Monthly Archives: September 2018

UPDATE: Florida Supreme Court Allows Deceptively Dangerous Greyhound Amendment to go on ballot

Casino Watch Focus has reported on the greyhound amendment that seemingly ends all the dangers associated with greyhound racing. Unfortunately, the Florida amendment does no such thing and many argued the language in the amendment was deceptively dangerous and it would actually create mini-casinos all around the state, something known as decoupling. Right now, the dog racing is needed to allow the slot machines and other gambling at these facilities. For quite some time now, those machines have been the true bread and butter and the only thing really keeping the industry afloat. The amendment being proposed doesn’t end all of that harmful gambling, instead it decouples the dog racing meaning that so long as they still show dog racing from another venue on screen and take bets, they can continue to operate the mini-casinos. Most people who would support ending dog racing believe in ending the gambling all together, and it was argued in court that the amendment the Florida voters would vote on doesn’t make that clear. It was also pointed out that an issue like this belongs in the legislature and not as a constitutional amendment. The lower court called the amendment “out right trickeration,” but the Florida Supreme court ruled the language was sufficient to appear on the ballot, so now Florida voters must untangle this deception on their own. Florida Politics breaks down the ruling:

The Florida Supreme Court on Friday ordered a proposed *constitutional
amendment that would ban betting on live greyhound racing back on the ballot, reversing a lower-court judge. 

The court, in a 6-1 decision, overturned a previous order by Circuit Judge Karen Gievers, who ruled that Amendment 13’s ballot title and summary would mislead voters, calling it “outright ‘trickeration.’  ” Justice Peggy A. Quince dissented.

Jack Cory, spokesman and lobbyist for the *Florida Greyhound Association, which filed the legal challenge, said his group was “disappointed in the decision today… In a statement, Cory said the proposed constitutional change was made from “false and misleading information,” mentioning what he called the creation of “freestanding casinos” — a point the majority refuted, however. “This is the reason that you should not put issues like this into the Florida Constitution.”

[Justice] Quince said in a short dissent that “there is no reasonable way for a voter to know whether, by voting yes for this amendment, they are also voting to either suspend or expand” other gambling.


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

A Brief Look at Crime 09/17 – 09/23

Former Rapides DA bookkeeper sentenced to prison after thefts

Margaurette Beard suffers from a gambling addiction and, when the urge to roll the dice hit, she’d reach into a desk drawer, scoop out some cash and go to a casino. The trouble is, the cash she used didn’t belong to her. On Tuesday, the former Rapides Parish District Attorney’s Office bookkeeper was sentenced to 37 months — three years and a month — in federal prison for stealing more than $1.6 million from the office. She pleaded guilty in late March to one count of misuse of federal funds. Charges against her in the 9th Judicial District Court are still pending, as is a civil lawsuit. Beard tearfully apologized to the court before U.S. Judge Dee Drell sentenced her. She also apologized her to family, friends and the community “for all the wrong I’ve done.” Higgins argued before Drell that Beard’s scheme was not sophisticated, although the government disagreed. Higgins said Beard stole solely to feed her gambling addiction.

Thai Police Arrest 4,700, Seize $35M During Illegal World Cup Gaming

Thailand has a large gambling problem. Currently, there are only two forms of gaming allowed– horse racing and the Thai lottery. However, there are many different types of gaming that exist all over the country. For example, illegal casinos are predominantly in Bangkok and cater to the tourist trade. Thailand is trying to crack down on illegal gambling in the country because the government does not profit from it, and the leadership in Thailand considers gambling to be a vice. However, the most recent and largest problem has been with the use of illegal online gaming and sportsbooks. The Thai police have been focused on sportsbooks in the last month because of the World Cup, which represented the largest amount of money spent on sports gaming in the country in the last three years. The largest and most recent raid by the Thai police on illegal sportsbooks resulted in the arrest of 4,700 people. The police initially seized $200,000 baht in the raid. However, in their research into the activities of the sportsbook, the police found 147 bank accounts tied to the sportsbook that had deposits of more than $35 million. The police think that some of the money was being laundered by the sportsbooks for drug cartels in Asia.The Thai police have shown they are serious about cracking down on illegal sportsbooks.

