Guest Article:  Bans on Sports Gambling and Lotteries Would Pump-Prime the U.S. Economic System in the New Age of Covid

Casino Watch Focus has reported on the rush of sports betting that has been legalized over the past few years, and a lot of jurisdictions have authorized such gambling during the middle of the Covid-19 global pandemic.  With many people at home and online gambling becoming more and more popular, one has to wonder how that has impacted the economy, especially after economic stimulus checks were being handed out.  Today’s guest author, John Kindt, University of Illinois professor emeritus, who has testified before Congress and legislatures on business and legal policy issues, particularly in the area of gambling, examined such a question and explains how bans on sports gambling could impact the economy in the University of Illinois Law Review:

A strong economy is essential for U.S. national security. The economic downturn caused by the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic has again highlighted this basic economic principle.

In the context of legalized gambling, Nobel-Prize Laureate Paul Samuelson emphasized that gambling creates “no new money or goods”1 and “subtracts from the national income.”2 The economic multiplier effect of “consumer dollars” is negated or otherwise substantially diminished when consumer dollars are diverted into gambling dollars.3

Therefore, the $2.2 trillion economic stimulus of the 2020 Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Stimulus Act (CARES Act)4 wasted billions of dollars of the $260 billion allocated for unemployment benefits and the $300 billion allocated in payments to U.S. citizens.5 Intended to put food and other necessities of life in consumer pantries, billions of CARES Act dollars were instead misdirected into lotteries—creating record lottery sales, for example, in Georgia and Texas during the first 30 days of the CARES Act.6

While shutting down productive consumer businesses, governors declared lotteries to be “essential”7—although historically states were receiving only 27 cents per gambled dollar.8 More importantly, U.S. lotteries take $85 billion out of the U.S. consumer economy each year (with only $23 billion going to state budgets).9

Accordingly, the cheapest and most effective way to pump-prime the consumer economy would be to shut down the lotteries. This $85 billion would thereby morph into a consumer economic multiplier resulting in approximately $255 billion in new economic spending on consumer goods (or over $1 trillion in 4 years).10

In his 1999 Martin Luther King Day speech in Chicago, Jesse Jackson emphasized that “[t]he new chains of slavery happen to be . . . lottery tickets.”11 Later in 1999, the state lotteries were savaged by the congressional U.S. National Gambling Impact Study Commission, in its Final Report (“NGISC Final Report”).12Academically, it is well-established that lotteries make “poor people poorer”13 and target-market to minorities14 contributing to gambling addiction rates of: African Americans (2–4%); Native Americans (2–6%), Hispanics (2–3%), and Caucasians (1.2–2%).15

As reported in the Wall Street Journal, these social and economic concerns prompted Mr. Les Bernal, the national director of the charity Stop Predatory Gambling (“SPG”), to write to all U.S. governors and state attorneys general detailing the need to close the state lotteries.16

The 2020 movie Money Machine,17 however, documented the power of the gambling lobby in suppressing adverse facts. While Columbine and Sandy Hook remain in the psyche of the U.S. public, Money Machine details how the October 1, 2017 Las Vegas killings have been sanitized18 via “a web of corruption and cover-ups that make the Vegas of yesteryear, when it was still run by the mob, seem positively quaint.”19 The biggest mass murderer in U.S. history, Stephen Paddock, killed 59 people including himself and injured 413 by gunfire.20 It would be difficult to argue that Paddock did not satisfy the American Psychiatric Association’s criteria for being an addicted or problem gambler.21

All of these facts and trends are well-known to the gambling industry, whose business model has morphed toward abandoning brick and mortar gambling facilities in favor of widespread internet gambling—utilizing sports gambling to build pressure on government decision-makers. Gambling lobbyists are looking to leverage the COVID pandemic and the public’s natural affinity for sports into real-time 24/7 gambling on cell phones and throughout video games.22 In the age of COVID, bans on sports gambling and lotteries would inexpensively and effectively pump-prime the U.S. economic system with billions of dollars in consumer dollars—without CARES-type loans being incurred by the U.S. Treasury.

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


A Brief Look at Crime  10/18 – 10/24

Gambling-Related Harm Costs England £1.27 billion Per Year, Says Public Health Report 

The UK has one of the biggest gambling markets in the world, generating a profit of around £14.2bn ($19.11bn) in 2020 alone. According to a new report in England, however, the industry also has a high cost for society in regard to gambling-related harm.

Public Health England (PHE) completed a study on behalf of the Department of Health and Social Care (DCMS). By reviewing the evidence on gambling harms, PHE estimated that the issue cost England at least £1.27bn ($1.71bn) in 2019 and 2020. The cost incorporates a number of problems associated with gambling, including bankruptcy, family issues, and health harms such as suicide.

Rosanna O’Connor, director of Alcohol, Drugs, Tobacco, and Justice for PHE, commented on the study. “The evidence is clear – harmful gambling is a public health issue and needs addressing on many fronts, with an emphasis on preventing these harms from occurring as well as with help readily accessible for those directly and indirectly affected,” she said.

Former Indiana casino executive faces new charges related to tax evasion

An Indiana casino executive is facing additional federal charges connected to an alleged scheme to make illegal corporate casino campaign donations to an Indiana congressional candidate. John Keeler was indicted this week by a federal grand jury on two new charges related to illegally using the campaign donations to lower the taxable income for Centaur Holdings, parent of the casino company where Keeler was vice president and general counsel. The additional charges were tacked on to an initial indictment that a year ago accused Keeler of four counts connected to an alleged scheme to use straw donors to illegally funnel casino money to Brent Waltz’s unsuccessful 2016 campaign for the U.S. House. The new allegations accuse Keeler, a former Republican state representative, of filing corporate tax returns for Centaur Holdings that falsely listed $79,500 in consultant payments as deductions in 2015 and another $41,000 in fake consultant payments in 2016. Federal prosecutors allege those payments were actually part of a scheme to funnel illegal campaign donations to Waltz.

California Gaming Raid Nabs Four Suspects, Cops Seize Weapons, Drugs

A gambling raid Thursday led to four arrests at a private house in Daly City, Calif. Police seized gaming machines, drugs, firearms, and an unspecified amount of cash. The four suspects were apprehended and were being held late this week in San Mateo County jail. Charges relate to drugs, possession of guns, and illegal gambling, police said. “It was determined the residence was being used as an illegal gambling establishment with coin-operated machines,” Daly City police said in a Facebook post. “Our officers found illegal gambling machines, large quantities of illegal drugs, a large amount of US currency, and several firearms,” the post adds. The search was approved by a local judge. Officers taking part include those from the Daly City Crime Suppression Unit, detectives, and tactical team members. Police did not release the suspects’ identities. Each of the four resided at the house where the gambling was taking place, police add.

