Monthly Archives: September 2019

Miami Casino Plans that Were Halted Look for Life in Lawsuit Against the City

Casino Watch Focus has reported on past efforts of Magic City Casino to built gambling facilities in Miami. Most efforts, including the many attempts by Genting grouphave been shut down, and this was no different. In this case, Magic City Casino was looking to open a jai alai fronton and poker room in the Edgewater neighborhood, however, zoning law changes stopped the project and expansion of gambling in Miami. Now, West Flagler Associates, the parent company to Magic City Casino is suing the city for not only the lost money that was invested in the project, but the right to continue with the original gambling expansion plan. An online source reports:

A court has given West Flagler Associates, Ltd., owner of Miami’s Magic City Casino, the go-ahead to proceed with its lawsuit against the city of Miami. West Flagler sued the city in April of this year for $750,000 after the city’s commission altered the zoning code for gambling venues. The date for the proceedings was set for May 2020.

The lawsuit is the result of a zoning law change approved in September 2018 by the city’s commissioners. In a 4-1 vote, the commissioners passed a new rule that would require four of the five commissioners to approve any new gambling locations.

West Flagler is seeking upwards of $750,000 plus the right to build its gaming establishment. The company argues that it announced its plans when the zoning rules allowed for pari-mutuel betting in the area and had been given written approval by the city. The rules were still in place when West Flagler received its permit.

The primary reason for the zoning adjustments was to limit gambling in the city. It was clear those in the community didn’t want to see the expansion in their neighborhood, and they city commissioners agreed. The source continues:

Commissioner Ken Russell said that he had heard from many local residents who opposed a gaming establishment in or near their neighborhood.“We don’t need gambling in the city of Miami,” auto magnate Norman Braman told the Herald “We’re doing very well without it. Gambling is a parasite, and this is an invasion.”

“As a resident of that neighborhood, I don’t believe it’s a bad thing for the neighborhood,” Havenick countered. “This will be a good attraction. It is not going to be anything more than poker and jai-alai. We’ve said that all along. It is not a casino. It’s simply poker in an area that has many other forms of entertainment, and this is another form of that.”

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

A Brief Look at Crime 9/16- 9/22

Middleton Sport Bowl owners plead guilty to skimming $268K from gambling machines, tax evasion

The owners of a Middleton bowling center have pleaded guilty to federal tax charges for skimming more than $268,000 from gambling machine receipts and not reporting that income on tax returns. Dudley Hellenbrand, 67, and Cherie Hellenbrand, 45, both of Middleton and owners of Middleton Sport Bowl, entered guilty pleas on Thursday to filing false 2017 IRS tax returns, which under-reported their adjusted gross income. Scott C. Blader, U.S. attorney for the Western District of Wisconsin, said the two contracted with a video gambling machine vendor to put such machines in the bowling center on University Avenue. The contract with the vendor had the Hellenbrands getting 75% of the profit from the machines and the vendor getting 25%, Blader said in a statement “Both defendants admitted they skimmed the (gambling machine) cash receipts and did not report the skimmed receipts on their state and federal income tax returns,” the statement said. The total amount skimmed by the owners from 2010 to 2017 was $268,852.04.

Husband of woman who embezzled $13 million from North Side firm found guilty of lying to IRS

A federal jury in Pittsburgh found a Clearfield County man guilty of lying to the Internal Revenue Service about his income while he and his wife blew millions of embezzled dollars on luxury boats, cars, designer handbags, vacations and gambling, federal prosecutors said Friday. Following three weeks of arguments and testimony, a jury of nine men and three women deliberated for less than three hours, U.S. Attorney Scott Brady said. They determined Mills was guilty of three counts of filing false tax returns. The defense for Gary Mills argued during his trial that he “allegedly believed the monies came from gambling,” prosecutors said. But in April 2012, the IRS sent the couple a notice of deficiency stating that they owed at least $930,000 in back taxes, penalties and interest stemming from the years 2003-07. While litigating the civil audit, Gary Mills “offset gambling winnings with gambling losses” of about $100,000 a year from 2012-14, prosecutors said.

