Monthly Archives: July 2009

Just How did the gambling industry influenced FL’s recent gambling expansion ?

Casino Watch Focus previously reported that the Florida legislature passed a massive new gambling expansion compact with the Seminole Tribe.  It was also reported that non-tribal facilities would be expanding as well, through higher betting limits, longer hours of operation, and access to ATM machines on gambling floors.  Such attempts have failed time and time again, so why was the gambling industy so successful during this past legislative session?  A online source has a pretty good answer why:

The Seminole Indian Tribe and related businesses made $720,000 in political contributions in 2008—more than their giving in the previous 10 years combined and three times as much as that given in the 2006 election cycle.

Is it merely coincidental the previously gambling-expansion-skeptical Florida House of Representatives saw things differently during the 2009 legislative session and approved a gambling compact with the Seminoles resulting in the largest expansion of gambling in the history of the state?…

“In total, companies involved with gaming and racing gave $3 million to legislative candidates and party committees in 2008. Florida ranked sixth in the nation for gaming contributions,” the Institute’s report notes.

For the full article and a more comprehensive breakdown of the contributions, click HERE

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

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A brief look at crime 7/20-7/26

Iowan says he planned robbery, not stabbing, rape

The sentencing hearing for a man convicted in a 1999 kidnapping and violent sexual assault has been continued to this afternoon following testimony that shed light on what initiated a chain of events a decade ago.  Ricardo Louison, 47, formerly of LeMars, Iowa, pleaded guilty in November to aggravated criminal sexual assault and aggravated kidnapping, both Class X felonies, and will be sentenced today. On Monday, special agent Richard Mullen of state police testified that on April 19, 1999, Louison was driving from Iowa to New York, working as a truck driver, when he stopped at a motel in Princeton, with the intention of robbery.

Psychologist E. Rackley Ivey, M.D., testified Tuesday’s that Louison had a gambling problem and had lost $25,000 the previous day. Louison approached the then-20-year-old female desk clerk who was outside smoking a cigarette and talking on a payphone. Louison told the clerk he wanted to rent a room and followed her inside. Once inside, he moved behind the counter and robbed her at knifepoint.  He forced the clerk to exit the building and enter his tractor-trailer, where he bound her hands and feet, drove to a separate location and sexually assaulted her.

Mother found dead with son suffered ‘blow to the head’

AN ELDERLY woman found dead along with her son in an Edinburgh flat probably died from head injuries, The Scotsman has learned.
The bodies of Brian Rockall, 43, and his mother, Valerie, 81, were found by police in the flat in Edinburgh’s Dean Village on Monday night.  Mr Rockall, who described himself as a professional gambler, was found hanging in the living-room, while his mother was thought to have been discovered lying on a chair.  Detectives at Lothian and Borders Police believe that Mr Rockall murdered his mother before taking his own life. They are investigating the possibility that Mr Rockall may have had an argument with his mother over mounting gambling debts.

Exclusive: Horror scene as gambling addict son stabs mum then hangs himself

A GAMBLING addict stabbed his elderly mum to death in their flat – then hanged himself behind the door.  Police suspect that professional gambler Brian Rockall had an argument with mum Valerie, 81, over his mounting debts. When officers broke down the door of their home in Edinburgh’s historic Dean Village on Monday, they found Valerie dead from several stab wounds and Brian, 43, hanging beside her.  It is thought they may have been dead for two weeks by the time they were discovered.

Woman arraigned on embezzlement charge

A North Enid woman was arraigned Thursday on charges stemming from the theft of more than $90,000 from a business she worked at from 2005 to 2008. An FBI agent interviewed Chance, and showed her copies of the checks. She admitted to taking the money from the company for personal use due to financial strain and a gambling problem, the affidavit states.

Bookkeeper jailed two years for fraud – used nearly $400,000 to feed gambling habit

A 45-year-old bookkeeper who pilfered nearly $400,000 from her employer sobbed into a wadded tissue on Friday after a judge sentenced her to two years in jail. Between January 2004 and July 2005, she submitted nearly 500 false payroll records for herself and her husband and her two sons, as well as her sister-in-law and a friend. Essentially, Bielby said she was “padding” the paycheques by paying workers for more hours than they had put in. Court also heard she used the money to support a gambling addiction.

Man who spurred Nev. gov probe facing casino debt

A software designer who alleged Nevada Gov. Jim Gibbons took bribes from a Reno-based defense contractor is accused of failing to repay $1 million in casino debts to a Las Vegas Strip casino. Montgomery alleged in 2006 that Gibbons, while serving as a congressman from Nevada, improperly received money, a Caribbean cruise and other bribes from Montgomery’s former business partner, eTreppid Technologies owner Warren Trepp.

