Monthly Archives: May 2021

Florida Legislature Approves Seminole Gambling Compact, Legalizing Mobile Sports Betting, and Many in Florida aren’t Happy

Casino Watch Focus has reported closely followed the recent advancement of the Seminole Gambling Compact and its inclusion of mobile sports betting.  The issue at stake is the legislator attempting to expand gamblining in violation of the Florida constitution, which requires a vote of the people to approve new gambling.  With the writing on the wall, many have made their positions known and now its all but official, as the Compact has passed the legislature and simply needs Gov. DeSantis’ signature, which will be forthcoming.  Not all believe it will pass, and many are speaking out.  The Orlando Sentinel’s Editorial Board outlined the opposition position:

The Florida Legislature just passed a gambling law they /know/ has a good chance of being struck down in court, or at least the sports betting part of the law that got the most attention.

You don’t have to believe us. Take it from state Rep. Randy Fine, who led the House Select Committee on Gaming and said this about sports betting after the bill passed: “Me personally, I don’t think it’s going to survive.”

The reason Fine made such an extraordinary concession on the House floor is because of the high likelihood that, under Florida’s constitution, sports betting needs to be approved by Florida’s voters, not elected legislators.

He didn’t say it, but there’s also a decent chance the bill’s legalization of craps and roulette games at Florida’s existing casinos also will be challenged in court and found unconstitutional. Same for the part that lays the groundwork for transferring gambling licenses from race tracks to other locations.

The problem in this case is that both sides seemed to ignore the clear language of the Florida Constitution, with some clearly just moving the bill along assuming that the courts would take care of the issue.  The lack of serious debate around the constitutionality of the issue has also brought the ire of those who believe the will of the constitution and the people shouldn’t be disregarded in such a cavalier manner.  The Editorial Board continues:

In 2018, Florida voters approved a constitutional amendment — by a remarkable 71.5% margin — that gave voters the “exclusive right to decide whether to authorize casino gambling in the State of Florida.” That means putting the question of additional gambling in front of the voters and letting /them/ say yes or no.

The language of that amendment clearly states the referendum requirement applies to what’s known as Class III gambling, and sports betting is defined under federal law as Class III gambling. So are craps and roulette. So, these things need voter approval to become part of Florida’s gambling landscape.

That single, central issue should have been a hotly debated point of this week’s three-day special session to approve a new gambling deal with the Seminole Tribe. In an astonishing display of bipartisan disregard for the will of Florida’s voters, the House passed gambling expansion Wednesday by an overwhelming vote of 97-17 with loads of Democrats jumping on the Republican-led bandwagon. Tuesday’s Senate vote was even more lopsided: 38-1. The lone no vote came from Pinellas County Republican Jeff Brandes.

Is it any wonder the public is so cynical about politics? Were voters really not clear in 2018 about what they wanted? What the governor and Legislature have done is cooked up a deal they know is constitutionally suspect, and now the courts will have to clean up the mess they’ve made.

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


A Brief Look at Crime 05/17 – 05/23

Oneida Casino shooting: Suspect, 2 others dead 

A gunman killed two people at a Wisconsin casino restaurant and seriously wounded a third before he was killed by police late Saturday, in what authorities said appeared to be a targeted attack. Brown County Sheriff’s Lt. Kevin Pawlak said investigators believe the gunman was seeking a specific person he was angry at. “He was targeting a specific victim who was not there, but he decided to still shoot some of the victim’s friends or co-workers, it appears,” Pawlak said. Pawlak wasn’t sure if the shooter was a former employee of the restaurant, but said “it appears there’s some relationship that had to do with employment.” “Whether or not they all worked there, we’re still working on,” he said. The wounded person was being treated at a Milwaukee hospital, Pawlak said. The attack happened around 7:30 p.m. at the Oneida Casino, operated by the Oneida Nation on the western side of Green Bay, with the casino tweeting that an active shooter was on the scene. Neither the gunman nor the shooting victims were immediately identified. Brown County Sheriff’s Office said they are witholding names of the victims and the suspect until all next of kin can be notified. The office is planning a Monday morning press conference. Jawad Yatim, a witness, said he saw at least two people shot.