Disbarred lawyer with ‘crippling’ gambling problem admits stealing nearly $2 million in Philadelphia Eagles’ seat-license scam 

A disbarred-New Jersey lawyer has pleaded guilty to stealing almost $2 million he raised in a phony Philadelphia Eagles seat-license scheme, and using it to support his “crippling” gambling addiction. Frank N. Tobolsky, 59, of Cherry Hill, N.J. admitted approaching an investor in Delaware in 2013 to help finance a business that would provide loans to Eagles fans who held seat licenses, federal prosecutors said. The investor was told the licenses would be used for collateral for the loans.

Over the next three years, Tobolsky convinced the investor to plunk down $2.4 million for the scheme. But prosecutors say there were no Eagles fans taking loans or seat licenses being held in collateral. Personal seat licenses allow the holder to buy season tickets to see home games for their favorite team, with the proceeds typically being used to help the team pay off the cost of building new stadiums. They are most commonly used in the U.S. by National Football League franchises.

Tobolsky did return some of the money to the investors as purported profits from the business, but prosecutors say he used a substantial portion for personal expenses, including big withdrawals at casinos. Ultimately, Tobolsky’s gambling problem cost him his law license and practice in Merchantville, N.J. He was disbarred in 2018 after being arrested for pillaging his escrow account and using $32,000 of a client’s money from a home sale to support his gambling problem. In testimony before a state disciplinary review board that year, Tobolsky described having a “crippling” and “debilitating” gambling addiction that caused him to go “out of his mind.”

Woman leaves child in car while gambling 

A Lake Arthur woman was arrested Saturday after she allegedly left an 8-year-old child inside a car while she went into a truck stop casino to gamble. [She] faces charges of child desertion, possession of a controlled dangerous substance Schedule II and possession of drug paraphernalia. [She] was arrested after sheriff’s deputies were dispatched to Peto’s truck stop on La. 395 around 11 p.m. Saturday in reference to a young child being left in a vehicle, according to Jeff Davis Parish Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy Chris Ivey. The on-site security discovered the child sitting in the vehicle in the parking lot and called the sheriff’s office, he said. Deputies were able to locate the child’s mother inside the casino gambling and escorted her back to the vehicle where the child was being watched by security. The child was released to an adult friend at the scene. During questioning, deputies observed a syringe partially exposed from a cigarette pack and asked [her] to hand it over for safety. The syringe contained a brown residue suspected to be narcotics.

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


UPDATE: One of the Three Lawsuits filed Against the Florida/Seminole Compact regarding Online Sports Betting Dismissed after President Biden’s Administration Intervenes 

Casino Watch Focus has reported on the recent lawsuits filed against the Florida Seminole Online Sports betting plan. As the Sun Sentinel reported, the Biden Administration made known that they wanted the federal case dismissed that was filed by two parimutuel companies, claiming they didn’t have standing to sue and couldn’t prove irreparable harm.  It appears the move by the Biden Administration paid off as the Sun Sentinel is now reporting that the judge has dismissed that particular case:  

Dealing a win to Gov. Ron DeSantis and the Seminole Tribe, a federal judge on Monday dismissed a lawsuit challenging a gambling agreement that allows the tribe to have control over sports betting in Florida.

Attorneys for DeSantis and state Department of Business and Professional Regulation Secretary Julie Brown asked U.S. District Judge Allen Winsor to dismiss the lawsuit, arguing the pari-mutuels did not have legal standing to challenge the compact because they had not shown they will be harmed.  In a 20-page ruling Monday, Winsor, who wryly noted that the pari-mutuels “are not pleased with the compact,” agreed with the state’s arguments.

The compact allowed the tribe to offer online sports betting beginning Friday, but the Seminoles haven’t launched the operation. The legal challenge tossed by Winsor on Monday was one of three federal lawsuits challenging the compact. The Havenick family has owned the pari-mutuel facilities in the Florida case for more than five decades. It also filed a lawsuit in Washington, D.C., naming the U.S. Department of the Interior and Interior Secretary Deb Haaland as defendants.Two prominent South Florida businessmen and the anti-gambling organization No Casinos have filed a separate lawsuit in Washington, D.C.

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


A Brief Look at Crime 10/11 – 10/17

South Point Casino Lot Sees Woman’s Body Discovered, Las Vegas Cops Investigating

Investigators continue to look into the circumstances surrounding a woman’s body discovered at a parking lot at Las Vegas’ South Point Hotel Casino & Spa. The lifeless body was discovered midday Tuesday. As of Wednesday, Metro police had not yet identified the cause of death. The unnamed dead woman was found shortly before 11 am, KLAS, a local TV station, reported. Metro detectives were searching the lot for evidence on Tuesday. 

In the past year, South Point Casino was the scene of other unrelated crimes. Last October, South Point Hotel Casino was the scene of a fatal shooting, as security officers shot an armed man. The man had fired a gun in the air and refused to drop the firearm outside of the gaming property, the Review-Journal reported. The unidentified man had fired a shot near the casino’s valet area, according to the report. He also had entered and exited the casino. He kept brandishing a handgun and then pointed it at two security guards outside of the building, the Review-Journal said. He allegedly refused to drop the weapon during the stand-off with security officers. The officers then fatally wounded the man.

Warrants served on 4 Fayette Co. businesses for alleged illegal gambling 

Gaming agents from the Ohio Casino Control Commission (OCCC), along with personnel from the Fayette County Sheriff’s Office, served search warrants Wednesday on four businesses in Fayette County associated with illegal gambling. OCCC agents launched an investigation after receiving complaints the businesses were paying out cash prizes and operating illegal gaming machines in violation of Ohio law. “The operators of these illegal casinos took advantage of their community to line their own pockets in blatant disregard of the law,” said Matthew Schuler, executive director of the Ohio Casino Control Commission. “The Commission is tasked with ensuring gaming in Ohio is conducted honestly and with integrity, and we will continue to take action against those who violate Ohio’s gaming laws.” “We appreciate the assistance of the Ohio Casino Control Commission in shutting down these illegal establishments, which prey on vulnerable Ohioans,” said Fayette County Sheriff Vernon Stanforth.

