
season, league football operations manager Adrian Anderson admitted
investigators did not have access to all the information they needed from
Australia's sports betting industry.
Confronted with the first examples of players who had flouted the AFL's
anti-gambling code framed after the Shane Warne-Mark Waugh bookie scandal,
the league resisted the temptation to suspend the players, settling for
mandatory counselling sessions and a sliding scale of financial penalties
according to the size and number of bets placed, and earnings of the
players. The most severe penalty was handed to Adelaide midfielder Simon
Goodwin, who was discovered by UK agency Betfair to have placed four bets
connected to football games totally $16,024.58. One of those bets was pound
stg. 2000 (about $4600) on the West Coast Eagles to win last year's grand
final. Goodwin was fined $40,000, $20,000, of which was suspended. Goodwin
placed two of the bets himself and said two were placed by an unnamed
"friend" with access to his Betfair account. "The fact is I've gambled most
of my life on horses, and late last season I had two bets on AFL matches," a
contrite Goodwin said. "I did not bet against Adelaide Football Club or in
matches that involved my club. Nor did I bet using inside information or
knowledge and no other player was involved." Next in line was Melbourne's
Daniel Ward, another problem gambler who placed 18 multi-bets totalling
$3705 which all involved a football match. Ward twice backed his own team to
win. Ward was fined $5000, with a further $5000 suspended and ordered to
attend counselling "for as long as deemed appropriate by the counsellor and
the player in consultation with the Melbourne Football Club and the AFL".
Ward also volunteered to perform 100 hours of community work with Berry
Street, a shelter for children at risk of domestic violence. Kangaroos
ruckman David Hale, whose mother Yvonne made a heartfelt, public
intervention in the gambling debate when she accused the club of hanging her
son out to dry, was given a suspended fine of $5000 for placing four bets
totalling $100. He was ordered to undergo counselling. Sydney rookie player
Kieren Jack was given a reprimand for placing two bets totalling $10, and
will also be meeting a counsellor. Anderson said none of the four players
had denied knowledge of the AFL anti-gambling rules, but according to Jack's
explanation, the prohibition against betting on football games was not well
known. "I now fully understand the rules and regulations pertaining to
betting on AFL matches and accept the sanctions imposed by the AFL," Jack
said in a statement released by the Swans. "I have made an honest mistake
and assure it will not happen again." Anderson said the need to issue a
general deterrent to all players was mitigated by the fact the players had
admitted their bets and co-operated with the AFL investigators. There was
also no evidence that any player had bet against his own team. In echoes of
the Warne-Waugh fiasco, in which they accepted money from an illegal
bookmaker for providing information on weather and pitch conditions, the
four players described their actions to investigators as "an oversight,
naivety, stupidity". Anderson said there would be no leniency for any
players and officials caught betting on AFL matches in the future. "In
announcing the sanctions the AFL wants everyone to be quite clear of our
attitude towards any further breaches of this rule: if a player faces a bet
on an AFL match from today he will face suspension," Anderson said. "Players
and officials have been put on notice: gamble on AFL football and you will
face suspension." The AFL investigation was triggered by Betfair, which
entered into a contractual arrangement with the league in 2005 giving the
AFL a share of its revenue and access to betting records.
When Goodwin was identified in an "integrity check" in November last year,
the AFL instructed Tabcorp, the other betting agency with which it has an
information-sharing agreement, to cross-check its records against all
AFL-listed players. Ward, Hale and Jack were all found to have placed bets
on football matches through Tabcorp. Despite subsequent inquiries by the
AFL's investigators and requests to Australia's state-based gambling
regulators to audit the records of other betting agencies, no other examples
of players betting on matches were found. Pressed on what the AFL would do
to scrutinise the sports betting industry, Anderson said the league
investigators could use "other means" than bookmaker records to catch
players betting on football. The AFL considered a moratorium to encourage
other players who had bet on games to come clean but eventually decided it
was unlikely to provide "extra information." "Our agreements with Tabcorp
and Betfair are the start but there are any numbers of means by which
investigators can gather facts which prove evidence of a bet on a match," he
said.