High Times and Low Crimes at Gulfstream

Gulfstream Park was a hell of a place to work for some employees, full of cocaine and free gambling. When the scheme was finally discovered, hundreds of thousands of dollars had been stolen from the casino and taxpayers, and the “family-friendly” racetrack was a potential public relations nightmare.  A state investigation into the 2007 heist is now just about finished, and the portrait it paints is an ugly one for Gulfstream. It found that Gulfstream employees and an alleged cocaine-slinging ex-con (who’d been convicted of murder) ripped off nearly $289,324 in slot winnings.

Regulators tell casinos to clean up act

Two weeks after imposing a heavy fine against a Strip casino for not properly controlling illegal activity inside a nightclub on the property, state gaming regulators let gaming licensees know they have other concerns about how casinos are operating. The letter notes that, while casino companies are focused on addressing regulators’ concerns about operations at nightclubs, ultralounges and topless swimming pools operating on their properties, “there are other areas where regulatory concerns have surfaced.” Sayre’s letter lists how casinos conduct promotions, tournaments and contests, race and sports book operations, intellectual property theft and questionable and misleading advertising as areas of concern.

AUSTRALIANS INVESTIGATE SPORTS GAMBLING RIP-OFFS

Office of Fair Trading officials in the Australian territory of Queensland are currently investigating the activities of up to thirty sports arbitrage companies, mostly based on the Gold Coast, reports the Courier-Mail newspaper. Some 650 gamblers have lodged complaints about the operators, who have allegedly been ripping players off with elaborate sports betting scams involving millions of dollars. It is understood that half of the companies have vanished, after police found only empty land or a post office box as the principal place of business after following up on customer complaints.

Gambling behind theft by ex-top cricketer, court told

The District Court has heard a former Redbacks cricketer suffered from a gambling addiction when he stole $50,000 while working for South Australian Farmers Fuel (SAFF). His lawyer told the court his client had a gambling addiction and had attempted suicide after his sacking.  The lawyer asked that any prison sentence be suspended given Martin’s psychological breakdown and his lack of prior offending.

Man: My Wife Stole Nearly $250k From My 401k

In less than 9 months he claims his now former wife, Gisele, made withdrawals that drained his account dry. He suspects she was using the money for gambling.  Campbell said his 401k account was accessed and the withdrawals made by telephone. The money was then electronically deposited into a joint checking account.

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


A brief look at crime 7/13-7/19

Couple accused of drink-ing and gambling in bar while kids waited outside in van

Police arrested a Glyndon, Minn., couple late Sunday after they allegedly left four children in a van while drinking and gambling inside a downtown Fargo bar. Cass County Social Services was contacted, and the children were turned over to a relative, he said.

Gunman found guilty in Vegas Strip casino shooting

A Nevada jury found an unemployed house painter guilty of 51 of 52 felony charges against him in a shooting inside a Las Vegas Strip casino two years ago. Four people were wounded before patrons realized the pops they heard were gunshots and not Fourth of July firecrackers. The most seriously hurt, Carrie Zeravica, 25, of North Huntington, Pa., sobbed as she testified last week that nerve damage from a wound to her left leg ruined her dreams of becoming a dance teacher. Troy Sanchez, 15, of Los Angeles, testified he was walking with his mother when he was shot in the foot.

Planet Hollywood agrees to pay $500,000 fine in NV for seriously egregious acts

Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino has agreed to pay a $500,000 fine to Nevada gambling regulators over lax policing of illegal activity inside an independently operated nightclub at the resort. Among other things, Prive employees were accused of removing drunk customers and dumping them in the casino unattended, and of physically and sexually assaulting customers.  The Prive also was accused of admitting minors and hiring people with criminal records.  The Gaming Control Board also charged that prostitution increased around the club and nothing was done to discourage the activity.

Former NBA star Antoine Walker,  faces Las Vegas casino debt

Former NBA star Antoine Walker is facing criminal charges over $822,500 in gambling debts to three Las Vegas casinos. Documents provided Tuesday by the Clark County district attorney accuse the 32-year-old Walker of 3 felony counts of writing bad checks. Prosecutors say he failed to make good on 10 checks totaling $1 million written to Caesars Palace, Planet Hollywood and the Red Rock Resort.

Dad stole €36k from work to pay debt

A father-of-one who falsified work documents in order to transfer more than €36,000 into his own bank account has been given a three-year suspended sentence.  Joseph Sullivan (40) with an address at Huntsmans Way, Lusk, siphoned the money from Pioneer Investment Management Limited where he was payroll manager, in order to pay off a €50,000 gambling debt.

