Author Archives: casinowatch

Florida Gov Looking Forward to Meeting with Seminole Tribe to Discuss Gambling Pact as Current Gambling Efforts Stall

Casino Watch Focus has reported on the many attempts to establish a feasible gambling pact between the Florida government and the Seminole tribe.  Most recentlythe Tribe ended payments to Florida after the state failed to properly eliminate a form of table gambling that the Seminole’s held exclusive rights to offer.  Attempts were made to come up with a deal, but nothing materialized. As this year’s legislative session nears close, the two parties find themselves in a similar situation, though Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is hopeful that a meeting and a solution might be on the horizon.  An online source reports:

House and Senate leaders appear unable to reach agreement on a sweeping gambling deal, but Gov. Ron DeSantis hasn’t thrown in the towel.

For the second week in a row, the House Gaming Control Subcommittee canceled a scheduled Friday meeting, where any deal between the two chambers could have been revealed.

Discussions between legislative leaders have been ongoing, but the Seminole Tribe of Florida — a key player in any gambling deal — has not been part of the talks.

“I have not met with them yet. But I would like to have a resolution, and so I anticipate meeting with them in the not-too-distant future,” DeSantis told reporters Thursday. “I hope we can get something done. I think it would be good, if we can. But that is definitely on the agenda on the not-too-distant future.”

Gov. DeSantis believes this year the circumstances are different, and his administration has been given more time to properly evaluate the needs of both sides.  News 4 Continues: 

Sen. Wilton Simpson, a Trilby Republican who will take over as Senate president in November, reached a deal with the Seminoles in the waning days of the 2019 legislative session. But DeSantis, who took office in January 2019, said he didn’t have enough time to vet the proposal before the session ended.

He said Thursday that he focused during his first session last year on “the things that I campaigned on,” which did not include a deal with the Seminoles.

“I got something very late, and there was just no way I was going to sign the state up for a 30-year agreement, 48 hours into it. So, I’ve had a chance to really understand what the state should benefit from it.

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


A Brief Look at Crime 12/16 – 12/22

Bribery charge against ex-state Rep. Luis Arroyo brings fresh scrutiny to sweepstakes machines, raises questions about potential for abuse as gambling expands

State lawmakers have worked over the past decade to bring various forms of gambling out of the shadows and onto the tax rolls, from legalizing video poker at bars and restaurants in 2009 to authorizing sports betting this spring. But the latest turn in a sprawling federal probe into public corruption from Chicago to Springfield has shined a light on a type of gambling that has flourished in a gray area of the law. Chicago Democrat Luis Arroyo, who resigned from the Illinois House on Friday after being charged with bribery Monday, is alleged to have offered kickbacks to an unnamed senator in exchange for the veteran lawmaker’s support for legislation that would regulate and tax so-called sweepstakes machines. The allegations laid out in the criminal complaint against Arroyo evoke some of the worst fears about the potential for abuse as the state moves forward with a massive expansion lawmakers approved this spring that includes six new casinos, slot machines and table games at horse tracks, and more video gambling terminals.

Sports Bettor Who Sent Players Social Media Death Threats Sentenced to Prison

A former sports bettor who was attending college in Massachusetts will spend the next 18 months in prison for threatening at least 45 professional and collegiate athletes between July and December 2017. Addison Choi, now 23-years-old, pleaded guilty in May to sending death threats to the athletes via Instagram posts. At the time, Choi was a student and a member of the Babson College soccer team in Wellesley, Massachusetts. Prosecutors called Choi a “prolific” sports bettor who needed to borrow money from family and friends to pay off his gambling debts. The US Attorney’s Office for the District of Massachusetts redacted the specific names of the players he threatened, but didn’t hold back on sharing what Choi said in the messages. On July 27, 2017, Choi posted on one professional athlete’s Instagram, “I will kill you and your family and f****** hang them on a tree you stupid ugly mother*****.” He added, “I hope you f****** die you stupid monkey n*****.” Another post to a separate athlete read, “I’ll find your f****** family and skin them alive you stupid f***, I hope you never play again.” Prosecutors didn’t say what illicit avenue Choi used to place his sports bets. The gambling activity remains illegal in Massachusetts.

Hallglen drugs mule jailed after found on M6 with £180,000 haul 

Because Nairns appeared “anxious and nervous”, his Ford Focus was searched and this revealed a cardboard box in the boot which was “stuffed full” of illegal drugs. These comprised two packages containing 560g of high purity, uncut class A cocaine potentially worth up to £56,000 on the street; around 12kg of class B amphetamine in six large packages potentially worth £120,000; and almost 200g of cannabis in two bags which could have been worth around £1,260. A personal use amount of cannabis was recovered from a Kinder egg container. “The defendant was obviously arrested and interviewed,” prosecutor Charles Brown told Carlisle Crown Court. “He gave a prepared statement in his interview and elaborated slightly on it. He went from Falkirk to Liverpool to collect the packages. “He had been approached by someone who promised that his gambling debt would be written off, if he performed the courier role and brought the drugs back. He stated he knew what he was doing and did it on his own for that motive.”

NHL Player Sued by Las Vegas Casino for $500,000

Evander Kane, the San Jose Sharks forward, is facing a $500,000 lawsuit from the Cosmopolitan Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. The casino claims the NHL player did not pay the debts he owed it after using gambling markers at the facility. The lawsuit was filed in the Clark County District Court on Monday. It alleges that eight gambling markers were used by Kane in and around April 15, 2019. The size of these markers ranges from $20,000 to $100,000. Markers are used in casinos by high-stakes players instead of them carrying around large sums of cash. The casino facility provides markers on credit, and these are to be paid back through methods like wire transfer. Kane’s casino visit occurred at the same time that the San Jose Sharks were in Las Vegas to play the Vegas Golden Knights, as part of the first round of the Stanley Cup play-off series. The Knights were victorious in controversial fashion after seven games in the series. Kane was also arrested in 2016 for allegedly grabbing three women by their necks and hair during different altercations in Buffalo. The charges were subsequently dropped on condition that Kane would not get into trouble again. The prosecutor on the case deemed his alleged behavior “arrogant, boorish and surly, but not criminal.”

1 killed, 3 injured in shootout at illegal gambling business in Sumter

A shootout at a home with illegal gambling and alcohol sales in Sumter left one person dead and several others injured. Officers said two men they consider suspects — Florentino Wilson and another man who has not been identified — spent time at the house on Thursday earlier in the night. When they went back to the home around 11:30, police said they were armed, and that prompted a shootout between them and several other patrons of the illegal business. Wilson was killed. Emergency crews rushed him to the hospital but he could not be saved. Police said he was 57-years-old and from Sumter.