California councilman faces illegal gambling, EDD fraud and tax evasion charges after arraignment

Lodi city councilman Shakir Khan is facing accusations of illegal gambling, EDD fraud, tax evasion and money laundering. He was arraigned in court Tuesday afternoon. Khan wasn’t alone during the arraignment. Prosecutors said he was arraigned in conjunction with co-defendant Zakir Khan, and said that Mohammed Khan, another co-defendant, will be arraigned on Oct. 26. The defendants allegedly had an illegal gambling operation out of two Stockton businesses and laundered the profits, according the San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Office. The Lodi councilman was also accused of illegally receiving money from the state during the state’s pandemic relief efforts. “Cases involving money laundering, fraud, and tax evasion are very complex and require an inordinate amount of resources to prove,” said District Attorney Tori Verber Salazar in a news release. “Integrity matters, the truth matters, and our office prosecutes those who prey on and take advantage of marginalized communities.”

After poker ‘disaster,’ watchdog suggests stripping Va. Charitable Gaming Board of some powers 

A new report from Virginia’s watchdog agency suggests limiting the Virginia Charitable Gaming Board’s regulatory powers after concluding the board’s chairman failed to properly recuse himself from writing rules for Texas Hold ‘Em poker tournaments he stood to benefit from. The 59-page report, delivered to legislators and Gov. Ralph Northam’s administration Wednesday, identified major problems with the state’s failed effort to legalize and regulate charitable poker. The regulations written by the industry board, the report said, “damage the integrity of the charitable gaming program” by explicitly allowing conflicts of interest and minimizing the involvement of charities.

“This appears to provide for the creation of poker halls in Virginia,” the Office of the Inspector General (OSIG) wrote, adding the “low level of involvement required by the charity” could make it difficult for regulators to track where poker profits are going. Chuck Lessin, a homebuilder now operating his own poker room at his Richmond sports bar and bingo hall, played a key role in the development of those regulations as chairman of the Charitable Gaming Board. He disclosed his personal interest in the outcome, but state investigators say that wasn’t enough and he should’ve recused himself entirely. “Board members not properly recusing themselves in accordance to both the code and their approved bylaws damages the integrity of the board and the overall commonwealth’s charitable gaming oversight,” the agency wrote.

Tesuque Casino remains closed after cyberattack (NM)

It was unclear Friday when the 3-year-old casino, next to the Santa Fe Opera off U.S. 84/284, will reopen. Upon discovering the cyberattack, the casino took steps to remediate the damage, the pueblo reported in the news release. “These steps included the isolation of affected systems and deploying of actions to resolve the issues,” the release states. “Tesuque Casino has also initiated a comprehensive investigation into the incident. The findings will serve to further strengthen the casino’s cyber security defenses.” “Through our fast-acting team and external IT specialists, we were able to contain and remedy the issue as swiftly as possible,” Tesuque Gov. Mark Mitchell said in the release. “We are continuing to be vigilant about security and protection of confidential information for our customers and employees.” Casino officials were not available for comment about potential compromise of customer information.

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


Sports Betting Can Begin Oct 15th in Florida, but Experts Say its Unlikely

Casino Watch Focus has reported on the Florida Seminole Compact that has offered exclusive sports betting by the Tribe.  Exclusivity for payment to the state of Florida is not new, however, sports betting certainly is and many believe its illegal.  Several lawsuits have been filed on different levels, but the general issue is that because the sports betting is online, and not just on a tribal casino, its new gambling that has to be voted on by the people in Florida, as anyone in the state could access sports gambling without needing to be on tribal land.  The Compact establishes an October 15th start date, but experts don’t believe a formal launch will happen for a month, if at all.  The Orlando Sentinel reports:

Florida sports fans looking to place their first legal bets on games this weekend will have to wait a little longer. And if opponents who have filed three lawsuits eventually win in court, such bets could be off the table. Wagers on sporting events are legal on Seminole Tribe lands starting Friday, and the Tribe has plans to offer an app to allow residents to place bets that flow through a server on their land. But those plans won’t be in place for at least another month and perhaps longer.

The Tribe received a monopoly on sports betting through its new compact with the state, which was signed by Gov. Ron DeSantis in April and passed by the Legislature in a May special session.

It received federal regulatory approval in August, but three lawsuits are challenging the agreement, which argue it violates federal and state law and shouldn’t take effect.

No Casinos, an Orlando-based group and two South Florida businessmen, car dealer Norman Braman and developer Armando Codina filed suit in the Washington, D.C., District Court last month. Among the arguments, the lawsuit claims the compact violates a constitutional amendment passed by voters in 2018 requiring new expansions of casino gambling to be approved by voters.

“They can’t do that without a vote of the people,” No Casinos president John Sowinski said. Sowinski is confident his group will win in court and said the Tribe could lose out if it makes investments to take advantage of sports betting that he believes will be deemed illegal by the courts.“The Tribe probably realize that they proceed at their own risk in terms of venture capital and whatever is expended  he courts make a determination on this,” Sowinski said.

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


A Brief Look at Crime 10/04 – 10/10

‘I still hear the gunshots in my head’: Eyewitness to casino shooting recounts terrifying moments

What was supposed to be a fun night ended in terror over the weekend after a man opened fire at the Golden Nugget in Biloxi. One man died and dozens of people there were left scared for their lives as they rushed to take cover. Randy Johnson, a 41-year-old father of three and well-known barber in Gulfport, died after being shot multiple times. The suspect, Jereme Jones, was arrested shortly after the shooting and is now charged with murder. Rosie Hartfield was one of the terrified guests at the casino. The pregnant Wiggins woman said she had not been on the casino floor long when multiple gunshots were fired. “I wasn’t even on the floor 10 minutes when someone right by me gets to shooting at someone else,” she said.

Nearly 24 hours later, the trauma still lingers. “It was like, pow, and it paused,” Hartfield said. “Then it was pow, pow, pow, pow, pow. Six shots. The noise, I still hear the gunshots in my head.” Hartfield was staying at the Golden Nugget to celebrate her 29th birthday with her husband. She said she was playing the slots when it happened. “He shot a guy no more than 3 or 4 feet away from me,” she said.

The aftermath was chaotic. Hartfield said she heard screaming and yelling as terror-stricken casino employees and guests, including several elderly people in wheelchairs, rushed to take cover. “Everybody was just rushing out. At that time, I left my purse, I left money in the machine. Everything just dropped,” recalled Hartfield. “I’m pregnant so I was trying to run, too. I was very afraid. I went into a panic attack. People had to help me sit down.” For hours after the shooting, hotel guests, including Hartfield and her husband, were put on lockdown in their hotel room, avoiding the crime scene downstairs. “I haven’t been out of my room. I got my husband to get me something to eat now. Like, I’m like still freaked out,” said Hartfield on Sunday, more than 24 hours after the shooting.

