Monthly Archives: February 2017

Florida House and Senate at Odds over best Gambling Future for the State

Casino Watch Focus has reported on the ongoing saga of expanded gambling in Florida. Most recently, its was reported that the Florida Senate introduced a massive gambling expansion bill. Earlier this monththe Senate pushed the gambling bill through its first hurdle by approving it in committee. An online source provides some key details of the bill: 

A bill that calls for statewide gambling expansion *has passed a vote in the Florida Senate’s Regulated Industries Committee*. Sponsored by Sen. Bill Galvano, the proposed 112-page law will next be heard in the Committee on Appropriations. If it gains the necessary support there, the legislation will next advance to the Senate floor.

Generally speaking, Senate Bill 8 will allow for the addition of more slot machines at more gambling facilities. In order for this to be possible, the legislative piece proposes a change in the definition of *“eligible facility.”* Under SB 8, slots will be legal in all counties where the operation of the devices has been approved in a countywide referendum. Other counties will be able add slot machines, if their residents vote positively on the move at referendums that can take place after January 1, 2018. Sen. Galvano has also proposed what has been defined as ‘decoupling’, a measure that would allow state dog and horse tracks to feature other gambling options such as card games and slots *without having to run live races*. In addition, SB 8 will allow the Seminole Tribe, which operates a number of casinos across Florida, to offer different banked table games, including *craps, roulette, and sic-bo*. However, the tribe will no longer have monopoly over the provision of blackjack around the state.

Now, the Florida House has released its direction for Florida’s gambling future with its own bill. This bill is seen as more practical and potentially less harmful to Florida’s families. The Saint Peters Blog reports: 

The Florida House of Representatives quietly released its gambling overhaul for 2017 Thursday afternoon, setting it for a hearing next Thursday. As expected, the 81-page bill includes a renewed blackjack deal, or “compact,” between the state and the Seminole Tribe of Florida, as first struck by Gov. Rick Scott.  No Casinos, the gambling expansion group, soon tweeted: “Still analyzing bill, but at first blush @MyFLHouse seems to have found a way to renew compact without turning FL into Vegas/Atlantic City.” 

But the House already is at odds with the Senate’s 112-page measure, which is set for its second and last committee hearing next week before the Appropriations panel. In one significant example, the House bill outlaws designated-player card games, but the Senate would let “all cardroom operators … offer designated player games.” In banked card games, players bet against the “house,” or the casino, and not each other. In traditional poker, people play against each other for a pot of money. Designated-player games are a hybrid, where the bank is supposed to revolve among the players. Moreover, the House would prohibit the expansion of slot machines, retroactively to Jan. 1 of this year, by barring state regulators from issuing any new slots licenses. The Senate generally expands the availability of slot machines, including allowing “any licensed pari-mutuel facility” to get slots.

Last month, House Speaker *Richard Corcoran* suggested his chamber’s approach to gambling would be different. “I’ve seen the (Senate) bill, and look, it’s not where we’re at,” Corcoran told reporters. “The three things we’ve said are, it has to be a contraction (of gambling) … we want a constitutional amendment that bans the expansion of gaming; the Senate’s said they have no interest … and we have courts that keep encroaching upon our ability to make those decisions.” 

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


A Brief Look at Crime 02/13 – 02/19

Broward insurance firm-turned-‘Ponzi scheme’ cost Florida, policyholders $100 million

The final act in the little-noticed liquidation of a Fort Lauderdale-based insurance company that regulators say evolved into a “Ponzi scheme” that cost Florida and its policyholders more than $100 million is set to unfold in court this spring. The Florida Department of Financial Services’ fraud case is an offshoot of its receivership of AequiCap, the property and casualty insurance company the state was forced to take over – and pay claims for – when it went belly up in 2011. It was one of Florida’s largest insurance company failures. AequiCap’s chairman and principal owner was South Florida insurance, taxi and private school entrepreneur Philip Morgaman, a longtime business partner of Broward Yellow Cab kingpin Jesse Gaddis. State court filings say Morgaman milked big money from AequiCap, using the insurer’s funds to provide him with “a form of self-insurance for his business ventures unaffiliated with AequiCap as well as to perpetuate his extravagant lifestyle.” DFS spokeswoman Carr said Florida settled to obtain “a guaranteed recovery for an estate with overwhelming losses – over $100 million” and to avoid “lengthy complex litigation” that would have eaten up most of the insurance policy’s proceeds. “The individuals did not appear to be collectible, and the financials of Phil Morgaman showed him to have huge gambling losses and other financial problems,” Carr said.