Problem gambling to be topic of awareness campaign

 

Attorney General Charles Foti on Tuesday will present to the Louisiana
Association on Compulsive Gambling a proclamation declaring the week of
March 5-11 National Problem Gambling Awareness Week in Louisiana. Problem
Gambling affects more than 100,000 Louisiana families, and millions of
people nationwide, according to the association. In addition, the Office of
Addictive Disorders will announce its assistance in the implementation of
Foti's Treatment Referral Program through the 26th Judicial District Court
and beyond. The news conference is 10 a.m. at CORE Center of Recovery,
Louisiana's Residential Problem Gambling Treatment facility, 635 Stoner
Ave., Shreveport.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Industry leaders criticise level of gambling licence fees

 

Industry leaders have expressed disappointment at the high level of gambling
licence fees set by the Government. The Gambling (Premises Licence) (Fees)
Regulations 2007, tabled in Parliament on 21 February, shows only a modest
decrease from the fees proposed in last year, which were labelled
"preposterous" by Business in Sport and Leisure (BISL). Premises licence
fees for gambling will be significantly higher than those for liquor
licensing - for example a bingo club that would pay an annual fee of £350
for liquor will have to pay up to £1,000 for gambling. The BISL has urged
ministers to stress to local authorities that these levels are maximum fees
and should not be used as a barometer of what must be charged. Brigid
Simmonds, chief executive of the industry group, said: "It makes no sense
for gambling premises licence fees to be so significantly higher than those
for liquor licensing as the two regulatory regimes are very similar.

3GSM Good News for Mobile Gambling -- Slotland.com's Mobile Games Manager Liked What He Saw in Barcelona

 

For pioneering mobile gambling operator Slotland.com, news at the recent
3GSM mobile conference in Barcelona was all good. Developing technologies
are making it easier, cheaper and more fun to play casino games like slot
machines on mobile phones and that puts a smile on the face of John
Lancelet, Mobile Games Director at Slotland.com. There was a lot to take in
at the massive international exposition that covered everything mobile --
from hardware and handsets and telcom infrastructure to entertainment and
content. "The hottest topic in Barcelona was mobile video and mobile TV.
Everyone is excited about delivering music videos, short films and TV news
to mobile phones," said Lancelet. "What excites ME about that is that any
phone capable of handling video multimedia is also great for playing slot
machines and that means more players coming on board." Every year, mobile
phones get smarter and more capable of playing graphically rich games. "At
3GSM, all the new phones the handset manufacturers were showing off had
higher display resolution -- 240 x 320 is becoming the standard," said
Lancelet. "That's just what you want for mobile games like our slot machines
and video poker games." No matter how cool phones get, or how many new
real-money games providers like Slotland.com/mobile develop, one barrier to
mobile gambling is still the cost of data transfer. Visiting a lot of WAP
sites on your phone's Internet browser can add up. Fortunately, Lancelet
observed a trend that will improve that too. "It seems more GSM network
operators are offering flat rate wireless data tariffs," observed Lancelet.
"That's good news for the mobile gambler too!" With nine unique slot
machines and video poker games on their web site and now five also available
on mobile phones and PDAs, Slotland.com is one of the world's most popular
and trusted online and mobile casinos.

Ward backed to beat AFL gambling demons

 

Melbourne believes Daniel Ward's naming, shaming and fining for breaking the
AFL betting code could be the catalyst for him to shake his gambling
addiction.
Ward was one of four players sanctioned by the AFL for breaches of its
anti-gambling rules. The Demons defender was fined $10,000, half of which
was suspended to be invoked should he re-offend. Ward was already receiving
help for a gambling problem, with the Demons saying no further action would
be taken against him by the club. Melbourne chief executive Steve Harris
said Ward hoped the storm of publicity following the gambling revelations
would act as a "circuit-breaker" to him beating his addiction. "He's
genuinely confronting the issue and he has been for the past couple of
months," Harris said. "He sees this as an opportunity to say `I have to deal
with this once and for all'. "The publicity, the odium, the fine, the
suspended penalty, the risk his career might be over if he transgresses
again is enough to put pressure on him to say `if I don't break this now,
I'll never break it'. "I think he's been well and truly punished enough.
"This is an issue which is going to stay with him for the rest of his life
in terms of stigma." It is understood Ward had already been undergoing
professional counselling through the AFL Players' Association. It isn't the
first time Ward, nor the Demons, have had problems with players gambling. In
2003, it emerged Ward and Melbourne teammate Travis Johnstone owed
substantial amounts of money to bookmakers. And ex-Demon turned sports
commentator David Schwarz admitted two years ago he had battled a gambling
problem. Harris said the AFL's threat of suspension for players who breach
its gambling code in the future would not eradicate the problem completely,
but would act as a deterrent. "I don't think any penalty will get rid of any
crime," Harris said. "People have weaknesses, they have re-lapses. "But
clearly footballers like to play football. The worst thing they fear is not
being able to play a game.

