Author Archives: tjdy

Guest Article:  Editorial: Florida gaming deal goes to court. One verdict is in: Lawmakers’ contempt for voters

Casino Watch Focus has reported on the ongoing sports betting saga taking place in Florida and today’s guest article on this matter is an editorial by Florida’s Finger Lake Times:  

Two Miami business leaders went to court this week in Washington, D.C., in an effort to stop the expansion of gambling in Florida — and to stand up for voters, since the Legislature and governor are doing just the opposite.

Developer Armando Codina and auto retailer Norman Braman, two of the state’s fiercest and most well-heeled gambling opponents, filed suit — along with the group No Casinos — against U.S. Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland. The suit accuses the federal government of allowing the state to circumvent the Florida Constitution when it approved a new gaming deal this year — including off-reservation sports betting — with the Seminole Tribe. The suit also contends that Gov. Ron DeSantis and the Legislature violated federal laws by authorizing gambling outside of Indian lands, among other claims.

We believe there’s little doubt that lawmakers and gambling interests crafted the deal precisely to get around the 2018 constitutional amendment that voters approved — by an unheard-of 72% — that specified the electorate must determine if there are more casinos in Florida…

Unless the courts stop this deal, more casino gambling will be allowed at existing facilities. The Seminole Tribe’s Hard Rock casinos in Broward and Hillsborough counties would be able to morph into full Las Vegas-style casinos with the addition of roulette and craps. No Casinos calls this the biggest gambling expansion in Florida history.

Yet, that’s not all. Even more alarming is the part of the deal where the Seminole Tribe says it won’t object to any new casino license as long as it’s at least 18 miles from its Hard Rock Casino near Hollywood.

Guess what? Both the Fontainebleau hotel and resort in Miami Beach and Trump’s National Doral Miami golf resort — both have indicated they would like to see a new law that would let them transfer a gambling license from an existing parimutuel to their properties — fall conveniently outside that magic 18-mile boundary line.

As Codina told the Herald, “It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see how this movie is ending.”

Agreed.

The full article can be read HERE

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


A Brief Look at Crime  9/20 – 9/26

Problem gamblers have highest suicide rate of any addiction disorder, studies show

September is World Suicide Prevention week, and experts are raising awareness about disordered gambling, which has the highest suicide rate among all addictions with 1 in 5 problem gamblers attempting suicide. The 2017 Report on Problem Gambling Services shows that nearly one in 10 Ohioans who gamble are currently experiencing or are at risk of developing a gambling problem. Roughly one in five pathological gamblers attempts suicide, a rate higher than that for any other addictive disorder. Approximately 220,000 Ohioans engage in at-risk gambling with 30,000 engaging in problem gambling behaviors. Early detection and support are essential in getting help for problem gambling and preventing suicide. Unlike other addictions, problem gambling has no physical symptoms.

Combined with the stigma surrounding discussing finances, a gambling problem can often go undetected, resulting in devastating consequences for the gambler and their family. However, these are common warning signs to look for: Exaggerating gambling wins and downplaying losses; Asking for loans to cover gambling losses; Using money for food, rent or other necessities for gambling; Poor work performance; Restlessness or irritability when not gambling 

Chicago Gambling Ring Convicts Get Sentenced

According to the prosecution, Matthew Knight was second in the gambling ring agent hierarchy. Despite that, he got only six months of community confinement, two years of probation, a $10,000 fine, and 100 hours of community service. District Judge Virginia Kendall explained that the light sentence comes as a result of Matthew Knight’s clean history, his evident guilt, and his willingness to cooperate with the law keepers. The prosecution pointed out FBI experts’ claim that Knight’s gamblers might have generated as much as $18 million just in 2018, but the judge explained that despite his big role in the gambling ring, he was less guilty than DelGiudice and Nicholas Stella – a police officer who participated in the illegal betting activities. In comparison, DelGiudice, who pleaded guilty in February, faces up to 25 years for a gambling conspiracy and money laundering. Although he’s pleaded guilty, no sentence has been pronounced yet. Nicholas Stella was already sentenced to 15 months in prison. A few people were   also sentenced because of ties with the gambling ring, with former President Donald Trump personally pardoning Casey Urlacher, the mayor of Mettawa who was among the convicts.

1400 Arrests, $8M Seized in Illegal Gambling at Euro: Interpol 

An Interpol operation targeting illegal gambling during Euro 2020 led to 1400 arrests and the seizure of $7.9 million (6.7 million euros) in cash, the Lyon-based global crime agency reported. Thousands of raids in Asia and Europe also resulted in the confiscation of computers and mobile phones connected to almost $465 million in bets. “While most of us were watching the UEFA European Football Championship as simple fans, hundreds of specialized officers across 28 countries were targeting organized crime groups looking to earn millions from illegal gambling and related money laundering activities,” an Interpol statement read.

Hong Kong police detained more than 800 suspects, “including the alleged kingpin of a triad-controlled bookmaking syndicate,” the statement said. In what was described as one of Hong Kong’s most successful operations ever they seized $2.7 million in cash and records detailing hundreds of millions in bets. In Italy, home of the European champions at the pandemic-delayed tournament, Operation SOGA VIII inspected 280 betting shops and delivered 1.3 million euros in sanctions for illegal betting schemes. In all, Interpol’s eight SOGA operations have led to more than 19,000 arrests, cash seizures of more than $63 million and the closure of over 4000 illegal betting dens.

Domestic dispute leads to shooting at Coahoma County casino

The Coahoma County Sheriff’s Department was called to the Isle Of Capri Casino Monday evening on a report that a man had been shot by a woman. Deputies were called at 7 p.m. about a shooting in the parking lot of the casino and told one person was suffering from non-life-threatening injuries. Deputies identified the victim as Robert Howard, no address given, who was transported to Regional One in Memphis. Deputies developed Valeria Hope, 18, no address given, as a suspect, but no arrest was made. Investigation reports said the incident appears to have been a domestic dispute.

