Monthly Archives: April 2018

UPDATE: Florida Greyhound Amendment Revealed to be a Decoupling Effort that could Expand Gambling and Create Mini-Casinos – Will Appear on Nov Ballot

Casino Watch Focus has reported on the suggested Constitutional Amendment that was sold as an amendment to ban greyhound racing. The unknown element was whether or not the actual language would ban the industry all together, thereby shutting down each track, or if the gambling that’s allowed currently would remain, thereby decoupling the dog racing from the ability to offer simulcasting or free standing slot machine parlors. The Committee has formulated the language and pushed the issue out as a constitutional amendment that will be up for vote by the people in Nov. An online source explains: 

After repeated and heavily lobbied legislative debates in recent years about the future of the greyhound industry, the Florida Constitution Revision Commission on Monday voted 27-10 to put the proposed ban on the November ballot.

The measure would allow people to continue to bet at pari-mutuel facilities on greyhound races simulcast from other states.

State Sen. Tom Lee, a Thonotosassa Republican who sponsored the proposal, said allowing betting on races from elsewhere was needed for the measure to advance. 

It appears that early efforts might have been to ban the industry out right, but as Sen. Lee stated, the amendment wouldn’t pass the committee unless it was a decoupling effort. However, this would be far worse than legislation that decouples, as this would be part of the Florida constitution, making any changes to the policy so much harder. In a joint guest article to Florida Politics, Jeff Kottkamp and Paul Hawks outline why this issue shouldn’t be in a constitutional amendment:

Most individuals would agree that the purpose of a constitution is to establish the basic structure of government and the fundamental rights of citizens. The CRC’s greyhound racing proposal is a classic example of a proposal that fails to rise to the level of a constitutional matter. Former Chief Judge of the Florida Supreme Court *Major Harding* is one of many legal scholars who shares the view that the greyhound amendment should not be in the Constitution.

In a column Justice Harding recently wrote, he identified the proposed greyhound amendment as one of three CRC proposals that do not belong in the Constitution noting that Florida’s Constitution is already three times longer than the U.S. Constitution and is “riddled with countless, ordinary laws and specifics of government policy and regulation, such as confinement of pregnant pigs, that lessen its status.” The Editorial Board of the Tallahassee Democrat/USA TODAY NETWORK shares his view and correctly stated in an editorial that the greyhound proposal “ … can be done by statute and doesn’t need to be in the Constitution.”

But beyond the economic impact, the gross misrepresentations from the advocates, the unfairness in preserving monopolies while creating — in essence — mini-casinos, there is a much more important reason that the greyhound proposal should not be advanced by the CRC — it simply does not belong in the Constitution. 

It is expected that the greyhound industry will take legal action to prevent the amendment from reaching the ballot, but there is a good chance it will make the ballot. To that end, a reasonable position to take might be to vote against that amendment and vote for Amendment 3 that gives Florida votes the final say in gambling expansion. Then the issue can be dealt with in the legislature and the people can support or reject the final decision by statewide vote. 

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

A Brief Look at Crime 04/16 – 04/22

California poker pro accused of ripping off investors in suspected Super Bowl, World Cup ticket-flipping.

A federal grand jury has indicted an Orange County poker pro for allegedly bilking investors out of more than $6 million in a suspected Super Bowl and World Cup ticket-flipping scam. The indictment charges Seyed Reza Ali Fazeli, 49, of Aliso Viejo with two felony counts of wire fraud tied to a Las Vegas-based ticket business that Fazeli ran named Summit Entertainment, the U.S. Attorney’s Office announced Thursday. According to the indictment, Fazeli from May 2016 through at least May 2017 raised $6.2 million from investors in Orange County, Houston and Las Vegas by promising to purchase tickets to the 2017 Super Bowl and the 2018 World Cup and then resell them at a “substantial profit.” “A large portion of investor funds were used for the personal benefit of Fazeli, including millions spent at Las Vegas casinos,” FBI Special Agent B.C. Mason wrote in an affidavit filed with the court. Fazeli was arrested on Feb. 14 following an FBI investigation. During a court hearing the next day, he was released on a $120,000 bond. He is scheduled to return to court for an arraignment on March 26.