Gambling addict found guilty of stabbing wife 60 times after losing bet

A gambling addict has been found guilty of hacking his wife to death while in a rage over a losing bet. Vicious Jalal Uddin, 47, slashed and chopped at 31-year-old Asma Begum’s head, face, neck and back at least 58 times at their flat in Canning Town, East London. She had previously told police that he beat her after they argued about money, and said chef Uddin had a “gambling habit”. In November 2016 Mrs Begum told a housing officer that Uddin ‘hit her when she refused to give him money’, the Old Bailey heard. Uddin, who is Bangladeshi, denied murder but was convicted after the jury deliberated for just over three hours. He had admitted the lesser charge of manslaughter. Prosecutor Danny Robinson QC said Uddin left his wife with little to pay the bills and feed and clothe the family. ‘She said that she often ended up giving him money for his gambling to stop him hitting her,’ Mr Robinson added. ‘As you will hear, arguments between them caused by his gambling habit were not unusual. ‘Mr Uddin was known to the employees of William Hill bookmakers in east London as the ‘Angry Indian’ because he would often hit the gaming machines when he was losing.’

Judge gives former Greenwich store clerk chance to repay $100K she stole 

The former manager of a Greenwich convenience store can avoid jail if she reimburses her ex-boss the $106,000 she stole several years ago. Julienne Julmeus, 25, of Seaside Avenue, Stamford, was stealing $17,000 per month from the store she managed on East Putnam Avenue, Senior Assistant State’s Attorney Joseph Valdes said. The money was supposedly being used to pay off her husband’s gambling debts and help support her extended family in Haiti. More than two years after her arrest, Julmeus pleaded guilty Wednesday to first-degree larceny, a conviction that could carry up to 20 years in prison. But Judge Gary White said he would give Julmeus, a mother of a 3-month-old child, a chance to repay the money she stole. White offered her a 10-year suspended jail sentence and five years probation if she made restitution. White said Julmeus needs to establish a repayment plan by the time she returns to court in November.

Suburban Chicago man gets 10 years for scamming immigrants

A suburban Chicago man has been sentenced to 10 years in prison for scamming nearly $700,000 from immigrants living in the U.S. without legal permission and seeking residency status. Federal prosecutors say 57-year-old James Keegan of Cicero was sentenced Wednesday after pleading guilty to one count of wire fraud in March. They say Keegan operated a fraudulent immigration advocacy service for nine months in 2017 and falsely claimed he formerly worked as an attorney with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Prosecutors say more than 200 immigrants paid Keegan over $687,000. The Chicago Sun-Times reports the average fee was about $3,000 per applicant. Prosecutors say he offered services including promises of citizenship but never filed applications for his clients, instead spending their money on gambling losses and personal expenses.

Former employee pleads guilty to stealing $200,000 from Whatcom casino

A former Silver Reef Casino employee has pleaded guilty in federal court to stealing $200,000 from the business in November 2018. Shannon Marie Morris pleaded guilty June 12 to one count of theft by an employee of a gaming establishment on Indian lands in United States District Court for the Western District of Washington in Seattle, according to federal court records. In a statement supporting her guilty plea, Morris said that on Nov. 24, 2018, she entered the Silver Reef Casino, walked into the cash collection area, stole $200,000 from the casino and left with the money, according to court records. Morris was an employee at the casino at the time, records show. Morris is no longer employed at the casino, according to marketing director Eric Larsen. In a story previously reported in The Bellingham Herald, Morris allegedly called 911 to report that she had been forced by a man with a gun to commit the theft. She also allegedly told law enforcement that the man had mentioned wanting to plant a bomb in the casino.

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


Researchers Want Lawmakers to Treat Loot Boxes as Gambling and Regulate them as Such

Casino Watch Focus has reported on the ongoing issues with gambling-esque look boxes in video games. This mechanic is essentially a slot machine and encourages children to poor more and more money into the game as they chase the warranted prize from a mystery box. This troubling gambling type mechanic has drawn the ire of legislators and regulatory bodies from around the world. Most recently,  the UK started examining loot boxes and micro transactions and had choice words and spirited exchanges with EA, one of the most aggressive loot box pushing publishers and one of the faces of this controversy. These loot boxes really took hold when EA pushed the mechanic in the Disney owned Star Wars franchise video game they licensed known as Battlefield 2 prompting some to call the Star Wars game nothing more than a themed online casino that preys on children.