Station Casinos facing disciplinary action for accepting post-game sports wagers

The Gaming Control Board is seeking to impose a yet-to-be-determined fine or other disciplinary action on Station Casinos after the company’s sportsbook inside Red Rock Resort accepted approximately 348 wagers on events with already known outcomes. The problematic bets took place over a three-year period. In a two-count complaint filed Sept. 13, the Control Board said that when the company reported an issue to regulators on March 18, it blamed a computer malfunction caused by “insufficient server memory” for its Stadium Live sports wagering program. Three times in prior years, once in 2018 and twice in 2019, the Control Board issued sports wagering regulation violation letters to Red Rock Resort. According to the complaint, Station Casinos said the recent malfunction caused the Red Rock Resort sportsbook to issue 167 wagering tickets, which were later voided with the bets being refunded. However, the Control Board said the company was already “well aware of prior computer errors related” to the Stadium Live program. According to the complaint, gaming regulators told the sportsbook operators they needed to have a “redundant monitoring process” in place to ensure wagers were not accepted on events where the outcome has been determined.

Cwmbran boss jailed over £825k fraud to fund online gambling addiction (UK)

A FINANCIAL director who swindled her company out of £825,000 to feed her “crazy” online gambling addiction has just over £2,000 left which can be seized. Lauren Farr, 35, was jailed earlier this year after she admitted conning We Fight Any Claim in Cwmbran where she worked as a senior executive. The mother-of-two, of Spring Grove, Cwmbran, gambled around £1.5 million through betting sites such as Paddy Power and Betfred.  Appearing via video link from Eastwood Park women’s prison, Farr was back at Cardiff Crown Court to face her Proceeds of Crime Act hearing. The judge, Recorder David Elias QC, heard how she had benefitted (sic) by £825,751.60 from her crime. The available amount of her assets are £2,044.72 and she has three months to hand it over or face an extra two months in prison. Farr was jailed for two years and eight months in January after pleading guilty to fraud by abuse of position.

Ex-Chester County Judge Pleads Guilty to Gambling Campaign Funds

A former Chester County judge has pleaded guilty to illegally using his campaign funds to gamble at casinos in Pennsylvania including Penn National’s Hollywood Casino in Grantville and Harrah’s Philadelphia. He also gambled at casinos in Delaware and New Jersey. The criminal complaint against him alleged that in total, Michael Cabry III had wagered more than $110,700 in 2017. But because of a significant win at Delaware Park of more than $100,000, his total loss for that year was only slightly more than $9,000.

According to a statement from Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro‘s office, his plea was for theft by unlawful taking and violations of the Election Code. Shapiro issued a statement: “The defendant has taken responsibility for his actions that undermined both his authority as a judge and the public’s trust. My office is dedicated to holding public officials who break the law accountable, without fear or favor.”

Man brought massive gambling ring to Illinois State University 

The youngest person charged in connection with a massive international gambling ring, who was accused by the feds of running a “significant bookmaking operation” at Illinois State University, dodged prison during his sentencing hearing Tuesday. Instead, U.S. District Judge Virginia Kendall gave six months of home confinement and a $10,000 fine to 25-year-old Matthew Namoff. Federal prosecutors say Vincent “Uncle Mick” DelGiudice groomed Namoff and made him an equal partner in the larger gambling ring DelGiudice ran online. They said Namoff managed 60 gamblers at ISU, and DelGiudice saw it as a business opportunity. That’s because Namoff’s gamblers would eventually leave ISU, get jobs and increase their bets. “These were not small bets in a dorm room over beer,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Terry Kinney wrote in a court memo.

DelGiudice admitted earlier this year that he ran the larger bookmaking business from 2016 to 2019 in and around Chicago. Namoff, who pleaded guilty to his role in April, is the seventh person to be sentenced in a series of related cases that have been filed since early 2020. Two of the six people previously sentenced landed prison time, but four others avoided it. Another defendant, Mettawa Mayor Casey Urlacher, was pardoned in January by then-President Donald Trump. DelGiudice has not been sentenced.

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


A Public Destruction of Missouri’s Illegal Gambling Machines After Prosecution Makes Statement

Casino Watch Focus has reported on the ongoing saga involving the enforcement of illegal slot machines in Missouri.  Given the necessity of local prosecutors to lead the charge, a big victory and statement was made earlier in Jefferson City.  Not only were these gambling machines found to be illegal, they were ordered to be publicly destroyed.  A local online source reports:

When the bucket of the backhoe came down on the first of five illegal gambling machines destroyed Thursday by court order, it crumpled like a cardboard box being prepped for recycling.

The particle board sides offered no resistance to the pressure, and in about 40 seconds, all that remained was a pile of wood, plastic and electronic shards as the five machines were shattered into thousands of pieces.

“This is a good day,” said Eric Zahnd, Platte County prosecutor. “There is a good reason that the Missouri Legislature said these should be publicly destroyed. It is somewhat about the spectacle of destruction because the legislature wanted to send a message that these machines won’t be tolerated in the state of Missouri. It is a good day.”

The Platte County prosecution showed that no additional laws are needed, Zahnd said before the smashing began Thursday.

“In Missouri, the law is clear,” Zahnd said. “These machines are illegal and they must be destroyed.”

Sgt. Craig Hubbell, a detective with the the Parkville Police Department, looks over the debris from the destruction Thursday of five illegal gambling machines. (Rudi Keller/Missouri Independent)

“I just hope this example will be picked up by the other prosecutors in the state,” he said. “They are not gray-market machines. They are black-market machines.”

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


A Brief Look at Crime 9/27 – 10/03

Former Accounting Coordinator for Non-Profit Organization Sentenced to Prison for Embezzling More than $321K

A resident of Pittsburgh, PA, has been sentenced in federal court to 17 months of prison followed by two years of supervised release on her conviction of bank fraud, Acting United States Attorney Stephen R. Kaufman announced today. According to information presented to the court, Strother-Rush was an Accounting Coordinator for the Eastern Minority Supplier Development Council, which is a nonprofit organization that was created to increase business opportunities for minority-owned businesses. From approximately August 2014 until August 2016, Strother-Rush embezzled $321,255.88 in various ways and spent on funds on, among other things, gambling and frivolous purchases. The primary way in which she embezzled funds was by writing checks to herself from the operating accounts and forging her supervisor’s signature on the checks. She also made unauthorized ATM withdrawals, including several at the Rivers Casino. Lastly, she accessed the payroll bank account online and made unauthorized electronic checks payable to herself.

