Monthly Archives: January 2015

Super Bowl 49 Brings Gambling to the Fore Front

Super Bowl 49  brings the NFL’s largest game to lime light with headlines of a Patriots cheating scandal that sounds all too familiar. Another year of allegations that coach Bill Belichick and Tom Brady were looking for way to edge the competition in what is being termed “deflategate.” Deflating the football gives the running back a better grip so as not to fumble the ball and the receivers an easier time to squeeze the ball for a catch, especially in bad weather when the ball is slippery. Just as the Patriots are under constant scrutiny for looking for a leg up, gamblers look for any and all ways to get a let up in betting. Some resort to prop bets, bets on crazy things like, how long will the national anthem take, who will score first, will the announcers say a key word, like deflategate. Most of the avenues gamblers take, wont be legal. An online source explains just how much illegal gambling is estimated:  

Americans will illegally wager 38 times more money on this year’s Super Bowl than they will legally in Nevada, the only state with full-fledged sports betting, according to a projection from a casino industry trade group.

American Gaming Association President Geoff Freeman told a gathering of mayors in Washington, D.C., on Thursday that his organization expects the Super Bowl to elicit $3.8 billion in illegal wagers compared with Nevada’s legal $100 million.

As startling as those numbers are to read, they only represent our country. Last year the total gambling total on the Super Bowl was estimated at over $10 billion. Many view this as harmless fun, but the reality is quite different. The Morning Sentinel article reported that Guy Cousins, acting director of Maine Office of Substance Abuse, estimates that 3 to 5 percent of those who participate in wagering will become problem gamblers. Another expert mentioned, Lee Thompson, president of the Maine Council on Problem Gambling explained, “We’ve seen an increase in the calls from Maine to the Nation Council on Problem Gambling hotline, from eight calls a month in 2003 to over 100 a month in 2006.”

It appears that the glitzy glam of the Super Bowl attracts people to make social wagers, a harmless bit of fun in their mind. But the dollar amount waged on the Super Bowl climbs each year, as does the number of problem gamblers.

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

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Brief Look at Crime 01/19 – 01/25

Ex-official convicted of $725,000 theft from band 

A former executive director of the Kwadacha Nation Indian band was sentenced Thursday to a conditional sentence of two years less a day and three years probation for stealing nearly $725,000 to pay off a growing gambling debt. From January 2009 to May 2010, Theresa Margaret McCook, 51, diverted to herself federal government money meant for a variety of services and programs that were never offered. An eight-year employee of the band, she started as the housing director and was then promoted to executive director where she was responsible for the management of band money and receipt of federal government funding.

Taiwanese man dies after three-day online gaming binge

A Taiwan-based man has been found dead in an internet cafe after a spending three days straight on a marathon gaming binge.* The 32-year-old man, known only by his surname Hsieh, was first spotted slumped in his chair in front of a computer by staff and other customers, but they all thought he was sleeping, the Mirror reported. Later after a worker discovered he was not breathing when he went to check on him, they were stunned and immediately called emergency services to the cafe in Greater Kaohsiung, but the gamer was pronounced dead shortly after he arrived at the hospital. The worker who found him said that Hsieh was a regular customer there and always played for consecutive days, adding that when tired, he would sleep face-down on the table or doze off slumped in his chair and that is why they were not aware of his condition in the beginning. Doctors confirmed that Hsieh died from heart failure and ruled the incident was a “sudden death” brought on from “prolonged computer gaming.” Police chief Weng Chun-neng told that cold temperatures and over-exhaustion from intense game-playing likely contributed to Hsieh’s demise.

Suspect who shot 2 Canadian police found dead 

Two Royal Canadian Mounted Police officers were shot and hospitalized at the Apex Casino in St. Albert, Alberta on Saturday morning. The search for a suspect accused of opening fire on two Royal Canadian Mounted Police officers has ended. Police said they have located the suspect dead, and there is no longer any threat to the public. The two officers were shot early Saturday morning at the Apex Casino. They were there to investigate a report of a stolen vehicle. Police said a suspect began shooting at the officers when they approached him. Both officers were sent to the hospital with serious injuries.

