Monthly Archives: May 2017

UPDATE: Florida Supreme Court Rules Against County Approved Slot Machine Referendums

Casino Watch Focus has reported on the ongoing efforts to expand gambling through slot machine referendums in jurisdictions where the legislature has not approved them. They key case involved a voter approved referendum in Gadsden County. Creek Entertainment Grenta lawyers claimed that because the people voted for slot machines in their county and there was a facility in the county, a previous rule change by the legislature opened the door for referendums like theirs. The State argued that the legislature must expressly allow a county to have slot machines and no where in the law does it allow for counties to simply vote them into existence. The implications of the case are huge as many counties in the state followed and would try to follow suit. The Florida Times-Union reports:

The Florida Supreme Court on Thursday upheld the state’s denial of slot machine licenses in a county where slots were approved in a voter referendum. The Supreme Court’s unanimous ruling concluded that state law does not allow local referendums in these counties to determine whether slots can be allowed there.

The ruling in the Gadsden County case also affects Duval, where voters approved a slots initiative in November. The state also denied Bestbet Jacksonville’s application for slots licenses at its Arlington facility. Voters in six other counties where slots referendums were approved will also be impacted by the ruling.

The anti-gambling group No Casinos celebrated the ruling. It is also backing a ballot initiative in 2018 that asks Florida voters to further limit the expansion of gambling. “We scored a partial victory with this ruling today and intend to score a complete victory with the Voters in Charge initiative in 2018,’’ No Casinos President John Sowinski said in a statement. “The people of Florida should have the final say on whether or not to legalize casino-style gambling.”

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


A Brief Look at Crime 05/15 – 05/21

Gunfire during ‘gambling, drinking’ leaves 1 dead in Birmingham 

A 34-year-old Birmingham man was killed Monday night while gambling and drinking with a group of people in Norwood, police said. Birmingham police on Tuesday identified the victim as Joseph Smith. He lived in Birmingham. Once on the scene, officers found Smith lying on the front porch of a home suffering from multiple gunshot wounds to multiple areas of his body. Birmingham Fire and Rescue Service responded to the scene, and Smith was pronounced dead a short time later. Shelton said the preliminary investigation showed that Smith and others were at the home gambling and drinking when an altercation erupted. At some point in the altercation, the Smith was shot. “We’ve had this happen before within similar circumstances, but the reality is it only takes one disagreement for violence to happen,” Shelton said. “We have to resolve our issues without violence and understand a disagreement should not equal death.”

Authorities say woman was strangled to death by her son

During a court hearing Thursday authorities released autopsy results revealing that Kay Raines was strangled to death. Detectives say she was killed at the hands of her own son. The 68-year-old Mobile woman went missing back in January and months later her body was found in a shallow grave in Baldwin County. Her son, Clarke Raines, has been charged with murder and appeared in court Thursday for a preliminary hearing. The court hearing provided insight on what led to Clarke’s arrest.When police began tracking Clarke in February they learned that he was using his mother’s credit cards and pawning her items. His activity picked up in March when he returned to the Beau Rivage casino to try to cash in on his mother’s previous winnings. The detective reported that same day, Clarke visited a Home Depot and bought a small shovel and 10 bags of potting soil. It was that same day, Gillepsie said, they went to the location and discovered Kay’s body. He said she was face down and it appeared, at one point, she was hog tied. He said she was wearing the same clothes she was last seen wearing on January 29. Later that night, Clarke was arrested. Mobile County District Attorney Ashley Rich said he hasn’t shown any remorse.

Gambling machine company owner pleads guilty to criminal charges in $240 million enterprise

The “principal” owner of Forest Park-based Sudama Resorts LLC, a company
that last week agreed to forfeit $1.6 million in a racketeering and illegal gambling lawsuit, pleaded guilty Monday to criminal charges. Sandip Patel, 41, pleaded guilty to three counts of commercial gambling. As part of a plea agreement, he was sentenced to one year on house arrest followed by four years on probation. In order to be legal, the games must require an element of skill and cash payouts are prohibited. Winnings can be redeemed for store credit, gas, merchandise or lottery tickets.