Woman pleads guilty to stealing from Arthritis Foundation

A former controller for the central Ohio chapter of the Arthritis Foundation admitted today to stealing more than $200,000 to support her boyfriend’s gambling habit. Prosecutors say they will seek reimbursement anyway for the $211,016 stolen through wire transfers, cash deposits and credit cards.

Charity worker stole $1m to fund gambling habit

David Vincent has pleaded guilty to 79 counts of obtaining money by deception while he was the payroll supervisor for the Wesley Mission.  Over a five-year period he transferred money from his employer into his own bank account after gambling his mortgage payments.

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


Delaware legalizes gambling on NFL Games – the National Football League Opposes

Delaware has passed a law that will allow single-event betting on NFL games.  Currently, only Nevada allows betting on the NFL, a practice the NFL itself has strongly opposed. The law is set to be in effect by the beginning of this years NFL season, but court challenges could hold up the process.  An online article explains:

The state of Delaware intends to allow single-event betting on NFL games beginning with the start of the 2009 season Sept. 10, but court challenges from sports leagues could delay the plan.

Delaware lawmakers have not ruled out allowing wagering on other pro and college sports. U.S. leagues and the NCAA have long opposed sports betting but have withheld legal action against Delaware’s plan pending the state’s decision on specifics.

For now, Delaware’s three track-based casinos would be the only places where sports betting is allowed.

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


Missouri governor Jay Nixon veto’s bingo gambling expansion

Bingo has long been a means of gambling that some view as acceptable.  Those who push that argument justify that form of gambling by look to the money that it can raise for charities or even churches who are active in the community and looking to give back.  That was the justification of a bill that passed in both the Missouri House and the Senate.  The bill looked to expand its scope and cut a tax in an effort to revive bingo and encourage operator expansion.  Bingo has not faired well against the major casinos.

Given it passed so easily, it was surprising to some that Gov. Nixon chose to veto the bill.  The St Joe News explains:

Gov. Jay Nixon this week vetoed an attempt to revive struggling bingo halls with an expansion of state rules and the elimination of a two-tenths-cent tax on game cards.

“I had no inkling this was going to happen, especially with its bipartisan support,” said Rep. Mike Lair, a Chillicothe Republican who authored the bill.

Mr. Lair said veterans and church group bingo games have decreased dramatically in recent years, but lifting some of the restrictions would’ve made it easier for them to use the games of chance as fundraisers.

Gov Nixon explained his decision to veto the bill was based on budgetary concerns and he felt it could lead to a significant expansion of gambling.  The St Joe News continues:

“In light of current fiscal conditions, this reduction to education funding cannot be absorbed,” Mr. Nixon wrote.

Mr. Lair, a retired educator, said he never intended for the bingo bill to negatively affect the education budget.

If the reduction was realized, legislators had intended to make up the difference from the tax cut with general revenue during a supplemental budget request in early 2010, said Mark Schwartz, a budget analyst for Rep. Allen Icet, the House’s budget chairman.

Mr. Nixon also took issue with the bill because it authorized electronic bingo card monitoring devices, which he said was left undefined.

“The lack of a specific definition could lead to a significant expansion of gaming activities in the state,” he wrote.

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


A brief look at crime 7/06-7/12

Gambler Husband Kills Objecting Wife

Enraged by her scolding on his gambling habit, a husband in Kulgam killed his wife by a sharp-edged weapon and hid the body under mustard bushels. The senior superintendent of the police for Kulgam, Keshav Ram Churasa, said that the victim’s body had been hidden under a hay stack in an orchard between Bahi Bagh and Mughal Bagh, and had been recovered after locals spotted human feet sticking out of the hay on Thursday evening, two days after the incident.

Young Tennis Star Found Deceased after Gambling Scandal

According to the Associated Press, Mathieu Montcourt, a 24 year old Tennis pro, was found dead in his apartment building. His short lived life was highlighted by a superb Tennis career, despite some bumps in the road.  Montcourt had recently been temporarily banned and fined for illegaly betting on other Tennis matches. The ban would last five weeks, and the fine was just over $12,000 dollars. Some speculate that his death may have been related to his gambling.

Former school district bookkeeper gets prison for embezzlement

A former school district bookkeeper in eastern Missouri’s Montgomery County has been sentenced to 14 months in prison for embezzlement. Carolyn Yelton was sentenced Wednesday in U.S. District Court in St. Louis. Federal prosecutors say Yelton embezzled almost $200,000 from the Wellsville-Middletown School District, where she worked from 2000 to 2007. Prosecutors described Yelton as a regular customer at casinos during the time the money was taken. She must make restitution.