Sydney finance director ‘stole $7m to fund gambling habit’ 

Sydney finance director ‘stole $7m to fund gambling habit’ Jason Boatwright is accused of embezzling millions from his former employer A Sydney finance chief arrested in Los Angeles after a three-year manhunt allegedly stole millions to fund his gambling habit. Jason Boatwright, 38, was detained last week and escorted back to Sydney by officers after a joint FBI, US Secret Service and NSW Police operation, Fairfax Media reports. He is accused of swindling millions from his former employers, online payment service epay.

Frisch’s: Top exec stole millions and gambled it away

Frisch’s Restaurants Inc. is accusing one of its former top executives of a massive and systematic theft, claiming he stole at least $3.3 million over the last seven years. On Tuesday, the nation’s largest Big Boy franchisee said in a regulatory filing that it has filed a civil lawsuit against Michael Hudson, its former assistant treasurer and 32-year company veteran, accusing him of embezzlement. The Walnut Hills-based company says it discovered the alleged theft in late December after an internal audit revealed cost discrepancies. It also disclosed findings of an internal investigation to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Cincinnati last week for potential criminal charges. A few coworkers in accounting knew he gambled occasionally because he sent them pictures from the Downtown casino. Hudson claimed he gambled it all away, Maier says.

Million-dollar gambling investigation in California

The nation’s gambling industry was stunned last month when California Attorney General Kamala Harris accused the state’s former casino enforcement chief of engaging in a conflict of interest on behalf of a San Jose card club targeted in a $119 million skimming investigation. One would think a sophisticated state like California would have a regulatory system capable of preventing, or at least adjudicating, actions such as those alleged in the Lytle complaint. Unfortunately, California’s politically bifurcated system of regulating about 80 card rooms and providing oversight for 59 tribal casinos is highly dysfunctional, incapable of regulating what gambling is already legal in the state, let alone Internet poker. The casino and eight-story hotel remains open pending a commission review of its license.

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


No Casinos’ New Video Warns of ‘Gambling Creep’

Casino Watch Focus has reported on the ongoing efforts of the group No Casinos to educate the public as to the dangers of expanded gambling in Florida. One major strategy by legislators is to implement expanded gambling in very small increments so the public at large wont notice the true scale of the expansion, similar to frog in boiling water. No Casinos’s new video hopes to warn the public about this strategy. The Saint Peters Blog explains: 

Despite best intentions of lawmakers, gaming expansion in Florida will always result in a form of “gambling creep,” says anti-gambling group *No Casinos*.

“Gambling Creep” tracks the spread of casino gambling from Las Vegas to Atlantic City and beyond during the late 1970s through current lobbying efforts in Tallahassee to bring the world’s largest “destination resort” casinos to Florida.

The three-minute video examines each stage of what No Casinos calls a “seemingly simple and benign expansion,” from pari-mutuels and the Florida lottery to tribal Indian gaming rights. Inevitably, they all contribute to unintended growth in the gambling industry within the state.

“History shows us very clearly that every so-called ‘limited’ expansion of gambling in Florida has always led to more gambling than was promised,” said No Casinos President John Sowinski.

No Casinos’ has made the video available online HERE or below.  It really is a great recap of how gambling expansion started in Florida and how has snowballed throughout the years.

 

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


Brief Look at Crime 01/12 – 01/18

Manchester man faces terrorism charges for alleged Mohegan casino threat

A 28-year-old Manchester man is facing threatening and terrorism charges for allegedly phoning in a bomb threat to Mohegan Sun casino and invoking the name of ISIS. Mohegan Tribal Police arrested Gary L. Kalinsky of 71 Waddell Road on Jan. 8 in connection with a 3:21 a.m. call on Nov. 18 to an unlisted number given to casino patrons with lost items. The caller said he left a briefcase behind at the casino and needed it back. “I was the front of ISIS and the briefcase contains a very, very, very highly sensitive bomb and, if I don’t get it back in about 25 minutes, it might explode in you guy’s face in the casino,” the caller said, according to an arrest warrant affidavit in the case. Police identified Kalinsky’s number as the origin of the call because their records showed Kalinsky had called a day or two earlier to report a missing jacket.