Sudama Resorts, the owner of 600 machines placed at 100 locations across the state, self-reported that $15 million was played between July 1, 2014, and July 1, 2015, Cooke said during Patel’s plea hearing Monday in Bibb County Superior Court. During the same period, Sudama reported $12 million was paid in winnings and receiving a $3 million profit, he said.he central computer system reported players played more than $12 million between July 1, 2015, and Sept. 30, 2015, nearly as much in three months as the company had reported for all of a 12-month period, he said. Winnings for the three months totaled $8 million and profits were recorded at $4 million, Cooke said. In the last five years players have fed $240 million into Sudama machines and been paid $168 million, he said. Cooke said undercover police officers played the machines and received illegal cash payouts at more than a quarter of the locations where Sudama machines were present.

Former Edmond property manager defrauded clients to fund ‘crippling gambling habit’

A former Edmond property manager has been ordered to pay nearly $400,000 in restitution to clients she defrauded to support her “crippling gambling habit.” Angela Renee Reneau, 53, of Cashion, also was sentenced Wednesday to 18 months in federal prison. She previously pleaded guilty in Oklahoma City federal court to wire fraud and failure to file an income tax return. “In many ways, gambling ruined Ms. Reneau’s life. In the same way, when Ms. Reneau’s crimes were exposed, she started on the road to recovery andredemption,”defense attorney Robert Wyatt wrote in a court document. The defense attorney noted that Reneau developed a gambling habit in her late 40s and “became hopelessly addicted.” When the addiction was in “full swing,” Reneau began taking money from her clients’ accounts, “always with the intention of paying the money back,” the defense attorney wrote. But Reneau dug herself in a hole and “she could not dig herself out,” the defense attorney wrote. “She lost her home, her family, her job and her dignity.”

New York man wins $160.5M in lawsuit against Vegas casino

A former New York hedge fund manager has won $160.5 million in his lawsuit against the Las Vegas Cosmopolitan Hotel and Casino. The Las Vegas Review-Journal reports the verdict in David Moradi’s lawsuit came this week. His 2014 lawsuit claimed he suffered a traumatic brain injury after Marquee nightclub security guards and manager shoved him to the ground. A Las Vegas neurosurgeon diagnosed his injuries. Defense attorneys say the dispute arose after Moradi reacted aggressively when the general manager told him there was a problem with his signature. They claim that Moradi did not suffer injury or permanent damage during the encounter. Moradi says his hedge fund had to be shut down and he has not found work in the field since.

Feds seek 9 properties, $230K from Beaumont car dealer accused of illegal gambling 

The federal government is seeking nine properties around Southeast Texas and more than $230,000 in cash from Beaumont car dealer Larry Tillery on accusations he’s operated “an illegal gambling and money laundering enterprise,” according to civil asset forfeiture documents obtained by KFDM/6 News on Fox. Among the list of properties is the Daylight Motors dealership on the Eastex Freeway, which last month we reported was being searched by the Department of Homeland Security. According to court documents, the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigations started looking into “the bookmaking and money laundering activities of (Tillery) and his associates” in April 2014. Homeland Security joined the investigation that July. The investigation included wiretaps and confidential informants. It also included searching the contents of collected garbage at his office and home. There are also allegations of tax evasion. “To date, the investigation has found that (Tillery) is operating illegal sports betting operation with bettors located nationwide,” the April 5 court document states. “The investigation has also found evidence that (Tillery) is evading taxes associated with his gambling activities.” The documents indicate about $5.3 million in wagers from 24 betters were recorded in intercepted calls from September 2015 through December 2016.

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

Disney backs Florida Initiative Petition Efforts to Allow Voters the Final Say in State Gambling Matters

Casino Watch Focus has reported on the ongoing progress of the initiative petition by Voters in Charge which seeks to make all gambling expansion decisions passed by the legislature pass a vote of the people before they can become law. Many view this as a wonderful check on gambling expansion given the resent report that 84% of Florida voters want to hold the line or dial back gambling in the state. Most recently, the petition passed a legal challenge and the Florida Supreme Court cleared the bill to proceed, ruling it properly dealt with one subject and is not misleading. Now, Disney has decided to back the effort to collect the final signatures to put it on the 2018 ballot. An online source explains:

According to the group’s information on Facebook, Voters in Charge is sponsoring a ballot initiative “to give Florida voters, not politicians, the exclusive right to approve or disapprove casino gambling.”

