Category Archives: Children

Zynga to Expand Real Gambling Options in the UK along side Facebook: Sights set on the US

Casino Watch Focus has reported on the ongoing partnership of Facebook and Zynga to introduce real money gambling into the social media arena.   Facebook has already started allowing real money gambling and will soon introduce sports betting.  The Daily Mail reports:

Facebook will offer real money betting on horse racing and football matches in a major expansion of its gambling operations. The social networking site was criticised last year for launching a range of Las Vegas-style casino games with the promise of jackpots worth tens of thousands of pounds.

It already offers virtual slot machines for children as young as 13 – with real money games advertised as soon as users hit their 18th birthday.

Now it will begin offering sports betting under a lucrative deal with online bookmaker Paddy Power, which was announced last night. The game, called Paddy Power In-Play!, will be rolled out in the coming days. It will only be available in the UK, where gaming laws are more relaxed than in the US.

 Zanga is also a part of Facebook’s gambling strategy, but Facebook appears to be far more important to Zynga’s success. As explained by The Week, Zanga has started offering real money gambling games and their operation will soon be available on Facebook:

At a World Gaming Executive Summit in Barcelona, Facebook’s Sean Ryan is showcasing two new Zynga games, ZyngaPlusPoker and ZyngaPlusCasino, according to VentureBeat‘s Dean Takahashi. Zynga “says that social gaming remains its heart and soul,” Takahashi says, “but the gambling games are a logical extension for fans who want to bet real money and win it in social games.”

The first step is conquering Britain, where online gambling is legal and regulated. In April, Zynga released online and downloadable versions of its two real-money games in the U.K., in partnership with established British poker company Bwin.Party Digital Entertainment. Facebook and mobile versions are coming soon.

The Facebook component is key to Zynga’s strategy. Zynga and its investors believe, with some justification, that “the real-money Facebook games could be a game changer, luring in the general U.K. population that has known Zynga for years as a social gaming pioneer,” says Jennifer Booton at Fox Business

 So how will this affect the American Market?  Right now Britain is viewed as a test market to work out any issues and with the current US legislation landscape shifting to States allowing online gambling, Facebook and Zynga could be worth billions in the future.  The Week continues:

Britain is “the ideal test-case for Zynga, with it’s concentration of seasoned online gamblers contributing to a £2.3 billion ($3.4 billion) industry for the country,” says Lauren Hockenson at GigaOm. But the company’s “sights are no doubt set on the United States, which, despite its currently restrictive gambling laws, could be worth $9.3 billion by 2020.”

Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) is pushing for legislation to drop all federal regulation of online gambling, leaving it up to individual states to decide what to allow. Nevada and New Jersey — home to Las Vegas and Atlantic City, respectively — have recently legalized the practice. (Nevadans can already play online real-money poker against other Nevadans, and New Jersey and Delaware are setting up their online gambling systems.)

It won’t be a slam dunk getting a chunk of the Jersey or Nevada markets — Zynga needs to partner with a casino in Atlantic City, and only two of the 10 are still up for grabs, says VentureBeat‘s Jeffrey Grubb. But as signs point toward more online gambling in the U.S., Zynga has put itself in a prime position to profit. It has an established brand plus loads of customer data to work with, and Facebook is a great platform for minting new online gamblers.

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


Missouri Looking to Extend Credit to Gamblers


Gambling on Credit:  A Bad Idea

In a letter to the Missouri Senate Casino Watch urges Senators to vote no on HB747.  Chairman, Mark Andrews, hopes the senate will look at research on the question and vote in favor of the people of Missouri, not cave in to just another casino expansion idea:

Dear Senators:

It was my pleasure to address your fine institution many times in the past 20 years on the gambling issue prior to my retirement and move.  But I return via this letter regarding HB747 urging you to vote no.

Much has been written on this subject that would suggest a “no” vote.  For example, “Gambling On Credit:  Exploring the Link Between Compulsive Gambling and Access to Credit”, 2006, FL Council on Compulsive Gambling, Inc.  This was a think tank of representatives from medical, legal, government, education, credit counseling and addiction treatment perspectives.  Please consider a few quotes from this study.

“Access to credit allows an individual to continue gambling whether or not he or she has actual cash in hand. The very nature of compulsive gambling makes this transition from gambling with cash to gambling on credit a significant step with repercussions for the gambler and his or her family and friends, employers, creditors and other contacts”.