Players escape suspension following gambling probe

 

The AFL have decided not to suspend four players who were found to have
gambled on league fixtures. A report handed down by AFL investigators Allan
Roberts and Bill Kneebone found Simon Goodwin (Adelaide), Daniel Ward
(Melbourne), David Hale (the Kangaroos) and Kieren Jack (Sydney) were not
guilty of corrupt behaviour. However, all four players have been punished
with Goodwin receiving a $40,000 fine and Ward fined $10,000. Hale was
handed a suspended $5,000 fine while Jack received a reprimand. Reading from
a prepared statement this afternoon, Goodwin said he was embarrassed by his
actions.
"I'm here today to take responsibility for what I've done," he said. "What I
have done is wrong, I accept the findings of the AFL inquiry with which I
co-operated completely. I accept there needs to be a penalty." Goodwin said
he had not gambled on matches involving the Crows. "I did not bet against
the Adelaide Football Club, or in matches that involved my club, nor did I
bet using inside information or knowledge and no other player was involved,"
he said. "The bets I had were with a friend who is not an associate of the
club. However, I gambled knowing that it was wrong and that it was against
the rules." AFL football operations manager Adrian Anderson said the league
needed to take a firm stand against betting by players. He said the players
had fully assisted with the investigation. "The investigators' report found
there was no evidence of any player betting against his own team," he said.

Alberta gambling: A dubious bet?

 

Wanna make a bet? How about a wager that gamblers would get better odds from
legal sports books in Nevada than from Canada's provincially sponsored Sport
Select lottery? Well, don't take the bet. The fact is, Las Vegas pays much
better on its sports bets than the Alberta-sponsored lottery, according to
an in-depth report into sports and gambling by Journal writer Curtis Stock.
In the past fiscal year, Sport Select returned just 53 per cent of the money
bet on sporting events. Meanwhile, in Vegas, bookmakers paid out 94.5 per
cent of the gambling dollars they took in, which made for a lot more winners
and a lot fairer wagers. The government defends those odds, saying Sports
Select is just for fun: recreational gambling, they like to call it, as if
it's like a visit to a museum or a night's stay at a provincial park. So the
amateur doesn't need good odds because, well, he's an amateur? How is that
fair? That argument also ignores the fact that so-called recreational
gamblers enticed by government ads to "Get in the Game" can also turn into
problem gamblers. Alberta has the country's highest rate of problem
gamblers: eight per cent compared to five per cent of gamblers in other
provinces, according to a recent study by the Canada West Foundation. The
Alberta government has done a lot to take gambling into the mainstream of
society since it opened the door to video lottery terminals in the 1990s.
That's how it earns $1.4 billion in annual revenue, most of it from VLTs and
slot machines. The Journal's investigation also shows that gambling got
another boost in recent years by developing a closer connection with sports
celebrities. For instance, the Edmonton Eskimos is one of several CFL teams
with a sponsorship agreement with Bowmans International, an Internet
gambling giant. Internet gambling is becoming another form of home
entertainment, just a click of a mouse from the next bet.
Yet, those who gamble on the Internet are 10 times more likely to be problem
gamblers than those who use other forms, says new research by Robert
Williams of the University of Lethbridge. As many as 10 per cent of Internet
gamblers fall into the "at-risk" category compared to an average of 3.5 per
cent of gamblers who play the old-fashioned way. The point is this. As
gambling reaches further into all corners of society, from high school
lunchrooms to television poker in the living room to the Internet on the
family computer, there has been precious little effort to educate the public
on the social ills that accompany this activity, and on the risks of
becoming a problem gambler. There are high-profile campaigns to stop drunk
drivers, televisions ads to reach out to drug addicts, and health campaigns
to urge people to eat and drink the right foods and get enough exercise.