Minutes after leaving St. Louis casino with two men, California man is found fatally shot

Two men were charged Thursday with murder in the shooting of a man from California who they were seen leaving a casino with and then turned up fatally shot and only partially clothed minutes later, court documents say. The Hayward, Calif., man was found dead early Monday after an automated gunfire-detection system picked up the sound of shots in the O’Fallon neighborhood. His body, clad in only underwear and socks, was near a vacant home in the 4400 block of Athlone Avenue. He had been shot multiple times. Court documents say security video from Lumiere Casino in downtown St. Louis showed Owen was there for several hours early Monday. At about 5 a.m., he cashed out about $400 in winnings and left in a 2012 Chevrolet Malibu with Steed and Lathon. At 5:23 a.m., the “Shot Spotter” alerted police to gunfire and Owen’s body was soon found. Two days later, Lathon, 26, was spotted driving the Malibu, the court documents say. A gun was found in the car. Lathon told a detective that he had left the casino with Owen but was paid $40 to drop him off somewhere.

Bookkeeper who defrauded Chicago film studio of $1.6M gets four years in prison

Margarita Shabazz admitted last fall that she bilked her employers — a Chicago video production company and an advertising agency — out of more than $2 million. After she bonded out of jail, she got a new job — and she stole some more, according to federal prosecutors. “You’re really good at gaming the system,” U.S. District Judge Sara Ellis told Shabazz before sentencing her to four years in prison Friday afternoon at the Dirksen Federal Courthouse. “You seem to have this impulsive desire to see how far you can get away with things.” It started in 2009 while Shabazz was working as a bookkeeper for the ad agency. For two years, Shabazz cut 39 company checks to herself or her own companies, recording them as payments to vendors while she raked in nearly $350,000. The scheme netted her more than $2 million that she used to fund a glamorous lifestyle for herself, her husband and two children, prosecutors said. About a third of that — $550,000 — funded drug and gambling habits, according to prosecutors.

Fayetteville man guilty of gun crimes planned to prostitute woman for gambling loss

A Fayetteville man who planned to prostitute his girlfriend to offset his gambling losses was sentenced Tuesday for two firearm violations last year, the federal officials said. In May, Joseph Luther Lewis, 29, pleaded guilty to possession of a firearm by a felon and possession of a stolen firearm. He was sentenced to 12.8 years of imprisonment followed by three years of supervised release, according to a news release from the United States Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina. The firearm charges stemmed from an incident on June 25, 2017, when Lewis’ girlfriend told officials she was being blamed by Lewis for his gambling loss. “Lewis, armed with a handgun, traveled from Fayetteville to Robeson County and forcibly abducted her, and took her to a vacant house in Fayetteville, where Lewis planned to prostitute her to recoup his money.” Before arriving at the vacant house, the girlfriend jumped from the moving car, but Lewis forced her back inside at gunpoint, officials say. “Lewis kicked and punched her in the face several times,” the news release said. “When (police) arrived at the vacant residence, her face was visibly swollen. She had a chipped tooth and scrapes on her nose and mouth, as well as abrasions to her feet, legs, and arms.”

Man arrested, accused of killing teen during gamblers’ fight in Atlanta 

A man accused of fatally shooting a teenager during an argument while gambling was arrested, Atlanta police confirmed. Andrew Dontavious Glass remained in the Fulton County jail Wednesday on murder, aggravated assault and armed robbery charges in the July 14 shooting in the 1200 block of Elizabeth Avenue in southwest Atlanta, police said. Authorities said they found the teen — identified by the Fulton County Medical Examiner’s Office as Stacey Monts, 17, of East Point —in the kitchen dead from a gunshot wound. A man was found in the living with a gunshot wound to the buttocks. A second man who was shot was taken to Grady Memorial Hospital.