Since that time, academics and researchers have been examining the links in problem gambling and loot boxes and have broken down how psychologically manipulative these systems are, even when they fall short of some jurisdictions technical definition of gambling. Most recently, researches discussed how this can be a life of death situation among problem gamblers. Now, a formal recommendation is being made that loot boxes be treated as gambling and regulated as such. The Guardian explains:

Video game loot boxes should be regulated as gambling and children barred from purchasing them, a House of Commons committee has advised. The recommendation comes as part of the digital, culture, media and sport (DCMS) committee’s report on immersive and addictive technologies, published on Thursday after months of parliamentary hearings with technology and gaming companies.

While loot boxes involve an element of chance because players do not know what they will get, they are not covered by existing gambling legislation because the items “won” are not considered to have monetary value. But the report heard evidence that loot box winnings can be exchanged for money and that their use by game developers was likely to “facilitate profiting from problem gamblers”.

Researches point to extremely high cost to children that gaming companies are inflicting when they exploit children in this manner. Those cost are financial and otherwise and should prompt legislators to regulate them and ban children from being able to make such gambling type purchase. The Guardian continues:  

Damian Collins, the chair of the committee, said: “Loot boxes are particularly lucrative for games companies but come at a high cost, particularly for problem gamblers, while exposing children to potential harm. Buying a loot box is playing a game of chance and it is high time the gambling laws caught up. We challenge the government to explain why loot boxes should be exempt from the Gambling Act.”

A survey by the Gambling Commission in 2018 found that 31% of children aged 11-16 had paid for loot boxes, while one gamer told MPs that he was spending up to £1,000 a year on the football game Fifa hoping to win better players for his team.

The report cited evidence from cognitive psychologists that such in-game features are “designed to exploit potent psychological mechanisms associated with […] gambling-like behaviours”.

The committee also argued that online games should be legally covered by the same enforceable age restrictions as physical sales, closing a loophole that publishers argued freed them of responsibility.

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


A Brief Look at Crime 9/09 – 9/15

Dennis Blieden Accused of Embezzlement of $22m at Former Employer

March of 2018 was pretty exciting for *Dennis Blieden* as he was relatively unknown to the poker world before that month. However, he made a miraculous victory and managed to rise to the top by topping a filed of 493 tough entries and taking down the $10,000 buy-in *WPT LA Poker Classic Main Event*. He won more than $1 million and many players praised him for his outstanding performance. It has been 16 months since that event, and Dennis Blieden is all over the news once again. However, this time, the news is much worse than they were before. On July 11, Blieden was indicted for the *embezzlement* of $22 million by a federal grand jury. He was accused of embezzling that sum from *SyleHaul*, which was his former employer. There, Blieden had the role of controller and vice president of accounting and finance. Having such a position, Blieden had access to the company’s finances which he allegedly used in order to transfer funds for his private use. He used the money for various *poker* buy-ins and other gambling activities. The entire process lasted for almost four years — it started in October 2015 and ended in March 2019. A federal grand jury returned the indictment on Tuesday and it was unsealed on Thursday. In it, there are a total of 11 wire fraud charges, a charge of aggravated identity theft, and two charges of forfeiture — all of them against *Dennis Blieden*.

Bothell woman sentenced to three years in prison for embezzlement

The company managed a number of commercial properties and was owned by a couple who hired McCauley in 2004 to help with bookkeeping. In 2012, McCauley began writing large checks to herself and forging the owners’ signatures. “She stole a significant amount of money from a small company and it greatly impacted that business,” Chief U.S. District judge Ricardo S. Martinez said at sentencing, according to a press release. McCauley had earned her employers’ trust, as the couple entered their 60s and 70s, and they gave McCauley gifts and helped with her car and house payments. In 2017, the couple loaned her $8,000 for home repairs — a loan that was repaid with some of the $400,000 that was stolen from their own accounts When the couple became aware of the theft, they worked with the FBI to see if McCauley would admit the embezzlement. McCauley underestimated the amount of money she had embezzled, and acknowledged much of the money had gone to feed her gambling addiction.

