Daily Olympics Gambling Coming to Nevada Sports Books?

Casino Watch Focus has reported on the dangers of allowing gambling on the Olympics. The issues range from creating new addicted sports gamblers to seeing the integrity of the Olympic Games to come into question. The International Olympics Committee has done its part to ban by banning gambling for those competing in the winter and summer games. They have even tried to look for suspicious betting patterns to see if they can see if gambling plays a role in any match fixing. But the IOC can’t directly control which jurisdictions choose to allow gambling on the Olympics. Sports betting is a staple of the gambling industry in Las Vegas, but the Olympics has never been a big draw, especially those games scored by judges. However, an online source is pointing to a new direction in Las Vegas as the Nevada Gaming Control Board has agreed allow Olympic sports betting:

The Nevada Gaming Control Board has signed off on the plan to let Nevada sports books take action on the Olympics. The idea moves over to the state Gaming Commission, which is expected to give the final OK on Feb. 26.

Nevada regulators have the power to prevent betting on certain events, namely those scored by judges. Nevada sports books will also obviously have the ability to pick which Olympic contests make the most sense financially to allow betting on.

Sports betting powerhouses William Hill US and CG Technology were among those behind the Nevada initiative to allow Olympics betting. In 2016, the Summer Games will run in Brazil.

For more information on the dangers of gambling, please visit CASINO WATCH & CASINO WATCH FOUNDATION


Brief Look at Crime 02/16 – 02/22

Broward arrests 8 for racketeering in gambling ring (FL)

Eight people have been arrested on racketeering and other charges in a major South Florida gambling operation that authorities say has connections to organized crime. The Broward Sheriff’s Office says the recent arrests resulted from a six-month undercover operation. Investigators also seized $1.2 million in cash. Authorities say the group was involved in offshore sports betting as well as bookmaking in Broward and Palm Beach counties. Those arrested also apparently have ties to organized crime families in New York and Boston. Charges include racketeering, money laundering, bookmaking and several conspiracy charges. Investigators say wiretaps and surveillance provided key evidence, as well as undercover officers who were able to penetrate the organization.

Finance Officer Stole £300,000 From Cambridge’s Pembroke College, Which Is Run by Ex-MI6 Chief

A former Cambridge University finance officer is facing a 10 year prison sentence after stealing £300,000 from under the nose of an ex-MI6 chief. Jacqueline Balaam falsified invoices during her employment at Pembroke College, of which Sir Richard Dearlove is the Master, between June 2012 and January 2014. The 41-year-old from Fallowfield in Cambridge was found guilty of three counts of fraud by Cambridge Crown Court on Monday. Delia Matthews, a prosecutor at an earlier hearing, declared that Balaam’s fraudulent actions were “all down to her gambling addiction.”

Police chief accused of gambling away seized cash

The former police chief of Greensburg, Indiana, faces charges after investigators say she stole thousands of dollars initially seized in criminal cases. Investigators say Stacey Chasteen gambled the money away, and told her husband, who is the fire chief of Greensburg, that she wanted to replace the money. She never did. The police report said Chasteen first started stealing money from criminal cases in 2006, including more than $72,000 from a case involving an Asian massage parlor. The crime began to unravel in December when the department first noticed money might be missing from the property room. Investigators said Chasteen then approached her husband for help. They borrowed $57,000 from family members. Instead of using the money to replace what had been taken from the property room, authorities said Chasteen gambled it away again.

Gambling addict mum pleads guilty to stealing $269,000 from veterinary clinic

Michelle Anne Bellizia, 46, will spend her first night behind bars tonight after pleading guilty to ripping off $269,000 from Kilmore Equine Clinic between May 2012 and September 2013. The mother of three also pleaded guilty to stealing $40,222 from a company she quit just weeks before taking on the bookkeeping job at the clinic. The County Court heard Bellizia befriended the accounts manager at the vet clinic in order to gain her trust and even took her son on outings. “She is an evil, manipulative person … who shows no remorse for what she has done,” the woman stated in her victim impact statement. The court heard Bellizia spent her ill-gotten gains on $1000-a night hotel rooms at Crown casino and plowing cash into poker machines.