High Profile Gambler Receives Prison Sentence over $9.6M Fraud

Rob Gorodetsky, once a high-profile gambler who drove expensive cars and was betting thousands on sports is now facing more than two years in prison. During a Thursday hearing in the *Dirksen Federal Courthouse*, Judge *Elaine Bucklo* sentenced the man to 28 months in prison over wire fraud. Charges against the 28-year-old Gorodetsky were filed last year in January. Prosecutors *accused him of scamming one investor with $9.6 million* between 2014 and 2018. Once the charges were filed, it was not long before Gorodetsky pleaded guilty. With that in mind, the investor’s name was not publicly revealed but the court’s filing described him as an eye doctor from New Jersey, who happened to be the father of one of Gorodetsky’s girlfriends. Before hearing his sentence, *Gorodetsky apologized for his actions*. He said that he cannot make this right regardless of what he says or does. Although Judge Bucklo acknowledged that Gorodetsky is really young, she stressed that *he was involved in a “massive, massive fraud”*.

Norwich man admits embezzling more than $680,000 from Farmington nonprofit; used money for cruises, casino gambling

A Norwich man admitted to embezzling over $680,000, over the course of seven years, from a Farmington-based nonprofit he was the president and chief executive officer of, federal prosecutors said.  From 2013 to 2020, Michael Meakem, 59, embezzled at least $683,202 from the Center for Financial Training, they said. He took the money from the nonprofit’s credit card and bank accounts then “used the funds on personal expenses, including alimony payments, meals, cruises, other vacations, and gambling at Connecticut’s casinos,” investigators said. Meakem was the president and chief executive officer for the organization that provided resources and education to people in the financial services industry. He pled guilty to wire fraud in federal court in New Haven Friday and faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.

LAPD veteran, 2 others accused of running high-dollar Super Bowl betting operation

A Los Angeles police officer and two other men who allegedly orchestrated an illegal gambling operation in which participants placed high-dollar bets on the outcome of the Super Bowl pleaded not guilty Thursday to bookmaking charges. Robert Felix — a 13-year Los Angeles Police Department veteran who was last assigned to the LAPD Transit Services Division — was assigned to his home with no police powers while the investigation continues, the LAPD announced earlier this month. Felix, 50, is charged along with co-defendants Francisco Martin Del Campo, 52, and Gabriel Martin Del Campo, 50. The charges stem from an extensive investigation by the LAPD’s Special Operations Division in partnership with the California Department of Justice’s Bureau of Gambling Control and the California Alcoholic Beverage Control, according to the LAPD.

Knightswood crime: Two suspects accused of stealing £110k from OAP and daughter

The charge states that they were given it on the pretence that they were to purchase essential groceries and power cards for them. It is alleged the pair used Margaret’s PIN to withdraw money from accounts. It is stated Gaughan and McDowall used the cards and money to purchase and make payments for their own benefit. Alcohol, gaming purchases, holidays, mobile phones, gambling and other unknown items were allegedly bought. The charge states that these items were not permitted by Margaret and were not for the purposes of providing them groceries or power cards. A total of £110,007.86 was allegedly embezzled by Gaughan and McDowall. The pair pleaded not guilty at Glasgow Sheriff Court to a single embezzlement charge.

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


Sports Betting in Florida via Seminole Compact to be Challenged in Court upon Passage, but can a Challenge Survive the Politics of the Deal?