Denial in pushing suicide 

A woman on trial for pushing her husband to kill himself denied the allegations in a Cranbrook court while admitting to having marriage troubles. Terri Reimer is accused of counselling her husband, Bill Reimer, to commit suicide as well as administering a noxious substance with the intent to endanger. He survived and is expected to be one of several witnesses the Crown will call to testify. Provincial court has previously heard that RCMP responded to a report of a suicidal man with a gun on March 22, 2016. Terri Reimer testified Thursday that her husband had a history of depression, recounting two other times she believed he was considering suicide. Reimer told the court that difficulties in their marriage over the past year stemmed from her infidelity and a $300,000 gambling debt she accumulated, but she denied counselling him to kill himself. “I would never tell him to commit suicide,” she said. “I love him too much. I still do.”

Clerk stole more than £330,000 from building firm – and 60 people could now lose their jobs

A trusted accounts clerk stole more than £330,000 from a building company to pay for her online gambling habit – and 60 jobs are now in jeopardy because of her thefts. Cardiff Crown Court heard how Beverley Pearce, 54, paid herself up to five times a month from the company accounts. Pearce began secretly transferring funds to herself in 2011 and carried on for five years. But she was found out in 2016, after 16 years of service to the company, when another employee noticed 90 unauthorised transactions from the company account to a B. Pearce. The court heard building company Brecongate is now struggling to survive because of her crimes. “She was shocked in her interview to realise how much money shehad taken” Defending Pearce, Claire Wilks said Pearce blamed her addiction to online gambling. She said: “It was almost not real money. Putting figures into the computer and gambling away.

Financial adviser guilty of embezzlement; clients included Mike Tyson, Dikembe Mutombo

A financial adviser working for Mike Tyson, Glen Rice and Dikembe Mutombo pleaded guilty Monday to embezzling more than $1 million from his clients; prosecutors alleged that the adviser used the death of Tyson’s daughter to hide some of the theft. Appearing in court with a full head of white hair, a tweed jacket and a healthy tan, 55-year-old Brian Ourand didn’t explain why he did it, but admitted to using fraudulent checks, credit cards and illegal wire transfers to steal from four professional athletes from 2006 to 2011. The indictment said Ourand used the money he stole for gambling debts, hotel stays, tanning salons, dental work, clothing, restaurants, home improvement purchases and private school tuition for his girlfriend’s relative.

Prosecutors did not name the other two athletes, but an earlier filing with the U.S. Security and Exchange Commission obtained by ESPN stated that former NBA All-Star Dikembe Mutombo exposed the fraud when his “American Express card had been declined” and “there was activity on the card in Ourand’s name.” Federal prosecutors said Ourand stole at least $75,000 from a nonprofit created by “Athlete C” and spent another $40,000 of that athlete’s money by creating a fraudulent American Express card. The SEC filing stated that Ourand managed “the Dikembe Mutombo Foundation, which funds humanitarian work in the Democratic Republic on the Congo,” where Mutombo was born.

YouTube star Nepenthez fined for running Fifa online gambling site used by children

A YouTube star and his businesspartner have been fined for running a gambling website connected to football game Fifa. Well-known gamer Craig Douglas, 32, and Dylan Rigby, 33, ran a site that enabled children to bet using the virtual currency of the footballvideo game. They both pleading guilty to offences under the UK’s Gambling Act. Douglas was fined £91,000 and Rigby was ordered to pay £164,000. Douglas, otherwise known as Nepenthez, promoted the site on his YouTube channel which has more than 1.3 million subscribers. The site, called FUT Galaxy, let people transfer the virtual currency from the Fifa game to place real-life bets – with winnings transferrable back to the game. But the Fifa currency can also be sold online, giving it a real-life value. The site is not unique – with the video game-gambling business thought to be worth billions of pounds. Sarah Harrison, chief executive of the UK’s gambling commission, told the BBC: “This was one of the most serious cases that has been investigated and prosecuted by the commission. “Its gravity is reflected in the significant financial penalties imposed by the judge.” She added that the impact online gambling had on children was “horrific” and “serious”.