Phoenix man ordered to pay $500K for sports betting fraud

The Arizona Corporation Commission has ordered a Phoenix man to pay more than $500,000 in restitution for defrauding investors who had invested in a sports betting fund. During a meeting on Sept. 8, the commission decided to penalize John Uranga for misleading individuals who invested in a fund they thought would pool their money together to gamble on sporting events. Uranga was ordered to pay $459,699 in restitution and a $100,000 administrative penalty. According to the commission, Uranga encouraged people to invest in the sports betting fund by posting social media posts that suggested he was living a luxurious lifestyle.   

“Uranga claimed to own five cars, three houses in three different states, two apartment complexes, and several businesses; including two auto body shops, a hotel, a car dealership, six cell phone stores, a pawn shop, a multi-media company, a property management company, and one gun store,” commission records state. Gambling records showed Uranga had only placed $6,560 worth of legitimate sports bets in 2018 and incurred a net loss of $2,460 from this activity, according to the commission. The commission said it discovered that a significant amount of Uranga’s income was bankrolled by investor funds.   

County clamps down on internet cafes (FL)

People planning on opening an internet café in Citrus County might want to think twice. County commissioners Tuesday voted unanimously to crack down on café operators by directing the county attorney to draft an ordinance with more severe fines and longer jail time. The new ordinance allows deputies to fine operators per machine. So if a café had 30 games, the penalty would be a $15,000 fine and five years in jail. A misdemeanor carried a 60-day jail term or $500 fine. Commissioner Jeff Kinnard, who called for the ordinance, said he wanted to stop such places from opening. Period. State legislators in 2019 reduced the penalty for illegal activities at an internet café from a felony to a misdemeanor. That same year, the Citrus County’s Sheriff’s Office arrested several people at at least two such cafés when they found illegal gambling and drug activity. “We’re not talking about minor crimes either,” Lt. Craig Callahan told commissioners at the meeting. Callahan ticked off several serious crimes occurring at the cafés, including strong-arm robbery and gun violence.

Kentucky to receive $300 Million from online gambling lawsuit

Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear says J. Michael Brown, the Secretary of the Justice and Public Safety Cabinet in 2008, brought actions on behalf of Kentucky in Franklin Circuit Court to stop the unregulated, untaxed and illegal offshore gambling operations running in Kentucky. PokerStars collected almost $300 million in actual cash losses from thousands of Kentuckians who played on PokerStars’ websites from 2007 to 2011. Under Kentucky law, the state brought an action against PokerStars seeking recovery of the nearly $300 million lost by its citizens and trebled as required by Kentucky law damages. Last year, the Supreme Court of Kentucky affirmed that judgment, which was rendered in December 2015. Flutter Entertainment and its subsidiary, PokerStars, are located in the Isle of Man, United Kingdom. PokerStars claimed that the English Protection of Trading Interests Act of 1980 could have prevented the commonwealth from collecting the damages upheld by the Supreme Court of Kentucky. The $300 million settlement amount is nearly $10 million above the actual damages awarded by the courts, which was $290,230,077.94.

Police arrest Amber Alert suspect after 10-year-old boy, car taken from casino

Authorities say two people have been arrested following an Amber Alert on Wednesday morning. Officials say it all started when a woman went to Newcastle Casino around 4 a.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 22. Investigators say the mother left her Lincoln MKX running with the keys in the ignition, and her 10-year-old son in the car. A short time later, authorities say a man got into the car and took off. According to the Amber Alert, the suspect was seen driving the stolen vehicle southbound on the H.E. Bailey Turnpike around 4:21 a.m. After the Amber Alert was issued, a bystander spotted the stolen vehicle at a store near S.W. 15th and Czech Hall Road. Within four minutes of that 911 call, the store was swarmed by police from various departments. Investigators arrested 36-year-old Seth Grant. Maj. Adam Flowers, with the Canadian County Sheriff’s Office, told KFOR that the child’s mother was also arrested on a complaint of child neglect. The boy is currently with the Chickasaw Lighthorse Police Department.

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


Guest Article:  Editorial: Florida gaming deal goes to court. One verdict is in: Lawmakers’ contempt for voters

Casino Watch Focus has reported on the ongoing sports betting saga taking place in Florida and today’s guest article on this matter is an editorial by Florida’s Finger Lake Times:  

Two Miami business leaders went to court this week in Washington, D.C., in an effort to stop the expansion of gambling in Florida — and to stand up for voters, since the Legislature and governor are doing just the opposite.

Developer Armando Codina and auto retailer Norman Braman, two of the state’s fiercest and most well-heeled gambling opponents, filed suit — along with the group No Casinos — against U.S. Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland. The suit accuses the federal government of allowing the state to circumvent the Florida Constitution when it approved a new gaming deal this year — including off-reservation sports betting — with the Seminole Tribe. The suit also contends that Gov. Ron DeSantis and the Legislature violated federal laws by authorizing gambling outside of Indian lands, among other claims.

We believe there’s little doubt that lawmakers and gambling interests crafted the deal precisely to get around the 2018 constitutional amendment that voters approved — by an unheard-of 72% — that specified the electorate must determine if there are more casinos in Florida…

Unless the courts stop this deal, more casino gambling will be allowed at existing facilities. The Seminole Tribe’s Hard Rock casinos in Broward and Hillsborough counties would be able to morph into full Las Vegas-style casinos with the addition of roulette and craps. No Casinos calls this the biggest gambling expansion in Florida history.

Yet, that’s not all. Even more alarming is the part of the deal where the Seminole Tribe says it won’t object to any new casino license as long as it’s at least 18 miles from its Hard Rock Casino near Hollywood.

Guess what? Both the Fontainebleau hotel and resort in Miami Beach and Trump’s National Doral Miami golf resort — both have indicated they would like to see a new law that would let them transfer a gambling license from an existing parimutuel to their properties — fall conveniently outside that magic 18-mile boundary line.

As Codina told the Herald, “It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see how this movie is ending.”

Agreed.

The full article can be read HERE

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


A Brief Look at Crime  9/20 – 9/26

Problem gamblers have highest suicide rate of any addiction disorder, studies show

September is World Suicide Prevention week, and experts are raising awareness about disordered gambling, which has the highest suicide rate among all addictions with 1 in 5 problem gamblers attempting suicide. The 2017 Report on Problem Gambling Services shows that nearly one in 10 Ohioans who gamble are currently experiencing or are at risk of developing a gambling problem. Roughly one in five pathological gamblers attempts suicide, a rate higher than that for any other addictive disorder. Approximately 220,000 Ohioans engage in at-risk gambling with 30,000 engaging in problem gambling behaviors. Early detection and support are essential in getting help for problem gambling and preventing suicide. Unlike other addictions, problem gambling has no physical symptoms.