Casino Watch Focus has reported on the efforts to pass a new Seminole gambling compact in Florida and on the various attempts to legalize sports betting.  Now, the new Seminole compact has become the avenue for sports betting and if ratified by the Florida legislature in a special session, would become legal in the state.  Should that happen, legal challenges are essentially guaranteed.  The issue at hand is that sports betting would not simply be offered on Seminole property, which could be argued isn’t Florida proper and thus not under the recently passed Amendment 3 which requires all new gambling to be approved by a vote of the people, but instead all over the state via mobile gambling.  At that point it’s fairly clear that the gambling is happening in Florida and thus subject to a vote of the people prior to becoming low.  As previously explained, the State believes that because the servers for the mobile gambling are on tribal lands, its not in Florida.  However, as previously reported, a federal lawsuit regarding a similar issue in California concluded that gambling must be legal both where it originates and where the person gambling is located.  No Casinos, who released an ad campaign reminding everyone of the law, outlines why they plan to bring a legal challenge and why its argument is backed by various laws.  An online source explains:

No Casinos argues the arrangement runs counter to a couple of federal laws.

The Federal Wire Act holds, Sowinski said, “that a telephonic or electronic or online transaction of any sort occurs in two places: the place where the person originating the transaction is and the place where the person receiving the transaction is. It has to be legal in both of those places in order to be a legal transaction. That includes gambling, as well.”

Meanwhile, the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act holds that tribes can’t offer games not otherwise legal within a state. The compact would legalize sports betting on the Seminole land, Sowinski acknowledged, but he insisted allowing play statewide implicates Amendment 3 and would require a statewide referendum.

“The Legislature doesn’t have the authority to authorize that today within the state, and therefore, according to federal law, they can’t negotiate to put that on the tribal land,” Sowinski said.

The concern, of course, is that the language that allows for negotiations of a gambling compact in the first place, supersedes the provisions in those particular laws.  If that part of the argument does produce a court ruling that pushes that provision to the people for a vote, it’s believed that the case would be appealed, and then the local and national politics of the deal come into play.  If that’s the case, the federal precedent established in the federal case in CA requiring that the gambling in question must take place where both parties have the legal ability to do so, might not be much help in the end.  The source concludes:

Even if a trial judge buys the No Casino argument, the state could appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit, which is packed with Donald Trump appointees (including two DeSantis had earlier placed on the Florida Supreme Court but whom Trump promoted), will certainly overrule, Jarvis predicted.

“And the U.S. Supreme Court, of course, is a Trump-appointed court. Trump has made it clear that he wants this deal. DeSantis has made it clear that he wants this deal.”

Federal agencies too, including the Department of the Interior (DOI), headed by Native American Deb Haaland, and its Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) and National Indian Gaming Commission (NIGC), also are going to accept the deal, he predicts.

The California case set federal precedent and the newly passed Florida Amendment 3 to the constitution shows clear intent by the voters to want to approve new gambling in the state, which would clearly include mobile sports betting.  Most believe the compact will get ratified, so time will tell how the legal challenges will shake out.  

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


A Brief Look at Crime 05/10 – 05/16

Ocean County Man Admits Operating an Illegal Lottery and Filing False Tax Return

An Ocean County, New Jersey man today admitted operating an illegal lottery and failing to pay more than $65,000 in federal taxes on his earnings from the scheme, Acting U.S. Attorney Rachael A. Honig announced. Between 2014 and 2019, O’Neill managed an illegal lottery in Hudson County that was based on the New Jersey Lottery Commission’s Pick Six. Participants in the illegal lottery paid a $20 entry fee and selected six numbers between 1 and 49. The first participant in the illegal lottery to have all six of their numbers selected in the official Pick Six drawing won a cash prize.   For each drawing of the illegal lottery, O’Neill collected entry fees and participants’ numbers and entered the numbers into ledgers, which included identifying information for each participant and the numbers each participant had selected. O’Neill monitored the numbers selected in the official Pick Six and, when there was a winner of the illegal lottery, caused the winning participant to be paid in cash.