Man fired a handgun in casino, 48 people inside, after high-speed chase

A 29-year-old man, nearing the end of a 30-some mile high-speed chase from police, fired one round from a pistol in a casino with more than 40 people inside as he rushed through the building on Sunday, Missoula County prosecutors said Tuesday. Charging documents filed this week against Matthew Van Valin allege he fired one round from a .25-caliber semiautomatic handgun as he entered the Gray Wolf Peak Casino on Sunday, after he crashed his vehicle into a pillar in front of the building. Authorities do not allege he fired the weapon at anyone in particular. Police recovered the firearm, a shell casing and a bullet core after his arrest, according to court documents. Forty-eight people were inside the casino when the police chase came through the front doors. Van Valin is charged with three counts of criminal endangerment in connection with the following allegations: one for weaving through law enforcement vehicles during the chase; another for discharging a firearm near the entryway of the Gray Wolf Peak Casino, and a third for causing danger to other drivers on Highway 93 as he sped away from Ronan police.

Georgia DA Files Civil Forfeiture Involving Illegal Gambling Machines

The state of Georgia has witnessed a recent crackdown on illegal gambling machines. Macon Judicial Circuit District Attorney David Cooke announced a civil forfeiture action, naming over 100 business owners in Georgia. Those who stand accused are facing bribery and tax evasion charges for operating illegal gambling machines in the state. Included in the suit is Bibb County deputy Rahim McCarley. The DA has reported that, in the time frame listed in the case, gamblers spent over $121m. They won a total of $82m in cash and prizes playing on the machines. According to Cooke, store owners and stakeholders laundered the gambling profits, with millions of dollars sent through trusts with no taxes paid. According to Cooke, the license holders set up fake storefronts for the gambling machines to operate illegally. This allowed the license holders to keep the proceeds instead of sharing them with the store owners. It is required by state law for such proceeds to be shared. District Attorney Cooke, who is now calling for the gambling machines to be removed from operation, said: “These machines are a cancer on our society and it’s time that they’re removed from the Macon Judicial Circuit and the rest of the state.”

Teacher took his own life in Vietnam following online gambling losses

State authorities should be held responsible for the death of a 24-year-old gambling addict who killed himself after being ‘past the point of controlling myself’, his family has argued during his inquest. Jack Ritchie, who had been fighting an addiction to gambling since the age of 17, took his own life in Hanoi, Vietnam, in November 2017. A pre-inquest review into the death of the English teacher, who was originally from Sheffield and was working in the South East Asian country, heard that it was arguable that failures on the part of UK authorities to treat gambling problems had contributed to his death. Paul Greaney QC, representing the family during the hearing at Sheffield Coroner’s Court, likened the effects of the addiction to those of smoking, saying that it is ‘not fanciful’ to suggest that the state could be held to account for Mr Ritchie’s death. He said that authorities had been aware of the risks from the gambling methods that the teacher was using, such as fixed odds betting terminals (FOBTs) – which are effectively electronic gambling machines – and online gambling. Mr Ritchie’s parents, Charles and Liz Ritchie, have asked that Article 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights – the right to life – be engaged in his inquest.

Attempted murder suspect now charged with gambling, organized crime and drug trafficking 

Appalachia Narcotics Investigations was building a case against George Fisher long before he was arrested for two counts of attempted murder. Detectives charged the local business owner Friday with promoting gambling first-degree, trafficking drugs first-degree and engaging in organized crime – criminal syndicate. Authorities said Fisher used his businesses as fronts for illegal gambling and narcotics trafficking. He allegedly set up and operated gambling devices, and worked with three or more people to promote or engage in these criminal activities. ANI worked with the Middlesboro Police Department. The case is ongoing. Officials expect to make more arrests.