Albanian migrant ‘murdered retired couple he thought were millionaires after racking up thousands in gambling debt


AN Albanian migrant murdered a retired married couple he thought were millionaires after racking up gambling debts, a court has heard. Ali Qazimaj, 43, stands accused of stabbing Peter Stuart, 75, nine times before trying to hide his body in tarpaulin in a water-filled ditch close to his Suffolk home. He is also charged with the murder of Peter’s wife, Sylvia, 69, even though her body has never been found. Prosecutors say Qazimaj murdered the couple at some point between May 29 and June 3 last year – but he denies this. The defendant claims he is the victim of mistaken identity and says he is called Vital Dapi. Ipswich Crown Court was yesterday told Qazimaj had a serious gambling problem and spent up to £1,000 a day on gaming machines at bookmakers near his home in Tilbury, Essex. He worked as a carer for Sidney Paxman, whose son, Steven, was married to the Stuarts’ daughter Christy. Prosecutor Karim Khalil QC said Sidney Paxman had given Qazimaj around £10,000 over a number of years and had told him that Mr and Mrs Stuart were millionaires. “Over the two years leading up to 2016, Sidney Paxman had given him the best part of £10,000,” said Mr Khalil. “Over these years Sidney Paxman will say he had told Ali Qazimaj about the Stuarts, describing them as millionaires, telling him about the difficulties between the Stuarts and Stephen (Paxman).” Qazimaj also boasted to Sidney about a contract killing and pointed out marshland to him, saying it would be an ideal place to hide a body, Mr Khalil told the court.

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


Florida Greyhound Industry Under fire as Gambling Interests Attempt to Leverage Poor Treatment of Dogs as a Means to Expand Gambling

Casino Watch Focus has reported on the ongoing issues facing Florida’s greyhound industry. The treatment of the dogs has certainly been concerning and has lead to many calling for an end of such an old and problematic form of gambling. Most legislators have focused on legislation that will protect the dogs. Most recently, several State Representatives pushed forth legislation to prevent doping of the dogs. Florida Politics reports: 

Decrying that racing dog owners are “doping greyhounds,” state Rep. *Carlos Guillermo Smith* joined state Rep. *Alexandra Miller* and*Dana Young* Friday in another effort to tighten regulation of dog racing in Florida, with a bill explicitly banning the use of steroids. The trio asserted that female racing greyhounds are routinely given injections of anabolic steroids, or testosterone, to prevent the loss of race days and push their bodies beyond natural limits. “We know they are using steroids,” Smith said. “They are doping greyhounds. It’s inhumane.”

 While these efforts are clearly aimed at protecting the animals, such efforts are vastly different from those that claim dog racing and gambling should simply be separated, an act knows as de-coupling, leaving mini casino’s in their place. Those that seek regulation of the dogs in such a straightforward manor, often call for the end of dog racing and the gambling that keeps it in existence. However, those that seek to continue the gambling simply try to exploit the issues facing the dogs & decreased attendance and instead of concluding that the entire industry should cease to exist, they say its reason for de-coupling. Paul Seago, the executive of No Casinos, provides the analysis in an op-ed written for the Herald-Tribune:

Since horse and greyhound racing and jai alai were legalized in Florida in the 1930s, pari-mutuel owners have engaged in an almost ceaseless yearly pilgrimage to the state capitol to beg, cajole and lobby for more and more gambling with the same mantra, “give us more gambling so we can compete …;” Over the years, the Florida Legislature has given pari-mutuels simulcast wagering, poker rooms, higher poker-hand limits, and no-limit poker over the years without a vote of Floridians and without competitive bids… It is a phenomenon we call “gambling creep” (and is the subject of a video we have posted on our website at