Former disability advocate volunteer indicted on charges of exploitation of disabled individual

A Whitehouse woman has been indicted in connection with exploiting amentally disabled couple to fund gambling activities. This same womanwas formerly involved with a volunteer group whose stated purpose was to empower adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Kristi Deshay Perryman, 43, was indicted Oct. 3 by a Smith County grand jury on two charges of exploitation of a child, elderly or disabledindividual, which is a third degree felony. She was arrested and released on July 9, according to jail records. Annessa Lewis, Texas Advocates executive director, said the Tyler Rose Advocates’ membership voted Perryman out as an adviser soon after her arrest. Texas Advocates is the state organization that provides support to local chapters such as the Tyler one when needed, but the area advocates run the group. An arrest warrant affidavit alleges that Perryman intentionally or knowingly caused the exploitation of the disabled individuals by withdrawing funds from the victims’ bank account for gambling and leaving insufficient funds for their expenses.

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


Guest Article: CEO of Florida Chamber of Commers supports Yes on Amendment 3

Casino Watch Focus has reported on the ongoing progression of Amendment 3 – Voter Control of Gambling in Florida.  Numerous sources have provided support for the amendment, but perhaps one of the most telling is the support it gets from the Florida Chamber of Commerce.  Below is the guest article by CEO Mark Wilson as published by The Florida Times Union:

The Florida Chamber of Commerce has long advocated for restraint in amending Florida’s Constitution. We believe our constitution should only be amended in rare and extraordinary circumstances.

Amendment 3, which would require voter approval of future gambling expansion, meets that threshold. Keep in mind, Florida is creating 1 out of 11 new jobs in America. We don’t need the casino industry, they need Florida.

Rather than introduce anything new, the amendment simply reinforces language already in the constitution — a provision that gives voters the final say on gambling decisions. Florida voters inserted that protection in 1968 and it’s important we don’t let politicians work around it.

Their reasons for doing so remain valid today. The widespread introduction of Las Vegas-style casinos in Florida brings dubious benefits and potentially serious consequences for our state. Any decision to go in this direction should be done so with due diligence, much caution and voter input.

Voters exercised such caution when considering five gambling referendums from 1978 to 2004. Three times they rejected large casino resorts in Florida. But they also approved the Florida Lottery and the limited introduction of slot machines in Broward and Miami-Dade pari-mutuels.

Since 2005, when Florida lawmakers began attempting to take over gambling decisions, the restraint of voters has been replaced by the politics of Tallahassee. The drumbeat for more and bigger casinos from the powerful gambling lobby has been loud and non-stop.

There is no end game here. No matter how many casinos might be approved, there always will be pressure for more. We have seen this in other states, where the gambling industry continues to push for expansion even in markets so glutted that existing casinos are losing business and even going bankrupt, sometimes at taxpayer expense.

Consider New Jersey. The Atlantic City casino market imploded in 2014 because of an over-saturated market, throwing thousands out of jobs and the city into an economic depression.

However, New Jersey requires voter approval of gambling expansion. And by an overwhelming margin, voters rejected new casinos.

Voters serve as a controlling mechanism on an industry that often has no self-control of its own. They slow down decision-making and ensure the pros and cons of casino expansion are fully and publicly vetted.

As the organization representing Florida businesses, the Florida Chamber is focused on making Florida more competitive, and the casino business model is anything but that. It is not one that grows the economic pie, but rather one that often cannibalizes existing economic activity.

Casinos represent the past, whereas Florida is moving into the future.

This year Florida’s GDP topped $1 trillion, which if we were a country would place us 17th in the world. Florida’s economy is the 20th most diversified economy in American and wages are increasing.

U.S. News & World Report ranked us first nationally in higher education and the University of Florida now ranks among the top 10 public universities.

Noted University of Central Florida economist Sean Snaith describes Florida’s recovery from the Great Recession as “Phoenix-like.” One reason for that is Florida’s remarkably resilient tourism industry.

The Florida Chamber sees strong economic growth in Florida for the next 30 years.

All this is not by accident. It is due to a competitive business climate, smart policies and strong fiscal leadership.

The international casino conglomerates are desperate to get a toehold in Florida, not to add to what we have created but to feed off it.

Florida has come too far to go down this path without the people of Florida having a say. I’ll be voting yes on Amendment 3 because Florida’s future is worth protecting.

/Mark Wilson is CEO of the Florida Chamber of Commerce. Email:
mwilson@flchamber.com <mailto:mwilson@flchamber.com>./

 

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

 


A Brief Look at Crime 09/11 – 09/17

Addicted gambler gets house arrest after stealing $1 million

A Burford woman who stole almost $1 million from her CIBC employer was given a remarkably light sentence in Ontario Court last week due to her equally remarkable response to the crimes. Margaret Pepper, 56, was sentenced to a form of house arrest for two years rather than being sent to jail, which is typical for frauds of that magnitude. Pepper’s story began when she and co-workers from the CIBC’s Lynden Park Mall branch celebrated a birthday at the Brantford Casino. It started a major gambling addiction for the woman as she returned repeatedly to the casino, eventually spending $100,000 of her own funds and those of family. According to police, Pepper then began using her bank position to transfer money between client accounts and open new accounts in the names of some clients. Her scheme worked from October 2010 until November 2014 when an internal bank audit uncovered the theft. By that time, the bank had lost nearly $1 million, although it ensured no clients were out of pocket. The bank wasn’t initially named because it insisted, as the victim of a crime, it didn’t want to be identified. Pepper wasn’t charged until February 2016 and by that time, despondent at what she had done, she tried to take her own life.

‘Friction in gambling territory’: Vaughan kingpin Mark Peretz shot

Former Vaughan resident and illegal online gambling businessman Mark Peretz was the victim of an organized crime hit-style shooting at Sherway Gardens, according to CTV News. The news organization said it was told by a police source that it was Peretz who was shot in a brazen shooting at the Etobicoke mall on Aug. 16, around 7:30 p.m., that left him in life-threatening condition. According to an eyewitness in a CBC report, a man dressed in black with a mask suddenly appeared outside the mall and started firing into the driver’s side window of a car with a firearm that appeared to be fitted with a silencer. Peretz rose to infamy in the GTA after he was sentenced to nine years in prison for helping to mastermind an intended hit on reputed mobster Michele Modica. Getaway driver Peretz’s associates, Antonio Borrelli of Richmond Hill and Hells Angels member Paris Christoforou, fired 20 bullets in a failed attempt to kill Modica, who allegedly owed some $130,000 worth of gambling debts to Peretz. Reputed mobster Pietro “Peter” Scarcella was also sentenced to 10 years in prison for the incident.

Robbery suspect shoots 3 in Fort Worth, prompting gambling investigation

A robbery suspect is believed to have shot three people overnight, prompting an investigation into gambling at the building in East Fort Worth, police said. Three people had entered the building and attempted to rob three other people, police spokesman Daniel Segura said. The victims refused to cooperate, and one of the gunmen opened fire. He struck one person in the abdomen and another person was wounded in the leg. Police believe the third victim was also shot but left before officers arrived, Segura said. Detectives are also investigating gaming at the location, which is listed online as Pamir Smoke Shop.