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

Missouri’s Illegal Gambling Machines are Hurting Public Education Funding

Casino Watch Focus has reported on the on going issue of illegal gambling machines cropping up all over Missouri. These machines are essentially unregulated slot machines in areas outside of Missouri’s regulated casinos. Enforcement issues have been cited, as no one seems to be responsible for shutting them down. This has lead to their proliferation and only now are lawmakers starting to notice.

One of the bigger issues being reported is how money is being syphoned away from public educating funding. Gambling money being used to fund public education is already a troubling proposition, as it general boils down to a shell game of transferred money. Essentially the state has a budget for education. Then a tax on gambling is proposed, normally in exchange for expanded gambling, and a specified amount is then transferred to education. The problem is the original budget is almost always reduced or set in anticipation of the gambling money. It’s rarely ever an actual increase in funding for public education. So it/s even more critical that the expected revenues are collected as the state has made itself reliant on such gambling funds. Now that these gambling machines are spreading and pulling people away from legal, regulated and taxed gambling facilities, and state lottery sales, its public education that’s taking a hit. An online source explains: 

The Missouri Lottery’s executive director testified Thursday in Jefferson City that illegal slot machines are hurting public education in the Show-Me State. Illegal slot machines can be found in bars, restaurants, gas stations and convenience stores.

Scheve Reardon testified during a 90-minute hearing before the House Special Interim Committee on Gaming, which is chaired by State Rep. Dan Shaul, R-Imperial. Shaul tells the audience that illegal slot machines cost Missouri education at least $50 million last year. He says the alleged illegal slot machines are hurting the Lottery, thereby impacting classrooms.

“The (Missouri) Lottery is losing revenue here, because of these alleged illegal machines. So are the (Missouri’s 13) casinos, so is everybody across that’s funding the state. The state is losing money because of these,” says Shaul. Thursday’s hearing was the committee’s second in two weeks. The Missouri Gaming Commission testified before the committee on August 22, saying the state needs a coordinated effort to stop the illegal machines.

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

A Brief Look at Crime 9/02 – 9/08

Children were exposed to gambling adverts on Looney Tunes smartphone app, prompting ban

Four gambling adverts have been banned after they appeared in a smartphone app used by children which features Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck. The Advertising Standards Authority censured firms for promotions in Looney Tunes World of Mayhem – which has an age rating of seven and up.The watchdog said the link between gambling and cartoons came at a time of mounting concern that betting is being ‘normalised’ for children. The producers of the game argued it was meant to be for adults. However, the watchdog found it had a rating of PEGI 7 in the Google Play app store, meaning it was suitable for players aged seven and over. The game allows players to build worlds based on the Looney Tunes cartoons and collect characters to battle each other. The ASA censured LottoGo EuroMillions, William Hill Vegas, Betfair Bingo and Dunder. It said: ‘Given the use of cartoon characters, cartoonish violence and the relatively simple nature of the game, we considered it was likely to appeal to many under-18s. However, we acknowledged that characters would be well-known to older players, and the game was likely to have more general appeal.’ Meanwhile, a new study has fuelled fears computer games may be providing a ‘gateway’ into problem gambling for teenagers. The study of more than 1,100 children found those who had spent money on in-game ‘loot boxes’ in the past month scored more than twice as highly on a problem gambling questionnaire.

Ex-NYPD Detective, Mastermind of Prostitution and Gambling Ring Sentenced to Up to 12 Years

Ludwig Paz, the retired NYPD detective who pleaded guilty to attempted enterprise corruption for running brothels, was sentenced to up to 12 years in prison Tuesday. Paz “used his knowledge of inner workings” of the NYPD to operate a string of brothels in Queens, Brooklyn and Hempstead, according to Acting District Attorney John Ryan, and ran illegal gambling rings in beauty salons and other locations throughout the city. The 51-year-old pleaded guilty in May to two counts of attempted enterprise corruption and one count of promoting prostitution. The judge sentenced Paz to four to 12 years in prison on Tuesday. The lucrative prostitution ring alone brought in more than $2 million in just over a year’s time, after using online advertising to attract more customers. After the screening process, clients paid up to $40 for 15 minutes of sex with a prostitute of their choice, or up to $160 for a full hour, according to the full indictment.