Catholic schools continuing with fundraising as departure of archbishop leaves issue up in the air

 

A decision on whether Catholic schools should get funding from the proceeds
of gambling is hanging in limbo. Catholic school board spokesman Lori Nagy
said yesterday that debate on the issue was halted when Edmonton Archbishop
Tom Collins was reassigned to another diocese. "We did have a discussion
with (Archbishop Collins) initially about it," Nagy said. "Right after that,
he was transferred so we are not pursuing it until we have a new archbishop
and have an initial meeting with him at which time we'll be discussing a
number of things." Currently, there is no word on when, or by whom, Collins
will be replaced. In the meantime, the board is continuing its fundraising
business as usual. "The majority of our schools are still using fundraising
through casinos as a way to raise money," Nagy said.
But one Alberta bishop is giving Catholic organizations in his diocese up to
three years to stop going after gambling revenues.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

NEW SURVEY RESULTS FROM UK GAMBLING COMMISSION

 

According to statistics just released by the UK Gambling Commission as part
of a new information service, almost one in 12 adults in Britain
participated in at least one form of online gambling in the previous month.
Including playing the national lottery, just under 8 percent took part in
one form of online gaming or another last year, a percentage which drops to
under 6 percent if stats of those who gamble only on the national lottery
are extracted. Commission spokesmen said that the release is the first of a
new statistical series which will provide a snapshot of participation in
remote gambling, including online gambling, in Britain. The improved measure
allows the Commission to distinguish between the full range of remote
gambling methods, personal computer, mobile phone and interactive TV. It
also allows participation in the full range of gambling activities available
through these remote methods to be measured, access to which have all
increased in recent years. The document entitled 'Survey Data on Remote
Gambling Participation' is available on the Gambling Commission's website.

Sedgwick County Joins Gambling Coalition

 

After a lot of questions, Sedgwick County agrees to be a part of a coalition
to include south central Kansas in expanded gambling discussions. Five
counties are considering this coalition: Sedgwick, Harvey, Sumner, Cowley
and Kingman. On Wednesday, Sedgwick County Commissioners questioned what it
means to be a part of the group, which will be known as the South Central
Coalition for Fair Play. The idea is to let lawmakers in Topeka know the
counties want to be considered in talks about expanded gambling and
destination casinos. Five commissioners approved becoming a coalition
member. Dave Unruh voted against it.

Gambling beyond Nevada: Partnership called suitable

 

Nevada gaming regulators said Tuesday that MGM Mirage's 50-50 partnership
with Chinese businesswoman Pansy Ho in an under-construction hotel-casino in
Macau was suitable under the state's regulations covering investments
outside the Silver State. After a hearing that lasted more than five hours,
the Gaming Control Board unanimously approved the arrangement in which MGM
Mirage will own 50 percent of a company that is building the $1.1 billion
MGM Grand Macau. The resort is expected to open by the end of the year with
600 hotel rooms and a casino with 345 table games and 1,035 slot machines. A
Chinese company controlled by Pansy Ho owns the other half of the operation.
The Nevada Gaming Commission will act on the control board's recommendation
at a meeting in late March.
Two weeks ago, MGM Mirage announced plans to build a second hotel-casino in
Macau under the same joint venture agreement with Ho, who holds a
subconcession granted by the Macau government to develop and operate casinos
in the Chinese enclave. The three-member panel questioned both Pansy Ho and
her business associate and sister, Daisy Ho, about their business and
financial relationships with their father, controversial Chinese billionaire
Stanley Ho. He owns several gambling halls in Macau, including the Lisboa
Casino near the site of the MGM Grand Macau. The sisters told gaming
regulators that significant portions of their initial $80 million investment
in the MGM Grand Macau came from their father in the form of a trust fund.
Both Pansy and Daisy Ho said they had received several financial gifts from
their 84-year-old father, who for years has fought allegations that his
Macau casinos have been involved with organized crime triads engaged in
money laundering, loan sharking, drug trafficking and prostitution. Stanley
Ho's sister, Winnie, has alleged the triads are involved in the casino. When
Gaming Control Board Chairman Dennis Neilander asked the sisters if they
would continue to accept any financial gifts from their father, both said
they would not decline overtures. "That kind of gets to the heart of the
matter as to why we're here," Neilander said. "The underlying question is
whether or not (Pansy Ho) can be influenced by her father." The control
board became convinced of the sisters' independence on several fronts. All
three panelists cited the complicated legal language in the shareholder
agreement that covers MGM Grand Paradise, the company that is building and
will operate the Macau casino. Also, the language covering the subconcession
helps alleviate any concerns of outside influence. But during testimony
before the panel, Pansy Ho expressed to gaming regulators that she has
proven her independence from her famous father. In 1999, she decided to
reduce her work force following a merger with a rival company, a move
Stanley Ho disagreed with. In the end, Pansy Ho's decision held up.