Former Accounting Coordinator for Non-Profit Organization Sentenced to Prison for Embezzling More than $321K

A resident of Pittsburgh, PA, has been sentenced in federal court to 17 months of prison followed by two years of supervised release on her conviction of bank fraud, Acting United States Attorney Stephen R. Kaufman announced today. United States District Judge David S. Cercone imposed the sentence on Danielle Strother-Rush, 34, of Columbia Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15218. According to information presented to the court, Strother-Rush was an Accounting Coordinator for the Eastern Minority Supplier Development Council, which is a nonprofit organization that was created to increase business opportunities for minority-owned businesses. From approximately August 2014 until August 2016, Strother-Rush embezzled $321,255.88 in various ways and spent on funds on, among other things, gambling and frivolous purchases. The primary way in which she embezzled funds was by writing checks to herself from the operating accounts and forging her supervisor’s signature on the checks. She also made unauthorized ATM withdrawals, including several at the Rivers Casino. Lastly, she accessed the payroll bank account online and made unauthorized electronic checks payable to herself.

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


New Lawsuit filed to block Florida’s Oct 15th Sports Betting Expansion

Casino Watch Focus has reported on the recent sports betting legalization in Florida by means of its new Seminole Gambling Compact, and on the subsequent opposition.  A pair of Florida parimutuel companies have been leading the legal charge against Florida and the Seminole Gambling compact they entered into with the Tribe.  The issue, of course, stems from the inappropriate sports gambling expansion that will take place off reservation, gambling that requires the express consent of the Florida voters before it can be enacted.  The argument has been if the location of the online servers being on tribal land is enough to call it tribal gambling, or if the fact that anyone in the state having access to this gambling subjects it to constitutional voter approval.  Florida has moved forward with its plans to initiate and regulate sports gambling and have set Oct 15th as the date.  A new lawsuit by the same companies essentially seeks an injunction to hold off such gambling until the lawsuits can be heard.  The Miami-Herald explains:

Two Florida pari-mutuels filed a new motion in federal district court in Washington late Tuesday, asking a judge to block implementation of online sports betting under the Florida tribal gaming compact which is scheduled to begin later this year.

The motion, filed by Magic City Casino and Bonita Springs Poker Room against U.S. Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland, asks a court to enjoin the sports-betting portion of the state’s compact with the Seminole Tribe of Florida.

The plaintiffs allege that although the Department of the Interior allowed the compact to take effect, the court should reverse that decision and block implementation until a legal sports-betting compact is established for Florida.

Although the Florida statute sets an Oct. 15 start date for tribal sports betting, a footnote in the lawsuit states that “representatives of the Tribe have informed Plaintiffs that the Tribe will not implement online sports betting until November 15, 2021.”

The court has scheduled a Nov. 5 hearing date to hear oral arguments on the Magic City motion for summary judgment with the goal of blocking the launch of online sports betting in Florida.

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


A Brief Look at Crime 9/13 – 9/19

Pennsylvania State Police Report 57 Incidents of Kids Left in Cars at Casinos

The Pennsylvania State Police reported that there have been 57 incidents of children being left unattended in a vehicle in casino parking lots so far in 2021. In addition to sharing the number of incidents, the PSP tweeted a message to their 74k followers: “Don’t gamble with your child’s life. It is illegal and endangers children. It can be deadly.” PSP Communications Director Grace Griffaton said: “Children should never be left unattended in a vehicle, especially right now. It’s extremely hot outside. In ten minutes, a car’s temperature can go up 2o degrees. Children are dying because of being left in cars. If you have to leave a child, call someone to watch that child.”

Kevin O’Toole, Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Gaming Control, commented to PlayPennsylvania: “We’ve been working to raise awareness of this problem. The PGCB has been working with each casino in PA and are requesting a number of properties to provide greater details regarding their process and making sure proper notifications are made when they learn of unattended children. We are making sure security personnel respond as soon as possible and get to the location as quickly as possible. We’ve also talked to casinos about reviewing and enhancing their signage about children being left unattended.”

Probe into Wildwood gaming company leads to seizure of ‘multiple gambling devices’ 

Greene County Prosecuting Attorney Dan Patterson said the Missouri Highway Patrol searched and seized “multiple gambling machines owned or operated” by Torch on June 15 at the AM-PM Food Mart after a Greene County judge signed off on a search warrant for 15 machines. A subpoena was also issued to the company, directing it to supply documents to prosecutors on July 16, but the company “failed to comply,” filing a motion to quash the subpoena and asking for a protective order, court documents said. The court battle is the latest evidence of increasing scrutiny on Torch, even as it has injected hundreds of thousands of dollars into Missouri politics and retains high-power lobbyists to kill proposals intended to crack down on unregulated games.

Honolulu Prosecutor’s office files civil lawsuit to crack down on illegal game room activity on Oahu (HI) 

The Honolulu Prosecutor’s Office has filed a first of its kind civil lawsuit in an effort to crack down on illegal game room activity on Oahu. The civil nuisance abatement complaint alleges McCully property owner KC Management, LLC and its agent Wai Tung Kwok, allowed illegal gambling to operate on its premises. According to the lawsuit, alleged cashier Tom Tran is accused of multiple gambling offenses in three separate cases on the same property. It’s asking for a court order to shut down the property for a year and permanently bar Tran from entering. “We’re trying to be creative about doing something to shut these down because otherwise, if you make a gambling case, they may stop it for a couple of days, and then it springs up a block later, or in the same place right after it’s shut down,” said Prosecuting Attorney Steve Alm. Alm says with the possible exception of drugs, game rooms that attract crime, weapons, and other illegal activity, draw the most complaints from residents. 

Former low-income housing executive sentenced to prison for embezzling nearly $7 million

Pierce County Housing Authority finance executive used public funds for gambling and lavish lifestyle.  A former Pierce County Housing Authority executive was sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Tacoma to 51 months in prison for wire fraud in connection with her scheme to steal nearly $7 million, announced Acting U.S. Attorney Tessa M. Gorman. Cova Campbell pleaded guilty in January 2021, admitting that between March 2016 and July 2019, she used a variety of schemes to divert $6.9 million in public money to her own bank accounts.  “At a time when housing resources in our community are in historically high demand, this defendant stole from the poor and vulnerable who most needed assistance,” said U.S. Attorney’s Office Criminal Chief Sarah Vogel.  “Her greed meant there were less resources for the elderly, the disabled, the veterans, and the children in Pierce County who count on the Housing Authority to provide safe and secure shelter.”