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

UPDATE: 16 Countries Sign Agreement to Fight Loot Box Gambling in Video Games as New Study Draws Link Between Loot Boxes & Problem Gambling

Casino Watch Focus has long reported on the ongoing fight to regulate the addictive and gambling-esque gameplay mechanic known as loot boxes. Video games offer boxes that can be purchased for real money and they randomly provide in-game items. These items often have real world value and have certainly been sold as such. Clear links between this and slot machine gambling have been drawn and many are realizing what’s at steak. The issue became a main-stream topic when the Disney’s popular Start Wars franchise was licensed and used by video game publisher EA to make Battlefront II. The loot boxes were a critical component to advancing in the game and it was practically essential from children playing the game to buy these loot boxes to get equipment to be able to compete in the game. The situation was so bad one legislator called the game and Star Wars Themed online casino. After several individual dealings with loot box regulation, including the first actual ban, we now see the first coalition attempting to regulate this new form of gambling to children. Variety explains: 

Fifteen gambling regulators from Europe, as well as Washington State Gambling Commission, signed an agreement to work together to address the “risks created by the blurring of lines between gaming and gambling,” according to Gambling Commission It also plans to tackle third-party websites that offer players the chance to gamble or sell in-game items.

Certain countries, like Belgium and the Netherlands, have already taken measures including officially declaring loot boxes as gambling. Those countries even had players unable to open loot boxes in “Counter-Strike: Global Offensive” (CS:GO) due to some players selling rare skins and other in-game items on third-party websites, sometimes for large sums of actual money.

Another measure was taken by popular games selling platform Steam, as Valve removed the ability to trade items in “CS:GO” and “Dota 2” on its platform to comply with gambling regulations in June. However, this will mark the first international combined effort against the concerns of gaming and gambling— which could mean a more intense effort than what individual states have taken.

Neil McArthur, chief executive and signatory of the UK’s Gambling Commission explained the intent behind the effort. “We have joined forces to call on video games companies to address the clear public concern around the risks gambling and some video games can pose to children,” McArthur said. “We encourage video games companies to work with their gambling regulators and take action now to address those concerns to make sure that consumers, and particularly children, are protected.” McArthur further noted that children could be “gambling with money intended for computer game products” using sites that allow users to bet real currency on in-game items. “We want parents to be aware of the risks and to talk to their children about how to stay safe online,” McArthur said.

Such efforts are even more critically important as more and more research is revealing the true cost and risk to our children. It was already reported that the loot box industry is expected to reach $50 billion dollars, but new research is demonstrating exactly what kind of negative effects that can have on children, and given the psychological similarities between gambling and these gaming mechanics, its no surprise the finding point towards a gateway to problem gambling. An online gaming publication reports:

An Australian committee has released the findings of an investigation on loot boxes in video games started earlier this year, reporting that loot boxes and problem gambling are linked and that the monetization practice comes with “a serious risk […] to cause gambling-related harm.”

The debate about loot boxes and their connection to gambling has been raging for quite some time at this point, but the Australian government’s investigation and findings back a growing number of lawmaking bodies and regulatory committees working to impose or encourage regulation of the practice.

In the case of this investigation, and according to information on the study shared by Lexology, researchers looked at a sample size of roughly 7,500 individuals and found “important links between loot box spending and problem gambling.”

The report notes that players with severe gambling problems were more likely to spend large sums on loot boxes in video games, and that its findings suggest that loot boxes can act as a gateway to problem gambling and that the monetization practice itself gives game companies “an unregulated way of exploiting gambling disorders amongst their customers.”

“These results support the position of academics who claim that loot boxes are psychologically akin to gambling,” reads a statement shared along with the findings, shortly after calling back to an earlier quote from the ESRB that likened loot boxes to baseball cards. “Spending large amounts of money on loot boxes was associated with problematic levels of spending on other forms of gambling. This is what one would expect if loot boxes psychologically constituted a form of gambling. It is not what one would expect if loot boxes were, instead, psychologically comparable to baseball cards.” 

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

A Brief Look at Crime 09/10 – 09/16

Gambling, guns a ‘recipe to die,’ SC official says as teen charged after two deaths

A South Carolina 17-year-old was arrested Wednesday following the
killing of two other teenagers, according to the Charleston Police Department. Two Charleston teens, 15-year-old Taleket Williams and 17-year-old Juquel Young, were shot to death just before 9 p.m Sunday outside of a West Ashley apartment complex, per Zamere Raeguel Treawn Brown was charged with murder and possession of a firearm in a violent crime, after he was taken into custody with assistance from U.S. Marshals, the police said. Police said that the Johns Island teen has been charged in Williams’ murder. The investigation into Young’s death remains ongoing. Brown was a classmate of Williams and Young at West Ashley High School at one point, according to Police Chief Luther Reynolds said Williams and Young, the suspects, and several other young men were hanging out near the basketball court, reported. The teens were playing dice when a dispute escalated into the fatal shooting, said James Johnson, the S.C. president of the National Action Network, reported. Johnson said many of the youngsters had guns, calling it “a recipe to die.”