“Participants expressed the belief that easy access to credit accelerates the problem and process of a gambling addiction….”.

“Personal consequences may include new addictions, depression or suicide, while financial consequences may include higher levels of debt, ruined credit, and loss of a home, car or other property – all of which create a devastating situation for the compulsive gambler and his or her family”.

The carving in marble high on the wall of your chamber will always be remembered for its clarity and profoundness:  “Nothing is politically right that is morally wrong”.  Don’t get me wrong here—I’m not speaking of the morality of gambling–rather the passing of a bill that will surely bring harm to many people who struggle with some level of addiction to gambling.  It is not worthy of Missouri to attempt to address its public financial strains by enticing its citizens to increase their personal financial risks.

Thank you for your consideration on this important issue.


Mark Andrews


Casino Watch

Andrews references the State motto “The welfare of the people shall be the supreme law” in making the point that it is time once again for the General Assembly to hold the line on casino expansion and keep the current regulation in place.

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

Facebook to Test Real-Money Online Gambling in UK; the Lure of Children Amongst Real-Fears

Casino Watch Focus originally reported that Facebook banned online advertisements in the United States and other jurisdictions where online gambling is illegal.  Where as it might appear Facebook was taking a hard line stance against gambling, new reports may prove otherwise.  Currently, Facebook uses a virtual money system for several of their games/apps.  A user can purchase credits that can then be used in the virtual setting for the purchase of games or items from various developers.  The online Tech Site ZDNet, reported that Facebook is now considering replacing their virtual money system with real money. The move is designed to open the doors to full scale online gambling on Facebook.  ZDNet explains:

Facebook already offers a virtual currency option known as Facebook Credits, which is used extensively in Facebook apps like social games, but the social networking giant is also reportedly interested in supporting the exchange of real money in the online gambling market. The company wants to open up the Facebook Platform to online gambling, possibly as soon as in Q1 2012. This past summer, Palo Alto held exploratory talks with approximately 20 online gaming experts, consultants, and social gaming entrepreneurs, and now it’s moving forward.

More specifically, Facebook is looking at handing out eight licenses, two per vertical, to the online gambling operators in regulated markets such as the UK, according to EGR. The company has drawn up initial licenses for different gambling operators: Gamesys, which has some 1.7 million monthly Facebook users and 888 are reportedly first in line. You read that right: gambling apps could soon start appearing on the Facebook Platform.

Its worth noting that Facebook is only looking to begin testing in the UK and if they find success, then they would  likely branch out to other countries where its legal to gamble online (which would currently exclude the United States).  As one could imagine, Facebook’s actions are drawing the ire of those in the UK concerned with the most vulnerable – their children.  The UK Daily Mail explains:

Facebook is being accused of luring children into gambling through plans to introduce real cash games. The world’s biggest social network site wants to use Britain as a testing ground for games that would let users gamble on virtual fruit machines, bingo, poker and roulette. Last night  critics expressed fears that the proposals will create a generation who believe that gambling is safe and fun.

More than 3million Facebook users in the UK are aged between 13 and 17. A further million are estimated to be under 13 but pretending to be older.  Dr Robert Lefever, founding director of the Promis Recovery Centre which treats addicts, said: ‘Introducing gambling to Facebook is a cynical way for the gambling industry to find new markets, making gambling look acceptable. ‘There will be young people who think these games have Facebook approval, that you can gamble and it’s fun. It’s not – gambling destroys families.’

Lauri Moyle, of Christian Action Research Education (CARE), said: ‘Because there is a link between the age when people start gambling and the likelihood of developing a difficulty controlling their gambling, protecting children from the normalisation of gambling is vital.’

Professor Mark Griffiths, of Nottingham Trent University, added: ‘Even when no money changes hands, young children are learning the mechanics of gambling. These games can be a gateway to more serious gambling.’

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

ESPN exposes terrible Florida Youth Football Gambling Ring

Casino Watch Focus has reported numerous times on the NFL’s anti-gambling position.  The organization doesn’t like gambling on its sport because they know from other sports the propensity for corruption, game fixing and the devastating trail that can be left behind in gambling’s wake.  So imagine how shocking it was when ESPN’s Outside the Lines recently broke a story about the real life consequences of a football gambling ring.  Unfortunately, as the Baltimore Sports Report explains, this story has nothing to do with the NFL:

A recent story was featured on ESPN’s “Outside the Lines” involving the problem of gambling in the South Florida Youth Football League.  That’s right, I said the YOUTH football league.  Apparently, people have been gambling on games in this particular league for several years now, but it has never been addressed publicly until OTL decided to conduct an investigation into the situation.