Man leaving Manhattan gambling den with cash in hand wounded by pair of gunmen in ambush

A man leaving an illegal gambling den in Upper Manhattan with a handful of cash was shot by a pair of gunmen — but ultimately managed to escape with his life, police said Sunday. The 25-year-old victim was leaving the underground gambling hotspot on Amsterdam Ave. near W 176th St. in Washington Heights with a “wad of cash in his hand” when two hooded gunmen hopped out a black Chevy Tahoe about 7 a.m. Friday, a police source said. Surveillance video released by cops shows the victim and a friend running uptown on Amsterdam Ave. as one of the gunmen chases them, firing multiple rounds. The other gunman appears to chicken out, suddenly spinning around and running back to the SUV. The victim, who cops say lives in Mississippi, was struck in his left shoulder and left thigh but managed to get away from the shooter. He was taken to Harlem Hospital, where he was is in stable condition, police said

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


Missouri Lottery Targeted as Sports Gambling Expansion Regulatory Body

Casino Watch Focus has reported on various efforts to expand gambling in Missouri by legalizing sports gambling.  The Supreme Court has allowed for each state to set its own sports gambling regulations now, and many states have started expanding their gambling offerings into the sports realm.  However, in Missouri, most gambling outside of the lottery, or some charity bingo/fundraisers, is limited to the 13 licensed casinos that operate on either the Missouri or Mississippi rivers.  That hasn’t stopped those from looking into ways of expanding sports gambling in any means possible and it looks like the Missouri Lottery is the new regulatory target.  The Washington Examiner reports:

[I]f Missouri lawmakers allowed new products, such as sports wagering, and took steps to “modernize our channels of distribution” through online lottery ticket sales, revenues would dramatically increase – and quickly.

That was the pitch Wednesday by Missouri Lottery Executive Director May Reardon and Missouri Gaming Commission General; Counsel Edward Grewach before the Senate Economic Development Committee,

Casino operators are among those lobbying lawmakers to legalize sports gaming. Thirty-two states have done so since 2018’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Murphy v. National Collegiate Athletic Association, but efforts in Missouri have fallen short in consecutive sessions.

Reardon said the Missouri Lottery should administer any “new products” authorized by lawmakers,   noting 70% of global online sports wagering is conducted by lotteries.

Grewach said if lawmakers allow sports betting, only wagers placed by a person physically present in the state to a company also residing in Missouri would be legal.

Any proposal to do so, he cautioned, would “create some regulatory challenges for us.”

In addition to regulatory challenges pertaining to carrying out a lottery based sports gambling scheme, there would also be questions about the constitutionality of sports betting in Missouri, where gambling is expressly limited to casinos and the regulation through the Missouri Gaming Commission.  It would be expected that both those hoping to see sports betting remain outlawed in Missouri, and those whose interests align with casinos will object should such legislation find success in the Missouri Legislature. 

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


A Brief Look at Crime 9/06 – 9/12

Father and Sons Are Charged in $21 Million Lottery Fraud

No statistical model could explain it, and when a Massachusetts man and his two sons cashed in more than 13,000 winning lottery tickets worth nearly $21 million over eight years, federal prosecutors and lottery officials said it was anything but luck. “A statistician will say that there’s some astronomical odd,” Michael R. Sweeney, the executive director of the Massachusetts State Lottery, said in an interview. “But the reality is, it’s zero.”

In a 19-page indictment that was unsealed on Monday in U.S. District Court in Massachusetts, Ali Jaafar and his sons Mohamed Jaafar and Yousef Jaafar were collectively charged with more than a dozen counts of fraud, money laundering and tax evasion for taking part in what the authorities say was a ticket-cashing scheme. A vast majority of the tickets were the scratch-off type that are typically sold at convenience stores, prosecutors said.

From 2011 to 2019, according to the indictment, the Jaafars claimed the prizes on behalf of the actual winners, who potentially avoided having their winnings garnished for unpaid taxes or child support, a requirement for any prize over $600 in Massachusetts. The Jaafars then falsely reported six- and seven-figure gambling losses on their tax returns, allowing them to drastically reduce the taxes they paid on the winnings, prosecutors said.

Father charged after leaving children in car at casino 

A Westmoreland County father is facing charges after leaving his two children under the age of 3 alone in the car while he went to the casino. State police said the two children, ages 1 and 3, were left alone in a running vehicle last Saturday afternoon at Live! Casino Pittsburgh for nearly half an hour. Police said their dad, 28-year-old Zachary Bohinski went inside to place a takeout order for nachos at Guy Fieri’s restaurant. Instead of returning to the car, he decided to pass the time waiting for his order to be completed inside. “Instead of returning to the vehicle he goes into the casino and starts to play slot machines,” Pennsylvania State Trooper Steve Limani said. The children were left in the car for 28 minutes.

Woodland Man Suspected Of Kidnapping Woman Off Cache Creek Casino Property 

Deputies say a Yolo County kidnapping suspect was also apparently involved in a hit-and-run earlier in the day. The Yolo County Sheriff’s Office says, early Monday afternoon, a woman reported that a man had offered to give her a ride to the Cache Creek Casino mini-mart. She got in his truck, but the man instead started driving off casino property. She asked to leave the truck several times, deputies say. Eventually, the man ended up at a dead-end on County Road 78A. After he parked, the woman says she noticed that the man had a gun. Right at that moment, however, some ranchers showed up to work – giving the woman the distraction to get out of the truck. She was to wave down the ranchers, who soon took her back to the casino to get help where she then called authorities. Deputies later tracked the suspect’s truck to the 19000 block of County Road 78A. A stolen 9mm pistol was also found inside the truck, deputies say.

US Sports Betting Fraud Attempts Rise Significantly During Pandemic 

Sports betting fraud attempts skyrocketed in the second quarter of 2021 as the COVID-19 pandemic peaked. A new TransUnion report released Wednesday found gaming to be the most susceptible industry to fraud attempts. The US digital fraud attempt rate in gaming jumped 261.9% from the second quarter of 2020 to the second quarter of 2021. Travel and leisure was second with a 136.6% jump. Dissecting those figures, sports betting fraud attempts jumped 114% in the same time frame, according to Melissa Gaddis, senior director of customer success at TransUnion. The report is based on “billions of transactions” from TruValidate, a system used for identity proofing, authentication and fraud analytics.