Slate Belt woman charged in $400,000 fraud says, ‘I hate money and I hate gambling’

The former caretaker of a Slate Belt shooting club is accused of stealing more than $400,000 from the organization, its members and an insurance company through a variety of scams that allegedly fed a gambling addiction. Facing arraignment Thursday on 26 theft-related charges, Lisa A. Shafer came to court in Bangor without a lawyer, chatting outside the hearing with investigators and telling them she planned to plead guilty. “I’m not denying any charges,” Shafer told District Judge Alicia Zito inside the courtroom. “I’m not running away from any charges.” Police said the thefts spanned from 2012 to 2016 and centered around the Pocono Slate Belt Shooting Association in Upper Mount Bethel Township, a clay trap club on Lake Minsi Drive. Though the 50-year-old Wind Gap woman said she hoped to remain free until her case was resolved, she left in handcuffs after Zito set bail at $50,000. The judge noted that most of the alleged victims are seniors. “The list is quite expansive,” Zito told Shafer. “These sort of white-collar crimes, they hit close to home sometimes.” “She admitted she was a thief and would do anything it took to get money,” the affidavit said. Police said Shafer was a frequent gambler at Mount Airy Casino and Resort. In court to Zito, Shafer said she has been twice institutionalized for her gambling problem, and remains in counseling. “I hate money and I hate gambling,” Shafer said.

Women stole more than $800K from elderly victim

Two women who posed as an elderly woman’s caregiver and interior decorator, respectively, are accused of embezzling almost $600,000 from the victim between 2013 and 2017. Sandra Pelkey, 71, and Mary Jeannie Benedetto, 60, both of Bushnell Street, Plymouth, and described as mother and daughter in court documents, are each charged with first-degree larceny and conspiracy to commit first-degree larceny. While the period from 2013-17 includes the alleged theft of $600,000, over a 10-year period Pelkey and Benedetto allegedly cashed more than $800,000 in checks made payable to them from the woman’s account, using multiple bank accounts to hide the funds they allegedly stole from the elderly woman, according to the arrest warrant. During the course of the investigation, it was revealed Benedetto had a history of gambling at Mohegan Sun Casino, losing approximately $22,039 prior to meeting the woman, the warrant stated. It was confirmed Benedetto’s casino visits became more frequent after establishing a relationship with the woman, even cashing checks from the woman’s accounts. Overall, Benedetto has gambled more than $740,000 between 2007 to 2017.

Prosecutor’s aide says she gambled with DA’s campaign funds

A longtime aide to the top prosecutor in Las Vegas blamed a gambling habit for taking nearly $42,000 from her boss’s campaign and was permitted to repay the money instead of facing criminal charges. Audrie Locke, the community liaison and spokeswoman for Clark County District Attorney Steve Wolfson, said in an interview with the Las Vegas Review-Journal that she wrote checks to herself in 2014 after taking the campaign’s checkbook from his office. Locke told the newspaper she had financial troubles at the time because of her addiction to video poker and was not well emotionally because her mother, three friends and two dogs had died. “I have a gambling problem . So there’s a lot of money issues that come with that, and that’s what happened,” she said. “The gambling spiraled. And if you talk to anybody who’s ever had a gambling problem, the first challenge that they have is recovering financially.”

Sky Bet Fined £1 Million for Failing Self-Excluded Gamblers

Online gambling company Sky Bet has accepted a £1 million ($1.4 million) fine from the UK Gambling Commission for allowing hundreds of self-excluded gamblers to continue betting, while inadvertently sending promotional texts, emails and push notifications to around 50,000 more. The fine comes just months after Sky Bet chief Richard Flint called on the betting industry to address its “image problem” and to promote safer gambling the through the advancement of self-help tools and increased intervention with customers who may be at risk. “The industry must first recognise it has an issue,” Flint told an audience at the International Casino Exhibition in February. “And I don’t just mean a PR or reputational issue. I mean a genuine, evidence-based subject that it must play its part in addressing.” But the UKGC found that 736 self-excluded Sky Bet customers had been able to open and use duplicate accounts. Thousands more who had asked to ban themselves from using Sky Bet’s betting services continued to receive marketing urging them to bet via an app, due to a segregation failure in the company’s databases. A further 36,748 did not have the balance of their funds with SkyBet returned to them upon closing their accounts.