Man killed, deputies identified in shooting in Casino Del Sol parking lot

Late Saturday, July 21, 39-year-old Vincent James Ewer II died in a
deputy-involved shooting in a parking lot at Casino Del Sol. The deputies involved in the shooting have been identified as Deputy Paul Petropoulos, a 22 year veteran, and Sergeant Aaron Cross, a 17 year veteran. The Pima County Sheriff’s Department said no deputies were injured in the incident, which started around 10 p.m. with a car chase. During the pursuit, the suspect rammed a Pascua Yaqui Police Department vehicle in the casino’s parking lot before running into a desert area. The PCSD said the armed suspect, who has not been identified, was then shot at by two deputies. The suspect was hit and died at the scene. An officer with the Pascua Yaqui Police Department suffered minor injuries but did not require hospitalization. One of the department canines also received minor injuries, but was treated and released back into his handler’s care.

Accountant sentenced for embezzling more than $860,000 from 4 businesses 

Through theft and forgery Justin Ha stole hundreds of thousands of dollars from his employer AMH Inc. and three other business he did accounting for as a contractor. Ha blamed his addiction. “Your honor, I had a very bad gambling problem,” he said. At his sentencing Tuesday Ha asked the judge for probation. “I apologize to my former employer and to all the victims for what I have done to them,” he said. Circuit judge Rom Trader sentenced the 47-year-old to ten years in prison. “I don’t care what your reason was,” he said. “Nothing about that gave you the right to steal money from these people. You knew exactly what you were doing every time you did it.” Ha stole $866,000 and used the cash to pay credit card debts and student loans. He also paid for trips, and tabs at restaurants, bars and strip clubs. Randy Norfleet’s Building Maintenance Solutions was one of his victims. “It put me out of business. I’m done!” Norfleet told the court. “The financial impact of this is just so significant,” said Austin Hirayama of AMH, Inc.

Poker pro folds, pleads guilty in $6M ticket-flipping scam 

Federal prosecutors in California say a professional poker player has admitted he bilked investors out of more than $6 million in a Super Bowl and World Cup ticket-flipping scam. The U.S. Attorney’s office says Seyed Reza Ali Fazeli pleaded guilty Tuesday to wire fraud. Prosecutors said Fazeli ran a Nevada-based company called Summit Entertainment that raised millions by promising to purchase tickets for resale to the Super Bowl and World Cup. He never bought the tickets and instead used the money for personal expenses and to pay off gambling debts, according to prosecutors. The 49-year-old faces up to 20 years in prison when he’s sentenced in January. Fazeli is facing civil lawsuits related to the scheme. He played on the pro poker circuit for several years in Las Vegas.

Securities agent gets prison time for millions in fraud 

A former North Dakota securities and insurance agent was sentenced Monday to more than 11 years in federal prison for swindling about 40 people out of millions of dollars over a 15-year-period to finance a lavish lifestyle including purchases of a Ford Mustang convertible sports car and country club dues. Kevin Wanner, 56, of Bismarck, also used the money from sham investments for home remodeling and private school tuition for his children, according to prosecutors who called Wanner’s actions “a case of ruthless victimization.” “You can’t turn over a single stone in this case without finding someone who has been emotionally bludgeoned by Mr. Wanner,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Nicholas Chasesaid. Defense attorney Jeffrey Weikum maintained Wanner’s gambling addiction was the root of his criminal activity, and he had Wanner’s addiction counselor testify on his behalf.