“[We’re] seeing increases in transaction volumes and people who perpetrate fraud go where the money is,” Gaddis told LSR. US sports betting transactions are increasing rapidly. Overall, fraud attempts increased 16.5% globally, according to the report. The general rise was in part because of transaction growth between the two quarters. The second quarter of 2020 included the most significant shutdowns during the COVID-19 pandemic. Globally, gaming was the most significant target for fraud attempts, rising 393%. Travel was second at 155.9%.

Nonprofit Head Accused of Stealing Money Meant to Feed Kids

A director of a nonprofit for youth in one of Mississippi poorest counties has been arrested for allegedly stealing state funds meant to feed needy children. Carol Jackson, the executive director and founder of Sunflower County’s On Track Community Development Corporation was indicted earlier this month on fraud charges, Mississippi State Auditor Shad White said Monday. Jackson is accused of submitting fraudulent documents and stealing more than $40,000 in Mississippi Department of Education money. She allegedly used state funds to write herself more than $20,000 in checks, withdrew thousands of dollars from an ATM at a local casino and spent nearly $2,000 on personal travel. “We will hold the line when someone steals any taxpayer funds, but we are even more motivated when someone steals money intended for children,” White said in a statement.

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


Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt Returns Political Contributions from Illegal Gambling Machine Manufacturers Owners Amid Controversy

Casino Watch Focus has reported on the ongoing saga of Missouri’s illegal slot machine problem.  Gambling, specifically casino style slot machine gambling, is limited to state regulated casinos in Missouri, but that hasn’t stopped companies like Torch Electronics from placing thousands of illegal slot machines all over the state.  They have used many methods for keeping their illegal gambling machine operating, including taking advantage of enforcement loopholes where the state gaming commission cant regulate them and local law enforcement jurisdictions are left to clean up the illegal slot machines.  Other tactics include attempting to sue those prosecuting them  and political contributions in hopes of controlling the legislature or the courts.  Many have called for immediate state action to provide the proper enforcement tools for uniform restriction, confiscation and prosecution of those machines and the operators and manufactures.  Amid the controversy, some have been called out as possibly being put in a compromised situation due to political contributions, specifically Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt.  The St Louis Post Dispatch reports:

Attorney General Eric Schmitt is returning campaign contributions he received more than two months ago from the owner of a controversial video gambling company and his wife.

Schmitt, a Republican running for U.S. Senate in 2022, received two $2,900 checks in June from Steven Miltenberger, owner of Wildwood-based Torch Electronics, and his spouse, Sondra Miltenberger.

Torch has been in court in recent months for allegedly operating thousands of illegal slot machines at gas stations across the state. The company also is suing the state, saying it is being unfairly harassed by the Missouri Highway Patrol.

The announcement that the money was being jettisoned came after the Post-Dispatch asked the attorney general’s office if the contribution could be considered a conflict of interest because of the state’s involvement in litigation against Miltenberger’s company.

“There was no violation of office policy, but out of an abundance of caution, it’s my understanding that the donation is going to be returned,” Schmitt spokesman Chris Nuelle said Friday. “We will remain active in our vigorous defense of the state’s interest in this case.”

A spokesman for Schmitt’s campaign confirmed the contributions have been returned.

Schmitt is among dozens of Missouri politicians who have received money connected to Miltenberger in recent years as unregulated slot machines have flooded the state.

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


A Brief Look at Crime 8/23 – 9/05

A Bookie, Miami Heat Championship Ring, Gold Bars And The Feds

Clarence “Gary” Austin, a Miami, Florida sports bettor and bookie of offshore wagering Tradewinds, has 99 problems and the federal government is definitely one of them. Earlier this month, documents filed by the United States of America with a district court in Texas reveal the feds seized millions of dollars worth of currency and property from Austin’s Plantation, Florida, home. The seizure came just a few months after the feds filed a complaint with the court claiming Austin is involved in four federal crimes: transmission of wagering information, running an illegal gambling business, money laundering, and conspiracy to commit these offenses. In short, the federal government is claiming Austin was involved in a ton of shady dealings. As such, they raided his home and seized a laundry list of rich-guy possessions including a Miami Heat championship ring.

Sharks’ Kane accused of Game-Fixing From Wife 

San Jose Sharks forward Evander Kane denied allegations his wife made on social media that he bet on NHL games, including against his own team. Kane responded Sunday morning to allegations made the previous day from the Instagram account of his wife, Anna. The NHL said Saturday night that it was made aware of the social media posts from Anna Kane and plans to conduct a full investigation. Anna Kane wrote: “How does the NHL let a compulsive gambling addict still play when he’s obviously throwing games to win money? Hmm maybe someone needs to address this.”

She added: “Can someone ask (Commissioner) Gary Bettman how they let a player gamble on his own games? Bet and win with bookies on his own games?” In a separate post, Anna Kane accused her husband of spending lavishly partying in Europe while asking her to sell her wedding ring to survive and wrote about not being able to afford baby formula for their child. Kane’s gambling history and finances have been public knowledge for some time. A Las Vegas Strip casino sued Kane in 2019, alleging he failed to repay a $500,000 gambling debt racked up during a playoff series against the Golden Knights.

Man dies in fight at casino (NV)

A man died after he was knocked out in an early-morning fight Friday at a Laughlin casino. The man, who has not been identified, was knocked unconscious during “a large fight with multiple suspects” on the main casino floor at the Aquarius Casino Resort, said Officer Misael Parra of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department’s office of public information.

Parra said Metro received a call to respond to the casino for a fight in progress at about 1:20 a.m. Friday. When officers from Metro’s Laughlin substation arrived, they found the man unresponsive on the floor. The man was taken by ambulance from the property on Laughlin’s Casino Drive to Western Arizona Regional Medical Center in Bullhead City. He was pronounced dead at the hospital. Parra said the initial report did not indicate how many “multiple” participants were. Police later said the man was in a group of people that apparently got into an argument with another group. The argument escalated into a physical fight involving the victim and at least two other men. The two other men were gone by the time police arrived.

Woman sentenced in fatal shooting at south Wichita gambling operation 

A 47-year-old Haysville woman who fatally shot an erstwhile boyfriend in 2019 at the illegal gambling space she operated in south Wichita was sentenced Wednesday to nearly 10 years in prison, officials said. Stacey Jeanie Peters pleaded guilty in June to second-degree murder and commercial gambling in the case that involved the death of 41-year-old Robert Duvaul, who was found dead inside a building in the 3000 block of South Hillside.