Abington man sentenced to federal prison for gambling organization 

The Montgomery County man who ran a nationwide sports gambling organization and hid the cash in his backyard in Abington was sentenced to 20 months in federal prison on Tuesday, according to a press release from the United States Attorney’s Office. Joseph Vito Mastronardo Jr., 64, of Abington, will serve his sentence in a medical facility for what previous reports indicate is an ongoing battle with cancer. He will also have to pay a $100,000 fine, forfeit $3.7 million and be under court-supervised supervision for three years after he is released. The sentence follows his guilty plea on Jan. 31, 2014, for conspiring to participate in a racketeering enterprise, conducting an illegal gambling business, conducting four conspiracies to launder money, interstate travel in aid of racketeering, transmitting wagering information and aggravated structuring of cash deposits.

Vice Cops Raid East Dallas Gambling Ring

The takeaway from the nine-month investigation was that Kha and Nguyen were running an illegal gambling operation. The case was bolstered when police made their January 14 sweep and carried away 169 video gambling machines and 111 detached motherboards from video gambling machines. A subsequent analysis of 37 of the machines indicated that, between August 1, 2014, and the January 14 raid, those 37 machines reported $2.8 million in wagers and $1.7 million in payouts for a net profit of $1.1 million. Many of the machines were purchased from Lone Star Slots on Interstate 35 in Lancaster, which sells new and used gambling equipment after making purchasers swear they will use it exclusively for home entertainment purposes, which is legal in Texas. Police recovered about half that amount, seizing stockpiles of cash found at Kha’s home ($146,528) and at a couple of local banks ($524,800). They also seized 56 gold bars which, at 37.5 grams each, have a current value of around $91,000, both the Mercedes and the Nissan Frontier, and a few dozen pieces of jewelry, presumably including the $12,628 Rolex Kha bought in 2013.

For more information on the dangers of gambling, please visit CASINO WATCH & CASINO WATCH FOUNDATION


Florida Senate President Doesn’t Expect New Seminole Compact this Session 2/16

Casino Watch Focus has reported on the ongoing efforts of the Florida Legislature to come to an agreement on a new Gambling Compact with the Seminole Nation. Most recently, it was reported that a July 31st deadline had been established as Florida Gov. Rick Scott failed to negotiate a renewal deal last year. As this agreement has such far-reaching gambling expansion effects, all eyes are focused on this agreement. Now, the Tampa Tribune is reporting that Florida Senate President Andy Gardiner thinks the legislative session could end with no agreed upon Compact:

Senate President Andy Gardiner Monday said he “wouldn’t be a bit surprised” if the legislative session comes and goes without a new Seminole Compact being presented to lawmakers.

Gardiner said he’s heard nothing from Gov. Rick Scott or his staff about the state of negotiations with the Seminole Tribe of Florida.

“Being anti-gaming, I’m not losing sleep over it either way,” said Gardiner, an Orlando Republican.

He met with the Tribune/Scripps Capital Bureau in advance of the annual 60-day session, which kicks off March 3.

As in the House of Representatives, Gardiner also said his chamber is no longer counting on the more than $200 million in gambling money the state gets from the Seminole Tribe every year.

 For more information on the dangers of gambling, please visit CASINO WATCH & CASINO WATCH FOUNDATION


Brief Look at Crime 02/09 – 02/15

Pa. business teacher stole $175,000 from union to feed gambling addiction

A business teacher has been charged with stealing $175,000 he blew on lottery tickets and at casinos while serving as treasurer of his union at suburban Pittsburgh school district. Defense attorney Christopher Thomas says 44-year-old Edward Maritz Jr. is taking responsibility for the crimes because his “conscience caught up to him.” Maritz is on sabbatical from the Pine-Richland School District. Allegheny County district attorney’s detectives say Maritz confessed to keeping members’ dues and to stealing the money by writing 157 checks to himself since June 2010. He was hired as a middle school teacher in August 2009. Detectives say Maritz told them he is a “pathological gambler” and was caught in a “perfect storm” adding, “People trusted me and I took advantage of the trust they had in me.”