Disney’s support for Voters in Charge jibes with the corporation’s previous claims that destination casinos would spoil the family-friendly vibe that its DisneyWorld resort prefers to give off. Disney is one of the highest – if not the top – contributor in the political committee’s campaign last month. 

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

A Brief Look at Crime 05/08 – 05/14

Problem poker player gets 8 years in prison for $31 Million debt scam

One of the nation’s top poker players blamed gambling for derailing his life on Thursday as he was sentenced to more than eight years in prison for a $31 million debt collection scam. Travell Thomas, 38, a past winner of World Series of Poker tournaments, sobbed as he described how his gambling was “out of control” before he was criminally charged with running a Buffalo-based debt collection business that made false threats and representations to thousands of people nationwide from at least 2010 to 2015. “I would spend days at the casinos,” he told U.S. District Judge Katherine Polk Failla. “I wouldn’t even change my clothes.”Thomas, of Orchard Park, New York, said authorities “saved my life” when they told him he could no longer gamble. “I didn’t spend much time at the office. I spent most of my time gambling,” he said before Failla announced that he must serve eight years and four months in prison, beginning in September. Failla said Thomas preyed on financially distressed people. “A lot of the money that was taken went to him and his enjoyment,” she said. Assistant U.S. Attorney Edward Imperatore said greed motivated Thomas and he spent the profits from his business largely on himself, including season tickets to Buffalo Bills games, gold, lavish trips, jewelry, cars, casino entertainment and gambling.

Genting Casino armed raid: Five masked man with knives and axe storm casino  

Police are appealing for information after five masked raiders armed with knives and an axe stormed a Birmingham casino on Easter Sunday. One terrified customer told how the ordeal was ‘like something out of a movie’, as the five men raided the Genting Casino in Edgbaston just after 9pm. The armed men demanded cash from staff and stole a wallet from a customer before escaping in a VW Golf. One customer told how she was having dinner when the men burst into the Norfolk Road casino. “We had just sat at down at the table and could hear loud screaming and everyone running everywhere, only to get up and see 5 or 6 masked men with guns machetes and hammers! “They screamed at us and told us to lay down on the floor while snatching phones off people and headed for the casino cash desk! “It was like something out of a movie!”

Sequim woman pleads guilty in theft case; Crime believed to be one of the largest in county history 

A Sequim woman was sentenced Tuesday morning in Clallam County Superior Court for what could be one of the largest financial crimes in the county’s history, says Judge Christopher Melly. Eleana Maria Christianson, 49, pleaded guilty to second-degree theft for taking at least $775,000 from Donald and Pilar Tucker, owners of Park Manager LLC, and Donald’s mother. The Tuckers settled with the Christiansons through a civil lawsuit for $775,000, which they’ve received about $645,000, Espinoza said. Donald Tucker asked Melly to consider jail time saying “(Christianson) was the mastermind behind a criminal conspiracy that robbed our family of almost a million dollars. Perhaps the largest embezzlement in this county. She forever changed the way Pilar and I trust.” Some of the reported theft included credit cards use in McQuillen’s name, and separate expenditures of an estimated $163,390 at 7 Cedars Casino from Dec. 2, 2010-June 27, 2013, where Eleana only won $11,537 back gambling.

Post office worker jailed for embezzling £134,000 from Edinburgh shop

A man who admitted embezzling more than £134,000 from an Edinburgh post office where he was the manager has been jailed for 16 months.Daryl Louden, 26, from Edinburgh, had pleaded guilty previously to embezzling £134,177.46 from the branch in RS McColl’s in Ferry Road between 1 January and 29 September 2017. Louden had taken the money to feed his gambling habit. Sheriff Crowe had heard that Louden had been in line for promotion to area manager when he wrote to his superior officer, David Richardson, saying he no longer wanted promotion and wished to stay where he was. Mr Richardson had been curious about this and carried out a spot check at the office. It revealed about £135,000 was missing. When Mr Richardson confronted Louden, he admitted to having a gambling addiction, which he said had ruined his life.