When officers arrived at the building, she told them that she had been arguing with Duvaul, who had a gun, that he was threatening to damage her property and that he was threatening to kill her. She told police she shot him. Surveillance video from the seen showed Duvaul with his hands up before staggering backwards and collapsing, the news release said. Witnesses said Peters was known to carry a pistol on her hip when she worked at the business.

Two women found dead at Palms Casino Resort off Las Vegas Strip in suspected murder-suicide

TWO women were found dead inside a hotel room in Las Vegas in a suspected murder-suicide, according to reports. They were found by employees at the Palms Casino Resort around 3pm on Tuesday. The guests, said to be in their 30s, reportedly hadn’t checked out of the hotel prompting security guards to visit the room, Las Vegas Sun reports. They couldn’t get into the room at first so employees forced down the door and the bodies were found on the bed. Cops believe the women died from gunshot wounds and that they died within 12 hours of being discovered. It’s suspected they may have been “romantically involved” but no further details have been provided, according to the Las Vegas Police Department. Their identities have not been revealed but it’s thought that they were locals to the city. Las Vegas  Metropolitan Police Homicide Lt Ray Spencer said: “We know that at least one of them was alive as early as 5am.” Cops are unsure if they died at the same time. Lt. Spencer said that there were no reports of gunshots from anyone nearby.

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


Another Florida Seminole Compact Lawsuit has been file, the second for Magic City Casino & Bonita Springs Poker Room

Casino Watch Focus has reported on the ongoing events and litigation of the newly approved Florida Gambling Compact.  Most of the controversy has focused on online gambling via mobile sports betting and the lack of popular vote to make it legal in Florida, which was indeed the focus of two parimutuel casinos lawsuits in July.  However, after the official approval, one of the parimutuel companies, Magic City Casino, is pushing forward with another lawsuit.  The Miami Herald explains this new national angle:

Upping the ante in the courts, two parimutuel facilities have filed a second federal lawsuit challenging a 30-year gambling agreement reached by Gov. Ron DeSantis that gives the Seminole Tribe control over sports betting throughout Florida.

The latest legal challenge, filed Monday in Washington, D.C., came less than two weeks after the U.S. Department of the Interior signed off on a gambling “compact” negotiated by DeSantis and passed by the Florida Legislature in May.

Owners of Magic City Casino in Miami-Dade County and Bonita Springs Poker Room in Southwest Florida contend in the lawsuit that the sports-betting plan violates federal laws and will cause a “significant and potentially devastating” impact on their businesses.

[C]alling Florida’s sports-betting model a “legal fiction,” the parimutuels’ lawsuits maintain that federal law does not authorize bets that occur off tribal lands.

“Through this fiction, the compact and implementing law seek to expand sports betting outside of Indian lands to individuals located anywhere in Florida so long as they have a computer and internet connection — subject only to the tribe’s monopoly,” lawyers for the parimutuels wrote in Monday’s 43-page lawsuit, which names as defendants Interior Secretary Deb Haaland and her agency.

Part of the argument being made in court, is how the agreement was approved, or rather, not specifically approved.  The option existed to outright approve the agreement, but instead, no approval, or denial was given, thus allowing the agreement to de facto stand after 45 days. This was cited as being the result of known lack of federal authority to allow the spoke and hub gambling model.  The Miami Herald continued:

“Although Secretary Haaland could have approved a compact between Florida and the tribe to permit in-person or online sports betting by patrons physically on the tribe’s reservations, the plain language of IGRA prevents her from approving the compact here because it does not comply with IGRA’s ‘Indian lands’ requirement. The compact therefore both violates IGRA and falls outside the scope of compacts she is authorized to approve in the first instance,” the parimutuels’ lawyers wrote.

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


A Brief Look at Crime 8/16 – 8/22

Chicago police officer sentenced to 15 months behind bars for role in sports gambling case

Prosecutors had asked the judge to sentence Nicholas Stella to between a year and 18 months in prison, accusing him of betraying his oath as a Chicago police officer. A federal judge on Thursday sentenced a veteran Chicago police officer to 15 months in prison for his role in a large-scale, international gambling ring. Nicholas Stella, 43, is the third person to be sentenced for his role in the gambling ring once run by Vincent “Uncle Mick” DelGiudice.

U.S. District Judge Virginia Kendall last year gave three months of home detention to DelGiudice’s father, Eugene “Geno” DelGiudice. And last month, she gave six months of community confinement to Todd Blanken. But she also ordered Stella into Chicago’s federal lockup six months ago, after prosecutors said Stella “violently assaulted his girlfriend” last January at the Crowne Plaza hotel in Rosemont. Kendall cited that incident when she handed down Stella’s sentence Thursday, telling him “There can be no tolerance for that in our society.” The judge also said Stella’s status as a police officer is “so troubling.” Seeing an officer act as though he is above the law brings suspicion to “all of the really good officers out there who are trying to do their jobs — and they are trying so hard, with integrity and good character,” Kendall said.

Man in ‘Hollywood-Esque’ Masks Gets Prison for Casino Thefts

A Detroit-area man who wore realistic masks while robbing $125,000 from cash kiosks in casinos was sentenced Thursday to four years in federal prison. John Colletti of Harper Woods committed a “remarkably elaborate scheme” while wearing “Hollywood-esque disguises” with hats and glasses, prosecutors said in a court filing. Colletti, 56, admitted that he obtained personal information from people who had accounts with Global Payments Gaming Systems, had false IDs made overseas and withdrew money from kiosks at casinos. He was sentenced in federal court in Detroit, three months after pleading guilty to wire fraud and identity theft. “There are any number of legitimate pursuits toward which he could have directed his talents,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Ryan Particka said. “Unfortunately, (Colletti) decided that costumed capers such as those in this case were a better use of his time.” Defense attorney Stacey Studnicki asked for a two-year prison sentence, the mandatory minimum.

Feds Reportedly Seize Millions in Cash, Assets From Gambler’s Florida Home

Law enforcement agents have issued details about a raid on the home of high-profile sports gambler Clarence “Gary” Austin in Plantation, Fla. Reports state that police seized almost $4.3 million in cash, 61 gold bars, five luxury cars, and a Miami Heat championship ring. The value of the gold bars and upscale cars taken from the house was not immediately known. The cars include two Mercedes Benzes, a Lamborghini, a Porsche Cayenne, and a Land Rover Range Rover, the report said.