"This is a tremendous opportunity to work with a company such as MGM
Mirage," Pansy Ho said. "It has been a great relationship."

Gaming Control Board member Mark Clayton said after the hours of testimony
that it was clear there was nothing in the background of both Pansy and
Daisy Ho that would make them unsuitable in the eyes of regulators. Clayton
said he was comfortable that Stanley Ho wouldn't be able to influence the
operations of the MGM Grand Macau.

"I'm confident that she has proven her independence from her father and I
feel very comfortable in approving this application," Clayton said.

Control Board member Randy Sayre said any questions he had about Pansy Ho's
independence were answered during the hearing.

"I'm confident that Pansy Ho and Daisy Ho are exercising their stewardship
for these corporate entities on their own merits," Sayre said. "I believe
the appropriate safeguards are in place."

MGM Mirage Chairman Terry Lanni said after the hearing that he was never
concerned that either of the Ho sisters would be found unsuitable as
joint-venture partners.

"I've been in this business for 30 years and I felt very comfortable since
day one," Lanni said. "The control board asked appropriate questions, and
that's the responsibility of the regulators."

Longtime Nevada gaming attorney Bob Faiss, representing MGM Mirage, called
the hearing historic. It was the first time state regulators considered an
application under Nevada's foreign gaming statutes in connection with a
gaming operation outside the United States.

MGM Mirage took all morning to present its evidence that its Macau joint
venture was independent.

Former Nevada Gaming Commission Chairman John O'Reilly, the Nevada attorney
for the Ho sisters, gave the control board a brief outline of the career
paths and successes of the two women.

Pansy Ho, 44, is a graduate of the University of Santa Clara in Northern
California and turned her South China transportation operation from a small
ferryboat operation into a multifaceted business publicly traded on the Hong
Kong Stock Exchange. O'Reilly said Ho's company has a market capitalization
of $3.35 billion.

Daisy Ho, 42, who graduated from the University of Southern California,
serves as her sister's co-director and chief financial officer. .

MGM Mirage contributed $180 million to the joint venture and another $100
million in financing. Pansy Ho put up $80 million. Several bank institutions
financed the rest of the development's costs.

The Mississippi Gaming Commission approved the alliance between MGM and
Pansy Ho in February 2005. New Jersey must also OK the plan, but the
attorney general's office is still looking into the arrangement.

Bouchard saw gambling grow and chose to speak out

 