Video Gambling Linked to Crime Spike

A new study led by economists at the University of Illinois suggests that access to video gambling is responsible for an increase of violent crime and property crime in Chicago. The Video Gaming Act of Illinois took effect in 2012, allowing local businesses with a liquor license to have up to four gambling terminals; presently, there are somewhere around 6,000 video gambling parlors in the state. Chicago maintains its 1993 ban on gambling, but access to video gambling has increased in the city thanks to its adoption by neighboring municipalities. Unlike other gambling studies which have been region- or state- specific, the authors analyzed block-level data. Drawing on police reports between January 2006 and June 2016, as well as monthly data on establishments with video gambling from the Illinois Gaming Board, the study found that “access to gambling adds on average 0.10 and 0.28 violent and property crimes per block group each month. In other words, legalizing video gambling has contributed to approximately 1,450 and 4,100 additional violent and property crimes in  Chicago since the Video Gaming Act took effect.”

While former studies have found a positive link between casinos and increased crime, the authors point out that “crime effects due to casino openings are driven by multiple mechanisms, not just gambling itself,” including an increase of visitors to counties where a casino has opened. By looking at video gambling only, researchers were able to eliminate factors extraneous to gambling.

North-east IT worker jailed after taking £1 million from council

A council IT expert who admitted swindling more than £1 million of public cash has been jailed. Mark Conway, 52, from Brechin began siphoning off local authority money into his own bank account to pay online gambling debts. He got away with the fraud for seven years before bosses at Dundee City Council grew suspicious. Conway, who admitted defrauding £1,065,085, lost the money betting on football matches. The offence was committed between August 2009 and May last year. Only £7,337 of the money was recovered. Judge Graeme Buchanan told first offender Conway: “I accept it was your addiction to gambling that led to the commission of this crime. “However, that is no excuse for what you did.” Judge Buchanan told Conway it was “a serious breach of trust.”

Identity theft, bank fraud at local casinos earns prison term 

A Las Vegas man was sentenced Wednesday to three years in prison for defrauding casinos, including two large local Native American operations. Frank Luo 49, was sentenced by Judge Kim Mueller of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California, according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Sacramento. Luo and a conspirator are accused of causing losses of more than $1.1 million to casinos and credit card companies. From 2008 to 2014, Luo used fake identities along with the names and Social Security numbers of migrant workers to apply for credit at casinos, called casino markers, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. A marker is essentially a cash advance from a casino, secured by a check from the patron. Luo and his accomplice would borrow money, and then pay it back, even sometimes faking that they were losing money gambling, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. Luo worked in concert with other people to get and then pay down makers in order to show they were good for more credit. After building up and establishing creditworthiness, they would gather large sums on markers in a short time and leave with the cash.

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


A Brief Look at Crime 07/10 – 07/16

Fake online stores reveal gamblers’ shadow banking system

A network of dummy online stores offering household goods has been used as a front for internet gambling payments, a Reuters examination has found. The seven sites, operated out of Europe, purport to sell items including fabric, DVD cases, maps, gift wrap, mechanical tape, pin badges and flags. In fact, they are fake outlets, part of a multinational system to disguise payments for the $40 billion global online gambling industry, which is illegal in many countries and some U.S. states. The findings raise questions about how e-commerce is policed worldwide. They also underline a strategy which fraud specialists say regulators, card issuers and banks have yet to tackle head-on. That strategy is “transaction laundering” – when one online merchant processes payment card transactions on behalf of another, which can help disguise the true nature of payments. The scheme found by Reuters involved websites which accepted payments for household items from a reporter but did not deliver any products. Instead, staff who answered helpdesk numbers on the sites said the outlets did not sell the product advertised, but that they were used to help process gambling payments, mostly for Americans. Categorising a gambling transaction as a purchase of something else is against the rules of card issuers including Visa and Mastercard, the card companies said in response to Reuters’ findings. “Transaction laundering is serious misconduct – often criminal,” said Dan Frechtling, head of product at G2 Web Services, a financial compliance company which works with leading banks and card issuers. “It violates the merchant’s agreement with its acquirer, allows prohibited goods and services to enter the payment system, and may flout anti-money laundering laws.”

Charming con man embezzled millions from trusting victims

Financial advisor Conrad Eagan was charming and almost like one of the family, according to the relatives of one of his clients who gathered in an Ottawa courtroom Thursday. But it was his nice guy routine that allowed him to swindle approximately $3.45 million from the elderly, pocketing money they had saved through their own hard work and perseverance to sate what one of his victims described as his “uncontrollable greed.” Court heard after Eagan convinced his clients to set up wills that would keep their inheritance in trust and pay out the beneficiaries, only 10 per cent of them invested assets annually. Since Eagan also ensured he was the executor, it gave him access to the estate accounts. Eagan’s lawyer, Oliver Abergel, explained that the fraud was partially the result of his client’s gambling problem. “What I did is inexcusable. It was cruel. People trusted me, I let them down,” said Eagan. “I’m sorry, and it’s not sorry for being caught. I did such a stupid thing.”

Woman stole £150k from vulnerable pensioner and spent it on gambling and holidays

A fraudster left a vulnerable pensioner penniless after fleecing her out of more than £150,000 which she blew on gambling, holidays and jewellery. Heartless Lynn Minrath befriended the woman and then took increasing control over her finances. Prosecutor David Bright said: “This is, in essence, a fraud case, a particularly mean one. “It is the tale of a dishonest younger woman taking financial advantage of a woman in her 70s.” Mr Bright said that in 2014 the pensioner had in excess of £250,000, mainly from the proceeds of the sale of her home in London prior to her moving in with her brother in Rugby. When Mr Bright put to her that she was gambling “thousands of pounds” of the pensioner’s money, she replied: “With her consent, and with her wishes.” She accepted she had carried on until the pensioner’s accounts had been emptied, but denied Mr Bright’s suggestion that she was “a thoroughly dishonest woman”. The court heard that in 2013, Minrath, whose victim has been reimbursed by around £130,000 by her bank, had been jailed for thefts and frauds from people while working as a child minder.

Temecula woman sentenced for stealing, gambling away $565,000

A Temecula woman who stole $565,000 from the Escondido- based concrete business where she worked and gambled the money away at local casinos was sentenced today to six years in state prison. Sheila Jo Jackson, 46, pleaded guilty last month to a half-dozen felony charges, including embezzlement, check forgery and grand theft, filed by the San Diego County District Attorney’s Office. Vista Superior Court Judge Michael Washington ordered Jackson to pay restitution to Betz Concrete, where she worked as a business manager. The thefts went back to at least 2012, said Deputy District Attorney Anna Winn. A bank representative contacted the concrete company about suspicious activity on its account and Jackson was arrested late last year, according to police.