Six-year sentence for Winnipeg accountant who embezzled $2M

A Winnipeg accountant with a gambling problem who spent seven years defrauding his employer of almost $2 million has been sentenced to six years in prison. Maximilian Panzo has 31 months left to serve after Court of Queen’s Bench Justice Sadie Bond imposed the sentence Monday. Panzo pleaded guilty to fraud over $5,000 after stealing $1,978,289.78 from Fineline Communications Ltd. between 2008 and 2015. “The crime that Mr. Panzo has committed was premeditated, sophisticated and ongoing. It was not impulsive. It was calculated and purposeful,” Bond said. By the time his fraud was discovered, Panzo had worked for the company for 25 years, and was seen as a trusted advisor. Panzo had a gambling habit and used some of the money he stole at casinos and online gambling websites, but Bond said that didn’t make much difference to her decision on his prison sentence.

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

UPDATE: MGM makes “Outrageous” Offer to Shooting Victims it’s Suing – Gets called out for PR Spin Attempt

Casino Watch Focus has reported on the MGM lawsuit that shocked so many. MGM’s hotel and casino, Mandalay Bay, was involved in worst mass shooting in modern American history. In what was seen as an unprecedented move, MGM decided to preemptively sue the victims families in an effort to stop any potential liability lawsuits they had and might occur. There are nearly 2,000 people that MGM is suing and they have reached out to try an offer a sort of an extremely strange deal that has been called out as a shameless PR stunt. The Associated Press explains: 

MGM Resorts International drew criticism Tuesday for saying hundreds of survivors of the Las Vegas mass shooting, who are being sued by the casino operator, could opt to have the money that will be used to serve them a lawsuit instead donated to a charity.

Serving defendants is a crucial step in a civil lawsuit. It informs a defendant that a lawsuit has been filed against him or her, provides the individual a copy of the complaint and starts running a 21-day deadline for the person to respond to the lawsuit. Eglet said the firms representing most of the victims have not been authorized to accept the legal notices. That would force MGM to find and serve each of the 1,977 people it sued.

The company […has] been working to notify them as it faces a standard 90-day deadline. MGM told the victims’ attorneys it would rather make the donations to charities than spend the money to pay people to serve the legal notices.

“The money spent on personal service of process — up to $250 per person — could be better directed to do some affirmative good,” MGM’s attorneys wrote in the letter shared with The Associated Press. MGM offered to make a $500 charitable donation for each person who waives being served or authorizes an attorney to accept service on their behalf, but a victims’ lawyer quickly called it all “nonsense.” Attorney Robert Eglet, part of a group representing most of the victims, said the company is just trying to “spin” its attempt to save money on serving legal notices. “It will cost the MGM significantly more than $250 to serve them,” Eglet said. “This is just more outrageous conduct by them.”

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

A Brief Look at Crime 08/27 – 09/09

Marshfield man ordered to give up $425,000 earned from illegal gambling

A Marshfield man who owns Quincy’s South Side Tavern has been ordered to forfeit nearly $425,000 in proceeds he earned from running an illegal sports betting ring out of the bar. He is one of five who were indicted in connection with the gambling scheme. Authorities say Manning, Patrick Dolbeare of Dorchester and Sean Conroy of Braintree ran a gambling operation out of the South Side Tavern’s Quincy location, and that James Manning of Pembroke and Nicholas Manning of Dorchester participated in it. The state’s attorney general’s office said Manning and others “took illegal bets from hundreds of gamblers through sports betting websites run by an offshore casino. The defendants had dozens of agents working for them as part of the illegal operation,” a statement said.

Five from South Brooklyn indicted on loan sharking and illegal gambling charges

The last vestiges of the mob are still alive in South Brooklyn, but the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York is attempting to bring down five alleged members and associates of the Colombo and Gambino crime families, who were indicted in Brooklyn federal court on Wednesday. The 32-count indictment charged two inducted members and two associates of the Colombo organized crime family with racketeering, including acts of extortion, extortionate collection, money laundering and illegal gambling. A fifth defendant, an inducted member of the Gambino organized crime family, was charged with extortionate collection and a related conspiracy. “The mob is certainly diminished, but it is not dead,” said NYPD Police Commissioner James O’Neill.