According to the ledgers, each drawing of the illegal lottery included up to 8,000 participants and the cash prize for each drawing often exceeded $100,000. In exchange for operating and managing the illegal lottery, O’Neill kept for himself 10 percent of the winnings from each drawing. O’Neill admitted that he failed to account for approximately $250,000 in cash winnings from the illegal lottery on tax returns he filed with the IRS between 2014 and 2018, causing him to underpay his federal incomes taxes by $65,674.

‘I stole €1.75 million to fuel my gambling addiction’

A former gambler has revealed that he stole vast sums of money in order to fuel his gambling obsession. Tony O’Reilly started gambling with just a £1 bet, but he was soon hooked. His habit quickly spiralled out of control and he was stealing from his workplace to gamble. He said that gambling meant that “everything from the outside looked really, really good, but simmering underneath was this addiction that was growing.”

O’Reilly, who lives in Ireland, shared how he gambled away €6,000 that ought to have been saved for his wedding. When he couldn’t recover the money, his fiancée’s father offered to pay instead. But he didn’t change his behaviour and continued betting while on honeymoon. “Before I knew it, I had lost €1,000. Then the chase element came in and there was €2,000 gone.” Soon, all the money the couple had been gifted was gone.

Tony continued to hide his gambling debts from his wife, and when they found they were expecting a baby, he began to steal. As a postal branch manager, he had access to significant amounts of money, and within a couple of weeks, he had stolen almost €300,000. He continued to steal, increasing the total taken from his employers to €900,000, and continuing to lose it. In a desperate attempt to “fix the situation”, he placed 31 bets on one day in an attempt to double the €462,000 that remained. Instead he lost the entire sum. By the end, Tony had stolen €1.75 million, and when it became clear he would be caught, he ran away. Even then he continued gambling from his hotel room. When the police caught him, he said he found it was actually a relief because he no longer had to hide his addiction.

Shooting Near New Hampshire DraftKings Sportsbook Leads to Life-Threatening Wounds

A man was hospitalized after being shot outside of Manchester, N.H.’s DraftKings Sportsbook brick-and-mortar location. He suffered “life-threatening injuries” in the Monday night incident, police reveal. At about 9:15 pm, multiple shots were fired during the altercation. The wounded man was transported to Elliot Hospital for treatment. It is an acute care hospital in Manchester. Details on his condition were not immediately available from the hospital on Wednesday. His name was not released by police. During a search of the crime scene, police said they located a firearm and several spent casings.

In February, a gun-associated threat took place at the sports betting location, according to the /New Hampshire Union Leader/ newspaper. It is unclear if the two incidents are connected. In the Feb. 23 incident, Samuel Paulino, 22, allegedly aimed a firearm at a patron. He also allegedly threatened to shoot the man, identified as Keagan Hall, 21, if he didn’t get into a car, the newspaper reported based on police statements. Faced with the danger, Hall made his way back inside the sportsbook. A fight ensued involving four suspects. Eventually, the four people left and then drove away in two cars.*

Eighth arrest made in probe into Kentucky drug trafficking, gambling ring

Authorities have announced an eighth arrest in to a multiyear investigation into a gambling and drug ring. Kirby Wilcox, 54, is alleged to have established or maintained a criminal syndicate in regard to a role he played with George Fisher. Wilcox also faces three counts of drug trafficking charges. The years long investigation has lead to the arrest of six others facing various charges for illegal gambling, organized crime and drug trafficking. The investigation began on July 12, 2019, when Fisher, 48, was arrested and charged with gambling in the first degree, trafficking in a first-degree controlled substance and engaging in organized crime.

Video gambling operator pays $75,000 in settlement as Illinois Gaming Board drops attempt to revoke license

A video gambling operator has agreed to pay $75,000 to the Illinois Gaming Board as part of a settlement approved Wednesday that will end a bid to revoke his license over allegations he offered a $5 million “illegal inducement” to the owner of a chain of gambling parlors. Rick Heidner’s Gold Rush Gaming agreed in the unanimously approved settlement to pay $45,000 to reimburse the board for “administrative and investigative costs,” along with a $30,000 fine for “unprofessional conduct.” The disciplinary case centered on text messages Heidner, Gold Rush’s founder and secretary, sent to Gary Leff, whose company owned the Stella’s and Shelby’s chain of gambling cafes. That chain was being purchased by Dan Fischer, who told Heidner he was replacing Gold Rush’s gambling machines with devices from his preferred supplier. Heidner faced the loss of machines at 44 locations that accounted for nearly a quarter of his company’s gambling revenue, according to both Heidner and Gaming Board records.