Man ran half-dozen illegal gambling rooms in Austin area

Chong Pak, 53, has been arrested in connection to an illegal gambling operation in Austin. Police found nearly $750,000 in cash in Pak’s home after serving a warrant, officials said. Police believe Pak owned six to eight game rooms in the Austin area. Austin police have arrested a man in connection to citywide illegal gambling activities, but the case remains open as they expect to file more charges in the future against others, police said. People who play with these particular machines do not have a “legitimate” chance of winning, police said. These activities are of interest to police because of the related crimes that could occur, such as robberies and violent crimes, police said. Austin police believe there are about 80 illegal gambling operations housed in warehouses, homes and storefronts throughout the Austin area, said Austin police Cmdr. Troy Officer of APD’s organized crime unit.

Ex-casino worker admits role in ‘inside job’ robbery that led to murder of Brink’s guard

Ammar has been locked up since shortly after the Aug. 21, 2011, robbery, an insider job that led to the shooting death of Brink’s guard Alvaro Lopez Ramos. Ramos, 26, was fatally shot while picking up cash from the Calder Race Track and Casino, on the border of Broward and Miami-Dade counties. Jurors found Ammar not guilty of playing a role in the murder but convicted him of robbery, conspiracy and a related firearms offense at his 2012 trial. Four other people who pleaded guilty to their roles in the incident are serving federal prison terms ranging from five years to 50 years. Vladimir Louissaint, 31, of Miami Gardens, who confessed to firing the fatal shots, received the most severe punishment of 50 years. Ammar, a U.S. Marine Corps veteran who was a security manager at the casino, remained imprisoned while his appeal was pending. His case is now being handled by U.S. District Judge Ursula Ungaro.

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


GUEST ARTICLE: [Florida] Lawmakers’ Rushed Deal to Expand Casinos in Miami is a Reckless Gamble

Casino Watch Focus has reported on the ongoing efforts to expand gambling in Florida by authorizing a new, Las Vegas style, destination resort casino. As recently pointed out by the Mason-Dixon poll, the vast amount of voters, 84%, want to either hold the line or actually reduce gambling expansion. When it came to gambling expansion through new casinos, the Florida legislature has typically done as the people have asked and not expanded gambling in this measure. However, that appears to be coming to an end as House and Senate are making a deal to allow a new casino to come to Miami and they are facing huge opposition. The below article is the office Miami Herald Editorial Board position:

After years of an impasse between the House and Senate on expanding casinos in Florida, comes a sudden and unseemly rush to get the job done.

The Legislature needs to slow its roll of the dice. Legislation pushed through in a hurry, without much, if any, public notice or input, is never a good thing….

House and Senate leaders appear to be closing in on a deal to radically revamp Florida’s gambling industry and strike an agreement with the Seminole Tribe in what could be a considerable expansion of gambling throughout the state — and Miami-Dade.

The measure rightly has been met with resistance from gambling opponents. This rush toward a decision in the session’s final days to allow, among other things, a new casino in Miami-Dade has that hush-hush, backroom feel — almost always unwise, and usually at taxpayers’ expense.

Count the Editorial Board among those calling for putting the brakes on this troubling quickie deal. The Board has long opposed turning Miami-Dade into a Las Vegas-style destination — and we continue to do so. Gambling, indeed, can transform communities — often for the worse. Miami-Dade is a progressive community of great accomplishment, but one, too, that already is a magnet for too many dangerous and illicit activities. Casinos won’t help…

Among the opponents of the deal is Armando Codina, one of Miami’s most prominent developers, who told Herald/Times reporter Mary Ellen Klas that he was surprised by the sudden legislative sprint. Codina, chairman of Codina Partners, LLC, a real estate investment and development firm based in Coral Gables, has long been a critic of expanded gambling in the county.

“I’m well-informed, but this surprised me how it was snuck in without any public debate,” said Codina.

He added that while the new gambling revenue would flow to the state and county, it will cost Miami-Dade dearly, leaving the community with the kind of infrastructure and social problems that it is already hard-pressed to handle. We agree. 

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

 

 


New Jersey Petitions Supreme Court to Allow their Overturned Attempt at Legalizing Sports Betting in NJ

Casino Watch Focus has reported on the ongoing efforts of New Jersey to legalize sports betting in their state. Its been long the case that sports betting has been limited to Las Vegas as they were grandfathered into legislation that prevented states from allowing sports betting. Time & time again New Jersey has attempted a new way to legalize sports betting and time & time again their attempts have been shot down by the courts. There last was a 2014 law that was also halted by the courts. They are taking the final step with this attempt by making an appear to the Supreme Court. The Times Union explains:  

After an initial 2012 law allowing sports gambling in New Jersey was struck down in court, Republican Gov. Chris Christie signed a bill into law in 2014 that repealed prohibitions against sports gambling at casinos and racetracks.

That tactic — repealing prohibitions instead of approving gambling — was seen as a way to get around the federal law by not having sports gambling officially authorized by the state.

But that also met defeat at the hands of a federal judge in New Jersey and a federal appeals court in Philadelphia.

In this week’s brief, the state argued the federal government, while able to regulate citizens directly, may not “require the states to govern by Congress’ instruction.”

Put differently, the appeals court’s ruling invalidating New Jersey’s 2014 law violates the Constitution by “authorizing a federal court injunction mandating that a State reinstate prohibitions it has chosen to repeal,” attorneys representing the state wrote.

The Supreme Court is expected to either pick up the case or reject hearing it, thus affirming the lower courts ruling that the law is illegal, within a month.

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


A Brief Look at Crime 12/26 – 01/01

Army Vet Killed Over ‘Poker Room Table Talk,’ 2 Arrested

Two men are behind bars after a U.S. Armyvet was gunned down outside a South Florida casino on Christmas night. Those men appeared in court Tuesday morning. The shooting happened at the Miccosukee Resort and Casino. Investigators say it began with ‘poker room table talk’ that led to an argument between Kenin Bailey, Mikey Lenard and MarineFernando Duarte. “It was poker room table talk, a little poker room talk at the table itself,” said Det. Flavio Rivera with the Miccosukee Police Department at the hearing Tuesday. Duarte was asked to leave the poker room. Later, in the parking lot, police say, they all continued to argue. At one point, investigators say, the two suspects cut off Duarte twice. The second time, Duarte got out of his car and approached the pair. Police say Bailey then opened fire, shooting off 13 rounds

Rugby fraudster tricked couple out of retirement pot to fund gambling 

A CROOKED bookkeeper who has clocked up almost £300,000 worth of frauds over the last 15 years is back behind bars after tricking a couple out of their retirement pot to fund his gambling and high-living. [M]ost of the money had gone on gambling and to pay for luxury holidays to destinations including Barbados, Egypt, Spain, Portugal and Cyprus. “It is very difficult for me to overestimate the impact this has had on the complainants. These were people approaching the end of their working careers, and now money they had worked hard for to put aside for their pensions has simply gone. “I don’t say it’s the sole cause of it, but the couple are no longer together, and [the husband] has lost his job because he was taking so much time off for stress,” said Mr Williams. Brough’s previous convictions included thefts from employers, fraud, forgery and false accounting – and Judge Andrew Lockhart QC commented: “In the 2000s he stole nearly £300,000.