Port Coquitlam man given 14 years, no parole for shotgun murder

A Port Coquitlam man has been handed a 14-year prison sentence for the 2015 shooting death of a co-worker in a Maple Ridge church parking lot. On Dec. 18, 2015 — the da before the murder — Scott said he had become so distraught that he thought of killing himself. It was his brother’s birthday, so he took a day off work, going to a movie and lunch to celebrate. That night, Scott went to the Hard Rock Casino in Coquitlam, where he lost $3,000, according to court documents. It was the first time he had gambled in three and a half years and the judge accepted the episode must have seriously affected him. “No doubt this filled him with self-loathing, disappointment and anger”, the judge wrote. In her sentencing decision, Justice Ker noted Scott was an upstanding member of society before he murdered Bender. She considered Scott’s emotional distress, history of addiction and obsessive behaviour towards women. Against that, the judge weighed several victim impact statements, noting how Bender’s murder shattered the lives of the people around him.

3 Shot at Outdoor Party in Mississippi Attended by 200 

A north Mississippi sheriff says three people were shot and injured at a party that as many as 200 people were attending. Panola County Sheriff Dennis Darby tells local news outlets deputies were called around 3 a.m. Sunday. The party was taking place in a wooded area on a dead-end road near Sardis. Darby says one man was shot in the stomach and taken by helicopter to a hospital in Memphis, Tennessee. A second man was shot in the ankle and a third man was shot multiple times. They were taken to hospitals in private vehicles. All are expected to recover. Darby says investigators suspect gambling and drugs were present at the party. The sheriff says deputies are seeking more information because the people who were shot aren’t saying much.

Boston man dies after wife stabs him in Quincy 

A 46-year-old woman is being held without bail after police say she killed her husband during an argument about an illegal gambling operation the couple was running out of a basement. Huixian Liu, of 67 West Newton Street in Boston, was arraigned in Quincy District Court Friday on a charge of assault with intent to murder. Police say she stabbed her husband, 55-year-old Biqiang He, during an argument on July 4. He was taken to Quincy Medical Center, then to Boston Medical Center where he died Sunday. Liu is being held without bail pending a dangerousness hearing later this week. The death of He transfers the case to the Norfolk County District Attorney’s Office, and Spokesman David Traub said prosecutors will “examine the existing assault charges in light of the victim’s death” ahead of Liu’s scheduled Friday court appearance.

Maryland Woman Sentenced for Scamming Victims of $1.2M

Federal prosecutors say a Maryland woman has been sentenced to 18 months in prison for wire fraud in a scheme to defraud at least five people of more than $1.2 million. U.S. Attorney Robert K. Hur said in a news release on Monday that 74-year-old Nely Rider of Bowie also received nine months of home detention as part of three years of supervised release. The U.S. Justice Department said Rider told her victims that a person in Mexico needed help getting to the U.S. and said the person would repay the victims once she arrived. Prosecutors said that, based on Rider’s statements, the victims provided her with approximately $1,285,545 which she used at casinos and elsewhere for her personal benefit. Authorities say some elderly victims lost their retirement savings.

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

UPDATE: Genting’s Miami Monorail Casino Plan Opposed by Mayor and Florida Senators Rubio and Scott

Casino Watch Focus has reported on the ongoing efforts of Genting to build and operate a Vegas style destination casino in Miami Florida. None of their efforts have found legs, so they are attempting a most usual Hail Mary. They are working to bid on and fully construct a tax payer monorail system that would connect people across the bay to Miami. The Miami-Dade commissioners voted to open a bid process, but it was clear the already proposed Genting plan would be positioned ahead of any possible new proposals.   It seems extremely clear that the ulterior motive to gain the political favor to get their casino plan passed. That alone has local lawmakers concerned with the project, but additional security concerns against given the companies ties to foreign entities in China. As a result, new measures are being pushed forward by local lawmakers, and they have the backing of Florida Senators Mark Rubio and Rick Scott. The Miami Herald reports: 

When Miami-Dade invites companies to bid on a transit link between Miami and Miami Beach, the county could tell Chinese train makers not to bother.