8-month sentence, $209,000 forfeiture in gambling case

U.S. Attorney Kenneth Polite in New Orleans says a 79-year-old Abita Springs man has been sentenced to eight months in prison on gambling charges. Frank Frabbiele had pleaded guilty to charges of illegal transmission of wagering information and money laundering. Polite’s office says Frabbiele operated a sports gambling operation from January 2008 until early April of last year. He used a betting website based in Costa Rica to track, record, and register bets and clients. In addition to the eight-month prison sentence he was ordered to forfeit more than $209,000.

Man accused of killing 2 brothers captured; bodies in river

A man being sought in the slayings of two brothers whose bound bodies were found in a Philadelphia river and in the wounding of a third man who swam to shore has been captured in Virginia. Authorities allege Le and other members of a Vietnamese gang held brothers Viet Huynh and Vu Huynh hostage in his southwest Philadelphia home in August for gambling away $100,000 that was supposed to be used to buy drugs. Another man went to the home with partial payment of $40,000, but “Le was not satisfied and allegedly decided all three men would pay with their lives,” the U.S. Marshals Service said in December.

Authorities: 3 suspects robbed, killed man before gambling at casino 

Three men allegedly robbed and killed another man in Racine, and then drove to Milwaukee to gamble at the Potawatomi Casino. The three defendants are charged in a December 11th holdup in which 41-year-old Maurice Carter of Chicago was shot to death. Authorities said the 3 planned to rob Carter and another man — but it was not clear if any money was stolen in the mugging. 24-year-old Travenn Webster of Racine and 25-year-old Daimon Jackson of Milwaukee were ordered Wednesday to stand trial.

New Jersey charges 12 with $300K credit scam in casinos

New Jersey authorities have charged 12 New York residents with a credit card scam in Atlantic City’s casinos that stole nearly $300,000. Acting Attorney General John Hoffman said Thursday that 10 of the defendants used stolen credit cards to make cash withdrawals at five casinos in 2011. The 10 allegedly were acting under the direction of two leaders who brought them to Atlantic City, provided them with the cards and oversaw the transactions. ll are charged with conspiracy and theft counts.The scam allegedly caused about $293,000 in losses to banks that issued the cards.

Badger Liquor Owner Named Victim in $25m Gambling Extortion Case 

The victim of a $25 million gambling extortion case in Fond du Lac has been identified as Gary Sadoff, owner of Badger Liquor Company. Action 2 News requested from Badger Liquor a copy of an email Sadoff sent to employees. The company sent us this: “As you may know, earlier last month, the United States Attorney in Milwaukee indicted a man named Adam Meyer on six counts of fraud and extortion, including threats of violence against an unnamed individual.” According to an indictment, a Fond du Lac customer, referred to as Victim A, began purchasing advice from sports gambling adviser Adam Meyer in 2007. The unnamed customer–now identified as Sadoff–paid Meyer $25 million following threats to the victim and the victim’s family, according to the document.Adam Meyer faces six federal charges, including extortion, fraud and racketeering.

 

 

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


Florida Gambling Compact with Seminole Nation has Deadline Set

Casino Watch Focus has reported on the ongoing political management of the Seminole Nation Gambling Compact. This compact establishes the gambling rules for what Tribal Gambling is allowed as well as what types of gambling Florida can offer. Major money is at stake and many different political actors have been positioning for a spot at the negotiating table. Florida Gov. Rick Scott failed to negotiate a renewal deal last year so now a deadline has been established. An online source explains:

 

A July 31 deadline has been set for the Seminole Nation of Florida regarding a key provision of its Class III gaming compact with the state.