Columbia woman charged with stealing more than $100,000 from employer 

A Columbia woman has been charged with four felonies on suspicion that she bilked her employer out off more than $100,000. Katherine D. McCrosky, 41, was charged in October with forgery and three counts of fraudulent use of a credit device. She was booked Friday into the Boone County Jail, where she remained Monday on a $30,000 bond. McCrosky worked for Focus on Learning Center, 200 Corporate Lake Drive, as the bookkeeper and made hundreds of fraudulent transactions using company credit cards between December 2014 and February 2016, according to a probable cause statement. The owner of the business reported the thefts to Columbia police in October. Using three credit cards and also issuing herself a loan check, McCrosky allegedly stole $102,256. The owner of the business told police McCrosky admitted to her that she stole the money because she has a gambling problem.

State police seize illegal gambling machines, over $177K in cash in raids

Pennsylvania State Police seized 215 electronic gambling machines and over $177,000 in cash from bars and clubs following an investigation into illegal gambling in Washington, Westmoreland, Fayette, and Allegheny counties on Tuesday. The Pennsylvania State Police Bureau of Liquor Control Enforcement (BLCE) executed numerous search warrants and conducted inspections of 48 licensed liquor establishments in those areas. “The ongoing operations of illegal gambling devices and illegal video gaming terminals, while often viewed as a victimless crime, result in lost tax revenue for Pennsylvanians and victimize households of citizens whose family members have gambling addictions,” said Major Scott T. Miller, Director of the BLCE. “The devices are not included in, nor may they be considered a part of, the Small Games of Chance Act.” Illegal machines such as these are unregulated and do not operate on true odds; the amount of money retained by the machine is determined by and set by the vendor. The payout percentage would never be known by the player of the machine and is not verified by any governmental or industry oversight.

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

UPDATE: Judge Could Reconsider Slot Machine Ruling Involving New “Pre-reveal” Style Slot Machines

Casino Watch Focus has reported on a new wave of machines that could drastically change the gambling landscape in Florida. The machines are known as pre-reveal machines and they are basically just slot machines that show the result before the player pulls the handle. This preview screen is why the Judge ruled it was a game of skill and not a game of chance and thus didn’t fall under existing slot machine restrictions and regulations. However, many disagree with such a ruling and are worried that these machines will expand gambling in a terrible way. Now, it appears, the Judge may be open to revising is ruling as the Seminole Tribe has provided some key analysis and motion to the court. Florida Politics online reports: 

Judge John Cooper set a hearing for June 19 in the Leon County Courthouse, court dockets show, after the *Seminole Tribe of Florida asked to intervene. The move also puts a hold on an appeal filed in the 1st District Court of Appeal by the Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR), which regulates gambling. The Tribe**will argue that Cooper’s decision “upends the Compact,” the 2010 agreement between the Tribe and the state for exclusive rights to offer certain gambling in return for a cut of the revenue. That could cost the state “multi-billions of dollars.”

“The court’s decision would lead to an unprecedented expansion of slot machine gambling in the state, destroying the exclusivity that the Tribe bargained for,” says a memo by Barry Richard, the Tribe’s outside counsel in Tallahassee. As one person in Florida’s gambling industry, who asked not to be named, said after the ruling, “I see a giant wave coming … My phone is blowing up from people (at pari-mutuels) who want” pre-reveal games.

In addition to the exclusivity agreement not being taken into account, they are also pointing out the general misunderstanding the Judge faced when rationalizing how the games worked and why it might be skill rather than chance. Florida Politics continues:

In his memo, Richard suggested Cooper misunderstood the game play: “The player is not wagering for the already revealed outcome, but rather on the next outcome, which is unknown.