Man sentenced for misusing company credit card for gambling

A Cumberland Township man who recently pleaded guilty to using his former employer’s company credit card to spend about $118,000 on lottery tickets and gift cards last year, was sentenced Thursday to 9 months to 23 months in Greene County Jail, followed by five years of probation. Police wrote in court documents that Kozy admitted he “got carried away” and became addicted to buying lottery tickets and “went extremely overboard” with the credit card. He allegedly told police he did not realize he had spent more than $100,000 with the card. Kozy pleaded guilty to access device fraud and was ordered by Greene County Judge Lou Dayich to pay back the $118,074 by making $300 monthly payments for the first year, and $500 per month after that.

Woman accused of embezzling $100k from wounded vets 

Army investigators arrested a government contractor at San Antonio Military Medical Center on Wednesday and accused her of taking more than $100,000 meant for wounded soldiers from the foundation she volunteers for — the Air Warrior Courage Foundation. According to a complaint filed by an investigator with the Army Criminal Investigation Division, foundation funds were deposited into Charles’ personal account, which she then diverted to pay personal living expenses from April through October of this year. Much of that money she withdrew as cash from automated teller machines at the Kickapoo Lucky Eagle Casino in Eagle Pass, according to the complaint.

Virginia woman gets 5 years in prison in Ponzi scheme 

70-year-old Williamsburg woman has been sentenced to five years in prison in what prosecutors say was a Ponzi scheme through which she swindled more than $1.1 million. The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia said in a statement that Patricia Means of Williamsburg was sentenced Monday after pleading guilty to wire fraud and money laundering earlier this year. The statement says Means, a retired investment broker, developed a scheme to raise funds for developing a handbag organizer. They say she then used investments from more than a dozen victims on housing, casino trips, vehicles and other personal items. According to the statement, longtime friends of hers were among the victims. Means was also ordered to pay restitution and was sentenced to three years of supervised release.

Veteran Marine gunned down outside Miami casino on Christmas night

A veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps was gunned down Christmas night at a South Florida casino. Family members of Fernando Duarte said he was shot while leaving the Miccosukee Casino in Miami. The 33-year-old walked out after winning a prize from a slot machine when he was shot by three gunmen. Duarte was rushed to Kendall Regional Hospital where he later died. Miccosukee police said three people are in custody in connection with the shooting. Detectives did not release their identities or the charges they face. The investigation is ongoing.

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


Online Gambling Ban efforts Hope to find Success in Congress under the upcoming Trump Administration

Casino Watch Focus has reported on the ongoing efforts to reverse the Obama Administration’s stance on online gambling. Federal Law clearly made the activity illegal but the Obama Administration use the courts to provide a very controversial interpretation of the Wire Act. Many efforts have been made to reverse this course, but none have succeeded under Obama’s Administration. Many believe once he leaves office, there will be real movement in restoring online gambling bans and a new bill has been filed with that very intent. An online source explains: 

Pennsylvania Republican Representative Michael Fitzpatrick has introduced legislation to the US House that would ban online gambling at a federal level.

The “RAWA-esque” bill HR 6453 appeared on Capitol Hill last week, December 7, and is co-sponsored by Representative Bobby Rush (D-Illinois) and longstanding online gaming opponent, Representative Charles Dent (R-Pennsylvania). It’s been coming. The dark clouds began to gather last week when ten attorney generals from states across the US wrote to petition the incoming Trump administration to impose a federal ban on online gambling.

“The risks to our citizens are real and extensive,” explained the AGs. “The ability for youth to access online gaming sites presents a significant risk to teens, a risk more easily mitigated at traditional brick-and-mortar establishments.”

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


A Brief Look at Crime 9/05-9/11

Man shot during card game in Phoenix

Phoenix police are looking for two men after gunshots erupted during a card game Thursday night, sending one man to a hospital with life-threatening injuries. The card game, which police say may be connected to an illegal gambling ring, took place in an abandoned building that was once a hookah lounge near 32nd Street and Cactus Road. Sgt. Vince Lewis, a Phoenix police spokesman, said a friend of the gunshot victim called 911 at 8 p.m. to report an armed robbery. The caller said his friend was shot about 10 minutes earlier. “Violence is not part of our neighborhood,” she said. “We have neighbors that always watch everything and we have good, good people around us. This is very unusual for our side of town.”

Court: Prosecutors had right to seize $800K NFL pool money

An appeals court has upheld a ruling that a New Jersey county had the right to seize more than $800,000 from the operator of an NFL survivor pool. NJ.com reports the court ruled that Monmouth County prosecutors were acting within their authority when they seized cash found in the Parlin home of John Bovery and money from his three bank accounts in 2010. The three-judge panel disagreed with Bovery, who contended that the pools weren’t illegal because he wasn’t taking bets on individual games. A judge wrote that the pools are illegal because they’re a form of gambling that isn’t sanctioned by the New Jersey constitution. Bovery settled his criminal case this spring. His attorney says Bovery plans to petition to the state Supreme Court.

Normandie Casino owners hit with more than million dollar fine for protecting higher roller customers

Former operators of the Normandie Casino in Gardena, California have been hit with more than a million dollar penalty after the casino admitted to violating the Bank Secrecy Act in an attempt to protect its high roller customers from reporting their winnings as per federal law. The casino will now have to turn over $1.4 million which it did not report in high-value transactions to the government and also pay a fine of $1 million for its violations. The casino was sold in July after pleading guilty to the charges in January. The Normandie Casino was one of the oldest casinos in California and opened in the 1940s. The casino admitted that it did not record a number of high-value transactions in 2013 and also was guilty of not adopting and following an effective program to counter money laundering activities in the casino. During a six-week period in 2013, one of the casino’s VIP patrons is reported to have won $1 million from another customer and the casino management did not report these transactions and shielded the identity of the high-roller. The acting special agent responsible for the IRS criminal investigations, Anthony J. Orlando stated that the fines imposed on the Normandie Casino are proof of the government’s seriousness to enforce anti-money laundering laws and ensure that VIP gamblers will not be encouraged to hide their winnings. 

Dad who left kids in car while gambling charged with child abuse

Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy’s Office charged a Ypsilanti father, whom police say left two young children in his car while he gambled, with child abuse Tuesday. Montez D’Angelo Sistrunk, 25, was arraigned Tuesday on two counts of second-degree child abuse after leaving two young children in a vehicle while he gambled at Motor City Casino on Grand River in Detroit for nearly an hour, according to a statement issued by Worthy’s office. “An employee of the casino observed the children and alerted a security guard who removed the children from the car,” the statement said. Detroit police said the children were 5 months old and 2 years old. Sistrunk was issued a $75,000, 10 percent bond.