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


‘No Casino’ Group’s New Ad Campaign Reminds Politicians and the Florida Public who gets the Final vote in Sports Betting – Pointing out one of the biggest issues with the new Seminole Compact

Casino Watch Focus has reported on the ongoing efforts to solidify a new Seminole Compact.  The agreement addressed many exclusivity deals that help regulate and prevent gambling expansion in Florida.  However, many have seen this as an opportunity to include sports betting, which while giving exclusive rights to the Seminole Casinos, would also be a new form of gambling and one that the Florida constitution expressly requires a vote of the people to become law.  The state is trying to circumvent the constitution, but No Casino group has released an ad campaign to remind them of the law.  Florida Politics reports:

No Casinos is launching a new statewide ad campaign to warn Floridians about the new Seminole Compact, which opens sports betting the group says illegally expands gambling in violation of the Florida Constitution.

The Orlando-based anti-gambling group argues the deal between the state and the Seminole Tribe of Florida, signed by Gov. Ron DeSantis late last month and could be finalized during a Special Legislative Session starting May 17, lets “politicians and gambling lobbyists, instead of voters, authorize a massive expansion of gambling” in the Sunshine State. “Not politicians. Not lobbyists. You,” the ad leads off. “That’s the law. But gambling lobbyists want politicians to break it.”

No Casinos specifically cite the Amendment 3 constitutional mandate passed in 2018 by 72% of Florida voters. The amendment gives Floridians “the exclusive right to decide whether to authorize casino gambling in the State of Florida.”

The sports betting provision isn’t limited to the casinos either, but instead allows for mobile gambling all over the state.  This is the very type of gambling expansion that No Casinos contends the Florida constitution is designed to prevent without the express approval of voters.  Florida Politics explains:

Despite that explicit provision, the group says an expansion of sports betting could turn every cellphone into a “slot machine.”

“Their plan: Casinos. Sports betting. Even slot machines on cell phones,” the ad continues. “It’ll be like ‘internet cafes’ all over again.” The only thing missing? Your approval,” the ad concludes with a call to action. “Voter approval of gambling is the law. Tell your legislator: Don’t break it.”

“Voters were crystal clear that they wanted the final say on gambling expansion in Florida, and we’re letting them know that this proposed compact is a blatant violation of the constitution and the will of the people,” No Casinos President John Sowinski said in a statement. The ad — titled “People, Not Politicians” — will run both online and on cable TV in key markets statewide.

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


A Brief Look at Crime 05/03 – 05/09

Arizona Tribal Casino Parking Garage Site of Deadly Shooting

An unnamed man was killed Thursday in the Gila River Hotels & Casinos – Wild Horse Pass parking garage. The fatal shooting is the latest violent incident in numerous gaming property garages or parking lots nationwide. Gila River police officers were reportedly on the second floor of the garage when they heard gunshots, according to azfamily.com, an Arizona news site. That was at about 2 am. Within seconds, the cops ran to the third level. They found a man on the floor. He had suffered several gunshot wounds, according to KPNX, a local TV station. Before emergency workers could transport the victim to a hospital, he died while in the garage, police said. The suspected shooter was also allegedly trying to wound a woman who was near the injured man. Officers exchanged gunfire with the alleged assailant.  No one was wounded during the exchange of bullets. The woman was able to run from the area. She was not injured. The suspect also tried to run from the crime site. But police were able to capture him after a short chase, KPNX said.