Feds Seize $10.1M in ‘Illegal Gambling’ Money from Pojoaque Pueblo Tribe of New Mexico

The US Department of Justice on Friday filed forfeiture proceedings in a federal court to seize $10.1 million from a bank account linked to the Pojoaque Pueblo tribal gaming operator in New Mexico. The DOJ said it deemed the money to be the proceeds of illegal gambling. It’s the latest twist in the longstanding fight between the tribe and the State of New Mexico, which kicked off in 2014 when the tribe refused to sign a new compact. Its original gambling agreement, signed in 2005, gave the state an 8 percent share of gross gambling revenue and was due to expire in 2015. Negotiations over a new revenue sharing agreement broke down when the tribe accused the state government of unreasonably hiking up its cut, to 9 percent. New Mexico’s other tribal operators reluctantly agreed to these terms, but the Pojoaque Pueblos dug in their heels. The tribe argued for the right to negotiate a new compact with the federal Bureau of Indian Affairs, rather than the state. 

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

Seminole Deal Struck with Gov Scott, but Lawmakers still want a Special Gambling Session

Casino Watch Focus has reported on the ongoing negotiations between Florida State and the Seminole Tribe to reach a new gambling compact. The session ended with no formal deal in place, but it was expected the Seminoles would continue payments as normal. Gov Rick Scott worked directly with the Tribe after the session ended and has announced a formal agreement to continue payments through next year. An online source reports: 

On Wednesday, Florida Gov. *Rick Scott* announced that the state had extended its casino revenue sharing agreement with the Seminoles through May 2019. The agreement, which was signed in 2017, calls for the tribe to provide the state with around $300m per year in exchange for exclusive rights to certain gaming products.

Scott said the agreement “ensures the Tribe’s current commitment remains intact” but Scott stressed that Wednesday’s deal “does not make any changes to state gaming law or expand current gaming operations in Florida in any way.”

The 2017 agreement was itself a stopgap deal due to the inability of state legislators to approve a new gaming compact with the tribe, which operates the Hard Rock International family of casinos.

However, this action doesn’t appear to have stopped discussions by the legislature to convene a special session to address gambling. The Tampa Bay Times explains: 

The agreement, however, doesn’t look like it’s going to stop talk of a gaming special session sometime in the next month. House and Senate leaders face an expensive election cycle that could benefit from gaming industry contributions, and they are staring down a constitutional amendment that, if voters approve, could take away their control over gaming expansion in Florida.

“The discussions on the special session are continuing,” said Sen. Bill Galvano, R-Bradenton, the incoming Senate president and the Senate’s key negotiator.

Galvano now says the reason for a special session has more to do with Amendment 3. The constitutional amendment is backed primarily by Disney Worldwide and as the support of the Seminole Tribe. If it gets the 60 percent of the vote needed to become law, legislators will have less influence over all gaming decisions, and the political fundraising that comes from the pari-mutuel industry could shrink.

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

A Brief Look at Crime 04/09 – 04/15

Mum-of-five stabbed to death in front of children after argument with her gambling addicted husband

A mother-of-five was stabbed to death in front of some of her children following an argument with her gambling addicted husband. Parvez Akhtar plunged a combat style knife into his 49-year-old wife’s chest on the doorstep of her home after she had asked him to leave. In a statement Adeil Akhtar, aged 26, said his mother had the “the most beautiful soul” and was a very caring person. He said her death had left him and his siblings: “Broken, hurt, confused and empty” and that they were devastated. Akhtar, 46, who admitted a charge of murdering Shaeen Akhtar was jailed for life. She worked at home as a seamstress and was described as hard working and strong willed while her husband had developed both an addiction to gambling and drinking. On occasions Akhtar, after drinking, would become aggressive and “take it out” on his wife and he also stole from her to feed his gambling addiction. She had challenged him about his gambling and drinking and this had lead to tensions in the family. On the day before the killing Akhtar stole £200 from the victim, had gone out and did not return until around 3pm the following day, October 15. They had then argued with Mrs Akhtar asking him to leave and holding the front door open which he was trying to push shut. “He then quickly pulled out a knife from the right side of his trousers and stabbed Shaeen with it to the left side of her chest, “ said Mr Price.