Gambling with the gov’t’s dime: Pentagon employees used work credit cards at casinos, strip clubs

It’s no surprise that government workers like to party – just look at the myriad Secret Service and Drug Enforcement Agency scandals. Even the Pentagon has gotten in on the action, with employees using government travel cards at strip clubs and casinos. Not only did Defense Department employees improperly use their work credit cards, but their supervisors failed to take appropriate action after discovering the malfeasance, a report by the Pentagon’s inspector general found. The investigation was a follow-up audit of a previous report, which discovered that the military racked up 5,000 charges at casinos and strip clubs totaling more than $1 million over the course of a year. 

Normandie Casino Owners Ordered to Pay $2.4 Million for Violating Bank Secrecy Act

The Normandie Casino in Gardena, California is no more, but its former owners are still on the hook for a $2.4 million penalty. In January, the owners of California’s oldest card club pled guilty to violating the Bank Secrecy Act and admitted to hiring independent gaming promoters to attract high-rollers. The casino also confessed to deliberately failing to file the proper transaction reports. Owned by the Miller family since 1947, the Normandie casino owners found out their sentencing fate last week. United States District Judge James Otero ordered the Millers to pay $500,000 for each of the two counts of failing to report large cash transactions and maintain an effective anti-money laundering program. Otero also ordered the Normandie casino to forfeit $1,383,530, which represents numerous unreported transactions in 2013. The Bank Secrecy Act requires casinos to report details of individual transactions over $10,000. “Our money laundering laws were enacted to prevent criminals from concealing the source of large sums of cash generated by illegal activity,” United States Attorney Eileen Decker said in a statement. “Casinos and card rooms such as Normandie are cash-intensive businesses that are particularly attractive for use by criminals seeking to launder their ill-gotten gains, so they must be vigilant in meeting their obligations under those laws,” Decker explained.

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


A Brief Look at Crime 5/16 – 5/29

First he started gambling. Then he started to disappear. And then he was found dead.

Purna Gurung survived nearly two decades in a refugee camp before he arrived in Clarkston. Those who knew him thought he was bound to succeed. Then Purna started playing video gambling machines. And then he started to disappear. Within two years of his arrival he was found locked inside his apartment bathroom bleeding to death, a police report states. He had slit his wrists and neck and stabbed himself in the abdomen. His wife told investigators they were three months behind on rent and Purna had been out of work for six months. “I didn’t believe it,” his brother Mongal Gurung said. “He was my brother, and best friend, too.” “He wore clean clothes. He was well dressed. No one thought something was going on in his life,” Sharma said. But to Mongal, Purna seemed a little withdrawn. A mutual friend told Mongal about Purna’s gambling, and Mongal decided to confront him.“You need to slow down,” Mongal recalled telling him. “It’s not a place you need to be spending money.” Only after Purna’s suicide did others learn he had been leaving his wife alone with their new daughter to gamble, and they remained unaware of the purported depth of his financial troubles during a recent AJC interview. But visits to any gas station in Clarkston are a reminder of the power of the games. Gamblers stand at the terminals mesmerized.“They forget everything,” Mongal said. “They forget food to eat and water to drink.”

Heroin money laundered at casinos

A 31-year-old Felton man, Deangelo Mcglotten, is the “ringleader” of a large-scale heroin distribution effort that a two-year police investigation just broke apart, authorities said announcing the indictment of Mcglotten and 12 other people on drug, conspiracy, racketeering and money laundering charges. Police also said the investigation uncovered a money-laundering scheme that sent proceeds of illegal drug sales through casinos. A Georgetown businessman, Salman Choudhary, 37, was charged with involvement in organized crime, racketeering, money laundering, attempting to evade tax and failing to file tax returns. He was held on a bond of $1.7 million, the largest cash bond of any of the people indicted after what authorities called “Operation Duck Hunt. In all, police confiscated 1.75 kilograms of heroin during the investigation, with a street value of $1.2 million, Bratz said. On May 11, police arrested eight people, including Mcglotten, Choudhary, Felix and Coverdale.

Woman, who says she embezzled to pay for gambling, must pay $500K in restitution

An admitted problem gambler who paid for her addiction by embezzling funds belonging to the city of Oklahoma City was ordered Monday to pay nearly $500,000 in restitution. “The addiction was strong,” Renne M. Magerus told an Oklahoma City federal judge during the sentencing. “What were you thinking?” U.S. District Judge David L. Russell asked her at one point. “I wasn’t thinking,” Magerus replied, “(I was) covering up my gambling addiction.” Prosecutors alleged that while Magerus was employed as an accounting manager for Republic Parking System she embezzled nearly $420,000. Republic Parking System manages downtown parking garages and lots for the Central Oklahoma Transportation and Parking Authority. The city of Oklahoma City created the authority, or COTPA, in 1966.

Securities fraudsters who stole from 100M people to be extradited

Two Israeli men accused of securities fraud and hacks into media outlets and nine financial institutions, including JPMorgan Chase, Fidelity Investments and E*Trade Financial Corp., will be extradited to the U.S., according to Bloomberg. The extradition was approved by an Israeli court opening the path for Ziv Orenstein and Gery Shalon to face trial following their arrest in July at the request of the U.S. Department of Justice. The two men, along with a third non-Israeli, also face charges related to identity theft, unlawful internet gambling and money laundering that netted them hundreds of millions of dollars.

Hamburg bookkeeper sent to prison for stealing $260,000 from employer 

A bookkeeper from Hamburg who betrayed the trust of two employers by embezzling from them was sentenced Thursday to up to eight years in prison, but not before she was excoriated in Erie County Court by her victims’ family and the judge. “This was someone we regarded as not just an employee but a friend,” Jarrett Gilden said of Joan Joyce. Joyce, 57, worked for ECC Electrical Construction, a company Gilden’s father built, when she stole $263,135 to support her gambling addiction. She pleaded guilty in February to one count of second-degree grand larceny for the theft and five counts of first-degree offering a false instrument for filing for lying about her illicit income on her state income tax forms.

Vegan fugitives ‘finally caught’ for failing to pay employees, stealing $2M from investors 

The owner of a high-end vegan business and her husband who skipped town last year were indicted Thursday for leaving their employees out to dry and stealing from investors, then using $2 million to gamble and shop. Sarma Melngailis and Anthony Strangis were arrested in Tennessee and will be brought back to New York to face charges on a 24-count indictment. Melngailis, 43, and Strangis, 35, allegedly failed to pay 84 workers of Pure Food & Wine and One Lucky Duck in Chelsea Market and Gramercy over $40,000 in wages, stole $844,000 from four investors, didn’t pay $400,000 in taxes and spent $2 million at Foxwoods, Mohegan Sun Casinos, luxury jewelry, trips to Europe and Uber rides.  January 2015, paychecks bounced, leaving 98 workers without pay. They refused to work, despite the owner’s urgings, and the business closed, prosecutors said. In addition, Melngailis and her corporations failed to remit the required state sales taxes from the beginning of 2014 through the demise of the business for a total of sales tax due of $409,987.56, according to the indictment.