Seeing licensed gambling establishments popping up in the St. Paul Diocese,
Bishop Luc Bouchard decided to speak out. "If the bishop doesn't do it, who
will?" Bouchard told the WCR. On Ash Wednesday, Bouchard issued a 2,800-word
pastoral letter on legalized gambling, tracing its rather innocent
beginnings in Alberta to its development as a billion-dollar boon for
provincial coffers - and the suffering endured by many Albertans as a
result. "Legalized gambling is not socially harmless but quite destructive
to individuals, to families and ultimately to communities," he states in the
letter. Bouchard said the letter is in keeping with a joint pastoral letter
issued by the Alberta Catholic bishops in 1998 - The False Eden of Gambling.
Yet, his letter is just as relevant today as revenues continue to
substantially outpace counselling resources for problem gamblers and their
loved ones. "After some research and realizing the consequences of gambling
and its issues in Alberta, the current Lenten season urges us to make an
examination of conscience," Bouchard said. "We must see what the
consequences of gambling are." The letter was a long time coming, he said.
Bouchard consulted numerous sources, including school boards. He was pleased
to find many of them had already adopted resolutions against gambling and
pursuing funds derived from gambling. Because commitments have been made by
some groups to use a licensed casino or bingo in the near future, Bouchard
used a three-year phase out period. In that time, groups can proceed with
their plan, but will have to find alternate means of fundraising
subsequently. "I tried to act as pastorally as I could, that we would be
gradually getting away from gambling revenue. Many promises have been made,
setting up several projects. The time lapse will permit a good transition.
It will also give people the chance to seek other means." Bouchard said it
was important for him and his research team to look at all of the facts
available. "I am not inventing things here. We tried to make sure our facts
were accurate." Now in his sixth year as bishop of the Diocese of St. Paul,
Bouchard has averaged one pastoral letter annually. Previous letters have
commented on Confirmation, restoration of the permanent diaconate and
vocations. Bouchard has distributed copies of the letter to the Catholic
bishops of Alberta, to the parishes in the St. Paul Diocese - in French and
English, as well as all school board superintendents and school principals.
"We have to hope and pray that something comes out of this." Bouchard noted
that casinos are being built in Cold Lake and in the Whitecourt area in his
diocese. "And people go to Edmonton. That is somewhat worrisome. At some
point we have to speak out on social justice issues." Bouchard is requesting
parishioners to contact their MLAs to express their concerns and to see if
their political representative shares those concerns. He wants to see a
substantial increase in the quality and quantity of counselling resources
available for problem gamblers along with either full elimination of VLTs or
at least banning them outside licensed casinos. He is calling on the
faithful to examine their own gambling behaviour and to resolve not to
contribute to the culture of gambling.

Online Gambling Prohibition: Lessons From the 'War on Drugs'

 

Vices are as American as apple pie - tobacco, alcohol, gambling, pornography
and many others absolutely saturate today's society. Just as prevalent are
government policies to control them. Laws crafted to regulate the salacious
appetite of the public are among the most controversial public policies -
take the American alcohol prohibition failure as a prime example. Online
gamblers today find themselves in a predicament similar to our forefathers
who brewed moonshine in their basements. Placing wagers online is an
activity that causes no real harm to those around us, but the government has
decided that it must be stopped with little rhyme or reason to their
decision. But we don't need to go back 90 years to sympathize with a group
similarly denied the ability to freely pursue a mostly harmless activity. We
can instead look to a similar situation that has existed in this country for
decades: marijuana law reform. The prohibitions on marijuana and online
gambling are remarkably similar. Both are recreational activities that
consenting adults practice, for the most part, in the privacy of their own
homes. Both are essentially "victimless" crimes. Both are also generally
accepted (if grudgingly) by society at large. Just as medical marijuana use
consistently has 70% or higher approval ratings in polls, online gambling
also has generally had broad public tolerance. It is also widely held that
the real dangerous or criminal element of both marijuana and gambling is
caused primarily by the prohibition itself, not the activity. If legalized
and out in the open, we wouldn't have to worry as much about money
laundering to terrorists or underage access. There are plenty of solutions
to those problems, but prohibition only drives these things further
underground when we should be trying to get them out in the open. Bill Maher
remarked that marijuana is one of the only vices where we base public policy
on the worst segment of the population. Online gambling is another. Sure,
online gambling will have some addicts. But it already does, and those
addicts are certainly not going to call it quits just because it is a little
harder to get money out to the Caribbean. They will find a way to get it
there, and, if not, they will find another way to get that same gambling
fix, whether it be horseracing down the street, lottery at the corner bar,
or feeding a few 20's into an Indian casino the next county over.

If prohibition is designed to protect the small fraction of people who will
harm themselves, then there should be a lot more bans forthcoming. Alcohol
(almost 17,000 DUI deaths in 2005 alone) and tobacco (kills about 1200
people per day) should be first on the ban list, far ahead of marijuana and
gambling. Then of course we have to ban spray paint and gasoline (someone
might "huff" them), cold medications (might be used to make
methamphetamines), and, of course, the real killer, trans-fat. Fortunately,
New York City is well ahead of the rest of the country on solving that
problem.

