Daily Archives: August 30, 2019

Missouri Legislators Finally Discussing Ways to Enforce and Eliminate Illegal Gambling Machines Across the State

Casino Watch Focus has reported on the worrisome issue in Missouri of illegal slot machines popping up across the state in non-licensed locations such as gas stations and the even worse possibility of legislators contemplation making slot machines legal outside of casinos. However, the concern rose over such a massive expansion of gambling has now shifted to enforcement methods to eliminate illegal slot machines. So far it seems to be the responsibility of local prosecutors as the Gaming Commission can only enforce regulated, legal gambling. An online source explains: 

After years of inaction by Missouri lawmakers, the push may be on to take aim at the tens of thousands of illegal slot machines spreading across the state. In the first meeting of a special House committee formed to address gambling laws in the state, the chairman of the panel said he believes Missourians want to unplug the illegal terminals, which have popped up in gas stations, taverns and convenience stores. 

The Missouri Gaming Commission has deemed the terminals as “gambling devices,” which are prohibited outside of Missouri’s 13 licensed casinos. But, there is little agreement on how to control their spread. The Missouri Gaming Commission says it can only police establishments that have bingo licenses. And the Missouri Department of Public Safety, which oversees liquor licenses, says it cannot crack down on the machines because of a court ruling in 2000 that found the agency has no authority to seize gambling devices. For now, it appears most of the work to crack down on the machines is on the backs of the state’s 115 county prosecutors, a process which Rep. Dirk Deaton, R-Noel, called “cumbersome.”

However, it seems that many Missouri legislators believe its time to find a statewide solution to the problem, although many interests are in play. An online source explains: 

David Grothaus, executive director of the gaming commission, urged lawmakers to find a statewide solution. “What the state needs is a very focused effort on these illegal machines,” Grothaus told the panel. Rep. LaKeySha Bosley, D-St. Louis, said she knows of at least five locations within her district where illegal terminals are located. “It blows my mind that they are that blatant,” said Rep. Wes Rogers, D-Kansas City. “These illegal machines are everywhere. I have several of them in my district,” Shaul added. Shaul said some of the blame for the situation lies with the Legislature.

Finding a solution could be a tough sell when lawmakers gather for their annual session in January because of the varied interests involved in the debate.

Casino operators are opposed to legalizing the machines because they could cut into their profits. Casinos also want to begin taking wagers on sporting events, but the terminal operators don’t want to allow that without getting the ability to operate legally.

Among the companies linked to the spread of illegal gambling is Torch Electronics, which is managed by Steve Miltenberger of Wildwood. The company has hired a team of well-connected lobbyists and has pumped at least $20,000 in contributions to a campaign committee raising money for Gov. Mike Parson. Miltenberger, who previously worked for video gambling companies in Illinois, where they have been taxed and regulated since 2012, has placed video terminals in businesses across Missouri over the past year. 

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A Brief Look at Crime 08/19 – 08/25

Man Stabbed and Killed Wife After Losing Thousands Gambling

This week a court in London a court heard testimony that gambling addict Jalal Uddin allegedly stabbed his wife in the face after rowing about money in January. The 47-year old chef was said to have stabbed Asma Begun, 31, at their family home in East London where she later died. The couple had three children together. During the hearing at the Old Bailey earlier this week, jurors heard that the attack was so extreme that a pathologist struggled to count the cuts on Mrs. Begum’s face. Prosecutor Daniel Robinson QC said, “She was cut, stabbed, slashed, or chopped at with the knife at least 58 times. Such was the ferocity of the attack that pieces of the knife blade broke off in her face.” Uddin, a chef at an Indian restaurant in the city, was known to have a gambling problem. Staff members at his local William Hill betting shop in East London called him the “angry Indian” because he was known to kick the machines after losing. Mrs. Begun had previously reported her husband to police for violence and verbal abuse. She was documented as saying in 2016 that he would hit her when she refused to hand over her housekeeping money for gambling and that he would often beat her if they rowed over money.