Combined with the stigma surrounding discussing finances, a gambling problem can often go undetected, resulting in devastating consequences for the gambler and their family. However, these are common warning signs to look for: Exaggerating gambling wins and downplaying losses; Asking for loans to cover gambling losses; Using money for food, rent or other necessities for gambling; Poor work performance; Restlessness or irritability when not gambling 

Chicago Gambling Ring Convicts Get Sentenced

According to the prosecution, Matthew Knight was second in the gambling ring agent hierarchy. Despite that, he got only six months of community confinement, two years of probation, a $10,000 fine, and 100 hours of community service. District Judge Virginia Kendall explained that the light sentence comes as a result of Matthew Knight’s clean history, his evident guilt, and his willingness to cooperate with the law keepers. The prosecution pointed out FBI experts’ claim that Knight’s gamblers might have generated as much as $18 million just in 2018, but the judge explained that despite his big role in the gambling ring, he was less guilty than DelGiudice and Nicholas Stella – a police officer who participated in the illegal betting activities. In comparison, DelGiudice, who pleaded guilty in February, faces up to 25 years for a gambling conspiracy and money laundering. Although he’s pleaded guilty, no sentence has been pronounced yet. Nicholas Stella was already sentenced to 15 months in prison. A few people were   also sentenced because of ties with the gambling ring, with former President Donald Trump personally pardoning Casey Urlacher, the mayor of Mettawa who was among the convicts.

1400 Arrests, $8M Seized in Illegal Gambling at Euro: Interpol 

An Interpol operation targeting illegal gambling during Euro 2020 led to 1400 arrests and the seizure of $7.9 million (6.7 million euros) in cash, the Lyon-based global crime agency reported. Thousands of raids in Asia and Europe also resulted in the confiscation of computers and mobile phones connected to almost $465 million in bets. “While most of us were watching the UEFA European Football Championship as simple fans, hundreds of specialized officers across 28 countries were targeting organized crime groups looking to earn millions from illegal gambling and related money laundering activities,” an Interpol statement read.

Hong Kong police detained more than 800 suspects, “including the alleged kingpin of a triad-controlled bookmaking syndicate,” the statement said. In what was described as one of Hong Kong’s most successful operations ever they seized $2.7 million in cash and records detailing hundreds of millions in bets. In Italy, home of the European champions at the pandemic-delayed tournament, Operation SOGA VIII inspected 280 betting shops and delivered 1.3 million euros in sanctions for illegal betting schemes. In all, Interpol’s eight SOGA operations have led to more than 19,000 arrests, cash seizures of more than $63 million and the closure of over 4000 illegal betting dens.

Domestic dispute leads to shooting at Coahoma County casino

The Coahoma County Sheriff’s Department was called to the Isle Of Capri Casino Monday evening on a report that a man had been shot by a woman. Deputies were called at 7 p.m. about a shooting in the parking lot of the casino and told one person was suffering from non-life-threatening injuries. Deputies identified the victim as Robert Howard, no address given, who was transported to Regional One in Memphis. Deputies developed Valeria Hope, 18, no address given, as a suspect, but no arrest was made. Investigation reports said the incident appears to have been a domestic dispute.

Former Accounting Coordinator for Non-Profit Organization Sentenced to Prison for Embezzling More than $321K

A resident of Pittsburgh, PA, has been sentenced in federal court to 17 months of prison followed by two years of supervised release on her conviction of bank fraud, Acting United States Attorney Stephen R. Kaufman announced today. United States District Judge David S. Cercone imposed the sentence on Danielle Strother-Rush, 34, of Columbia Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15218. According to information presented to the court, Strother-Rush was an Accounting Coordinator for the Eastern Minority Supplier Development Council, which is a nonprofit organization that was created to increase business opportunities for minority-owned businesses. From approximately August 2014 until August 2016, Strother-Rush embezzled $321,255.88 in various ways and spent on funds on, among other things, gambling and frivolous purchases. The primary way in which she embezzled funds was by writing checks to herself from the operating accounts and forging her supervisor’s signature on the checks. She also made unauthorized ATM withdrawals, including several at the Rivers Casino. Lastly, she accessed the payroll bank account online and made unauthorized electronic checks payable to herself.

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


New Lawsuit filed to block Florida’s Oct 15th Sports Betting Expansion

Casino Watch Focus has reported on the recent sports betting legalization in Florida by means of its new Seminole Gambling Compact, and on the subsequent opposition.  A pair of Florida parimutuel companies have been leading the legal charge against Florida and the Seminole Gambling compact they entered into with the Tribe.  The issue, of course, stems from the inappropriate sports gambling expansion that will take place off reservation, gambling that requires the express consent of the Florida voters before it can be enacted.  The argument has been if the location of the online servers being on tribal land is enough to call it tribal gambling, or if the fact that anyone in the state having access to this gambling subjects it to constitutional voter approval.  Florida has moved forward with its plans to initiate and regulate sports gambling and have set Oct 15th as the date.  A new lawsuit by the same companies essentially seeks an injunction to hold off such gambling until the lawsuits can be heard.  The Miami-Herald explains:

Two Florida pari-mutuels filed a new motion in federal district court in Washington late Tuesday, asking a judge to block implementation of online sports betting under the Florida tribal gaming compact which is scheduled to begin later this year.

The motion, filed by Magic City Casino and Bonita Springs Poker Room against U.S. Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland, asks a court to enjoin the sports-betting portion of the state’s compact with the Seminole Tribe of Florida.

The plaintiffs allege that although the Department of the Interior allowed the compact to take effect, the court should reverse that decision and block implementation until a legal sports-betting compact is established for Florida.

Although the Florida statute sets an Oct. 15 start date for tribal sports betting, a footnote in the lawsuit states that “representatives of the Tribe have informed Plaintiffs that the Tribe will not implement online sports betting until November 15, 2021.”

The court has scheduled a Nov. 5 hearing date to hear oral arguments on the Magic City motion for summary judgment with the goal of blocking the launch of online sports betting in Florida.