“Players are not … merely spending money to see spinning reels and flashing lights,” Richard wrote. “Rather, it is a slot machine, with which players are wagering on an unknown, unpredictable outcome” that they may or may not win. Other states, including Indiana and *North Carolina, have found pre-reveal games to be illegal gambling, he added.

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

A Brief Look at Crime 05/01 – 05/07

Shooting outside Argosy Casino leaves man critically injured

Police in Riverside are investigating a shooting outside the Argosy Casino that left one man critically injured early Saturday. The man was shot around 5 a.m. in the valet area of the casino, according to media reports. The victim was taken to a hospital with life-threatening injuries. Authorities from surrounding law enforcement agencies assisted in the search for two suspects, but neither was found.

June Jury Trial Set for Accused CU CEO Embezzler

A June jury trial is set for Nita Rae Nirschl a former president/CEO who was charged with embezzling more than $5 million from $13.3 million Parsons Pittsburg Credit Union that led to its insolvency. During an April 12 hearing in U.S. District Court in Wichita, Kan., the 64-year-old former executive was arraigned on an 81-count indictment including 22 counts of embezzlement, 37 counts of money laundering, 18 counts of interstate transportation of stolen property and four counts of attempting to evade taxes. Federal prosecutors charged that she embezzled more than $5 million from the credit union over four years. The indictment alleged Nirschl deposited stolen funds into her personal accounts. She also allegedly withdrew the funds from ATMs at casinos at Missouri, Oklahoma, New Orleans and Lake Tahoe. Nirschl admitted that she and her husband wagered millions at casinos and typically broke even, but she denied gambling using credit union funds when questioned by examiners during an audit in January 2014.

Mother, 32, is jailed for 18 months after stealing £100,000 from her company

A mother who plundered almost £100,000 from her company and even stole cash while partying in Ibiza has been jailed. Natalie Akinola took so much money from ESS Birmingham that the electrical contractor went bust and six workers – including her brother – lost their jobs. The 32-year-old accessed the company’s system to take cash during her sunshine holiday and even stole wedding gift money meant to help pay staff wages. Passing sentence Judge Murray Creed said: ‘There is a really high degree of trust. ‘I believe it was sophisticated and planned over a sustained period.’ Akinola was responsible for the daily running of the ESS office as well as its accounts and payments to suppliers. Akinola told police she stole the money to pay off someone else’s gambling debt, as well as unsecured loan sharks.

Mercedes-Benz salesman stole £128,000 after ‘second chance’ at dealership

A car salesman who was given a “second chance” after attempting tocover up his criminal past has been jailed after stealing £128,770from Listers Mercedes-Benz in Grimsby. Grimsby Crown Court heard how 49-year-old Darren Thornton, of Marlborough Drive, Scunthorpe, had been sacked by another branch for covering up his convictions but was handed a £58,000 job after the dealership decided to give him a chance. The show of faith proved misplaced, however, when Thornton admitted taking the six-figure sum via fraud and money laundering between May 1, 2015 and June 3 last year. Dealer principal Steve Kilford was told by a sales executive a short time later that Thornton had taken £8,000 cash from a customer and paid it into his personal account, however. After concerns were raised about another £15,000 Thornton confessed, telling his employers to go to the police before blaming gambling debts from his past as the trigger of his stealing. Lowe said: “The defendant took skilful steps to cover his tracks to prevent the fraud being discovered.

Priest Accused Of Stealing $500K For Gambling 

A prominent religious figure in Philadelphia is accused of embezzling more than $500,000 from the Catholic Church to fund a lavish lifestyle that included trips to local casinos. The federal government said earlier this month that Msgr. William Dombrow, 77, went gambling at Harrah’s Casino in Chester with money that was for a home for retired priests. Dombrow was in charge of the home’s finances. The government said that the scheme went on for nearly nine years until the bank became suspicious of some transactions and alerted the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. According to, Dombrow was charged with four counts of wire fraud by way of a criminal information. If convicted, he could face 80 years in prison. His attorney said that Dombrow is “ashamed to have shed such a bad light on the Archdiocese.”