Ex-Treasurer of CT. Canine Search and Rescue Pleads Guilty to Embezzling Group’s Funds

The former treasurer of the Kensington-based Connecticut Canine Search and Rescue pleaded guilty to embezzling more than $150,000 from the group and using the money to gamble and pay for personal expenses. Connecticut’s U.S. Deirdre M. Daly announced that Thomas Recck, 50, of New Britain, waived his right to indictment and pleaded guilty to fraud and tax charges Wednesday before U.S. District Judge Jeffrey Alker Meyer in Bridgeport.

Philly Mobster Anthony Nicodemo Pleads Guilty in Shooting Death

Reputed Philadelphia mobster, Anthony Nicodemo, has plead guilty in the December 2012 shooting death of Gino DiPietro. “Yes,” he told Philadelphia Common Pleas Court Judge Jeffrey P. Minehart. “No,” he said. “Guilty,” he said three times. Nicodemo, who authorities believed once “exercised leadership authority” over a multi-million dollar sports betting business that operated illegally from the Borgata Hotel poker room, could serve upwards of 50 years for his crimes. DiPietro reportedly had been a confidential informant who helped put his younger cousin in prison by wearing a body wire.

Former ACTTAB employee who stole $1.4m ordered to pay penalty 

A Canberra woman who stole $1.4 million from the ACT’s betting agency ACTTAB has been ordered to pay a penalty of more than $1 million. Pamela Susan Close, 60, was an employee of ACTTAB and stole the money by placing bets on races after they finished. She used the winnings mostly to gamble on racing, poker machines and online betting, but gave some money to charity. In 2013 Close pleaded guilty to the crime, which went on for a decade before being noticed. Close was jailed for a year and is now free, but efforts by authorities to seize her assets have continued. Supreme Court Justice John Burns today ordered Close to pay a penalty of just over $1 million.

Casino, Online Poker Owner Charged With Attempted Murder: Blew Up Attorney’s Car

A Canadian businessman has been charged with attempting to murder an attorney in the Dominican Republic. The Lawyer, Fernando Arturo Baez Guerrero, had been hired by Antonio Carbone to run his troubled casinos on the Caribbean island. Carbone, 40, of Woodbridge, was arrested by Dominican police in late January while attempting to board a flight to Canada and is currently facing one year of pretrial detention. The casino owner is accused along with his brother Francesco and two other men of blowing up the attorney’s Jaguar by throwing an incendiary device into this vehicle. Guerrero, who was still in the driver’s seat at the time, survived the blast.

Priest gets probation, to repay $240K 

Roman Catholic priest has been placed on five years’ probation and ordered to repay nearly $240,000 he stole from his former parish to cover a gambling addiction. The Telegram & Gazette of Worcester reports the Rev. Stephen Gemme was sentenced after pleading guilty Wednesday to two counts of larceny. Gemme told Judge Janet Kenton-Walker he is “deeply ashamed and sorry.” He was removed from his job at St. Bernadette Parish in Northborough in 2013 after the loss was discovered. Prosecutors said Gemme stole the money over a five-year period beginning in 2008, five years after he became pastor. Gemme is on medical leave and undergoing treatment for problem gambling.

Crown Casino gambling couple jailed after being lured into heroin syndicate to ‘work off’ debts

County Court Judge Duncan Allen said despite the criminal venture, the duo had nothing to show for it due to their constant gambling. “What profit you had made from your drug trafficking activities had either been gambled away or used to repay some of the debt,” the judge said. He said senior syndicate figure Khanh Duong lent the couple money and in 2010 offered Bui the opportunity to “work off” his and his former wife’s gambling debts. “This is a sad and common story that is heard in these courts,” Judge Allen said. He said Ms Vo had “a serious gambling addiction” and frequented Crown Casino — sometimes multiple times a day — despite having excluded herself from the complex.

For more information on the dangers of gambling, please visit CASINO WATCH & CASINO WATCH FOUNDATION


Guest Article: Three Reasons Floridians Should Care About Plight of Atlantic City

Casino Watch Focus has reported on the ongoing efforts to expand gambling in Florida. The recent video released by No Casinos provided a great timeline of how gambling has slowly but surely continued to expand in Florida in ways the voting public usually never intended. As the legislature examines a new round of gambling expansion ideas this upcoming legislative session, it’s important to remember the history that gambling plays not only locally, but all across the country. One local group has done just that. Paul Sago, executive director of No Casinos, has drawn a parallel between the gambling plight of Atlantic City and the resent efforts to expand gambling in Florida. The article can be found online with Sunshine State News:

The plight of Atlantic City shows some glaring truths that Floridians need to be aware of, so that we don’t make the same mistakes. Here are No Casinos’ three main reasons why Floridians should care.