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


A Brief Look at Crime 9/13 – 9/19

Pennsylvania State Police Report 57 Incidents of Kids Left in Cars at Casinos

The Pennsylvania State Police reported that there have been 57 incidents of children being left unattended in a vehicle in casino parking lots so far in 2021. In addition to sharing the number of incidents, the PSP tweeted a message to their 74k followers: “Don’t gamble with your child’s life. It is illegal and endangers children. It can be deadly.” PSP Communications Director Grace Griffaton said: “Children should never be left unattended in a vehicle, especially right now. It’s extremely hot outside. In ten minutes, a car’s temperature can go up 2o degrees. Children are dying because of being left in cars. If you have to leave a child, call someone to watch that child.”

Kevin O’Toole, Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Gaming Control, commented to PlayPennsylvania: “We’ve been working to raise awareness of this problem. The PGCB has been working with each casino in PA and are requesting a number of properties to provide greater details regarding their process and making sure proper notifications are made when they learn of unattended children. We are making sure security personnel respond as soon as possible and get to the location as quickly as possible. We’ve also talked to casinos about reviewing and enhancing their signage about children being left unattended.”

Probe into Wildwood gaming company leads to seizure of ‘multiple gambling devices’ 

Greene County Prosecuting Attorney Dan Patterson said the Missouri Highway Patrol searched and seized “multiple gambling machines owned or operated” by Torch on June 15 at the AM-PM Food Mart after a Greene County judge signed off on a search warrant for 15 machines. A subpoena was also issued to the company, directing it to supply documents to prosecutors on July 16, but the company “failed to comply,” filing a motion to quash the subpoena and asking for a protective order, court documents said. The court battle is the latest evidence of increasing scrutiny on Torch, even as it has injected hundreds of thousands of dollars into Missouri politics and retains high-power lobbyists to kill proposals intended to crack down on unregulated games.

Honolulu Prosecutor’s office files civil lawsuit to crack down on illegal game room activity on Oahu (HI) 

The Honolulu Prosecutor’s Office has filed a first of its kind civil lawsuit in an effort to crack down on illegal game room activity on Oahu. The civil nuisance abatement complaint alleges McCully property owner KC Management, LLC and its agent Wai Tung Kwok, allowed illegal gambling to operate on its premises. According to the lawsuit, alleged cashier Tom Tran is accused of multiple gambling offenses in three separate cases on the same property. It’s asking for a court order to shut down the property for a year and permanently bar Tran from entering. “We’re trying to be creative about doing something to shut these down because otherwise, if you make a gambling case, they may stop it for a couple of days, and then it springs up a block later, or in the same place right after it’s shut down,” said Prosecuting Attorney Steve Alm. Alm says with the possible exception of drugs, game rooms that attract crime, weapons, and other illegal activity, draw the most complaints from residents. 

Former low-income housing executive sentenced to prison for embezzling nearly $7 million

Pierce County Housing Authority finance executive used public funds for gambling and lavish lifestyle.  A former Pierce County Housing Authority executive was sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Tacoma to 51 months in prison for wire fraud in connection with her scheme to steal nearly $7 million, announced Acting U.S. Attorney Tessa M. Gorman. Cova Campbell pleaded guilty in January 2021, admitting that between March 2016 and July 2019, she used a variety of schemes to divert $6.9 million in public money to her own bank accounts.  “At a time when housing resources in our community are in historically high demand, this defendant stole from the poor and vulnerable who most needed assistance,” said U.S. Attorney’s Office Criminal Chief Sarah Vogel.  “Her greed meant there were less resources for the elderly, the disabled, the veterans, and the children in Pierce County who count on the Housing Authority to provide safe and secure shelter.”

Man leaving Manhattan gambling den with cash in hand wounded by pair of gunmen in ambush

A man leaving an illegal gambling den in Upper Manhattan with a handful of cash was shot by a pair of gunmen — but ultimately managed to escape with his life, police said Sunday. The 25-year-old victim was leaving the underground gambling hotspot on Amsterdam Ave. near W 176th St. in Washington Heights with a “wad of cash in his hand” when two hooded gunmen hopped out a black Chevy Tahoe about 7 a.m. Friday, a police source said. Surveillance video released by cops shows the victim and a friend running uptown on Amsterdam Ave. as one of the gunmen chases them, firing multiple rounds. The other gunman appears to chicken out, suddenly spinning around and running back to the SUV. The victim, who cops say lives in Mississippi, was struck in his left shoulder and left thigh but managed to get away from the shooter. He was taken to Harlem Hospital, where he was is in stable condition, police said

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


Missouri Lottery Targeted as Sports Gambling Expansion Regulatory Body

Casino Watch Focus has reported on various efforts to expand gambling in Missouri by legalizing sports gambling.  The Supreme Court has allowed for each state to set its own sports gambling regulations now, and many states have started expanding their gambling offerings into the sports realm.  However, in Missouri, most gambling outside of the lottery, or some charity bingo/fundraisers, is limited to the 13 licensed casinos that operate on either the Missouri or Mississippi rivers.  That hasn’t stopped those from looking into ways of expanding sports gambling in any means possible and it looks like the Missouri Lottery is the new regulatory target.  The Washington Examiner reports:

[I]f Missouri lawmakers allowed new products, such as sports wagering, and took steps to “modernize our channels of distribution” through online lottery ticket sales, revenues would dramatically increase – and quickly.

That was the pitch Wednesday by Missouri Lottery Executive Director May Reardon and Missouri Gaming Commission General; Counsel Edward Grewach before the Senate Economic Development Committee,

Casino operators are among those lobbying lawmakers to legalize sports gaming. Thirty-two states have done so since 2018’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Murphy v. National Collegiate Athletic Association, but efforts in Missouri have fallen short in consecutive sessions.

Reardon said the Missouri Lottery should administer any “new products” authorized by lawmakers,   noting 70% of global online sports wagering is conducted by lotteries.

Grewach said if lawmakers allow sports betting, only wagers placed by a person physically present in the state to a company also residing in Missouri would be legal.

Any proposal to do so, he cautioned, would “create some regulatory challenges for us.”

In addition to regulatory challenges pertaining to carrying out a lottery based sports gambling scheme, there would also be questions about the constitutionality of sports betting in Missouri, where gambling is expressly limited to casinos and the regulation through the Missouri Gaming Commission.  It would be expected that both those hoping to see sports betting remain outlawed in Missouri, and those whose interests align with casinos will object should such legislation find success in the Missouri Legislature. 

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


A Brief Look at Crime 9/06 – 9/12

Father and Sons Are Charged in $21 Million Lottery Fraud

No statistical model could explain it, and when a Massachusetts man and his two sons cashed in more than 13,000 winning lottery tickets worth nearly $21 million over eight years, federal prosecutors and lottery officials said it was anything but luck. “A statistician will say that there’s some astronomical odd,” Michael R. Sweeney, the executive director of the Massachusetts State Lottery, said in an interview. “But the reality is, it’s zero.”