Bus company involved in fatal Texas crash repeatedly failed safety checks 

The bus company involved in a crash that killed eight people and wounded 44 [on its way from San Juan to a casino in Kickapoo] Texas had been repeatedly rebuked in recent years for safety failings. OGA Charters, the company operating the coach involved in the crash yesterday morning, was caught violating safety codes for drivers and vehicles at least 15 times in the last two years. In the most serious incident, the company was ordered to sideline a bus in May 2015 due to faulty brakes, only for the same bus to be ordered off the road in August when the problem was not fixed. OGA Charters, the bus company involved in the fatal crash in Texas yesterday, had been repeatedly flagged for safety violations in the last two years including faulty brakes on its coaches.


John Sowinski: Compact is a #BadDealforFlorida

Casino Watch Focus has reported on the newly signed gambling compact between Florida Gov. Scott and the Seminole Tribe. The scrutiny of this massive $3 billion piece of gambling expansion legislation will continue to build as more sources dissect the material, but the following guest article by the President of No Casinos provides an instruction to many of the opposition’s criticisms:

When state lawmakers approved the original 2010 gaming compact with the Seminole Tribe, they promised Florida residents it would serve as a firewall against the further expansion of gambling. The proposed renewal of the compact is a complete violation of that trust.

In fact, the renegotiated compact will lead to the largest gambling
expansion in state history, taking South Florida in the direction of Las Vegas and Atlantic City while creating pressure to build casinos in the rest of the state.

As negotiated, the compact would allow the tribe to add more games in more locations and convert its facilities into full-scale Vegas-style
casinos. It also would allow for two nontribal slots casinos, including
an expansion into Palm Beach. Those would be added to a market that industry experts say already is oversaturated with pari-mutuel casinos.

Carving out special deals for gambling operators in Palm Beach and
Miami-Dade counties only will create demands for casino expansion in other parts of the state, from the Panhandle to Tampa Bay to Southwest Florida. Judging by reactions to the compact from some legislators and lobbyists, that process already has begun. History has demonstrated numerous times that gambling can’t be expanded, even a little, without it leading to more gambling than promised: It’s called gambling creep.

Even the notoriously pro-gambling *South Florida Sun-Sentinel*
recognizes this deal will expand gambling. Its recent editorial calls
the compact, “a coup for gambling lobbyists,” and notes that, “There is no denying that the agreement continues the gambling-creep that has affected Florida since voters cleared the way for the lottery in 1986 and racinos with slot machines in 2004.”

This compact threatens our family-friendly tourism brand, the most
successful in the world. The compact promotes a business model that
invites crime, addiction, government corruption and other social ills — costing the state far more than the revenue it produces.

We also have seen again and again the consequences when governments become dependent on gambling revenues. As that revenue flattens out or even declines, states respond with even more gambling or other concessions such as tax cuts or bailouts. One *newspaper story* said it best, “Every state that has allowed casinos to come in as a salve for their budgetary woes still have their budgetary woes.”

Florida is experiencing a strong economic resurgence and is diversifying its economy. It has abundant budget surpluses and is among the most financially stable states in the nation. We didn’t achieve that because of gambling and we won’t be a better state for allowing gambling to expand. That all begs the question: Why are we doing this?

This compact is a bad deal for Florida’s residents, businesses and
economy. We encourage Florida legislators to side with Florida voters who have consistently and overwhelmingly rejected this path for our state.

John Sowinski is president of NoCasinos.org.

 

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


As Daily Fantasy Sports Industry Comes Under Fire, Even Draftkings and FanDuel Acknowledge Dangers as They Call for Gov Regulation and Implement Problem Gambling Safeguards

Casino Watch Focus has reported on the new Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) industry, including the recent realization that at its core, its gambling, and that when left unregulated or banned, its leading to online scandals and wide spread investigation, including from the FBI and US Attorney General.  Recently, New York investigated the practice of daily fantasy sports and quickly reached a ruling that its illegal, which lead to the attorney general’s office to issue a cease and desist order to DraftKings and FanDuel.  The Washington Post explains:

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman found daily fantasy sites DraftKings and FanDuel in violation of the state’s gambling laws and sent both companies cease-and-desist letters to stop accepting payments – “wagers,” in his words – from New York residents.

The leagues that profit from it may be up next. Questioned about the leagues’ responsibility regarding daily fantasy, a spokesman in the New York attorney general’s office declined to comment, but did not rule out that it was an area of focus in the investigation.

The NBA, MLB, NFL and NHL all operate out of Manhattan. Just as MLB owns a little piece of DraftKings, the NBA owns a small percentage of FanDuel. The NHL shares an extensive marketing agreement with DraftKings. The NFL has attempted to keep the companies at arm’s length, but multiple team owners are heavily invested in both companies, and the league’s network partners draw massive advertising dollars from both of the daily fantasy titans.

Beyond just the individual state level, it’s rumored that the Department of Justice will outlaw DFS by the end of the year.  Following the recent insider trading type scandal between FanDuel and Draft Kings, and perhaps seeing the writing on the wall, FanDuel CEO called for government regulation.  The Wall Street Journal explains:

Nigel Eccles, who founded FanDuel in 2009, said Thursday that intervention by state governments is the only way to ensure consumers can trust the fantasy sports industry, which is facing a federal criminal probe and scrutiny by state regulators.

He said a plan announced this week by the industry’s trade group to police itself with an outside control board is positive but doesn’t go far enough. “Consumers want a higher level of protection,” he said in an interview. “They need to know it’s fair, that the information is protected. If the consumer doesn’t trust the industry than the business doesn’t exist.”

The most telling move though, just recently, and somewhat quietly, happened by DraftKings.  They have started a program familiar to problem gamblers that the gambling industy refers to as a self-exclusion list.  It’s a clear sign that they understand the dangers involved and it’s as close to an outright admission that the industry is simply gambling as you might expect.  Self-exclusion lists aren’t always an effective tool, but, but the addition is a clear signal what type of product is being pushed.  A regional online Boston website explains:

As it fends off comparisons to illegal gambling operations, Boston-based daily fantasy sports company DraftKings now offers a system familiar to many legal gambling businesses: a self-exclusion option, which allows users to deactivate their accounts for periods ranging from three months to five years. On a new responsible gaming section of its website, DraftKings presents the self-exclusion policy as a way to prevent addictive gaming.

DraftKings has resisted gambling comparisons in the U.S., arguing its games are valid under federal and most states’ gaming laws. But self-exclusion is common in the gambling industry, and its usage appears to be an acknowledgment by DraftKings that its users could be susceptible to the same kind of addictive play.

Les Bernal, the national director of the Washington, D.C.-based organization Stop Predatory Gambling, dismissed self-exclusion options as a “sham.” “The whole idea of somebody who’s an addict is the absence of free will. How does somebody who’s an addict exercise their free will?” Bernal said. “It’s a gimmick that’s not meant to protect the player. It’s meant to give the appearance of concern by Internet gambling companies like DraftKings.”