Austin is the owner and operator of the Costa Rica based   Tradewinds gaming site, according to the Florida report. It has been in operation since 1998. Austin and Calvin Ayre, the Canadian billionaire, were reported as among the founders of sportsbook businesses in Costa Rica, according to The Costa Rica Star. “Austin’s illegal Internet gambling enterprise has produced in excess of $34 million in illegal proceeds during its operation,” according to documents filed in federal court. [T]he /Sun-Sentinel/ quotes a federal court document that Austin set up “an intricate domestic and international money laundering organization and methods to surreptitiously conduct monetary transactions with the bookmakers and bettors located in the US in order to ultimately receive and utilize the illicit earnings.” The money was kept in “numerous domestic and offshore corporations, business entities, and trusts,” the report said.

Woman used charity Kidz Come 1st cash for online gambling 

A WOMAN has admitted defrauding a children’s charity out of cash by spending the money on online gambling. Ruksana Khan, 65, abused her position with a former Clacton-based charity, Kidz Come 1st, by siphoning off funds into her own bank account, a court heard. At a previous hearing at Colchester Magistrates’ Court, prosecutors said there were 378 payments into Khan’s personal bank account totalling more than £50,000. Magistrates were told there were cash withdrawals of more than £15,000, with the prosecution alleging charity trustee James Donovan, 55, acting as the sole signatory to the transactions. Appearing at Chelmsford Crown Court, Khan admitted three counts of fraud.

Dakota County clerk who stole $650K to feed gambling habit gets 2¼ years in prison

A judge sentenced an elected town clerk in Dakota County to two-plus years in prison for stealing more than $650,000 from Vermillion Township to feed her gambling habit. Maryann H. Stoffel, 71, of Hastings, was sentenced Tuesday in federal court in Minneapolis to 2¼ years in prison and ordered to pay back all of the $652,674.66 that she misappropriated from December 2012 through October 2020. Stoffel pleaded guilty in March to one count of wire fraud. “This was not a one-time mistake,” the prosecution wrote in asking for Stoffel to receive a three-year term. “Stoffel made the decision on many different days over the course of eight years to steal money from the Township and to lie to her fellow Township officials. … Stoffel did not use the money to buy things that she needed, but rather to fund her yearslong gambling habit.”

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


Could the Florida Seminole Gambling Compact Sports Betting Case lead to a Massive Expansion of Gambling Around the Country?

Casino Watch Focus has reported on the ongoing events surrounding the legalization of sports betting in Florida via the new gambling compact with the Seminole Tribe.  The implications of the new BIA ruling allowing online gambling to gamblers who simply link to servers located on tribal land, without regard to the gamblers physical location, could be profound.  The government claims their view is simply an updated view of how online gambling should work, but clearly its a method of usurping the Florida Constitution that expressly forbids expanded gambling without the vote of the people.  What kind of precedent will this set for other states?  An online source breaks down the Nationwide implications:

The Seminole deal seeks to be the nation’s first compact that permits off-tribal land gaming under the federal Indian Gaming Regulatory Act, the sweeping legislation that regulates tribal gaming nationwide. The compact language also would permit certain aspects, such as the brick-and-mortar sportsbooks, to stand even if online components are denied.

If online sports betting is approved, Florida would eclipse Pennsylvania as the nation’s most-populated legal digital wagering state. With California and Texas unlikely to approve mobile sports betting until 2025 or later, it’s a title the Sunshine State should hold for years to come. Along with more than 21-million residents, Florida averages more than 100 million tourism visits annually. Mobile wagering from Pensacola to Key West could create a market that reverberates beyond just the state itself.

Mobile sports betting authorization for the Seminoles could mean hundreds of other tribes could pursue digital gaming options of their own. Legal battles would surely follow, but an internet-friendly definition of wagering “on tribal lands” could mean every state with a recognized tribe has at least an argument for digital sportsbooks, lottery and casinos.

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


A Brief Look at Crime 8/09 – 8/15

Baby Found in Locked Car at North Las Vegas Casino, Gambler Arrested

A baby was taken to a Nevada hospital Friday night for an exam by authorities. That’s after it was found alone in a car parked at Bighorn Casino in North Las Vegas on a hot’s summer’s evening. A man was later arrested, and police said he was gambling in the venue and appeared intoxicated. The child is believed to be younger than one year of age. The infant was in a pediatric unit earlier this weekend, /KLAS/, a local TV station, reported.

The baby’s condition was unknown as of Sunday. It is unclear if the baby suffered any injuries. The windows were partially rolled down when the baby was seen by police officers. The car was locked. Temperatures outside on Friday reached a high of 117 degrees in Las Vegas, according to AccuWeather. Las Vegas has been facing record-setting temperatures. Mitchell Anthony Hooks, 39, of Las Vegas was located in the casino at about 8:15 pm Friday. He was arrested by North Las Vegas police officers. Hooks was charged with child abuse and leaving a child unattended in a motor vehicle, /KLAS/ said.

Sheriff’s deputy tracks, dismantles cockfighting operations in LA County

Tucked away off a dirt road in the middle of a remote canyon in unincorporated Chatsworth, a large cockfighting breeding ranch has been uncovered and brought down by the LA County Sheriff’s Department. The lead deputy on the case, Joel Bronson, worked the investigation for more than a year before it was finally time to remove about 400 roosters and hens from the property. The cages were hidden behind a circle of plywood, across a rickety makeshift bridge. Bronson said the ranch was one of thousands of cockfighting enterprises in the area of LA County he tracks.

“I feel good about being here. This is the payoff of a lot of work to finally take this guy’s animals away from him,” Bronson said. Bronson has been with the sheriff’s department 15 years and has become an expert in dismantling this type of crime. “A lot of times, it’s drug dealers and it’s a hobby for them. It’s a flashy, high-profile hobby that they can make a lot of money on and throw parties, and have a cockfight and do a bunch of gambling,” Bronson said.

