Author Archives: evls

Online Site Launched to Combat March Madness Gambling at the University level

Casino Watch Focus reported that  as the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament runs through the end of March, billions will be lost to gambling.  Even though all age groups are susceptible to the negative effects of gambling, this type of sports gambling is especially popular among university-aged students.  As a result, a new website has been launched to help educated those students about gambling during March Madness.  An online source explains:

As the NCAA college basketball tournament approaches, the National Center for Responsible Gaming (NCRG) is launching a public awareness initiative to encourage college administrators, campus health professionals and students to learn more about college gambling and gambling-related harms. The campaign also helps to educate students who are of legal age about how to make responsible decisions about gambling.

The centerpiece of the campaign is  www.CollegeGambling.org, a science-based resource developed by the NCRG to help colleges and universities address gambling and gambling-related harms on college campuses. The website brings together the latest research and best practices in responsible gaming and the field of addiction awareness and prevention. CollegeGambling.org provides free resources for university administrators, campus health professionals, students and parents to help address this issue in the way best suited to the needs of each campus.

The National Center for Responsible Gambling has said that 75% of university students had gambled in the last year.  They go on to say that one in five have been involved in sports gambling.  Not all the gambling is legal, especially considering the age of most college students is below the legal age and the shear amount of illegal sports bookies.  Many are able to avoid the pitfalls of this type of gambling, but for those that don’t, there can be major consequences.  The online source continues:

“While a majority of those old enough to legally gamble can do so responsibly, research estimates that 6 percent of U.S. college students have some form of gambling problem that can result in psychological difficulties, unmanageable debt and failing grades,” said Christine Reilly, senior research director of the NCRG. “For those who are not of legal age to gamble, there is no level of responsible gambling.”

CollegeGambling.org provides collateral materials about college gambling and responsible gaming, such as brochures, fact sheets, posters and toolkits. The website also houses customizable presentations that university counselors, peer educators and student leaders can use during their educational programming opportunities.  The website materials are available as free downloads.

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

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Candidates agree during the gubernatorial debates: you should vote NO on A

In response to a question during the debate, both Hulshof and Nixon said they opposed Proposition A – a Nov. 4 ballot measure that would repeal Missouri’s unique $500 loss limit for gamblers, cap the number of new casino licenses and increase casino taxes, with the new money going to public schools. “I support continuing the $500 loss limit,” Nixon said. “I think the people of Missouri have spoken on that” by approving the loss limits as part of the ballot initiative that authorized riverside casinos in the 1990s. Hulshof said he also opposed the ballot measure because it would do away with the electronic gamblers’ identification cards, which are used in conjunction with the loss limit.

Click here for the enitre article by David Lieb of the Associated Press – Springfield News-Leader


Casino interests change committee name

From Randy Turner of The Turner Report:

The Yes for Schools First Committee is a thing of the past.

Missouri Ethics Commission documents filed Aug. 21 show the committee pushing for the removal of loss limits and the elimination of competition for casinos has changed its name to Yes on A Coalition.

The committee is pushing the passage of Proposition A, the so-called Schools First Initiative in November.

Though the casino interests are trying to sell Missourians on this proposition by linking it with schools, I described the effort this way in the May 3 Turner Report:

One of the biggest fictions that continues to be foisted upon the public is the idea that gambling money can solve all of the problems with school funding.

According to the advertising when Missourians approved a state lottery, that money was going to save the schools. Of course, the money was never designated for the schools, but was placed in general revenue. If the money had been targeted to schools, undoubtedly legislators would have cut the amount going into education from general revenue.

Every few years, those who want to increase gambling in this state, use education as a way to overcome resistance to the idea…and it is happening again.

The gambling interests never use names like “More Gambling in Missouri” or “A Sucker Born Every Minute” for their “grass roots” groups. The latest one, registered with the Missouri Ethics Commission on Dec. 21, 2007, is the Yes for Schools First Coalition.

The Coalition, which has been operating under the radar since that time (except for Arch City Chronicle and some in the blogosphere) appears to have landed enough signatures to allow Missourians to vote on removing loss limits from casinos, purportedly to pour those extra dollars into education.

Since this is a coalition designed to bring funding to education, you might expect to see those with a stake in education- parents, teachers, administrators, education interest groups lining up to back this initiative.

Missouri Ethics Commission documents paint a different picture.

The coalition’s most recent disclosure report, filed April 15, shows $1,427,700 in contributions. Not one cent came from anyone associated with education. In fact, the funding came from only two sources- $835,700 from Ameristar Casinos and $592,00 from Pinnacle Entertainment.

This was the news release issued by the coalition Friday:

The YES for Schools First Coalition today submitted to the Missouri Secretary of State more than 160,000 voter signatures on petitions for the Schools First Initiative – far more than the approximately 92,000 signatures required to place the initiative on the November 2008 statewide ballot.

“We’re pleased that Missouri voters have shown strong support for our measure,” said the group’s spokesperson, Anne Marie Moy. “The Schools First Initiative provides vitally needed new funds to Missouri schools by increasing the state taxes paid by casinos. It prohibits the legislature from using the casino taxes dedicated to education for any other purpose. It also protects thousands of local jobs and our state economy, by ensuring that Missouri casinos can compete for visitors on an equal basis with casinos in neighboring states.”