Racetrack Bingo operators sentenced (FL)

More than a year after being found guilty of operating an illegal business, fraud and money laundering, Larry and Dixie Masino, former owners of Racetrack Bingo in Fort Walton Beach, have been sentenced for their crimes. U.S. District Court Judge Casey Rodgers sentenced Larry Masino to a year and a day in federal prison followed by two years of supervised probation. Dixie Masino, his ex-wife, was sentenced to four months of house arrest as part of a five-year probated sentence, a news release from the U.S. Attorneys Office said. “With today’s sentencing, the Masinos will pay a high price for defrauding unsuspecting charities whose sole mission was to help others,” U.S. Attorney Larry Keefe said in the release. Larry and Josh Masino, who were listed in 2010 as co-owners of Racetrack Bingo, were arrested that year in Tallahassee on charges they pocketed money intended for nonprofit organizations there. The men were charged with 11 counts of grand theft for their roles in an “organized scheme to defraud,” according to the Leon County Sheriff’s Office. They were also charged with 312 violations of state bingo statutes. The pair ultimately pleaded no contest to two gambling violations and were sentenced to two years probation and 100 hours of community service. They were also ordered to pay more than $87,000 in restitution to 11 Leon County charities and agreed never to operate a bingo parlor in Leon County, according to media reports.

University of Minnesota employee who stole computers to fund gambling habit pleads guilty

A University of Minnesota employee who spent $134,000 of university money buying computers he would then sell for a profit has pleaded guilty to charges of theft by swindle. Michael McDaniel, 34, of Lilydale, accepted a plea deal that will see him get a 27-month prison term stayed for 8 years, along with serving a year in a county workhouse. In exchange, he pleaded guilty to two thefts by swindle from the University of Minnesota, and another theft by swindle incident involving merchandise from a Target store in an earlier case. He will also have to pay restitution totaling $134,000 and receive treatment for a gambling problem, and his required to abstain from gambling during probation. Bank records showed that he spent the proceeds of his theft to pay off debts owed to a dozen of loan companies and multiple credit cards, as well as making “substantial” withdrawals at metro area racetracks and casinos. According to the criminal complaint, McDaniel was working in the Center for Magnetic Resonance Research department and bought computers for his department through university bookstores, but didn’t register them with the university’s IT department, as is procedure.

Bainbridge authorities arrest suspect connected in fatal overnight shooting

A Bainbridge man wanted for a deadly Monday morning shooting was arrested by Donalsonville Police around 4:30 p.m. Bainbridge Public Safety says 48-year-old Jamel Jackson is being charged for the murder of 34-year-old Leon Chandler. Investigators believe what started as a card game, involving drugs and gambling, turned into a deadly shooting overnight. In the early hours of the morning, public safety officers responded to a gunshot victim at the ER. Investigators say Chandler was taken there by private vehicle, but he died on the way from a gunshot to the head. “It was a little chaotic. We had family members there that were upset. Then at the hospital, once they pronounced him dead it became worse with a lot of mourning,” said Chip Nix, the responding investigator. Nix says eyewitnesses watched Jackson pull the trigger, during a small gathering at his house at 707 Dennard Street. In the middle of the game, they say Jackson accused Chandler of stealing money and shot him.

Woodlands double deaths: Man strangled pregnant wife, 4-year-old daughter due to gambling debts

Saddled with crippling gambling debts, he could not pay his four-year-old daughter’s kindergarten fees. After arguing with his pregnant wife over the fees on Jan 20, 2017, Teo Ghim Heng was so overwhelmed with anger that he looped a towel around her neck, strangled her with it for 15 minutes, and then finished the job with his bare hands. He then turned his attention to his child and killed her the same way. The grisly details of the double murders were admitted in the High Court on Tuesday (July 2) at the start of Teo’s trial. Before their bodies were discovered in their Woodlands flat a week later, Teo repeatedly lied to family members to explain their absence at Chinese New Year reunion dinners and visits, and made himself scarce when his colleagues and family tried to visit the flat. He also claimed to have tried to take his own life by setting fire to the bodies and lying next to them on the bed in the master bedroom, but then later felt the fire was too hot and left the flat.

Memphis man arrested by U.S. Marshals after toddler shot in the head while man gambled

A murder suspect has been arrested after a toddler was killed in Hickory Hill. Shelby County deputies issued warrants for Jermichael Davis for First Degree Murder and Aggravated Child Abuse. U.S. Marshals developed Davis as a fugitive in the case that involved 2-year-old Anaya Boyd. The little girl was shot in the head at her home back in November 2018. Investigators tracked Davis to the 1150 block of Rutland. He was arrested and taken into SCSO custody. The child’s father, Mikal Grogan, was also charged in the case. Grogan was charged with aggravated child neglect and endangerment. According to police, Grogan admitted to selling marijuana out of his apartment and was playing dice and gambling the night of the deadly shooting. Grogan told police that he heard someone knocking at his door. When he asked who it was, they started firing shots. Witnesses said they heard more than a dozen shots fired at the Enclave apartment homes off Hickory Hill that morning.

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