A rule embedded in draft bid documents proposed by Mayor Carlos Gimenez would bar participation by Chinese train and bus companies, a prohibition that goes to the heart of a monorail proposal by casino giant Genting to use China’s BYD as its rail partner.

The move follows backlash to BYD’s possible role in building a new transit system for Miami-Dade, including warnings from Florida’s two Republican senators, Marco Rubio and Rick Scott, of potential security issues. Armando Ibarra, a lobbyist and head of Miami’s Young Republicans group, led a campaign to block BYD, including funding a poll aimed at showing a lack of support in Miami-Dade.

Its very clear that the point of their involvement is get a casino plan authorized, so simple opposition on that level is enough and a fair counter. But those involved stress the security concerns are real and need to be evaluated. The issue isn’t something fabricated in this instance to stop the deal either, its roots stem from federal legislation and security concerns. The Miami Herald continues: 

Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber is an anti-gambling activist who objected to the monorail proposal for linking a transit system to a property where Genting wants to build a casino resort. While his objections to the Genting plan centered on gambling, the former Democratic lawmaker said the anti-China legislation — sponsored by Rubio in the Senate — addressed a valid worry.

“While foreign has its place, I get the concern” about security risks from Chinese firms, Gelber said. “It’s not a fictional concern.” 

BYD is already a player in U.S. transit as a supplier of electric buses and is pursuing rail projects across the country. The bid framework, subject to County Commission approval on Sept. 4, would require proposers to comply with aU.S. House bill designed to bar and other Chinese firms from supplying trains or buses — known as “rolling stock” — for new transit projects in the United States.

“If anyone uses rolling stock from China, it’s not allowed,” Gimenez said in a brief interview Thursday. The proposed Miami-Dade rule follows the language of House Bill 5515, the National Defense Authorization Act for 2019, and would be in effect even if the federal legislation doesn’t pass, administration officials said

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

A Brief Look at Crime 8/26 – 9/01

Man killed in police confrontation at casino parking garage

The Caddo Parish Coroner’s Office has identified the man who died after a police-involved stabbing and shooting inside a casino parking garage. Marcus Boles, 35, of Shreveport, was identified in a news release on Sunday afternoon as the man who died after Saturday’s confrontation. Boles is reportedly a suspect in a stabbing and vehicle theft that occurred earlier at a different location, according to the Shreveport Police Department. The fatal police-involved incident occurred in the Sam’s Town Casino Parking Garage on Clyde Fant Memorial Parkway around 6:50 p.m. Boles died around 7:30 p.m. at Ochsner LSU Health Hospital, according to the news release. Earlier, police were called to the 1300 block of North Market Street at a different casino in reference to a call of a stabbing, Shreveport Police Department’s public information officer Christina Curtis told The Times. “The suspect stabbed the victim over there and then stole his car,” She said. Officers later located the vehicle and the suspect inside the Sam’s Town parking garage. “When officers tried to approach the suspect, he tried to disarm the officer,” Curtis said. During the struggle, suspect was reportedly stabbed and shot; and the officer sustained minor injuries, police said.

Eight charged, 100 dogs seized in massive Gadsden County dog fighting, drug ring 

Eight Gadsden County residents are facing more than 80 federal charges in connection with a “large-scale,” illegal dog fighting ring involving about 100 dogs.   “The United States Attorney’s Office takes allegations of dog fighting very seriously. Our society can be judged, in part, by how we treat our animals,” Keefe said in a statement. “This office will work with our partners at the federal, state, and local levels to pursue such cases vigorously.” According to the federal indictment the defendants bred, housed, trained and fought pit bulls and pit bull-type dogs. They communicated with each other by telephone and text messages about the transporting, delivering, exchanging and selling of the animals, and the location of fights held around the county. A “cooperating source” helped with the investigation. “These ventures as proven by this investigation entail other criminal activity involving drugs, firearms and gambling,” he said. “This investigation in particular proves how intertwined illegal dog fighting ventures are with these other serious crimes.”