Now, pari-mutuels have their sights set on slot machines, essentially making each one a casino. Recall that Florida voters rejected the idea of turning every pari-mutuel in the state into a casino in 1994 by a 2-to-1 ratio. That didn’t stop the pari-mutuels from continuing to ask lawmakers for more gambling, finally receiving card rooms in 1996. At first their arguments were that people loved racing and jai alai but needed new forms of gambling to enhance prize purses so they could continue to offer their races and live performances. Now they argue no one wants to watch racing and live jai alai so they need more gambling to continue to exist and they no longer want to offer races and live events. We take exception to pari-mutuel owners feeling that their license gives them a birthright to whatever forms of gambling become fashionable over time.

If pari-mutuels no longer wish to do the only thing the Florida Constitution authorizes them to do, they should turn in their licenses and find another purpose for their land. Instead, the Legislature has given each of these license-holders the idea that their permit is a Willy Wonka-style “golden ticket” that will one day transform their ancient track or fronton into a Las Vegas-style casino. That is not following the free market, or the wishes of Florida voters. It’s giving into crony capitalists looking for another round of corporate welfare.

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

A Brief Look at Crime 02/06 – 02/12

Suspect killed at Jean casino 

The knife-wielding suspect who was shot and killed by a Metro officer at a Jean casino on Saturday had several self-inflicted stabbing wounds. That was some of the information shared by Undersheriff Kevin McMahill during a news conference this morning at Metro headquarters. Paul Carr Palmer, 50, of Sedona, Ariz., was naked and only wearing a pair of socks, armed with a knife and had charged at two security guards of the Gold Strike Hotel & Gambling Hall when Metro was summoned. Officer Peter Bicsanszky, 42, gave numerous verbal commands to which Palmer did not comply. Bicsanszky deployed his low-lethal shotgun, which was ineffective. Palmer, according to Metro, then charged toward Bicsanszky, causing him to fire his handgun; the suspect was struck multiple times. Despite the quick response from Clark County Fire Department who were already at the casino, Palmer died at the scene.

Valve Corp’s illegal skin gambling crackdown spills over Team Fortress 2


ESports developer Valve Corporation continues to purge online gambling sites taking advantage of its open application program interface. Valve – the folks behind the popular Counter Strike: Global Offensive eSports title – this time targeted online gambling sites catering to the first-person shooter multiplayer video Team Fortress 2 by blocking their accounts. It isn’t clear how many accounts of Team Fortress 2 gambling sites have been shut but Valve said that the move is a reiteration of their position that the company doesn’t tolerate skin betting. “In July of last year we outlined our position on gambling web sites, specifically noting that Valve has no business relationship with these sites. At that time we also began blocking many CSGO gambling accounts,” the company said in a statement posted on the TF2 blog. “More recently, some gambling web sites started leveraging TF2 items. Today we began the process of blocking TF2 gambling accounts as well. We recommend you don’t trade with these sites.” Valve came under fire from Washington state gaming regulators last year after YouTube stars Trevor “Tmartn” Martin and Tom “ProSyndicate” Cassel were caught skin betting on a gambling site they own without full disclosure. The eSports game developer, which is facing two separate lawsuits in Connecticut and Florida for its alleged relationship with skin betting websites, denied it profited in any manner from skin gambling.

Father-of-three hanged himself after battling a gambling addiction

The tracker on Mr McEwen’s van showed that he arrived at Otterspool Lane at around 4am. He had very small traces of cocaine and alcohol in his system, and there was an empty bottle of vodka on the roof of his van, an inquest heard today. He had been on a number of gambling sites in the days that led up to his death and had texted his boss asking him to pay his car loan. In a message addressed to his wife and children, he apologised for never having money and for being a gambler. Hertfordshire Coroners’ Court heard that he saw a doctor in 2014 because he believed he had depression. He was signed up for counselling sessions but never attended them.