Dombrow’s case isn’t the first of its kind. In 2014, a priest in Ottawa was sentenced to a year in prison after admitting to stealing $130,000 from the church to fund his gambling addiction. In 2015, a Roman Catholic priest in Massachusetts was given five years of probation for stealing a sum of $240,000 to feed his years-long gambling habit. Catholic nuns and Buddhist monks have also been charged with stealing money to fund casino trips.

Police say dispute over drugs, gambling led to Boynton shootings 


A 31-year-old Boynton Beach man was arrested Thursday in connection with a shooting that occurred in January in the northern end of the city. Police say that James Young II shot two men the evening of Jan. 24 during an argument over drugs and gambling. He faces charges of aggravated battery with a firearm, being a felon in possession of a firearm and marijuana possession. Young was released Saturday from the Palm Beach County Jail after posting $203,000 bail. Detectives received numerous anonymous tips indicating that Young was the gunman. They obtained a warrant to search his apartment. It was unclear from the police report whether investigators found video evidence of the shooting. However, officers did find a bag filled with marijuana, an electronic scale and clear plastic bags, according to the report. One of the shooting victims gave police a brief statement before being rushed into the surgery.

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

Threat of Massive Florida Gambling Expansion from New Gambling Bills Ends over House and Senate Differences

Casino Watch Focus has reported on the ongoing efforts of gambling expansion in Florida. Most recently, the both the Florida House and Senate passed gambling bills, but both were very different. The House bill focused on a new Agreement with the Seminole tribe and shoring up loopholes and various items. The Senate bill, however, was a full scale buffet of gambling expansion options including new casinos, new counties being allowed to offer slot machines, other various gambling expansion options. Once bills are passed, the House and Senate must come together to reconcile the various versions of the bill and produce one, agreed upon piece of legislation. The Miami-Herald is now reporting a huge victory for Florida families and this years legislative session is closing with no major gambling bill because the House and Senate were just too far apart on a unified bill:

A deal that could have allowed at least one new casino in Miami, permitted craps and roulette at the seven casinos operated by the Seminole Tribe of Florida and authorized slot machines in eight more Florida counties collapsed Tuesday. After months of working on competing gambling legislation, Florida House and Senate negotiators declared an impasse that had no hope of being resolved by Friday, when the Legislature was scheduled to end its annual 60-day session. “It’s dead,” said Sen. Bill Galvano, R-Bradenton.

There were many reasons the deal crumbled Tuesday, but Diaz said the main problem was what to do about eight counties where voters approved slot machines at dog racing and horse racing tracks. Voters have passed a statewide referendum to allow slot machines in Miami-Dade and Broward, but there has never been a statewide referendum for the other counties.

The gaming bill’s demise prevents Genting, a Malaysian company, from building a casino in Miami on the former site of the Miami Herald. The Senate plan also could have allowed the declining horse and dog racing and jai-alai industries to stop racing and operate as slot casinos exclusively.

Whereas the finalization of a compact between the State and the Seminole tribe is less than ideal and could lead to more expanded gambling in the future if the deal is handled improperly, the fact that massive gambling expansion through decoupling efforts with dog and horse race facilities, new slot machines in 8 new counties, and new casinos were avoided, it is absolutely a victory to celebrate.

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

A Brief Look at Crime 04/24-4/30

Facebook Live Murder Suspect Steve Stephens ‘Lost Everything to Gambling’

Police in Cleveland were searching for a homicide suspect who they said broadcast a videotaped killing on Facebook and claimed to have committed another 15 murders, though these claims are yet to be verified. The search for Steve Stephens, 37, extended beyond Ohio to four other states late Sunday following the Easter morning gruesome killing of 74-year-old Robert Godwin Sr. in Cleveland while Stephens broadcast the attack live via Facebook. The video remained up for three hours. A series of posts Sunday on what authorities said was Stephens’ Facebook page complained that he had “lost everything” to gambling.