Banker tried for swindling $5.86 million to pay off gambling debt

A YOUNG banker swindled 40 million yuan (US$5.86 million) from a semi-official government body to pay off his gambling debts, a Shenzhen court heard Wednesday. Luo swindled money from a residents’ committee — a semi-official body that’s subsidized by the government — in Longgang in December 2007, the court heard.

Calif. bookkeeper who embezzled $10M gets 18 years

A former bookkeeper accused of embezzling nearly $10 million from her company …Yeomans was accused of stealing money from Quality Woodworks, a cabinetry business in San Marcos, and blowing the money on gambling, shopping trips and luxury items. She pleaded guilty to 10 of 108 felony charges as part of a plea deal.

Illegal Cockfighting Ring Uncovered

A Louisiana man is indicted on charges relating to a Kentucky cockfighting operation. Richard Joseph Abshire is charged with permitting and promoting gambling, both misdemeanors.  He also faces conspiracy to promote gambling which is a class D felony, punishable up to 5 years in prison.  The indictment follows a state police investigation into Bayou Springs the weekend of May 30th. The cockfighting ring just outside of Mt. Sterling was the host to the 2009 World Championship.

Accused murderer claims gang wanted him to kill eight women

Hong Kong – A man charged with killing three prostitutes has claimed an armed gang wanted him to kill eight women, a media report said Wednesday. Nadeem Razaq, a Hong Kong resident of Pakistani origin, told a local court that the gang drove him to the location of each one-woman brothel and waited for him while he carried out the murders but he managed to escape from the group, which was armed with long knives, after the third killing, the South China Morning Post said.  Razaq, who said he owed two members of the gang 45,000 Hong Kong dollars (5,770 dollars) that he borrowed to cover gambling debts

Cash guard raided ATM for $44,000

A cash delivery guard who was a policeman for 13 years has been sentenced to 15 months’ jail for raiding an ATM of cash to feed a gambling addiction. “Most regrettably, the explanation for this crime is gambling, largely, it seems, on poker machines,” Justice Porter said in sentencing.  Shortly before the theft, Eberhardt frittered away $26,000 his mother had lent him as a deposit on a house.

19 charged in dogfighting ring

An investigation into dogfighting across five states has resulted in federal charges against 19 people, the U.S. Department of Justice announced Wednesday.  More than 350 dogs were seized after an investigation into dogfighting across five states.  Indictments unsealed in Missouri, Illinois and Texas detailed gambling rings in which owners bred and trained dogs to fight, then killed them if the animals were badly wounded or failed to perform as desired.

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


A brief look at gambling related crimes 6/29-7/05

Gamblers committing more crime than previously thought, study finds

Eighty-five per cent recognised that their gambling had caused harm to others, including family or [friends].  “There is substantial unreported gambling-related crime which is ‘invisible’ to the authorities,” says Dr Bellringer.  “This raises the possibility that there may be significant economic and social costs associated with gambling, due to unreported crime committed by gamblers who have not previously been factored into economic and social impact analyses of gambling.”  Fellow Director of AUT’s Gambling and Addictions Research Centre, Professor Max Abbott, says gambling-related crime is one of the more significant ways in which excessive gambling has highly toxic effects on individuals, families and the wider community.

Betting addict used wife’s credit card to fund habit

Exeter Crown Court heard 37-year-old John Robinson not only fleeced his wife but also stole money from the accounts of her mother, who was in a care home, and her disabled son.  In all he had £8,733 over a three-month period.  Robinson, of St Efrides Road, Torquay, was jailed for nine months after pleading guilty to eight offences of theft and one of fraud by false representation.

Woman admits stealing from a Pierce County soccer club

A woman charged with stealing more than $72,000 from a Pierce County youth soccer club pleaded guilty Friday to 10 counts of first-degree theft. The thefts nearly caused the club to fold, but it managed to stay afloat with the help of donations.  Martinelli said Angilley had a gambling habit that fueled her need for cash. Worswick ordered treatment for addictive gambling as part of Angilley’s sentence.

Woman accused of stealing $50K from employer

A 41-year-old Manitowoc woman made her initial appearance before the Manitowoc County Circuit Court after she allegedly stole more than $50,000 in 2008 from her Manitowoc employer. Grimm told the investigator she used the money to pay bills and support her gambling addiction, according to the complaint.

Former Jeffco official convicted in charity fraud

A jury convicted a former Jefferson County commissioner and Birmingham City Council president Wednesday on charges he took money from a computer charity for needy kids and spent it on gambling, overseas travel and gifts for friends. In a statement, prosecutors said Katopodis had agreed to forfeit about $163,000 they contend he spent wrongly. Katopodis could be sentenced to 20 years in prison and fined $250,000 on each of the 97 counts at a hearing set for Oct. 28.

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