2 suspects shot by deputies at San Manuel casino 

Two car-theft suspects were injured in a deputy-involved shooting at the San Manuel casino Wednesday night, officials said. The incident began when San Bernardino County sheriff’s deputies responding to a stolen car report approached a vehicle on the fourth level of the casino’s parking structure, officials said. Shots were fired and the persons in the car attempted to drive off, making it only to the third level. They were taken into custody and transported to a local hospital. No further details were immediately available. The San Manuel Indian Bingo & Casino remained open.

Two ex-cops helped run $4 million illegal sports-gambling operations

Two former cops, including one who once served state prison time for participating in an advertising scheme, were key members of illegal Internet-based sports gambling operations that hauled in about $4 million in wagers, said authorities. Each defendant pleaded not guilty at his arraignment Wednesday in state Supreme Court, St. George, and was released on his own recognizance. They are charged with conspiracy and multiple counts of first-degree promoting gambling. A conference date was set for March 21. According to separate indictments, Glazewski and Rossi were “master agents” who each managed bettor accounts from a wire room. The two men set up Internet gambling accounts with user names and passwords, the indictments say. Ciro Barone and Muro worked with Glazewski and gave the accounts to bettors, who made wagers through them on gambling web sites, the indictment said. Ciro Barone and Muro were responsible to recruit new clients, collect money from bettors and distribute winnings, said the indictment.

Middletown woman sentenced for forgery, embezzlement; to pay $535,000 restitution

Diane Fabian’s gambling addiction was so all-encompassing that even a car accident couldn’t stop her from heading to the casino. She told those assembled in Dauphin County Common Pleas Court during her sentencing hearing on Thursday a story from years ago, when she was broadsided in her car in a serious accident. All she could think about was how she would get to the casino that night. She called her son and rented a car so she could go to the casino. That addiction caused her to steal from her employer. She will spend 11 1/2 to 23 months in Dauphin County Prison and was ordered to pay $535,179.77 in restitution for embezzling money while she worked at a Lower Paxton Township insurance agency from 2008 to 2015. She could have started before 2008, but the bank records only went back to 2008 so that is all that investigators could document. She obtained money by creating refund checks that were to be paid to clients of the insurance agency where she worked, according to court records that were filed by Lower Paxton Township police, who arrested Fabian in March. Fabian forged signatures of the insurance agency clients on bogus refund checks. She then deposited the proceeds from each fake check that was paid by the agency into her own personal bank account.

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

Congress Introduces Federal Sports Gambling Bills

Casino Watch Focus has reported on the ongoing attempts at legalizing sports betting, with the most common attempts coming from New Jersey. They have attempted, and failed, countless times to get sports betting legalized in New Jersey. Right now the law only allow select destinations like Las Vegas. There most recent attempt was stopped in court and they have appealed that decision to the Supreme Court. The decision to pick up the case or deny it and allow the lower court ruling to stand is being delayed. The Kansas City Star explains: 

Nevada is the only state allowed to offer wagering on single games. Delaware, Montana and Oregon were exempted from the 1992 federal ban and are permitted to offer limited multi-game parlay pools. Congress gave New Jersey a one-time opportunity to become the fifth state before the ban was enacted, but the state failed to pass a sports betting law in the required time window. Republican Gov. Chris Christie has championed New Jersey’s effort in an attempt to use sports gambling revenues to bolster the sagging fortunes of the state’s casino and horse racing industries. The case has a lengthy legal history.

Supporters of legalized sports gambling in New Jersey and several other states were dealt a no-decision of sorts Tuesday when the U.S. Supreme Court delayed a ruling on whether it will take up the states’ challenge to a federal ban. The court invited the solicitor general to file a brief on behalf of the government, which means a decision could take several more months.

As that case sits, New Jersey has decided to not leave the issue to chance and is instead looking to change the federal law that is preventing each of their attempts to legalize sports betting to become law. Two New Jersey Congressmen have introduced legislation to legalize sports betting on a federal level. An online source explains:

Congressmen Frank LoBiondo and Frank Pallone, Jr., both of New Jersey, said last week that their House bills “would ensure a path forward for New Jersey and other states seeking to legalize sports betting, regardless of whether the Supreme Court hears New Jersey’s case.’