Self-exclusion can be helpful to gambling addicts who have already recognized they have a problem, but it does little to help those who have not reached that point of self-awareness, said Krystle Kelly, the director of development and communications at the Massachusetts Council on Compulsive Gambling. “As a standalone, if that’s the only thing they’re doing to acknowledge this could be a gambling problem, I don’t think this is going to be very effective,” Kelly said. “If all of this negative attention did create these controls, I think that’s a good thing. I think that’s a step in the right direction. But I think there probably needs to be more work done to address high-risk populations.”

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


A Brief Look at Crime 11/16 – 11/22

FBI ask the public to report illegal gambling

The Washington, D.C.-based casino industry lobbying group said Tuesday that it’s cooperating with the FBI in asking the public to use the Internet Crime Complaint Center to report illegal gambling activities. The complaint center, also referred to as the IC3, allows individuals to submit information to the FBI about suspected criminal activity fueled by the Internet. Those who fill out forms do not need to be victims of such crimes — the IC3 says it accepts reports from third parties, too. Geoff Freeman, the gaming association’s president, said his organization’s work with the FBI will allow it to make significant headway in its quest to stop illegal gambling. “In particular, the Internet Crime Complaint Center will be an invaluable tool for people in every state to report tips about the multi-billion dollar illegal gambling sector that preys on consumers, steals jobs and deprives state and local governments of revenues generated by the legal, regulated casino gaming industry,” Freeman said in a statement.

Prosecutor: 3 arrested for gambling after fatal shooting 

Authorities have identified the Jersey City man who they say was moved inside of a bodega by employees after he was fatally shot. Hudson County Prosecutor Esther Suarez said that 23-year-old Davonte Carswell  was shot around 1 p.m. on Sunday in Jersey City. She says police believe his body was moved inside of the Los Yoleros Mini Market Deli  by workers there. Three people inside the deli were arrested and charged with tampering with physical evidence and possession of gambling records. Suarez says police found a gambling operation inside of the business.

33 Indicted in Illegal Multi-Million Dollar Sports Betting Ring 

Thirty-three people have been indicted on charges in connection with a multi-million dollar sports betting operation in the Boston and South Shore area in Massachusetts, the Attorney General’s Office announced Friday afternoon. The people charged are accused of operating the sports gambling business that used an off-shore betting website to track bets. Officials say the suspected leader of the crime ring, 43-year-old John Woodman of Braintree, organized a network of more than 30 people to take illegal bets from more than 700 individuals in Massachusetts. Woodman was indicted on a variety of illegal gambling charges.

 Man caught after 10-store, 900-ticket lotto theft spree, police say 

An alleged lottery ticket thief was not lucky enough to get away with stealing 900 lottery tickets, let alone hit the potential $5 million jackpot, according to police. An investigation led police to arrest Andrew Miller, 20, of Scotch Plains, on Monday, and charge him with a slew of ticket thefts, said Springfield Township Det. Lt. Judd Levenson, the department’s spokesman. Miller was found in Scotch Plains on Monday at 12:30 p.m. after Springfield police determined he had stolen at least $2,000 worth of lottery tickets from 10 different stores in N.J., including three in Springfield, Levenson said Calling the case “unusual,” Levenson said in his past 29 years a detective, he had never seen anyone specialize in stealing lotto tickets. “If you hit the $5 million (top prize), that would be miraculous,” he said. “But in reality, if you steal a whole lot of rub-off tickets, if you made a couple bucks on each of these tickets, those tickets might be worth a couple thousand (dollars)… It’s a gamble, because you can steal ten tickets, and all ten of those tickets come up to be nothing.”

Albany business owner killed by gunfire stemming from possible illegal gambling operation

Police are investigating the early Thursday morning shooting death of an Albany business owner, and following leads that an illegal gambling operation may have been operated at that location. Lamar Parr Plaza, police officials say, when just after midnight. Thursday morning an unknown male knocked on the front door, asking to come inside. Witnesses told police that “words were exchanged” and Kerper refused entry to the man. According to police, the suspect returned a short time later, brandishing a gun and fired at least one shot through the glass front door of the business. Kerper was killed. Dougherty County District Attorney Greg Edwards said that in addition to the ongoing homicide investigation, detectives are also looking at the possibility that an illegal gaming operation had been conducted at the address. “Ostensibly, the motive for the shooting was robbery,” Edwards said. “But there’s a second theory about a gambling operation.”

 Ex-Kingman employee accused of $300,000 theft 

Former city of Kingman budget analyst Diane Maxine Richards allegedly stole more than $300,000 from the city’s bank account, according to an affidavit obtained by the Kingman Daily Miner. The thefts were reportedly used to pay back cash advances she took out in Laughlin in order to gamble. Special agents with the state Attorney General and Department of Homeland Security served search warrants at City Hall and at Richards’ Kingman home Monday morning. She has been terminated, but it is unclear whether she has been formally charged with a crime. According to the affidavit in support of the search warrant signed by special agent Dilsher Ali with the Attorney General’s office, Richards allegedly committed the crimes of fraudulent schemes, computer tampering, money laundering, theft, and violating state laws regarding the duties and liabilities of custodians of public money.

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


No Casinos Advocates Seminole Compact Renewal with No Harmful Expanded Gambling Provisions

 

Casino Watch Focus has reported on the ongoing efforts between Florida and the Seminole Nation to renew its gambling compact that expired earlier this year.  The key focus for such renewal is that doing so provides exclusive rights to tribal gambling and prevent outside gambling interests from taking hold in the state.  Casino Watch Focus recently reported on rumors that the two sides were discussing adding more casinos or new table games like roulette and craps.  That prospect has drawn the ire of those looking to prevent harmful gambling expansion from reaching even more of Florida’s families.  The No Casino group has made its opposition clear to Florida Gov. Rick Scott.  An online political site explains:

An anti-gambling expansion organization is asking Gov. Rick Scot to jettison “gambling expansion scenarios as a part of the compact renewal” with the Seminole Tribe of Florida, according to a letter released Wednesday.

John Sowinski, president of Orlando-based No Casinos, wrote to Scott on Tuesday, sending copies to legislative leaders.

“We believe that having compact negotiations serve as a vehicle for any expansion of gambling, either on tribal property or off of tribal property, is completely contrary to the entire basis by which the compact was sold to the public back in 2010,” he wrote. “Instead, we believe the best course of action for the state of Florida is to ensure that any compact renewal be predicated on a zero expansion policy.”

“Gambling has contributed virtually nothing to (Florida’s) remarkable turnaround, nor will it in the future,” Sowinski wrote in this week’s letter. “This has been borne out in state after state that has foolishly chosen to chase casino dollars,” he added. “We need to stay the course, and that course includes a family-friendly tourism brand that is the envy of every other state in the nation, and has given us the most resilient tourism economy in the world.”

A full copy of the letter is available HERE:

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