The Nation and the state have been in talks for several months on how to renew the compact, but have failed to reach an agreement. According to the provisions of the 2010 agreement, the Nation has an exclusive right, to play three card games — blackjack, chemin de fer and baccarat — at five of its casinos, and in return, they must share a portion of their revenue with the state to be in compliance with state and federal law.

 

State officials are looking for ways to expand gambling in Florida, possibly beyond simple card games and all the way to full Las Vegas style gambling cosinos. The agreement allows for guaranteed revenues for the State from Seminole Nation and it prevents the type of large scale gambling expansion that could pose serious problems for Florida’s families. The source continues:

 

Last year, an editorial in /The Tampa Tribune said the state should “respect the Seminole gaming pact” by renewing it:

The state’s gambling deal with the Seminole Tribe has generated over copy billion in revenues over the past five years and helped to prevent the spread of big-money games and high-end, Las Vegas-style resorts in Florida.

While we’re no fan of gambling, the Seminole Compact, which allows for slot machines, blackjack and certain other card games at five of the tribe’s seven Florida casinos, offers the state its best option if it wants to keep gambling in check.

 

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


Brief Look at Crime 01/05 – 01/11

Disbarred Cedar Rapids lawyer to serve 4 years in federal prison for fraud 

A federal judge Tuesday sentenced a Cedar Rapids disbarred lawyer, who stole thousands from clients for gambling, to the most prison time allowed, saying it was “outrageous” that she hadn’t paid a “dime to restitution” pending this hearing. Hense pleaded in October to one count of wire fraud. During the plea hearing, she admitted to devising a scheme to defraud 14 clients by telling them their money would be held in a client trust account on their behalf from December 2009 through Dec. 27, 2012. Hense also admitted that she intended to steal a portion of each client’s money.

WSOF executive Shawn Lampman sentenced to ten months in federal prison

World Series of Fighting executive Shawn Lampman has been sentenced to ten months in federal prison for a tax conviction.  On Monday afternoon, a U.S. District Judge sentenced World Series of Fighting executive Shawn Lampman to ten months of federal prison for a tax conviction. The 49-year-old Lampman, who is a former real estate developer as well as an executive for the North American MMA promotion, pleaded guilty last year to one misdemeanor of not filing a tax return in 2007. Lampman confirmed that he had earned more than $7 million that year alone. The article also notes that his lawyer blamed his misdemeanour on Lampman’s ‘gambling addiction’ and ‘substance abuse.’ This is not the first time that Lampman has made headlines. In a detailed analysis of the WSOF executive’s background, Brent Brookhouse revealed that in 2007 Lampman was on the “board of a homeowner’s association and was accused of taking money from the association account.”

Charges: Woman Swindled From Employer To Fund Gambling Habit 

A 49-year-old Inver Grove Heights woman is accused of swindling money from her employer to support a gambling addiction, according to charges filed Wednesday in Dakota County Court. According to the charges, law enforcement spoke with a company executive in Burnsville about an employee theft. Hardgrave had worked as a dispatcher for the company since 2001 and in April 2014, the executive noticed that an inordinate number of voided tickets and checks had been altered by her.Hardgrave admitted the thefts to police and told them how she was able to steal the money over the years. She said the $150,000 stolen over the years was to fund her gambling addiction.

Former CSI Worker Charged in Embezzlement

A former College of Southern Idaho employee has been charged with grand theft after allegedly embezzling money from the school. Dawn Marie Orr, 41, of Twin Falls, is accused of five felony counts. She allegedly stole $530,556.29 from the college over five years, court documents say. “She said, ‘I took some money from the college, and I have so much guilt that I cannot live with it any longer.'” Orr, who was Mason’s assistant, said she had a gambling problem. She said she exchanged checks for cash from the safe and overstated third-party billings. She said she took $50,000 to $100,000 over a couple of years. But court records say she stole more than $530,000 from fiscal years 2010 to 2014.