Pallone is sponsoring the “NJ BET Act,” which would exempt New Jersey from current federal law. LoBiondo’s bill is called the “Sports Gaming Opportunity Act,” and it would allow all states to enact laws providing for sports betting during a four-year window. Both men in 2015 introduced similar legislation that didn’t go anywhere on Capitol Hill.

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

A Brief Look at Crime 01/30-02/05

FBI affidavit alleges NC businessman who committed suicide was operating Ponzi scheme 

In an affidavit unsealed by court order Friday, an FBI agent alleged that the late Charlotte businessman Rick Siskey was operating a Ponzi scheme in which investor money was largely used to pay off other investors and to fund personal spending, including payments to casinos. The affidavit said a financial analysis showed that from January 2011 to November 2015 about $31 million was invested in TSI’s account at Bank of America. About $23.5 million came from about 100 TSI investors, according to the affidavit. According to the affidavit, Siskey sent over $15 million from his personal account to casinos, with about $12 million coming back in from casinos, for a net outflow of about $3 million. Information from numerous casinos showed “a pattern of extensive high stakes gambling by Siskey, to include bets of as much as $70,000 per hand,” the affidavit says.

Alanis Morissette manager admits to $4.8M theft from singer

The former business manager for Alanis Morissette admitted embezzling more than $7 million from the singer and other celebrities and agreed to plead guilty to federal charges, prosecutors said Wednesday. Schwartz admitted stealing nearly $5 million from Morissette between May 2010 and January 2014. He used the money personally and falsely listed the cash withdrawals as “sundry/personal expenses” to cover up the crime.”This was shocking and disappointing,” Reeder said. “The company is very happy he’s being brought to justice and held accountable for his actions.” Reeder said GSO has since repaid all the money he stole from clients. The firm’s pending lawsuit against Schwartz said he used the money to fuel a lavish lifestyle that included a $50,000 trip to Bora Bora and a $75,000 debt at a Bahamas casino.

Dog fighting ring busted in Washington County

Washington County Sheriff Richard Stringer says his deputies arrested more than twenty people in a major dog fight raid Saturday night. Authorities say they have been investigating this crime for several months, but a tipster told them that the fight would be happening last night. The dog fighting took place in a clearing behind an abandoned home on Highway 45, about a mile east of the Mississippi State Line. The dog fighting pit was surrounded by trees and very organized, according to police. Investigators say there were people from Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, Florida, Louisiana and Texas at the fight. The sheriff says this was a huge money maker because they were “championship fighting dogs” in a crime that includes the possible death or injury to the animal and illegal gambling where thousands of dollars are bet on the outcome of the vicious fight.

Father and son found dead in Macau’s Galaxy casino complex

Detectives are investigating what appears to have been a suicide pact involving an Indian family of four after the bodies of a father and son were discovered alongside the man’s wife and another son, both unconscious, in a five-star hotel room at a Macau casino resort on Wednesday. The tragedy comes as figures for 2016 released by Macau police revealed a 19.2 per cent year-on-year rise in casino-related crime in the city. Among a total of 1,851 casino-related crimes recorded in 2016 were cases of abduction, extortion and usury, which are typically connected to gambling-related loan sharking. The authorities classify crimes as gaming-related when they take place inside a casino.

Documents show Ohio mayor gambled $1.8 million 


Investigative records show Lancaster Mayor Brian Kuhn not only gambled with his wife, who is a self-proclaimed addict who embezzled thousands of dollars to feed her habit, but he also gambled and lost more than she did. Kuhn has never identified himself as an addict despite visiting Hollywood Casino, Columbus 252 times from October 2012 to September 2015, records show. During this time, he gambled more than $1.8 million, they show. In contrast, Bridget Kuhn, who has admitted she has a gambling addiction and been classified as a “high roller” by the Ohio Casino Control Commission, went to casinos 264 times over 36 months, the records show, including while she was under investigation, and spent more than $1.5 million — most of it on slot machines. Brian Kuhn and his wife — who was indicted for embezzling about $350,000 from her former employer Frazier Electric and American Legion Post 11 — lost a total of about $214,200 playing slot machines and table games in 36 months, according to the records. Brian Kuhn told the Eagle-Gazette more than a year ago after his wife’s indictment that there were a lot of things he would like to say, but couldn’t per the advice of his attorney. He knew his wife was under investigation but said he didn’t know any more than that. “The less I knew, the better off I think I was,” he told the Eagle-Gazette in December 2015. At the time, he would not confirm whether Bridget Kuhn had a gambling problem or whether they gambled together.