Platinum Gaming Penalized by UKGC to Pay £1.6 Million for Social Responsibility and Money Laundering Failures

Another online gambling operator will be forced to pay a monetary fine imposed by the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) due to failures to identify *gambling-related harm* and lack of prevention for money laundering. The main gambling regulator of the British gambling sector launched an investigation after it received reports that Platinum Gaming allowed a convicted fraudster to spend a total amount of £629,420. During the enquiries, the Commission learned that the deposits the customer made were so high and losses so big that Platinum Gaming should have considered imposing some limits to the customer, including to ban them from its services. Instead, the online gambling firm continued to allow the customer to gamble. Now, as part of the settlement reached between the UKGC and Platinum Gaming, the online gambling operator agreed to return the amount of £629,420 to fraudster’s victims and to pay a total of £990,200 in lieu of a financial penalty. The money is set to be spent by the Commission to facilitate the delivery of the National Strategy to Reduce Gambling Harms. According to the investigation’s results, anti-money laundering regulations were breached by the operator. In addition, Platinum Gaming failed to make adequate checks of the source of the funds which were used by the customer to gamble.

Florida attorney’s bookkeeper accused of stealing $200K, spending it at casino

A bookkeeper for a South Florida attorney stole more than $200,000 over a two-and-a-half year period, spending some of it at a casino, at restaurants, for Uber rides and even to pay utility bills, police said. Greene, who was the office manager for Fort Lauderdale attorney Lloyd Falk, allegedly stole $217,376.63 and used Falk’s personal identification information without his consent, according to court records. Falk owns and manages real estate properties, the Sun-Sentinel reported.

Nearly 600 Pit Bulls & Roosters Seized From Animal-Fighting Raid, Suspect in Custody

Nearly 600 animals, pit bulls and roosters, were rescued across two Indiana counties in May 2019, according to a report by NBC News. An animal fighting investigation got started after authorities received a tip, via Crime Stoppers, that animals were being trained for fighting in a home in Morgan County. The Indiana Gaming Commission conducted searches in the residence, which belonged to one Martin Anderson from Camby. He was taken into custody at Morgan County Jail. They seized one pit bull at the scene, the Indianapolis Star reported.

However, the search extended to another property, a farm located in Owen County, where over 550 roosters were found, along with nine pit bulls. The dogs were restrained with heavy chains and were “housed in a manner consistent with dogfighting,” stated a press release from the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA). They assisted authorities in the rescue operation. “There’s no place in Indiana communities for animal fighting and the illegal gambling that goes with it, and we are very pleased that we were able to shut down this operation,” stated Townsend in the press release.

The seizure is of average size, says Townsend, but the number of animals could still overwhelm both his agency and local shelters, FOX 59 reported. The seized animals were taken to a temporary shelter at an unnamed location, Jessica Rushin, a senior manager of Partnerships with ASPCA, told NBC. “Animal fighting is one of the most heinous forms of animal cruelty, and sadly it is far more common in the United States than many people realize,” she added in a statement. “To betray animals by forcing them to fight for their lives for so-called entertainment is despicable.”

Man sentenced to 22 months for money laundering scheme with slot machines in Sacramento

A man was sentenced to 22 months in prison Friday for partaking in a money-laundering scheme that relied on slot machines in Sacramento and other Northern California cities, officials said. Another man involved in the scheme plead guilty Monday. Between October 2016 and November 2017, Dadon and Bar Shani, 27, used cash from the illegal gambling business to pay workers in their cosmetics business, according to court records. In return, Dadon and Shani arranged for Orel Gohar to receive checks from the cosmetics business. In the memo lines on the checks, Dadon wrote that Orel Gohar had provided consulting and training services, according to the court records. More than $150,000 was laundered, the Department of Justice said. Shani plead guilty April 26, according to court records. Between January 2015 and December 2017, Atari also conspired to launder money with the Gohar men, officials said. Atari paid employees in his home improvement and construction businesses with money from the illegal gambling operation, according to officials. Atari then sent checks and electronic transfers from his businesses to Yaniv Gohar, totaling $490,000, according to court records. He lied to the FBI about the nature of the money transfers and told his employees to also lie, court records say.

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