Oklahoma man, 34, ‘faked his own kidnapping to collect ransom from his friends’ and sent threatening demands while gambling in a Tulsa casino

An Oklahoma man is accused of faked his own kidnapping to collect ransom from his friends. Jonathon Michael Davis, of Owasso, was arrested on Thursday on charges of extortion, blackmail and false reporting of a crime after police found the alleged kidnapping victim, gambling in a Tulsa casino. The 34-year-old was reported missing yesterday after they began receiving text messages from someone claiming to be holding Davis captive, Tulsa World reports. His family, who said they hadn’t seen his since Tuesday, told police that the messages threatened to hurt Davis unless the money they were demanding was transferred into a PayPal account. Owasso police alerted the FBI and U.S. Marshals and within a few hours, by 1.30am, the Marshals had located Davis, who was unharmed, inside the River Spirit Casino in Tulsa, sitting and gambling alone. They also found the cellphone in his possession, which had sent the threatening messages. Officials believe that there never was any kidnapping and that Davis posed as his own abductor to extort money from his family and friends.

Queens casino allegedly ignored complaints from female workers who were harassed, assaulted on the job

Women working at Resorts World Casino endure harassment and physical assaults from badly behaving bettors, grabby gamblers and violent male co-workers — and it’s all because of their employer’s let-it-ride attitude, court records charge. Bartender Tuwanna (Trish) Anderson said the violence and harassment is systemic at the popular Queens racino — and she has the injuries to prove it. She filed a lawsuit against co-worker Toman Davis and the casino’s owner, Genting Group, saying Davis choked her while on the job on July 4. The chilling assault was captured on surveillance video — and even reviewed by security directors — but no one came to the rescue, her lawsuit says. “I thought he was going to kill me,” Anderson, 48, told the Daily News. “I kept saying, ‘Don’t worry. (Security) is coming.’ Why didn’t they come?” Other women on the staff had previously complained about bartender Davis’ violence and unsafe conditions for female servers in general, but nothing changed, the lawsuit says. In fact, harassment seems to be the norm at the South Ozone Park gambling mecca, according to a Sept. 8, 2016, arbitration decision connected to Jisselle Pellot, who was fired after a woman who was a customer choked her during a dispute over a phone. Pellot and two other women, both servers, testified during the arbitration proceeding that customers routinely cursed and harassed them.

Police searching for sole survivor of Jacksonville internet cafe shooting 

The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office is searching for the third suspect in a deadly armed robbery at an internet cafe on the Southside. Police responded to Spin City Sweepstakes around 11:30 p.m and found two suspects shot — and one person who was grazed by a bullet. One suspect died at the scene and the other was taken to a Jacksonville hospital, where he died. The victims have been identified as 28-year-old Raheem Prather and 23-year-old Raymond Dixon. Police said their investigation revealed three armed men entered the business while a fourth person remained in the suspect vehicle. Investigators said an armed security guard working for the internet café fatally shot the suspect closest to him. The second suspect was shot while trying to run out of the business. An Action News Jax investigation in November revealed that more internet cafes are popping up again despite being banned several years ago. They often have what the state considers illegal slot machines. This includes fish games and “pre-reveal” games. In a lawsuit, the Seminole Tribe claims that internet cafes “knowingly permit unlawful gambling.”

Children’s charity volunteer faces jail for embezzling more than £62,000 to fund a gambling addiction

Karen McCormack, 49, took money from South Glasgow Childcare Partnership Forum, known as South Glasgow Bookbug, on 65 different occasions during a 14-month period when she was in charge of the account. She was rumbled when another volunteer paid a cheque into the account and noticed discrepancies with a large number of payments having been withdrawn for events which had not happened. When confronted McCormack confessed: “I took the money.” At the time the charity was unsure if it would be able to continue past March this year,but has since secured funding. Procurator fiscal depute Deborah Carroll said: “The embezzlement had a significant impact on the finances of the charity. At the time of the reporting it was unclear whether the charity had the finances to continue.