Dozens of Illegal Gaming Parlors Raided in San Diego

Law enforcement officers in California raided dozens of illegal gambling dens in San Diego Wednesday, capping a years-long investigation that has resulted in nearly 50 people facing federal gambling, gun and drug charges, authorities said. More than 450 officers, led by an FBI task force, fanned out in East San Diego in morning raids on two dozen locations that ended with 35 arrests, according to a statement from the U.S. attorney’s office. A total of 47 people are charged in a series of federal indictments unsealed Wednesday. Some were accused of selling methamphetamine to gamblers. During a two-year investigation, authorities seized more than 12 pounds of meth, 640 gambling machines, 44 guns and more than $260,000 in cash, authorities said.

Authorities raided what they say were illegal gambling parlors inside apartments, outbuildings, small businesses and strip malls that took in thousands of dollars a day. Authorities said they have been associated with violence and drug sales, some of it linked to gangs. “According to court records, it is common for employees to hand out small amounts of methamphetamine and ‘comp’ customers to keep them playing and coming back for more,” the U.S. attorney’s office statement Said. “It’s rare to have a patron who does not use or sell methamphetamine inside these locations,” the statement said.

South Florida doctor ordered to stay away from her children following arrest at Hard Rock Hote

There are disturbing new details about a local doctor who was arrested at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino. According to Seminole police, the woman left her children alone in her car while she went inside to gamble. Dr. Marieny Elena Guimera-Revelo is listed as an internal medicine doctor at Cano Health in Pembroke Pines. It’s a senior care center located about 15 minutes away from the casino. Guimera-Revelo faced a judge Tuesday and was told she can’t have any contact with her children. Police said those children, ages three and 11, were locked inside a car outside the casino. The children had been in the car for about an hour before police found them. They said she barely paid attention to what was going on and was spotted on surveillance cameras playing poker at a table. How her alleged judgment affects her employment remains to be seen. Meanwhile, the legal battle for her kids is just getting started.

Fayetteville woman accused of defrauding governments, businesses of more than $3 million

A Fayetteville woman was arrested by federal marshals last week and charged in a scheme that defrauded the Department of Defense, state of North Carolina and private businesses, among others, of more than $3 million. According to court documents, from 2005 to 2020, Stephanie Dianna Elliott, used more than 16 aliases, a dozen fraudulent business entities and 26 bank and credit union accounts to obtain more than 1,000 federal defense contracts valued at more than $2.2 million. According to the allegations in the indictment, Elliott defrauded the Department of Defense by obtaining contract payments after falsely certifying that she had shipped supplies to the U.S. military, when, in fact, the goods were not shipped. It is alleged that Elliott and/or businesses under her control were debarred from federal contracting on four occasions. Elliott allegedly circumvented the terms of her debarments by using aliases and various business names to continue bidding on federal contracts. The indictment also alleges that Elliott executed fraud schemes by winning contracts to deliver food products and other goods then defrauding third-party vendors by inducing them to deliver the goods without paying them what was due.

After the sandbag company sent the bags to Louisiana, Elliott allegedly only paid $400,000 on $1.48 million owed to the sandbag company. With the remaining $500,000, she allegedly purchased cars for family members, paid off restitution in a Durham County deferred-prosecution embezzlement and fraud case, and took at least six trips to Atlantic City, New Jersey, and Las Vegas, Nevada, spending thousands on flights, hotels, gambling and restaurants.