*1. It proves that gambling doesn’t help the local economy.*

The gambling industry loves to spin the fable that casinos are an economic panacea for communities that are struggling financially. The industry promises that gambling will generate new revenue for local and state government. The truth is, money spent in a casino is simply money not spent in another sector of the economy. After gambling has gained a
foothold, local businesses surrounding a casino struggle to stay open. A case in point: After casinos were legalized in Atlantic City, 40 percent of restaurants and one-third of the retail establishments there went out of business. In a well-developed economy like Florida’s, gains in the casino gambling industry will come at the expense of existing jobs and businesses.

*2. It proves that oversaturation is real and could be headed to Florida.*

The expansion of casinos and other venues has resulted in oversaturation of gambling in many regions of the U.S. It’s widely understood that Atlantic City’s problems were caused by a glut of casinos there and competition from new gambling facilities in neighboring states. In fact, according to an Aug. 10, 2014, New York Times article, “more than half the population in the Northeast now live within 25 miles of a casino featuring video lottery, table games or slot machines.”

There are only so many gamblers for casinos to lure, and expanding casino gambling locations causes casinos to cannibalize themselves. Currently, Miami-Dade and Broward counties are home to eight pari-mutuel facilities authorized to have slot machines. There are also seven Indian tribal facilities in Florida featuring gambling options — six in Miami-Dade and Broward counties and one in Tampa.

Now, the gambling industry is seeking approval to build mega-casinos in South Florida, and existing gambling operators in the state want more, too. It never stops.

*3. In order for casino companies to grow they must expand into new markets — and Florida is considered a top prize.*

In order to maintain their profits, casino companies must continually find new gamblers to lose money in their casinos. In 1988 only two states had casino-style gambling. Today, 39 states do.

Florida’s large population and heavy flow of tourists have always made us a coveted target of casino companies. But expansion of gambling here would threaten our family-friendly brand that is the envy of virtually every other state in the U.S. Several years ago Las Vegas tried to
become a family destination and failed miserably. And now, Atlantic City is trying to reinvent its image following an economic meltdown caused by multiple casino closings last year.

It’s quite simple: a gambling brand and family-friendly brand are not compatible.

For more information on the dangers of gambling, please visit CASINO WATCH & CASINO WATCH FOUNDATION


Brief Look at Crime 02/02 – 02/08

Bank manager stole $500K

A former Westpac bank manager spent his first hours behind bars last night after pleading guilty to defrauding a customer out of more than $500,000. Darren Jason Arnold, 37, was charged with fraud and theft after WA Police carried out what they described as a “significant” arrest late last year.The major fraud squad had alleged Arnold carried out the thefts from Christmas Eve 2013 to March 31 last year, which equated to one count of gaining a benefit by fraud and nine counts of stealing as a servant. It is understood the money was used to service Arnold’s gambling with the TAB – and on his first appearance in court yesterday, he pleaded guilty to all the charges.

Bank worker ‘helped fiance steal £123,000 after being threatened with compromising photos’ 

A bank worker, who allegedly gave her fiance details of a wealthy customer so he could steal £123,000, claimed she was forced into it after someone threatened to reveal ‘compromising photos’ of her. Personal advisor Anisyah Ali, 24, passed confidential details to her husband-to-be Salim Hussain, 28, in the weeks leading up to their wedding in 2012, it was claimed at the Old Bailey. Following her arrest Ali, who worked at a branch in North Finchley, told officers she was forced to hand over the account details after her ‘gambling addict’ husband was threatened by two fraudsters, including Zain Hussain, 28.

Man who stole $34 million in Ponzi scheme given 25 years in prison 

A north suburban man who blew nearly $1 million at a Las Vegas casino while stealing millions of dollars from investors could spend the rest of his life behind bars after a federal judge sentenced him Thursday to 25 years in prison. Prosecutors said Daniel Spitzer, 55, of North Barrington, ran a Ponzi scheme over about six years, causing $34 million in losses to nearly 300 investors — including his brother-in-law. Spitzer pleaded guilty to 10 counts of mail fraud on the day he was to go to trial last July. “It’s horrifying what happened to these people, many who are elderly people who are left with absolutely nothing,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Madeleine Murphy said in arguing for a lengthy sentence.