In a 19-page indictment that was unsealed on Monday in U.S. District Court in Massachusetts, Ali Jaafar and his sons Mohamed Jaafar and Yousef Jaafar were collectively charged with more than a dozen counts of fraud, money laundering and tax evasion for taking part in what the authorities say was a ticket-cashing scheme. A vast majority of the tickets were the scratch-off type that are typically sold at convenience stores, prosecutors said.

From 2011 to 2019, according to the indictment, the Jaafars claimed the prizes on behalf of the actual winners, who potentially avoided having their winnings garnished for unpaid taxes or child support, a requirement for any prize over $600 in Massachusetts. The Jaafars then falsely reported six- and seven-figure gambling losses on their tax returns, allowing them to drastically reduce the taxes they paid on the winnings, prosecutors said.

Father charged after leaving children in car at casino 

A Westmoreland County father is facing charges after leaving his two children under the age of 3 alone in the car while he went to the casino. State police said the two children, ages 1 and 3, were left alone in a running vehicle last Saturday afternoon at Live! Casino Pittsburgh for nearly half an hour. Police said their dad, 28-year-old Zachary Bohinski went inside to place a takeout order for nachos at Guy Fieri’s restaurant. Instead of returning to the car, he decided to pass the time waiting for his order to be completed inside. “Instead of returning to the vehicle he goes into the casino and starts to play slot machines,” Pennsylvania State Trooper Steve Limani said. The children were left in the car for 28 minutes.

Woodland Man Suspected Of Kidnapping Woman Off Cache Creek Casino Property 

Deputies say a Yolo County kidnapping suspect was also apparently involved in a hit-and-run earlier in the day. The Yolo County Sheriff’s Office says, early Monday afternoon, a woman reported that a man had offered to give her a ride to the Cache Creek Casino mini-mart. She got in his truck, but the man instead started driving off casino property. She asked to leave the truck several times, deputies say. Eventually, the man ended up at a dead-end on County Road 78A. After he parked, the woman says she noticed that the man had a gun. Right at that moment, however, some ranchers showed up to work – giving the woman the distraction to get out of the truck. She was to wave down the ranchers, who soon took her back to the casino to get help where she then called authorities. Deputies later tracked the suspect’s truck to the 19000 block of County Road 78A. A stolen 9mm pistol was also found inside the truck, deputies say.

US Sports Betting Fraud Attempts Rise Significantly During Pandemic 

Sports betting fraud attempts skyrocketed in the second quarter of 2021 as the COVID-19 pandemic peaked. A new TransUnion report released Wednesday found gaming to be the most susceptible industry to fraud attempts. The US digital fraud attempt rate in gaming jumped 261.9% from the second quarter of 2020 to the second quarter of 2021. Travel and leisure was second with a 136.6% jump. Dissecting those figures, sports betting fraud attempts jumped 114% in the same time frame, according to Melissa Gaddis, senior director of customer success at TransUnion. The report is based on “billions of transactions” from TruValidate, a system used for identity proofing, authentication and fraud analytics.

“[We’re] seeing increases in transaction volumes and people who perpetrate fraud go where the money is,” Gaddis told LSR. US sports betting transactions are increasing rapidly. Overall, fraud attempts increased 16.5% globally, according to the report. The general rise was in part because of transaction growth between the two quarters. The second quarter of 2020 included the most significant shutdowns during the COVID-19 pandemic. Globally, gaming was the most significant target for fraud attempts, rising 393%. Travel was second at 155.9%.

Nonprofit Head Accused of Stealing Money Meant to Feed Kids

A director of a nonprofit for youth in one of Mississippi poorest counties has been arrested for allegedly stealing state funds meant to feed needy children. Carol Jackson, the executive director and founder of Sunflower County’s On Track Community Development Corporation was indicted earlier this month on fraud charges, Mississippi State Auditor Shad White said Monday. Jackson is accused of submitting fraudulent documents and stealing more than $40,000 in Mississippi Department of Education money. She allegedly used state funds to write herself more than $20,000 in checks, withdrew thousands of dollars from an ATM at a local casino and spent nearly $2,000 on personal travel. “We will hold the line when someone steals any taxpayer funds, but we are even more motivated when someone steals money intended for children,” White said in a statement.

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


Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt Returns Political Contributions from Illegal Gambling Machine Manufacturers Owners Amid Controversy

Casino Watch Focus has reported on the ongoing saga of Missouri’s illegal slot machine problem.  Gambling, specifically casino style slot machine gambling, is limited to state regulated casinos in Missouri, but that hasn’t stopped companies like Torch Electronics from placing thousands of illegal slot machines all over the state.  They have used many methods for keeping their illegal gambling machine operating, including taking advantage of enforcement loopholes where the state gaming commission cant regulate them and local law enforcement jurisdictions are left to clean up the illegal slot machines.  Other tactics include attempting to sue those prosecuting them  and political contributions in hopes of controlling the legislature or the courts.  Many have called for immediate state action to provide the proper enforcement tools for uniform restriction, confiscation and prosecution of those machines and the operators and manufactures.  Amid the controversy, some have been called out as possibly being put in a compromised situation due to political contributions, specifically Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt.  The St Louis Post Dispatch reports:

Attorney General Eric Schmitt is returning campaign contributions he received more than two months ago from the owner of a controversial video gambling company and his wife.

Schmitt, a Republican running for U.S. Senate in 2022, received two $2,900 checks in June from Steven Miltenberger, owner of Wildwood-based Torch Electronics, and his spouse, Sondra Miltenberger.

Torch has been in court in recent months for allegedly operating thousands of illegal slot machines at gas stations across the state. The company also is suing the state, saying it is being unfairly harassed by the Missouri Highway Patrol.

The announcement that the money was being jettisoned came after the Post-Dispatch asked the attorney general’s office if the contribution could be considered a conflict of interest because of the state’s involvement in litigation against Miltenberger’s company.

“There was no violation of office policy, but out of an abundance of caution, it’s my understanding that the donation is going to be returned,” Schmitt spokesman Chris Nuelle said Friday. “We will remain active in our vigorous defense of the state’s interest in this case.”

A spokesman for Schmitt’s campaign confirmed the contributions have been returned.

Schmitt is among dozens of Missouri politicians who have received money connected to Miltenberger in recent years as unregulated slot machines have flooded the state.

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