4 charged with using ‘Wounded Warrior’ name to raise over $150,000 for personal profit

Cristiani of Clark County, Indiana, thought he was helping veterans. His late father had been awarded two Purple Hearts, so when Cristiani received a call from the “Wounded Warrior Fund” asking for a donation to help Indiana vets, he felt it was his duty to give. And give again. Over two years, the 69-year-old donated more than $1,000. But the money never made it to veterans, and instead is believed to have fueled the lifestyle of suspected crooks. The Wounded Warrior Project is a legitimate multimillion-dollar nonprofit organization with nationwide recognition that helps wounded, ill and injured veterans. The Wounded Warrior Fund, on the other hand, was a complete scam, federal prosecutors say. After a three-year investigation by the US Secret Service and Clark County Sheriff’s Office, four people were indicted February 28 by a federal grand jury. The case was unsealed Friday. The Justice Department publicly announced the charges Friday morning. “The acts of these fraudsters have eroded the trust and good will of those who want to contribute to legitimate fundraising organizations, including those that support our veterans,” US Attorney Josh Minkler said in a statement on Friday. “Our American veterans have dutifully served this country through many wars and deserve better than to be deprived of donations from giving donors,” Minkler said. “No veterans’ families have benefited in any way in this case, that we could find,” Special Agent in Charge of the Secret Service Louisville Field Office Richard Ferretti tells CNN. “They’ve used it at casinos, they’ve used it for medical bills, they’ve written checks to each other in cash, so we can’t find a single dollar, so far, that’s gone to a veteran in this case.”

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

Video Game Loot Boxes and Skins Gambling Pose Risk to Children as Revenue Generated are Expected to Reach $50 Billion

Casino Watch Focus has reported on the ongoing battle by legislators and video game companies over the highly controversial loot box mechanics that many see as out right gambling being marketed to children and older gamers alike. Its now being reported that revenue generating from micro transactions in video games could almost double over the next four years. An online investment source explains: 

A new study from Juniper Research forecasts that loot boxes and skins gambling, two emerging gaming growth sectors, will reach a total spend of $50 billion by 2022, up from under $30 billion this year. Loot boxes are in-game packs which contain a random selection of items; while skins are in-game cosmetics which change the appearance of weapons or characters.

The new research, Daily Fantasy Sports & In-game Gambling; Skins and Loot Boxes 2018-2022, found that skins gambling should be of great concern to regulators. Frequently utilized as virtual currency for betting, skins are then cashed-in for real money via online trading platforms.

Research author Lauren Foye explained: “Skins are acquired both through playing video games and from opening purchased loot boxes. These items have value depending on rarity and popularity within game communities. On PCs, skins are traded for real money via Steam’s ‘Marketplace’; the platform has 125 million registered users globally.”

These grown numbers are especially troubling when one understands just how prevent these transactions are accessible by children. In the US, many legislators have taken notice and started discussions and legislation formation to address the issue. In the UK, the amount of kids identified as having already participated in skins gambling is beyond troubling. The article continues: 

A 2017 study by the Gambling Commission found that 11% of 11-16 year olds in the UK had placed bets with skins; meaning around 500,000 children under the age of 15 could be using skins for gambling. Juniper finds skin gambling risks being pushed underground; without further counter-measures, wagers will surpass $1 billion globally by 2022, a fifth of the global market seen prior to Steam’s interference.

Juniper strongly recommends regulation for skin trading and gambling, in an attempt to both prevent youth participation and remove malicious actors who run sites which steal skins or short-change users.

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

A Brief Look at Crime 04/02 – 04/08

William Hill fined £6.2m over problem gambling and money laundering

William Hill has been fined £6.2 million by the Gambling Commission over its “systemic” failure to protect customers from problem gambling and prevent money laundering. Senior management at William Hill failed to ensure the bookmaker’s anti-money laundering and social responsibility processes were effective, the regulator said. This resulted in 10 customers being allowed to deposit large sums of money linked to criminal offences which resulted in gains for William Hill of around £1.2m between November 2014 and August 2016, a Gambling Commission investigation has revealed. William Hill did not seek adequate information about the source of the customers’ funds or establish whether they were problem gamblers, the Commission said. Examples of William Hill’s failures identified by the Gambling Commission. A customer was allowed to deposit £654,000 over nine months withoutsource of funds checks being carried out. The customer lived inrented accommodation and earned around £30,000 per year. Another customer was allowed to deposit £541,000 over 14 months. The customer was earning around £30,000 a year and was funding his gambling habit by stealing from his employer.