The fact is, it is downright silly to assume that you can get rid of our
vices through prohibition. The "War on Drugs" is evidence of this. The
federal government has spent tens of billions of dollars per year for the
past three-and-a-half decades on the "War on Drugs". And for what? To arrest
over 5 million Americans in the past decade for marijuana possession? So
that over 12% of the current prisoner population is incarcerated on
marijuana crimes? Yet the prevalence of drug use has not significantly
changed over the past 35 years. The war is failing, folks. Notably, the same
thing happened during the Prohibition era, when alcohol use actually
increased. So even with all the evidence on the table that prohibition
doesn't work, we are going down the same path again with the new threat,
internet gambling.

Online gambling is NOT the "internet version of crack cocaine", as Senator
Jon Kyl has alleged. Online gambling is apparently not even the "crack
cocaine of gambling", a term usually reserved for electronic gaming machines
such as video slot machine and remote lottery terminals. Funny how we don't
see those dangers disappearing so quickly. In fact, video lottery terminals
are now legal in 6 U.S. States and almost all Canadian provinces. Slot
parlors and "racinos" are popping up at a frantic pace. And let's be
realistic for a minute - lotteries are not exactly charities giving away
money to try to help some lucky chosen few achieve the American dream. No,
they exist to raise money so that politicians can fund legislation to name
highways after themselves. Offshore sportsbook 5Dimes pays me 900-to-1 for
the same "Pick 3" that Pennsylvania pays me 500-to-1 on. And the offshore
one is the illegal of the two?

So what then can the history of the marijuana anti-prohibition movement tell
us about the future of internet gambling?

Well first of all, if change comes it will be painstakingly slow. NORML
(National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws) has been advocating
for marijuana law reform for over 35 years, and they don't have a whole lot
to show for it. The progress that NORML has made has come mostly at the
state level, not the federal level. Currently 12 states allow the use of
medical marijuana, and new bills are constantly being introduced in other
states. However, the federal government is standing strong in its
classification of marijuana as a schedule I drug (high potential for abuse,
no valid medical use) even in the face of piles of evidence to the contrary.

Chris Colombo convicted of gambling charges

 

Chris Colombo's lawyer made no bones about it right from Day One: Colombo is
your basic gambler from Blooming Grove who only dresses like a gangster -
and a TV gangster at that. Yesterday, a federal jury agreed. But convicting
Colombo of gambling charges was about the only agreement that the jury
reached after three weeks of deliberations. The jury deadlocked on most of
the charges in a 16-count indictment, including a racketeering charge
against Chris Colombo. The jury also acquitted his older brother, Anthony,
62, of racketeering, and deadlocked on extortion charges. Chris Colombo last
night described himself as a former gambler. He's now directing his energy
to other pursuits. The Orange County native talked about designing clothes
and doing some writing. "I just want to enjoy being with my kids," he said
from home last night. "It's been a long, hard road. The jury spoke - it is
what it is." A spokeswoman for U.S. Attorney Michael Garcia wouldn't say
yesterday whether he'll seek new trials for the Colombos, who could have
been imprisoned for decades if convicted of racketeering. Chris Colombo, 45,
is the youngest of the four sons of Joe Colombo, who was the boss of New
York's Colombo crime family until 1971. He died in 1978. During opening
statements last month, Chris Colombo's lawyer, Jeremy Schneider, got some
chuckles out of the jury when he gestured toward his own
dressed-to-the-nines client and said, "He looks like he just walked off the
set of 'The Sopranos.'" But Schneider argued that Colombo was merely a
bookie, not the main man in a whole criminal conspiracy. And Louis Fasulo,
the lawyer for Anthony Colombo, argued that the feds built their case
against the brothers largely upon the sins of their famous father. That
argument swayed the jury, Fasulo said after court yesterday. He spoke with
the jurors after they were discharged by Judge Naomi Reice Buchwald. "They
didn't like the branding, and I think that the jurors just felt that the
case didn't have a lot of meat," Fasulo said. Chris Colombo's due back in
court in April. The maximum sentence is five years for each gambling charge.
In addition to the Colombo brothers, a handful of other locals were among
the 30 people named in the March 2004 indictment, including Montgomery
accountant Paul Siepman, John "Lollipop" Dillenbeck of Goshen, and Louis
"Chi Chi" DeStefano of Middletown, whose son was the mayor of Middletown at
the time. They, and most of the others named in the indictment, took plea
deals.

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