Man’s arrest after shooting at Win-River Casino marks second county shooting in two days

Law enforcement officials have arrested one person in connection to a report of a possible gunshot victim near Win-River Casino on Monday afternoon. Officials were dispatched to the casino around 3:15 p.m. after a caller reported a gunshot near the RV parking area. A man was seen on the ground after the gunshot, according to scanner communications. Casino security told police a suspect left on foot. Sheriff’s officials identified the suspect as Michael Cain, 71, of Redding and went to his home off Clear Creek Road, gaining permission to enter and attempting to clear the house around 3:40 p.m., according to scanner communications. However, deputies found neither Cain nor the car he was believed to be driving at the home, according to Tim Mapes, a sheriff’s office spokesman. A short time later, sheriff’s deputies were told Cain was at a shopping center off Westside Road in Redding, Mapes said. He said deputies arrested Cain outside the Round Table Pizza at the shopping center and took him in for questioning. Mapes said he did not know whether Cain and the shooting victim knew each other and what led to the shooting.He said the shooting victim was taken to a Redding hospital and is expected to recover from his wounds. Monday’s shooting was the second Shasta County shooting in two days.

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


Missouri Legislature Shuts Down Massive Gambling Expansion Bills, but Illegal Gambling Machines remain Status Quo

Casino Watch Focus has reported on the many efforts to expand gambling in Missouri and the efforts to shut down and remove all the illegal slot machines that have popped up in the state.  Various bills were introduced in both the Missouri House and Senate that address items from legalizing sports gambling to actually legalizing these slot machines outside of regulated casinos.  One bill, however, was trying to make them expressly illegal, although any slot machine outside of the casino is already illegal, and it’s really more of allowing the proper regulating bodies the ability to enforce.  For those hoping to keep gambling from expanding in Missouri, the state legislature coming to a close with none of those bills passing is positive news.  However, there are those upset that the opportunity to more definitely shut those machines down this year has also come to an end.  The key takeaway is that the current laws clearly make the machines illegal, and individual Missouri jurisdictions are free to continue to prosecute at will.  Additionally, attempts to simply “regulate” those machines, and thus allow them to become legal, have also been hindered.  An online source reports all the expanded gambling that was prevented:

The Missouri Senate has defeated a three-pronged effort to expand gambling in Missouri while suppressing unregulated devices that offer cash prizes to players.

The bill debated Tuesday would have:

• Authorized up to 10,000 video game terminals in bars and truck stops as well as fraternal and veterans’ organizations. No location could have more than five machines.

• Allowed the Missouri Gaming Commission to license the state’s 13 casinos to offer sports wagering.

• Revised laws on illegal gambling to remove any uncertainty about the legality of what are called “gray market” machines.

The vote that defeated the bill may have been the last chance this legislative session to address the proliferation of devices that some prosecutors have attacked as illegal and that others have refused to file charges over.

Illegal slot machines will continue to persist in Missouri until more action is taken.  Even though the law does allow for prosecutions, most locations simply haven’t enforced the law.  Most retailers think the machines are legal and it will likely take future legislation to help end the problem for good.  The source concludes:

Of the 190 probable cause statements – requests for charges based on a particular set of facts – sent to prosecutors by Missouri State Highway Patrol investigators in 2019 and 2020, only 26 cases alleging illegal ngambling, including eight felony charges, were filed.

“Our experts, and the Highway Patrol, would say that it functions as a slot machine,” [Prosecuting Attorney Shiante McMahon]  said. “That meets the burden under the statute that it is an unlawful gambling machine.”

The legislation to remove any ambiguities in state law is a top priority of Senate President Pro Tem Dave Schatz, R-Sullivan. The machines arrive with stickers on them declaring they do not violate state gambling laws, and convenience store owners are reaping large profits.

Hoskins’ bill would have given retailers 10 days to remove the machines once they are notified that they are operating illegal gambling devices. Schatz said he thinks that would be enough to persuade most retailers to remove the machines. “I think a lot of these store owners have been sold a bill of goods,” Schatz said.

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


A Brief Look at Crime 04/26 – 05/02

Illegal Gambling Device Central In PA Murder As Calls For Regulation Grow Louder

An illegal gambling device at a Northeast Pennsylvania convenience store in Hazelton was connected to a clerk’s murder on Dec. 12, 2020. Video poker devices, classified as slot machines, are only legal in PA casinos. Meanwhile, how many illegal gambling devices are in play beyond PA casinos’ walls is impossible to track. But those machines now clearly outnumber legal machines. Regulated casino slot and video poker machines number 24,000. Truck stop video gaming terminals, or VGTs account for another 240 machines.