The Schools First Initiative will provide more than $100 million per year in new funds for elementary and secondary schools statewide by increasing the state tax paid by riverboat casinos to 21% and by eliminating Missouri’s $500 loss limit. The measure requires annual audits by the State Auditor to ensure that all casino tax revenues dedicated to education are used only for school funding and are not used to replace or supplant other education funds.

By eliminating Missouri’s outdated loss limit, which no other state imposes, the initiative will ensure that Missouri can compete for casino visitors on a level playing field. The initiative also prevents oversaturation of the in-state casino market by limiting the number of Missouri casinos to those already built or under construction.

The Schools First Initiative is supported by the YES for Schools First Coalition, which includes Missouri teachers and parents, and community and business leaders. The initiative also is endorsed by the Missouri Gaming Association, the organization which represents all casino companies operating in Missouri.

Reading the news release reminded me of the infamous Lamar con artist James R. Montgomery, who attempted to run a canned food drive, allegedly to benefit the needy, and advertised that he would have a particular church and the Boy Scouts helping him. The Lamar Police Department checked and found the school had nothing to do with the drive and neither did the Scouts. When I questioned him about the drive, he said it was all a misunderstanding. He never said the church was involved with the drive, just some church members, and he had never mentioned the Boy Scouts participating, just some members of the Boy Scouts. The canned food drive was canceled.

In this case, the coalition claims to consist of Missouri teachers and parents, but the coalition’s website does not contain any evidence of that.

From its name, the Schools First initiative sounds like an answer to all of our problems of education funding, but when you pull the curtain aside, this is a welfare proposal for the gambling industry.


GOP Platform Committee Refuses to Bow to Gambling Industry

From citizenlink.com:

The Republican Platform Committee retained a prohibition of Internet gambling in its draft platform, which will be approved at next week’s GOP convention.

The language, which had been a part of the last two platforms, includes the following: “Millions of Americans suffer from problem or pathological gambling that can destroy families. We support the law prohibiting gambling over the Internet or in student athletics by student athletes who are participating in competitive sports.”

Chad Hills, analyst for gambling research and policy at Focus on the Family Action, said: “Today, those afflicted by gambling addiction and families with children can be grateful for the great delegates who kept Internet gambling prohibition as part of the GOP platform.”


Ailing Gambling Industry Bets on Cruise Ships

From citizenlink.com:

With the gambling industry in a nationwide decline, gambling cruise ships are attempting to dock at Port Canaveral in Florida to lure gamblers.

Cruise line officials want to relocate because of mounting competition from land-based, Indian-run casinos and a shrinking consumer dollar, Florida Today reported.

Chad Hills, analyst for gambling research and policy at Focus on the Family Action, said gambling entities are desperate for business.

“As gambling invades new areas, it acts much like a black hole that drains money out of local economies, takes customers and revenue away from local businesses and causes a net economic drain on surrounding communities,” he said. “Port Canaveral likely will have a sinking boat in its harbor.”


From the Blogs: June 2009 trial set in Isle of Capri case

From Randy Turner at the Turner Report:

Justice won’t be swift for Rep. Joe Aull, D-Marshall, who won’t stand trial for his alleged role in the Isle of Capri case until June 25, 2009, according to Pettis County Circuit Court records.

Aull is accused of giving Sen. Jeff Smith, D-St. Louis, his identification to enable Smith to gamble at the Isle of Capri casino in Boonville on July 31, 2007. Aull, Smith and four others were at the casino on a lobbyist-financed junket, paid for by Isle of Capri lobbyist Chris Liese, according to Missouri Ethics Commission records.

Aull is being tried in Pettis County on a change of venue from Cooper County. Smith and former Isle of Capri lobbyist Lynne Schlosser will stand trial in Cooper County. A Sept. 30 hearing is scheduled in their cases with trial tentatively set for November.


Casino funded Loss Limit initiative may appear on November ballot

Last Tuesday, Missouri Secretary of State Robin Carnahan certified a casino industry-backed initiative petition that would eliminate the $500 loss limit and raise casino taxes by one percent. In addition, this casino initiative which has been titled the “Yes for Schools First” initiative eliminates the mandatory checking of identification.

Casino Watch Executive Director, Evelio Silvera was quoted in the Kansas City Star about the ballot intiative:

“We’re looking forward to educating people on exactly what the consequences of passing this are,” said Evelio Silvera, executive director of the St. Louis-based Casino Watch citizens group, citing problem gamblers as one group that could be victimized by looser rules.

Silvera said some law enforcement agencies also could line up against the measure, because it would make it more difficult to identify gamblers, especially those who have been banned from the casino for criminal activity or have self-banned themselves to control their gambling habit.

The Gaming Commission last year sought unsuccessfully to toughen identification rules through the use of biometrics or fingerprinting.

Silvera on Tuesday said his group is encouraged by a Missouri Gaming Commission survey earlier this year that found more than 60 percent of those surveyed favored the loss limit versus about 25 percent who were opposed to its use in the state’s casino.

“I feel very confident that the gaming commission’s survey showed some attitude advantages for us,” he said.

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Related stories:

Yes for Casinos First!

The laughable idea of a casino spending $8 million in an effort to “help schools”