30 people arrested after authorities break up Florida cockfighting ring

Thirty people, including a juvenile, were arrested after a months-long investigation into an illegal cockfighting ring, Florida’s Agricultural Law Enforcement office reported Tuesday. Dubbed “Operation Fowl Play,” officers broke up the ring last week in Mayo, Fla., a rural city in North Florida, as officers armed with a warrant busted in to find a crowd gathered to watch roosters fight to their death. The report said they came upon “a gathering of participants and onlookers actively engaged in the illegal blood sport of fighting or baiting of animals.” Police K9 had to chase down several suspects who fled the area on foot.

A search of the area uncovered three dead roosters and 41 live roosters that were being readied to fight. All of those arrested, who were from across Florida and Georgia, will be charged with third degree felonies for attending the fighting or baiting of animals. Others are facing additional charges for owning, possessing or selling equipment for use in an animal fight, while another is facing child neglect charges for the juvenile that was in attendance. Guns, cash and drugs were also found, according to the state’s Department of Agriculture.

New charges brought against former casino CEO

The former CEO of a west-central Wisconsin casino accused of embezzling over $72,000 from the business is now facing additional federal charges. The indictment charges Oustigoff for filing tax returns that underreported his income from 2015 to 2018 — the years he is accused of embezzling from Turtle Lake Casino. According to the indictment, the then-general manager and CEO misapplied casino funds on eight occasions between December 2015 and January 2018. Those incidents of alleged embezzlement total about $72,600 taken from the business operated by the St. Croix Chippewa Indians of Wisconsin. If Oustigoff is convicted, each of the eight embezzlement counts carries a maximum penalty of up to 20 years in federal prison. Filing false income tax returns carries a smaller penalty of up to three years in prison per count.

Rivers Casino Visitor Arrested After Allegedly Leaving 7-Year-Old Alone in Car

An Illinois man was arrested Sunday after allegedly leaving a 7-year-old boy in a car parked at Rivers Casino in Des Plaines. The incident comes a couple of days after a similar allegation against another person involving a baby in the much warmer Nevada climate. John Elliott, 44, of Schiller Park, Ill., was charged with endangering the life or health of a child following the Rivers Casino episode, according to the /Daily Herald/, an Illinois newspaper.

Elliott allegedly left the boy in the car at about 7:30 pm Sunday. The child climbed out of the car 20 minutes later, police said. Soon after, the boy went up to casino security guards. He told them he was alone after the adult went inside the gaming property. Local cops learned about the incident at about 8:30 p.m. That night, Illinois Gaming Board agents reportedly apprehended Elliott before he left the casino. If convicted, Elliott could be fined up to $25,000 and be sentenced to between two and five years in prison.

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


UPDATE: Seminole Gambling Compact Officially Approved by Federal Government

Casino Watch Focus has reported on the ongoing efforts to ratify the Seminole Gambling Compact with Florida.  Most provisions were along similar lines as past compacts, but the sudden inclusion of online sports gambling to be regulated by the Seminole’s created an immediate controversy.  The compact is attempting to legalize mobile sports gambling which is illegal in Florida and must be voted on by the people to become legal.  The state of course claims the gambling servers for sports betting on Tribal land, so it’s irrelevant if the gamblers are off site and located in Florida which is illegal.  The Government had 45 days to approve, deny, or not take action, which defaults to allowing the compact.  The 45 days has passed, thus the compact has officially been approved.  An online source reports;  

On Friday, the top-ranking official in the U.S. Department of Interior’s Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) wrote to Gov. Ron DeSantis and Tribe Chairman Marcellus Osceola that the compact those leaders signed on April 23 is “considered to have been approved” without action by the BIA, which declined to affirmatively approve it during a 45-day review period but also did not reject it.

Bryan Newland, head of the BIA, wrote: “After thorough review under IGRA, we have taken no action to approve or disapprove the Compact before August 5, 2021, the 45th day. As a result, the Compact is considered to have been approved by operation of law to the extent that it complies with IGRA and existing Federal law. The Compact will become effective upon the publication of notice in the Federal Register.”

The most controversial component of the compact legalizes mobile sports betting — individuals placing digital bets on sporting events via mobile devices, but not engaging with other players in internet-based games referred to as online gambling — everywhere in the state, but it deems those bets to have been made on tribal land where the file servers will process them. The arrangement is called “hub and spoke,” with servers on tribal land being the hub and devices across the state being the spokes.

This news is disappointing to many, including NO Casino’s, the watchdog organization that was instrumental in getting the Florida Amendment passed that requires a vote of the people to expand gambling.  Now that its official, they plan to put forth litigation to correct the over ruling.  The online source continues:

[T]he sports betting provision will face legal challenges arguing that the hub-and-spoke arrangement is a fiction designed to usurp Florida’s ban on expanding gambling without prior voter approval.John Sowinski, president of No Casinos, vowed to fight the compact in federal and state courts, chiefly to defend Florida Constitutional Amendment 3 passed by voters in 2018 to outlaw expansions of gambling without prior voter approval.

“We are deeply disappointed that the Department of Interior took no action on the compact between the State of Florida and the Seminole Tribe of Florida,” Sowinski wrote in a statement Friday to the Phoenix. “While this inaction means that it is deemed approved by the Department of Interior, it does not change the fact that this compact violates multiple federal laws as well as the Florida Constitution.

“The 2018 constitutional mandate of 72 percent of Florida voters could not be clearer,” Sowinski continued. “Only Florida voters, not politicians in Tallahassee or Washington, have the power to expand gambling in Florida. This issue will have its day in both state and federal courts, where we are confident that this compact will be overturned. We are committed to ensuring that the people of Florida will always have the final say on gambling as required by Florida’s Amendment 3.”

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


A Brief Look at Crime 8/02 – 8/08

Gambling Debt Led Brooklyn, NY Man To Allegedly Murder His Father, Reports Reveal 

Gambling debt reportedly was the motive behind a Brooklyn, N.Y. man fatally stabbing his father in the chest on July 4, according to published reports. The suspect was apprehended on Sunday in the borough’s latest deadly crime tied to gambling. Police said Sean Peterson, 24, was arrested on a murder charge over the weekend for the killing of Anthony “Capone” Berry, 45, also of Brooklyn. The early morning stabbing took place outside of Berry’s residence. The apartment building is located in the Flatbush Gardens section of the borough. The duo had been arguing near the building over the gambling debt, according to the /New York Daily News/. It appears that money was owed to Peterson. After the stabbing, EMTs transported Berry to a NYC Health + Hospitals/Kings County emergency room. But doctors at the hospital declared him deceased, according to /AM NY/, a regional online news site.