Man, woman arrested in armed robbery of Las Vegas casino

Police say a man and a woman have been arrested in the gunpoint robbery of a cashier at a Las Vegas Strip-area casino. Officer Larry Hadfield said Wednesday that Tina Marie Lopez and Jason Michael Lockwood, both 36, were arrested Tuesday at an address in southeast Las Vegas. Police earlier distributed security camera photos of a woman with a gun inside and a getaway vehicle outside the South Point Casino during the late Monday robbery. No shots were fired and no one was hurt. Hadfield didn’t disclose how much was stolen. Records showed Lopez was being held on $70,000 bail and Lockwood was held on $20,000 bail pending a Friday court appearance at which each is expected to have lawyers appointed to represent them on robbery and conspiracy charges.

How a £1 bet sparked a €10m betting spree and prison for this postmaster

The shocking downfall of a Wexford postmaster who ended up in jail after stealing €1.75m from An Post during a €10m betting spree, began with a modest £1 bet on a World Cup soccer match. Tony O’Reilly ended up losing his freedom, his job and his marriage because of his uncontrollable gambling addiction that led him to increasingly devious thefts from the national postal service. Those thefts included stealing his betting money from pristine bundles of post office cash with a pair of precision pliers so they would not be missed in Gorey post office where he had risen to branch manager. Today his shocking and disturbing tale is published in LIFE magazine together with an exclusive extract from the book he has co-written with Sunday Independent columnist Declan Lynch titled Tony 10: The astonishing story of the postman who gambled €10,000,000… and lost it all.

Man tried to run over officer while fleeing casino 

Connecticut State Police say a man has been arrested after attempting to run over a police officer while fleeing the scene of an assault at a casino. The Record-Journal reports police say 22-year-old Justin Eccleston, of Meriden, Connecticut, was charged Saturday with reckless driving, second-degree reckless endangerment, engaging in police pursuit, driving under the influence and other violations. State police say Eccleston fled from tribal police who were investigating an assault at Mohegan Sun Casino. They say he attempted to run over the officer while leaving the casino. Troopers pursued Eccleston on the highway, reaching speeds of more than 100 miles per hour.

Businessman, 32, ‘who preyed on cash-strapped pension holders by promising to release their savings… 

A businessman who promised cash-strapped pension holders he could release their savings early blew £1million of their cash on gambling, holidays and supercars, a court heard. They included people unable to work through injury, a failing business owner, an ex-wife made homeless following her divorce and parents looking to renovate their home. With the help of Ray King, 54, Locke allegedly offered applicants an upfront payment equivalent to half of their pot, with the remainder invested in ‘sham’ eco-friendly firms. The Dorset-based pair are accused of creating an ‘elaborate façade’ comprising hundreds of documents to convince genuine companies, including Friends Life and Virgin Money, that they were operating a legitimate pension scheme.

Gambling addict ordered to pay a half-million dollars for embezzling from OKC business

An admitted gambling addict apologized before she was sentenced to prison for stealing nearly a half-million dollars while bookkeeping for a family business in Oklahoma City. “They trusted me with all of their business finances. … I violated their trust in many ways,” Kay Ann Locke said at her Tuesday sentencing in Oklahoma City federal court. “I want to tell them how very, very sorry I am. … When I was gambling, I was not in my right mind.” U.S. District Judge David L. Russell said he believes Locke, 52, of Edmond, is remorseful but that it’s “easy to have remorse when caught.” “I can’t overlook the number of times you did this and how long you did this,” the judge said. Locke embezzled from Delta Promotions Team Corp., a screen printing business, for about six years. The judge chose to sentence Locke to 37 months in federal prison. Locke also was ordered to pay $522,667 more in restitution, mostly to the business, which still is in operation. Locke has already paid back $30,000 to the business by selling her home. During the sentencing, the founder of the business, Tim Todd, called Locke’s actions “evil and wicked.” “Our lives have been shattered,” Todd told the judge before the punishments were announced. “This is not a person with just a gambling addiction. … She treated herself very well. This is a heartless individual.”

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

The 4 Major Players Sports Association and the PGA join the MLB and NBA Regarding Having Their Cut of the Potential Sports Betting Action

Casino Watch Focus has reported on the ongoing Supreme Court case and the history leading up to the potential legalization of sports betting. New Jersey has taken years of attempts to legalize sports betting in their state to the Highest Court and a ruling is expected soon. With the prevailing thought being the Supreme Court will legalize sports betting outside of Las Vegas, many are looking forward to the landscape, and positioning themselves to benefit from the gambling expansion that would follow. Recently, Major League Baseball and the National Baseball Association started suggesting legislation to various states that would provide them with a cut of the gambling action, or in their words, and integrity fee. Now it would appear the PGA has decided to make their position known, and they are supporting an integrity fee as well. An online source explains:

With Illinois the latest state to consider legalizing sports betting, the PGA Tour took the opportunity to voice its support for initiatives backed by the NBA and Major League Baseball.