Peter Shelly of the casino industry group Pennsylvanians Against Illegal Gambling (PAIG) said, “Illegal gambling is getting out of hand, and we are seeing the results around the state: more crime.” Shelly continued:  “The shooting in Hazleton was horrific and the (Luzerne County)  District Attorney made it very clear that the defendant robbed that store because of that illegal machine. He had played the illegal machine and knew they kept cash behind the counter.”

The NJ Sports Betting Regulator Just Fine DraftKings

DraftKings is getting an invoice in penalty from the NJ Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE) over self-exclusion failings. The sportsbook has been ordered to pay a $10,000 civil penalty for sending “promotional mailings” to 11 self-excluded individuals, the DGE announced Wednesday. That’s in violation of New Jersey sports betting regulations, specifically N.J.A.C. 13:69G-2.4(b)1. The order was dated March 18, although only made public this week. What did DraftKings say? DraftKings acknowledged the error in a statement.

Violence Continues as Man Stabbed in Fight at Las Vegas Strip Casino

Police late Thursday continued to investigate an early morning stabbing at the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas. One man was stabbed during a fight involving several males at the luxury hotel-casino on the resort corridor. The Cosmopolitan towers over the older Jockey Club on the west side of the Strip, just south of the Bellagio Las Vegas. The stabbing at the Cosmopolitan is one of several violent incidents on or near the Strip since the beginning of the year.

In January, a man was shot outside the Venetian Resort on the east side of the Strip. The Venetian is located where the now-demolished Sands hotel-casino once stood. Also in January, Metro was called early one morning to the Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino parking lot. The Rio is just west of the Strip, behind Caesars Palace. Police discovered a man in the Rio parking lot, suffering from several gunshot wounds. The man was hospitalized in critical condition. After multiple surgeries, he has survived, the newspaper reported. One man was arrested in the incident.

In February, a man was hospitalized after being stabbed in the neck in a domestic dispute near Grand Bazaar Shops. A woman was taken into custody. The shops are at the front of Bally’s Las Vegas Hotel and Casino on the east side of the Strip. “An argument ensued that turned physical when the male assaulted the female,” Metro Lt. David Gordon said at the time. In another recent violent incident, a 57-year-old retired Connecticut State Police Trooper died after a man punched him in a fight near the Strip and Flamingo Road. A suspect was arrested a short time later.

Engineer embezzled £80,000 from employer to fund out-of-control gambling problem

An engineer has been jailed after embezzling more than £80,000 from his employer to fund his gambling addiction. Darren Morrison took advantage of his role within InnServe Ltd, a firm  that specialises in beer and soft drinks dispense systems, and deliberately over-ordered parts and equipment, which he then sold as scrap metal. The 45-year-old over-ordered stock worth more than £80,000 between April 23 2017 and April 23 2019, and sold it for less than £13,500 to finance his addiction to gambling.

Doctor Accused of Gambling in Hard Rock Casino While Her Kids Sat Alone in Car

A South Florida doctor is facing charges after authorities say she left her two kids alone in a running car while she was gambling in the Seminole Hard Rock Casino in Hollywood. Marieny Elena Guimera-Revelo, 43, was arrested by Seminole Police Sunday on two counts of child neglect without great bodily harm, Broward County jail records showed. Guimera-Revelo appeared in bond court Monday, where prosecutors said she allegedly left the two children unattended in a running car with the doors locked for about an hour. “The court just has a lot of concerns for the wellbeing and safety of these children, that they could have easily been taken by somebody with a running car, with the keys in the car,” Blackmon said. Guimera-Revelo’s attorney said she has no arrest record and has been practicing general medicine for the past six years. Blackmon ordered Guimera-Revelo held on $10,000 bond on each count, and ordered her not to have contact with her children.

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