Man arrested in Woodland in connection to Thunder Valley Casino shooting

A man is arrested in Woodland Friday after the Placer County Sheriff’s Office said he was involved in a shooting that injured a young woman at Thunder Valley Casino Thursday night. It was supposed to be the start of a bright, new future for 24-year-old Lajoyia Murphy. She was starting her new beauty business and was meeting a new client at Thunder Valley Casino. Her mother Krystal Gill says she and her aunt came along for support. 

According to detectives with the Placer County Sheriff’s Office, Murphy was coming out of a parking garage at Thunder Valley around 8 p.m. when she noticed a small, dark car was swerving in and out of lanes behind her, before pulling up beside her near Athens Avenue. “The car just pulled alongside her and just shot,” Gill said. “Shot one time and it went through the passenger door of her and hit her in the hip of her leg.” Gill says sadly this isn’t the first time their family has encountered senseless gun violence. “My daughter had just lost a cousin, Amir, from a shooting highway 50 where he was in the head,” Gill told FOX40. “It just shows the times of this world is just wicked, it’s really wicked.”

Dayton woman arrested for leaving children in hot car while gambling 

A 37-year-old Dayton woman was arrested at a casino on E. William Street for three counts of child neglect and endangerment. According to the report, a Carson City Sheriff’s Office patrol deputy was called to a child welfare check at a local hotel-casino. An off-duty Nevada Highway Patrol (NHP) officer had found two small children outside of the casino’s front doors, later reporting these two children and a third were left unattended in a vehicle for approximately five hours.

The deputy arrived on-scene to be informed that the 7-year-old and 5-year-old children were found by the NHP officer sitting alone on a bench in front of the casino. Later, a third 4-year-old child was found to have been left in the vehicle who had wet hair and was visibly sweating. According to the report, the woman left her three children in the vehicle with only the sunroof and back right window cracked for ventilation. The woman estimated she was in the casino between 45 minutes to an hour.

‘We will keep busting them’: Anniston police seize 59 gaming machines after warning of raids

With help from federal and state authorities, Anniston police seized 59 gaming machines, a gun and cash from illegal gambling establishments following raids Thursday morning, the city’s police chief said. Chief Nick Bowles said he gave the establishments notice after a similar raid a few months ago but the illegal businesses did not heed his warning. As for residents who complain that the department should tackle “real crime,” Bowles said illegal gambling dens are havens for other criminal activity.

“Real crime follows these places. We’ve had assaults, robberies, a shootout and even a murder at one of them. There’s drug dealing going on, there’s illegal alcohol sales – every vice that’s available out there comes along with these gambling establishments,” he said. “So we will keep busting them — don’t open them. Don’t come to Anniston, if you don’t want to see me in your place … then don’t open a gaming establishment in Anniston, period.”

Illegal Casino Busted In East Oakland; Guns, Cash, $76,000 In Drugs Seized 

Guns, narcotics and gambling machines were seized, along with a large amount of cash after police said they busted an illegal casino in East Oakland. “For more than a year our community did exactly what we’ve asked,” Chief LeRonne Armstrong said Friday. “They partnered with OPD on an issue that has plagued this community with narcotics, human trafficking, and illegal gambling. This investigation highlights the success when the community partners with our officers.” During the bust, officers seized 18 illegal casino gaming machines. Eight firearms were also recovered, including two assault rifles, 30 high-capacity magazines and a bulletproof vest. Drugs with a street value of more than $76,000 were seized, including heroin, marijuana, methamphetamine, and 60 bottles of promethazine. The officers also seized more than $21,000 in cash.

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


One of Missouri’s Illegal Gambling Machine Creators Attempts to Sue another Local Government in Efforts to Prevent Prosecution

Casino Watch Focus has reported on the ongoing saga of illegal slot machines that have popped up all over Missouri.  Torch Electronics is one of the manufacturers of these machines and they contend they are legal.  Few seem to agree and local prosecutors have slowly been working to take down the machines and bring charges.  Torch attempted to stop a Cole County case earlier this year and now it appears they are trying again in another case.  The St Louis Post Dispatch reports:

A Wildwood-based slot machine company sued a southwest Missouri county prosecutor this month in an attempt to stop an investigative subpoena into its operations.

The politically connected Torch Electronics sued Greene County Prosecuting Attorney Dan Patterson on July 15, asking the Greene County Circuit Court to quash an investigative subpoena directed at the company.

Torch argues its machines aren’t illegal gambling devices. Even so, the company faces felony illegal gambling charges in northern Missouri’s Linn County, and the Highway Patrol has deemed illegal machines such as Torch’s that are being placed in gas stations, restaurants and truck stops.

Torch’s lawsuit attempts to quash an investigative subpoena issued June 14 that seeks to “compel the production of a wide range of documents … including third-party contracts/agreements, financial records and technical information,” the lawsuit said.

Such suits, as well as a general inaction at the Missouri state legislative level, have once again called for support of a blanket and more statewide response to these illegal gambling machines. The Jefferson City New Tribune was the latest to call for action in their OpEd:

Illegal gambling machines have pervaded our state in recent years. Lawmakers and law enforcers need to address the problem. The Missouri Gaming Association estimates there are at least 14,000 illegal machines — almost as many as the number of legal ones in the state’s 13 casinos.

We understand the Gaming Association’s opposition to illegal gambling — all those machines at gas stations, restaurants and truck stops are taking a chunk of profits from the casinos and the Missouri Lottery. But the public should care, too. These machines aren’t regulated or taxed like ones in casinos. So there’s nothing to guard against minors or problem gamblers playing and the state isn’t getting a financial boost from the unregulated machines.

Unlike the Missouri Lottery, no proceeds from the unregulated machines are being used for education, for instance. As we recently reported, the machines are similar to slot machines: Players insert money, choose a game and wager, and are usually paid by a business’ cashier if they win.

Action from state lawmakers also is needed to clarify the laws. Senate President Pro Tempore Dave Schatz, R-Sullivan, advanced a bill this past session that would have done that. But it never advanced past the Senate Floor. We urge lawmakers to make addressing the problem a priority during the next session.

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