The revelation of professional golf’s stance on the issue of gambling was disclosed at a hearing of the Illinois Senate Gaming Committee on Tuesday. It was the first time that the tour voiced a definitive opinion on the subject.

So chalk up another professional ruling body’s support for the controversial integrity fee. The NBA and MLB have spent considerable sums trying to persuade several state’s legislators in attempting to get what amounts to a royalty from any potential sports betting a state may implement. The two leagues have a reported 30-registered lobbyists working the halls of 16 state congresses.

It wasn’t just the PGA that voiced their support for a seat at this potential gambling table. In a joint statement released by the MLB Players associationit would appear all four major players groups wants to be a part of ensuring this so called “integrity”:

“Given the pending Supreme Court decision regarding the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PAPSA), representatives of the MLBPA, NBPA, NFLPA and NHLPA have been working together on the legal, commercial, practical, and human consequences of allowing sports betting to become mainstream. The time has come to address not just who profits from sports gambling, but also the costs. Our unions have been discussing the potential impact of legalized gambling on players’ privacy and publicity rights, the integrity of our games and the volatility on our businesses. Betting on sports may become widely legal, but we cannot allow those who have lobbied the hardest for sports gambling to be the only ones controlling how it would be ushered into our businesses. The athletes must also have a seat at the table to ensure that players’ rights and the integrity of our games are protected.”

As far as the likelihood of the Supreme Court legalizing sports betting by declaring the PAPSA unconstitutional, the mood has slightly shifted. Initially the prevailing thought was that the Court took up the case and then asked the questions they did during oral arguments because they planned to reverse the lower court. This could still be the case, but given the delay in the actual ruling, some are now worried the Court may now uphold the constitutionality of the PAPSA. An online source reports:

It’s been four months since the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) heard arguments regarding the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) of 1992, the current federal law that prohibits sports betting in all but four American states.

During the December 4 hearing, many in the courtroom felt a majority of the justices were on New Jersey’s side in the state arguing that PASPA violates the Constitution and anti-commandeering interpretations of the Tenth Amendment. But with an opinion still not issued, there’s a growing concern among repeal proponents that the court might not produce a favorable decision.

Many believed March 5 would be the day SCOTUS unveiled its PASPA opinion. In February, online sportsbook BetDSI was taking wagers on the release date and had March 5 the favorite at even money. It was followed by April 2 (+150), April 30 (+300), May 14 (+750), May 21 (+1000), and May 29 (+2500). The sportsbook has since removed the market, as handicapping the line is nearly impossible as SCOTUS provides no information as to when opinions will be released.* The next most probable release date is April 30, as the Supreme Court tends to publish opinions on Mondays when the court is in session, but not hearing arguments.

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

A Brief Look at Crime 03/26 – 04/01

Trusted ex-council worker siphoned £197,000 of public cash to fund his gambling habit

A former Nuneaton resident who fleeced almost £200,000 out of people in need across Warwickshire to fund a gambling habit has been jailed. Steve Ramsey, who lived in the town and worked for Warwickshire County Council, siphoned off £197,000 of precious public funds to bankroll his gambling addiction for five years. Ramsey, who was in money management and income control in the benefits assessment and income control department at Shire Hall, abused his position of trust to divert much-needed social care money into his own bank account. Newcastle Crown Court heard that the 51-year-old, who now lives in Gosforth, Newcastle, had a gambling habit – mainly on football and horse racing – and it spiralled out of control, reports the Newcastle Chronicle. The previously law-abiding citizen turned to crime and Ramsey, who pleaded guilty to fraud, has been jailed for 27 months.