Man accused in Oregon Lottery shooting threat apologizes, says he was mad about lost money

A Lebanon man accused of threatening to kill people at the Oregon Lottery headquarters says the email threat “was a terrible mistake on my part.” In a message provided by Oregon State Police on Thursday, Jason Ouellette apologized to anyone at the lottery agency frightened by the shooting threat and says he plans to get help for his gambling addiction. “I was angry at myself after losing a substantial amount of money playing a lottery machine the previous day,” said Ouellette, 42. “I have struggled with gambling for many years.” It is not immediately clear how much money Ouellette lost. Ouellette was arrested at his home on Tuesday hours after sending the email to the lottery office in Salem, state police said. He faces an accusation of menacing, police said. He was booked and later released from the Marion County jail due to overcrowding.

PA Authorities Bust Up Multimillion-Dollar Video Gambling Ring

*Pennsylvania* state authorities recently destroyed a *multimillion-dollar video gambling organization* and arrested its alleged owner. The illegal operation conducted business in Allegheny, Fayette, Washington, and Westmoreland counties. In the scheme, patrons at bars, restaurants, and clubs could win credits from machines placed in the establishments. The winners would then redeem the credits for cash from the bar owners. “Today we’ve ended Tony Zenner’s video gambling operation,” said state attorney general Josh Shapiro. “This defendant raked in millions of dollars in illegal proceeds, draining money from Pennsylvanians — and from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania — over the last decade.” The arrest was the final step in a three-year investigation. In April 2018, police confiscated over 100 video poker machines and*$83,000 in cash* from Zenner’s warehouse and car. They also froze $63,000 spread across several bank account. In all, they allege that Zenner made $7 million over the course of the past decade.

Ex-Border Patrol agent in Nogales says gambling led him to drug smuggling

A former Border Patrol agent in Nogales said his gambling habit forced him into a drug-smuggling conspiracy. Alex Peña, 37, was sentenced Monday to 20 months in federal prison for his role in the conspiracy. While in uniform, Peña stole a Border Patrol truck in the middle of the night in August 2016 and drove it to a remote area south of Patagonia, where he admitted he intended to help smuggle a load of marijuana, according to a plea agreement filed in U.S. District Court in Tucson. Peña had a “significant gambling problem” which, combined with a 25 percent reduction in pay following a funding cut to the agency, “caused a financial struggle” and he “could not see an exit,” defense lawyer Christopher Scileppi wrote in a sentencing memorandum.

Feds seize over $765,000 from Moore stores 

Two Southern Pines convenience stores will have $765,850 taken by the U.S. government after accusations of profiting from illegal gambling machines, according to a North Carolina district court press release Friday. In a complaint filed Dec. 23, 2016, the U.S. stated that an undercover investigation had found “several illegal electronic gaming machines and games of chance” operated by the Patels at both Jay’s Food Mart 1 and 2. The machines, which displayed an electronic version of a slot machine, were owned by “a third-party” with whom the Patels split the proceeds. Customers who won money on the machines were paid in-store. “A segment of the gaming industry continues to foist illegal games of chance on the people of North Carolina, particularly on those least able to afford this addictive and destructive habit — this in spite of clear directives from both the North Carolina General Assembly and Supreme Court of North Carolina barring such games,” said Robert J. Higdon Jr., U.S. attorney for the eastern district of North Carolina.

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

NFL reverses Gambling Advertising Policy – Dallas Cowboys first to sign with Casino

Casino Watch Focus has reported on the National Football League’s dealings with gambling over the years. They have long held the policy to fight against additional legalization of sports betting and they vigilantly fought each of New Jersey’s attempts over the years to expand sport betting. Even after the recent landmark decision by the Supreme Court to legalize sports betting to all venues that chose to regulate it, the NFL pushed for federal oversight to an issue that is currently at the discretion of each individual state. They have had some criticism directed their way for their willingness to engage in advertising with casinos and other gambling establishments, but they did heavily regulate the process. So given the shifting political and legal landscapes, and their willingness to engage in some form of advertising with the gambling industry, its unclear how their newest position should be viewed – selling out and being guilty of hypocrisy as they say one thing to the legislators, yet hold out their hands to garner revenue from the gambling providers, or a sports league that is simply changing with the times and embracing the inevitable. Sports Pro Online explains this new policy shift: 

The National Football League (NFL) team owners have agreed to permit franchises to sell sponsorship deals to casinos that work alongside bookmakers and betting companies.