Police checking links to gambling in Waterloo man’s slaying

Police are checking into whether gambling may be tied to the shooting death of a man in Waterloo. The 55-year-old man was found wounded in a parking lot early Sunday morning. Police say he died later at a hospital. He’s been identified as Denelius Nesby, who lived in Waterloo. No arrests have been reported. Police say one of the leads being pursued is a report that Nesby had been robbed of his winnings from a nearby gambling establishment.

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

Billions in Illegal Gambling on Super Bowl comes with Serious Consequences for Many

Casino Watch Focus has reported on the significant amount of gambling on the Super Bowl each year, and each year the impact seems to grow. This year the amount of total gambling on the Super Bowl is estimated to be around $4.7 million. An online source breaks that number down:

Americans will bet $4.7 billion on Super Bowl 51 between the New England Patriots and the Atlanta Falcons, according to an estimate released Tuesday by the casino industry’s top lobbying group on Capitol Hill. That would 11 percent more than what was wagered on last year’s Super Bowl.

According to the American Gaming Association, only $132 million of the $4.7 billion will be done legally through Nevada’s casino industry. The 1992 Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act banned traditional sports betting outside of the Silver State.

Many think gambling on the Super Bowl is harmless fun, and for some, who do it legally, it could be that simple. However, the consequences for others can be extreme.   A Fox News affiliate has reported that Super Bowl night is not only the biggest night for gamblers, but it also sees the most suicides as well.  For those that don’t suffer the ultimate fate, they can still lose enough to cause irreparable harm to their finances and family. Fox Now online explains: 

“Super Bowl is probably one of the biggest gambling days of the year,” said Gambling Addiction Counselor, Jim Harrison [a gambling counselor in Milwaukee.] He says the wagers placed on the Super Bowl are often not taken as seriously and can be seen as harmless and fun. “In reality it is betting, it is gambling,” said Harrison. Those compulsive gamblers see it as a day to make up for other sports losses this season.

Harrison says it’s not harmless at all for those with an addiction — betting is done with bookies and online and it could bring losses. “If it causes family problems, certainly financial problems,” said Harrison. “I’ve had clients who have literally lost over $300,000 gambling,” said Harrison. The Super Bowl can bring losses to those betting on it all, and it can be tempting to those dealing with gambling addition.

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

A Brief Look at Crime 01/23 – 01/29

Murder case at Miccosukee casino a test for tribal police, state prosecutors

From suicides to overdoses to accidental drownings, the Miccosukee Police Department has investigated more than two dozen deaths over the decades. But the case of Fernando Duarte, a former U.S. Army Ranger shot to death on Christmas night in the parking lot of the tribe’s West Miami-Dade casino, is the first homicide on the agency’s books. One important element distinguishes this murder case from previous criminal investigations that have created friction between the state and tribe. Neither the victim or suspects are Miccosukee. The tribe has long defended its rights to govern independently and have bristled at authority of outsiders, including the federal government. The Miccosukee are embroiled in a years-long battle with the IRS, which says the tribe owes more than $262 million in unpaid taxes on gambling proceeds, and an additional $441 million in penalties and interest. In the late 1990s, the tribe refused to honor subpoenas on the reservation after tribal member Kirk Billie was arrested on charges of drowning his two children in a canal just off reservation land. Tribal elders “forgave” Billie, but he was later convicted in Miami-Dade circuit court and sent to state prison.