State-led gambling busts lead to forfeiture, selective prosecutions

On Wednesday, January 7, Central Georgia’s NBC affiliate — Macon’s WMGT-TV– reported that the Bibb County Sheriff’s Department will be the beneficiary of a check given by David Cooke, the district attorney in Bibb County. The money is from a $175,000 settlement via ‘forfeiture’ from one of the Macon gas stations involved in a large gambling raid which occurred in November 2014. Eleven Macon-Bibb convenience stores were raided and six people were arrested. The June 2014 arrest originated from a search warrant which was executed at a suspected gambling house in Albany. The Georgia Bureau of Investigation raided a poker game at the former Riverhouse Restaurant on Lake Chehaw. The scale of the arrest was so large that District Attorney Greg Edwards recused himself from prosecuting the case. A special prosecutor had been named for the recent high-profile gambling case involving former Albany mayor Willie Adams, businessman Robert “Bob” Brooks and 12 others. Statements from those arrested noted the game had been ongoing for years. Authorities note that in Georgia, wagering money on golf and small card game betting is by law considered gambling and therefore illegal.

Three sentenced for stealing $1.3 million from store 

Three former employees of a Western New York card store were sentenced Thursday for stealing nearly $1.3 million from the business. David Woods, Anthony Martone and Aaron Hollars received three years, six months and six years in prison respectively for stealing the money from Dave and Adam’s Card World. Prosecutors say Hollars stole the most money and Martone stole the least. Hollars told Erie County Court Judge Ken Case that he has a gambling addiction. In addition to their prison sentences, the three men must also repay the money they stole.

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


Daily Fantasy Sports Gambling: Have Sports Leagues Adopted a Hypocritical New Position

Casino Watch Focus has reported on the new trend of real money betting on fantasy sports. Not what some might view as a few harmless dollars among friends over an entire season, but large scale, daily fantasy games. A recent lawsuit seeks an answer to whether or not short term, daily rosters is gambling instead of a game of skill that spans over a full season. This type of betting is clear establishing itself as a gambling avenue that might now have the major sports leagues going against their long time position of no gambling on their respective sport. An online source outlines the longstanding sentiments of the leagues:

Bud Selig once tried to warn the world about what would happen if legalized sports gambling spread to more states.

Instead of cheering for their favorite teams, the baseball commissioner predicted, fans would be more inclined to cheer for themselves to win money — a factor he said would harm his sport’s character.

“Players would not be viewed by fans as exceptionally skilled and talented competitors but as mere assets to be exploited for ‘fast money,'” Selig wrote in a statement submitted in federal court in 2012.

Now it appears that Major League Baseball and other sports leagues are taking a new hypocritical stance and partnering with these new gambling fantasy leagues. The New Star online continues:

Two years [after MLB Commissioner Selig’s initial statement], Major League Baseball is singing a drastically different tune — and so  are the NFL, NBA and NHL.

After all four leagues issued similar warnings in 2012, each sport is partnered up with two start-up companies whose business model relies on fans trying to make fast money every day based on player performance in games.

It’s called daily fantasy sports. It’s legal in almost every state. And its popularity is starting to soar, especially among young adult males.

Casino Watch Focus recently reported that new NBA Commissioner Adam Silver came out in favor of expanded sports betting and even worked against New Jersey’s expansion so the focus could be on wide spread federal adaption. The New Star online points out that the Commissioner has signed a similar deal with FanDuel and there are serious repercussions:

In November, the NBA announced it had become an equity investor in FanDuel, a daily sports fantasy site that says it pays out $10 million in weekly cash prizes. A day after the NBA’s FanDuel announcement,

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver advocated for legalized sports betting in an editorial in The New York Times. Critics say daily fantasy could drain bank accounts from poor or middle-class “fish” to fund the jackpot that goes to the winning “sharks.” Bernal, the gambling critic, notes many of the most successful sharks are experts with backgrounds in data-driven fields such as online poker. Some make six-figure livings off these games, while the companies keep about 10 percent of the pot.

“Better names for these fleecing operations are Rip-off Kings and ScamDuel,” Bernal said. “The only way the daily fantasy sports model works is by attracting poor players, the fish, to feed the good ones, the sharks.”

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