A Brief Look at Crime 12/13 – 12/19

Rivers Casino Des Plaines Gambler Claims He Was Robbed After Winning $40K in Cash

A 34-year-old Arizona man claims that after visiting Rivers Casino Des Plaines in Illinois, two assailants robbed him at gunpoint and stole some $40,000 in cash that he had just won while gambling. The alleged victim, Cordero Supe, told police that a woman was chatting with him inside the Chicago suburb casino. He now believes that person might have been involved in the subsequent theft by tipping off the two men who confronted him. Supe says that after exiting the casino with roughly $40,000 in cash winnings at around 2:25 am on November 8, two men wearing bandanas covering their faces approached him in a dark-colored vehicle. They brandished firearms and demanded that he hand them the cash.

Orange County law enforcement officials cracking down on illegal game room activity

Law enforcement officials said our proximity to Louisiana, where gambling is legal, only adds to the confusion. According to Orange County officials, some of the owners of these game rooms make between $100,000 to $130,000 per day. Investigators said most of that money comes in illegally. Operators could end up “paying for playing” if their game rooms are illegal, officials said. “Time is on our side and their time is running out, so we’re going to eventually catch them,” said Orange County Constable Matt Ortego. Ortego calls it a cat and mouse game, one that’s expanding outside of the region. “It’s all across the state,” Ortego said. “It’s not just here in Orange County, you know, what they’re doing is they’re running and jumping in all these different counties that don’t have ordinances that are in place. Judge John Gothia said they eventually had to put their foot down. “For our county, it was getting out of hand and that’s why we implemented new restrictions that went into effect,” Gothia said. Orange County is following the lead of Jefferson County, which has new ordinances and ongoing enforcement.

Online casino could face legal action after sending promotional emails to recovering gambling addicts 

AN ONLINE casino that sent “distressing” promotional emails to recovering gambling addicts could face legal action, a law firm has said. Sky Vegas, owned by Flutter UK&I, apologised (sic) last week after emails were sent by mistake to people who had opted out of betting correspondence. Data breach specialist law firm PGMBM announced today that it was exploring the possibility of bringing legal proceedings on behalf of 120,000 who are believed to have been sent emails offering “free online spins.”

The firm’s legal director Tony Winterburn said: “This mistake could cost people their recovery from gambling. “These emails have already caused harm and distress to those who opted out of receiving gambling promotions for very good reason.” Clean Up Gambling director Matt Zarb-Cousin, who was among those who received the emails, said Sky Vegas’s actions were “inexcusable.” He said: “There is already too much temptation driven by the volume of advertising, so, when someone takes steps to keep themselves away from promotions like this, they should not be force-fed them again.”

Casinos made Macau one of the wealthiest places in the world — but they also brought heightened inequality and crime 

At 32 square kilometers, Macau is just 5% of Singapore’s size. It’s about half the size of Manhattan. Yet it has more than 35,000 hotel rooms, 30 Michelin-star restaurants, and 25 UNESCO World Heritage Sites. And it clocks gaming revenues that are six times that of the Las Vegas Strip. With the casinos came a lot of money. Macau is the only place in China where gambling is legal, and casinos have had a strong 20-year run. But the wealth rests in the hands of a few — and that, in turn, is at odds with the government’s “common prosperity” messaging. 

Wealth inequality isn’t the only issue in Macau. For one, there’s crime: According to a paper from  the Macao Institute for Tourism Studies, since the liberalization of casino licensing in 2002, crime has “increased drastically.” There are other social problems, such as a whole generation of young people dropping out of studies to work in the gaming industry because of its financial rewards, according to Robbert van der Mass, director of APAC Hospitality Services Macau. This in turn affects small retail shops and restaurants, many of which have disappeared as they couldn’t compete with salaries offered at casino resorts.

Former federal employee from Syracuse stole more than $100K in SSI benefits

A 34-year-old Syracuse man and former federal employee admitted Thursday to stealing more than $100,000 in Supplemental Security Income benefits, according to federal prosecutors. Sean Okrzesik pleaded guilty to theft of government property and aggravated identity theft, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of New York. While Okrzesik was employed by the Syracuse office of the Social Security Administration, he opened bank accounts using the names and social security numbers of people who receive SSI benefits, according to federal prosecutors. Okrzesik used the money to pay for video gaming equipment, a custom suit, jewelry, airline tickets to the Caribbean and online gambling, according to prosecutors. In all, Okrzesik took $103,798.77 in benefits, prosecutors said.

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

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