Local man faces 20 years for laundering proceeds of illegal gambling 

A convicted gambling parlor operator is set to be sentenced Monday for running a string of illegal 8-liner gaming operations for nearly a decade and laundering the illegal profits. Melvin “Tiger” Askew, pleaded guilty Nov. 6, admitted he obtaining $600,000 after setting up slot and 8-liner electric gambling machine operations throughout Harris County, and then hiding his ownership of them. Askew leased the machines to others or rented properties that he knew would be used for illegal gambling. Askew was linked to gaming clubs in Channelview, Clearview, San Leon and Galveston between 2003 and 2012, according to court documents. He set up the operations under the names of employees, using machines that paid out cash on the spot. Askew then made cash deposits on regular basis and then withdrew cash proceeds to buy a home in Baytown and a commercial property in Channelview, according to his plea. He failed to keep payroll records for his employees, attempting to keep operation off the radar of officials. U.S. District Judge Lynn Hughes can sentence Askew up to a maximum of 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $500,000 at his sentencing hearing.

Homeless gambling and drug addict swindled £51,000 from pensioner who took him in

A gambling and cocaine addict who swindled £51,181 from a widower in Runcorn has been jailed. Jason Drury, 46, had befriended Robert Ian Jones, 62, who agreed to take him in as a lodger after Drury and his girlfriend split up. But Liverpool crown court heard how Drury betrayed him by “using his bank accounts as his own”. Matthew Dunford, prosecuting, described how he used Mr Jones’s bank card to withdraw cash and make payments as well as taking him to cash points to withdraw money, having “threatened he would hit him unless he gave him money.” Drury also admitted stealing a CCTV system to sell at Cash Converters for £100 and a Vauxhall Vectra to sell. He also took Mr Jones’s BMW M3, described as the victim’s ‘pride and joy’, out for a drive but never brought it back. The vehicle was only found after police started their investigations. Devious Drury tried to cover up the thefts from his victim’s bank account by stealing his own parents’ chequebook for what were ultimately failed attempts to make payments into Mr Jones’s account.

Judge sentences woman to jail for embezzling from Petoskey Little League

A judge has sentenced a Petoskey woman to jail for embezzling more than $80,000 dollars from the Petoskey Little League organization over a five-year period. Gray told authorities that her embezzlement was tied to a gambling addiction through which records show that she lost more than $200,000 at the Odawa Casino since 2005. According to a Michigan State Police affidavit filed in the case, on June 10, 2017 officials with the Petoskey Little League organization came to police with concerns that Gray, who had been the organization’s board treasurer for about five years had been making unauthorized withdrawals from the organization’s bank account. Police said Gray took the money through a combination of checks written to cash, ATM withdrawals from the organization’s account and cash from concessions and other receipts that she simply pocketed. Check back later for more on Tuesday’s sentencing hearing or see Wednesday’s print edition of the News-Review.

Man, 37, fatally shot by security guard at California casino

Authorities say a 37-year-old man was fatally shot during an altercation with a security guard at a Southern California casino. Santa Barbara sheriff’s officials say deputies were called to the Chumash casino in Santa Ynez early Tuesday morning after a report two security guards were in an altercation with a man. Investigators say the man was fatally shot by one of the guards near a parking garage at the casino and resort and declared dead at the scene. Coroner’s officials later identified him as Jose Guido of Santa Barbara. An autopsy is scheduled for Wednesday. Authorities wouldn’t immediately identify the security guard. Veronica Sandoval, a spokeswoman for the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians, said the tribe — which runs the casino — wouldn’t comment on an ongoing investigation.

Frisco man indicted on fraud is back in jail after online bets on the ponies totaling more than $175,000

A Frisco man already indicted in a $60 million Medicaid fraud scheme is back in jail after authorities say he placed illegal online bets for horse races. Bradley Harris, 36, spent more than $175,000 last year gambling online, which is illegal in Texas, according to testimony at a hearing Tuesday. U. S. Magistrate Judge Irma Ramirez ruled that Harris must now remain in jail until his trial on the Medicaid fraud charges. A trial date has not been set in that fraud case, in which Harris’ 43-year-old wife, Amy, is also charged. Bradley Harris had been free since a detention hearing last year in which the judge ordered his release provided he abide by a host of conditions. One was that he not violate federal, state or local law. The new charges: The couple was arrested Friday at their Frisco home. In addition to the illegal gambling accusations, federal prosecutors had also alleged that Harris and his wife engaged in bank fraud by securing a $50,000 business line of credit that was then spent on illegal gambling.

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