As an Indian tribe fought over casino money, leaders bled its bank accounts, feds say

Revenue from the casino’s 840 slot machines, blackjack tables and 24-hour restaurants is estimated at $100 million a year, according to the Sacramento Bee Every person in the 300-member tribe reaps a direct economic benefit from the casino — about $54,000 a year for each adult member. Casino money paid for a $3 million jet for the tribe, and, at one point, more than 10 pounds of gold. But the sudden bounty also led to a decade of infighting — at one point, literally, with military-grade weapons — among tribal members. And as tribe members fought, a federal indictment filed last week says, the people hired to safeguard the tribe’s wealth bled the tribe’s bank accounts. A family that worked for the tribe was accused last week of embezzling nearly $6 million, according to a federal indictment, using stolen funds to live what a band leader called “a life of obscene luxury.” “They and their co-conspirators used vicious and callous methods of intimidation and coercion to maintain access to the Tribe’s money, millions of which they stole in order to live a life of obscene luxury, while services to Tribal members went unfunded and Tribe members lived in fear of economic retaliation,” tribal Chairman Andrew Alejandre said in a statement. As the scheme unraveled, the indictment accuses the trio of lying to federal agents, fabricating documents and lying on tax returns to conceal years of theft.

Former principal charged with embezzling school funds sentenced to jail

A former middle school principal who pleaded guilty to embezzling school funds will be spending the next 30 days in jail for her crime. “She took $97,362 from the school. That’s two to three times what the average Jackson family makes a year,” said Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Nick Mehalco. “I understand her personal struggles put her in a place where she sought safety in a casino, but it’s one thing to have a gambling problem with your own money and it’s another when the money is earmarked for kids.” JPS officials reported the alleged embezzlement to police in September 2015 after audits of Parkside’s finances turned up irregularities and discrepancies in receipts and checks, JPS Superintendent Jeff Beal has said.

SugarHouse fined $100K for underage gambling by athletes from nationally ranked universities

Pennsylvania gambling regulators have fined SugarHouse Casino $100,000 for five incidents of underage gambling involving 10 individuals last year. At a regularly monthly meeting Wednesday, SugarHouse’s general manager, Wendy Hamilton, told members of the state Gaming Control Board that the Fishtown casino had “became popular with athletes from nationally ranked universities” in the area, but she did not identify them. The University of Pennsylvania was identified as one of the schools in a 16-page consent order. The second school was not identified. SugarHouse told the gaming board that it has started using new scanners that are better at picking up fake IDs, and that it has instructed security guards to ask tougher questions of individuals with suspicious IDs. Instead of just asking the individuals to recite the address and birthdate on the ID, a guard might ask the person what their Zodiac sign is, Hamilton said. The $100,000 fine for SugarHouse is among the largest levied for underage gambling by the gaming board. It is the biggest in the state since 2011.

Fort Smith insurer handed five years for million dollar gambling theft

Samuel Bowron Phillips was sentenced in federal court Wednesday to five years in prison for stealing nearly $1.6 million from insurance and annuity policyholders, which he frittered away in casinos to feed a gambling addiction. In pronouncing the sentence Wednesday, U.S. District Judge P.K. Holmes III ordered Phillips to pay back $1,563,380 he took from the 20 victims in the case. Holmes said victims’ losses ranged from $2,000 to more than $200,000. “Virtually all funds illegally obtained by Mr. Phillips went into casinos in Oklahoma,” Rex Chronister, Phillips’ attorney, wrote in a sentencing memorandum. The memorandum said Phillips had $33,000 in credit card debt.

Woman ‘mercilessly’ exploited employer and brought firm to knees with £1.3million theft

A law firm boss told how her business was brought almost to its knees by her trusted personal assistantwho stole almost £1.3million pounds in three years. Most of the money taken by Sandra Ribeiro from Residential Lawyers Ltd of Cirencester was frittered away by her partner on Bingo and onlinegambling, Gloucester Crown Court was told. Claire Williams, director of Residential Lawyers Ltd, told the court the scale of the theft by Portuguese born Ribeiro, 41, had badly hit the firm’s reputation, delayed her retirement plans, and increased her insurance costs by more than £50,000 a year. She used to employ 12 people in the specialist conveyancing firm but that number has been halved as a direct result of the thefts, she said.

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