While any casino involved in such an arrangement will still be prohibited from directly advertising its associated sportsbook in its partnership with an NFL team, the league’s business ventures committee has relaxed the main rule that had previously banned any bookmaker-related sponsorship.

The rule change will allow teams to receive advertising from any casinos and fantasy sites, giving them permission to broadcast the adverts during preview and post-match programmes, as well as during preseason games.

As part of the two-way agreement, both teams and casinos will have the opportunity to use each other’s brand logos in any advertising. However, NFL franchises will not be permitted to take revenue shares for any business driven to casinos and gambling or betting sites. Under the terms of the new rules, stadia are now also able to accept casinos as naming rights partners.

After the announced change by the NFL, the Dallas Cowboys because the first team to form an official partnership. Its very clear the NFL sees the potential billion dollar windfall from gambling advertising as an opportunity it wasn’t willing to pass up. An online source explains:

The deal between WinStar and the Cowboys marks the first time in NFL history that a casino has been granted official designation as a team’s exclusive partner, granting exclusive use of a team’s logos and trademarks. An amendment passed by NFL owners created the opportunity for casinos to obtain official partnerships with NFL teams.

The announcement was made less than 24 hours after the American Gaming Association released a Nielson Sports study that showed legalized sports betting would increase league revenues by hundreds of millions of dollars per year, with most of that money coming from higher viewership and advertising sales.

The Nielsen Sports study determined the NFL could increase its annual revenue by as much as $2.3 billion. 

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

UPDATE: Court upholds that Florida’s Pre-reveal games are slot machines and illegal gambling

Casino Watch Focus has reported on a new type of slot machine that initially confused many as to whether it was a slot machine or a harmless entertainment machine. First and foremost, these devices look and function 100% like a slot machine. So why the confusion? These machines actually reveal the results of the next spin before you pay. This lead some, including the manufactures and those who operated the machines, to conclude that its not a game of chance, because you know the result, so it cant be gambling. These machines were quickly shut down, but a judge originally ruled that because you know the result, it’s not chance, so they were allowed.

The judge reconsidered the decision after further explanation that you are not paying to see the next spin, but rather you are paying to see the result of the subsequent spin. Its absolutely no different than a slot machine, except the first time you put money in, you know the result. Past that, its always putting money in, spinning, letting chance take over, and seeing if you win. No one would likely leave a spin showing where the next pull would be a winner. So any new player would in all reality be starting the slot machine knowing they are paying to see what the next outcome will be.   That decision was appealed, and the new Florida court has unsurprisingly upheld the lower courts ruling, preventing what would be an unimaginable expansion of gambling at every corner should such machines not be considered slot machines that require regulation. The Orlando Weekly reports:

Siding with state regulators, an appeals court Thursday ruled that controversial electronic games played in bars and other establishments are illegal slot machines. A three-judge panel of the 1st District Court of Appeal upheld a circuit judge’s decision that what are known as “pre-reveal” games violate laws preventing slot machines in most of Florida. The panel’s 10-page ruling found, in part, that the games meet the definition of slot machines because they include an element of chance.

The ruling Thursday, quoting a section of state law, said the determination of whether the games are illegal slot machines “turns on whether the user may receive something of value ‘by reason of any element of chance or any other outcome unpredictable by the user.’ The element of chance or unpredictability must be inherent in the machine itself.”

“We hold that the trial court was correct in determining that Version 67 is a slot machine because the element of chance is inherent in it given that it has a preset win/loss ratio … and that the game outcomes are determined by the machine by chance, via an RNG (random number generator), and there is nothing the user can do to affect the outcomes,” said the ruling, written by appeals-court Judge Joseph Lewis and joined by judges James Wolf and Stephanie Ray. “Furthermore, Version 67 is a slot machine for the additional and independent reason that also inherent in it is an outcome unpredictable by the user. While it is true that the user is advised of the outcome of the game at hand ahead of time through the preview feature, the user cannot predict that outcome until it is randomly generated and then displayed by the machine. Nor can the user predict the outcome of Game 2 while playing Game 1.”

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