Former officer at United Bank in Versailles pleads guilty to embezzling nearly $1 million

A former officer at United Bank in Versailles pleaded guilty Thursday to embezzling nearly $1 million. Joey Mills admitted that he took the money between February 2012 and January 2014 by issuing about 30 fictitious loans totaling $983,767, according to documents in federal court. Mills issued the loans in the names of five relatives. Many of the loans listed ownership interests in a company called Fiesta Auto Insurance as collateral, but those interests didn’t exist, according to court documents. Court records indicate that Mills has a gambling problem. He was required to remain in treatment for gambling as a condition of being released pending sentencing.

Ex-Navy SEAL faces up to 12 years for scheme that ensnared brothers in arms

A Navy SEAL who admitted he shattered the elite special force’s code of brotherhood by stealing from his brethren to finance his luxurious lifestyle and gambling faces up to 12 years in prison, not to mention the scorn of men who served with him but now consider him “the most repugnant scum on Earth.” Jason Mullaney, part of SEAL Team Five until 2003, convinced 11 SEAL team members and one civilian to invest a collective $1.2 million into his company, Trident Global Financial Holdings. Named after the Trident SEAL symbol, Mullaney said his company would award loans to credit-challenged small businesses and individuals for high interest rates, secured with assets that covered the principal and profit. Investors would receive back their investment plus a 24 percent profit within a year, Mullaney pledged.

Gambling fraud accused in court

Four men have appeared in the Wellington District Court today following a two-year investigation into an alleged $30 million fraud in the gambling sector. Prominent racing figures Michael Joseph O’Brien, Patrick Francis O’Brien, hospitality consultant Paul Anthony Max, and a fourth man whose name has been suppressed are facing more than 30 charges of obtaining by deception. Police detected the alleged offending during Operation Chestnut, a joint investigation involving the Department of Internal Affairs, the Serious Fraud Office, and the Organised and Financial Crime Agency of New Zealand.

Idaho woman sentenced for wire fraud 

A northern Idaho investment adviser who stole more than $800,000 from an 88-year-old woman has been sentenced to 30 months in prison for wire fraud. Sixty-three-year-old JoAnn Jackson of Coeur d’Alene received the sentence Tuesday. She pleaded guilty in November in federal court to two counts of wire fraud. Jackson has also been ordered to pay $811,000 in restitution. Jackson says she became a compulsive gambler as a way to escape from reality. She was a regular at the Coeur d’Alene Casino up to her indictment in August.

For more information on the dangers of gambling, please visit CASINO WATCH & CASINO WATCH FOUNDATION


New Sports Betting Bill Introduced in America

Casino Watch Focus has reported on the many ongoing efforts to see sports gambling expanded in the U.S. The most recent string of events has been the New Jersey legislators and Governor fighting an ongoing battle to bring sports gambling to their state. Federal Law basically prevents sports betting with the exception of a few locations that were grandfathered, namely Las Vegas. All attempts to subvert the law by New Jersey have failed, so now their approach is to move beyond individual state efforts by looking to a Federal solutions. As the discussions of sports betting continues to grow among the major sports leagues such as the NFL, NBA and MLB, New Jersey believes they are in a better position for a broad sweeping Federal gambling expansion effort. An online source explains:

“With casinos in Atlantic City closing at an alarming rate and gambling revenue in decline for a number of years New Jersey Representatives Frank LoBiondo and Frank Pallone have introduced new legislation to legalize sports betting in New Jersey and eventually across the nation.

Pallone’s proposed legislation would exempt the state from the federal prohibition on sports betting. LoBiondo’s law would introduce a four-year opportunity window which would allow every US state to introduce legislation for professional and amateur sports betting.”

Time will tell if these new efforts prove fruitful, but the fact that the major sports leagues are increasing their level of dialog on the subject, is not a good sign for those hoping to limit the impact of gambling in their jurisdictions.

 

For more information on the dangers of gambling, please visit CASINO WATCH & CASINO WATCH FOUNDATION


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