Two dead, one hurt after DeKalb County shooting

Two men are dead and another was hurt after a shooting that DeKalb County police believe is the result of a murder-suicide. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports police found evidence of gambling in a garage and also discovered the bodies of a 28-year-old and a 35-year-old late Friday. Maj. Stephen Fore, spokesman for DeKalb Police, said Saturday that it appears the younger man shot the older man and then shot himself. Fore says a 25-year-old man, who was shot in the leg, was taken to Grady Memorial Hospital in stable condition. A preliminary investigation shows a fight over money started between the two dead men, whose names are being withheld pending notification of relatives.

Washington Park man sentenced to 60 years in string of downtown St. Louis robberies

A man from Washington Park was sentenced Thursday to 60 years in prison for a string of violent street robberies in downtown St. Louis in 2015. St. Louis Circuit Judge David Dowd sentenced Roy D. Brown, 28, to prison on 13 counts of robbery, attempted robbery and resisting arrest. A St. Louis jury last month found Brown guilty. Brown was accused of snatching purses and wallets from people from Nov. 27 to Dec. 23, 2015. Some of the victims were targeted after leaving downtown bars, restaurants and hotels. Immediately after some of the robberies, Brown would go to a casino and a Wal-Mart in Illinois where he spent thousands of dollars using stolen credit and debit cards. Police said Brown struck some victims, and in one incident dragged a woman by her purse for several feet and threatened to shoot her friend who tried to intervene. “Roy Brown’s actions are exactly why people avoid the city of St. Louis,” Assistant Circuit Attorney Madeline Connolly wrote in a sentencing recommendation. One of the victims moved out of the city because of the attack, Connelly wrote. Another won’t walk alone to lunch downtown anymore.

Woman Leaves Infant in Running Car While She Gambles Inside Casino

A 28-year-old Nevada woman is being held in the Elko County jail on $100,000 bail after deputies say she left her infant in a running, unlocked car for an hour while she was gambling. Elko County sheriff’s deputies arrested Jamie Benson of Spring Creek Thursday for suspicion of child abuse or neglect. The Elko Daily Free Press reports deputies found the 14-month child in the back seat of a car in the parking lot of Dottie’s Casino in Spring Creek. Deputies say the heater was on high and the temperature inside the vehicle reached 86 degrees. The child was taken to an Elko hospital then transferred to the custody of the Nevada Division of Child and Family Services.

Sheriff records show how $17 million in gambling funds were spent

The largest gambling ring bust in Florida history brought down a $300 million operation in 2013. The investigation led by authorities in Seminole County resulted in the arrest of 57 people and closure of 50 gambling rings across the state. The majority of those arrested settled their criminal cases and served no jail time. As part of the settlement, the defendants also turned over a portion of their assets. A First Coast News investigation in February looked into how those funds received by the government were spent. Records recently obtained from the Seminole County Sheriff’s Office show $17.8 million in settlements were received by Seminole County courts. The sheriff’s office received $6.4 million of that amount and the remaining $11 million was distributed to other agencies like the Florida Attorney General’s Office. The majority of the sheriff’s office portion, $4.1 million, was used to fund law enforcement equipment and training facilities. Financial logs show purchases of $550,000 for armored vest replacements, $290,000 for active shooter equipment, $260,000 for an armored response and rescue vehicle, and $550,000 worth of standard issued rifles.

Four charged in blackjack cheating scam at northeast SD casino

Three former Dakota Sioux Casino employees and a blackjack player have pleaded not guilty to a cheating conspiracy where they are accused of stealing $10,000 from the Watertown gambling establishment. The four are charged with conspiracy and theft by employees of a gaming establishment on Indian land with each facing up to 25 years in prison, $500,000 in fines and restitution if convicted on the two accusations. The theft allegedly occurred on New Year’s Eve 2015 and into Jan. 1, 2016, at the casino, which is on Lake Traverse Indian Reservation land and operated by the Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate Sioux Tribe. The U.S. Attorney for South Dakota said the plan that night was to have Rondell make a large sum of money from illegitimate winnings paid by Brown and Gill with Rondell then paying off the other three. Bolocon was the pit boss that night, said the complaint.

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