During the investigation, OTL found that on several occasions men were openly betting and exchanging large wads of cash during football games.  But after further scrutiny, OTL found that the money being exchanged in the stands was minimal compared to the tens of thousands of dollars changing hands behind closed doors. They even found out that kids were being paid large amounts of money for making big plays.  But it didn’t stop there.  These men, most of which are drug dealers, found out which kids were the best and recruit them to play for a certain team before the season began by paying off their parents before the start of the season.  They would then bet on the team they essentially built and profit off it.  

There is so much wrong with the previous couple paragraphs that I almost don’t even know where to start.  First of all, the men gambling on these games are the absolute scum of the earth.  There’s no other way to put it.  They have no consideration for anyone but themselves and are ruining people’s lives in the process.  They are taking advantage of parents who don’t make a lot of money and bribing them with cash in order to profit from it.  They are tainting a game that kids love to play.  They are putting innocent people’s lives at risk due to their ignorant and insensitive way of life, and something needs to be done about it.

There are so many victims that it’s hard to even find a starting point.  From the parents & children to the newly financed drug dealers who manage to build their destructive empires on the profits of gambling.  There is no way to adequately summarize what has been exposed. To truly understand the extent of this devastation, PLEASE visit ESPN’s original story by Outsides the Lines HERE.

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

Casinos expect revenue increases as Obama extends Unemployment Benefits

Casino Watch Focus just recently reported that California welfare recipients withdrew $1.8 million from public aid debit cards in casinos across the state.  It’s all too common for casino’s to take advantage of the poor.  Too many people accepting public assistance attempt to gamble away the money for a chance to win big, only to hand the money over to the casinos in the process.  Given the current economic climate, families are at even more risk as casinos continue to prey on the desperate.  An online gambling source is reporting that casinos are expecting to make money off needy families as Obama has just extended unemployment benefits:

It is an unfortunate situation that occurs when the economy tanks in a country. In the US, thousands of citizens have turned to gambling as a way to make a quick buck and help themselves through the difficult economic times.

On Thursday, President Obama signed the Unemployment Extension Bill that is expected to bring relief to tens of thousands of Americans. It is inevitable that some of the unemployment benefits will end up in the hands of gamblers who will try to parlay their good luck into future security. With more gaming options than ever in the US, problem gambling, especially in light of the rough economy, may soon be picking up.

The casino industry will take their revenue any way they can get it these days.

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

California Welfare recipients withdraw $1.8 million in government benefits at casinos

The Los Angeles times broke a very disturbing story regarding state-issued debit cards used for public assistance being used to withdrawal cash in casinos:

The cards, provided by the Department of Social Services to help recipients feed and clothe their families, work in automated teller machines at 32 of 58 tribal casinos and 47 of 90 state-licensed poker rooms, the review found.

State officials said Wednesday they were working to determine how much money had been withdrawn from casino ATMs by people using the welfare debit cards.

Gov Schwarzenegger’s administration looked into the matter and determined that $1.8 million had been withdrawn since October.  After the story broke, there was tremendous public outcry that such government assistance could be turned into cash and through casino ATM’s of all places.  The Kansas Star reported Schwarzenegger’s executive order:

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has issued an executive order barring California welfare recipients from using state-issued debit cards at casino ATMs. Thursday’s order followed a report by The Los Angeles Times that found CalWORKS cards were used to withdraw cash in more than half the casinos in the state. Schwarzenegger’s order requires welfare recipients to sign a pledge that they will use their benefits only to meet the basic needs of their families. It also gives the state Department of Social Services seven days to come up with a plan to reduce other “waste, fraud and abuse” in the welfare program.

Some critics are looking for the Governor to expand new rules to other “seedy” business, while others want to see the cash option completely removed from the welfare program.  Regardless of what action is taken, it’s hard to image the level of harm to California families suffered by $1.8 million in government aid being spent on gambling instead of much needed care.

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

A brief look at crime 10/12/09 – 10/18/09

Trio of Murder Indictments in Tallahassee

Leon County grand jury issues three murder indictments in a swift morning session.  Terrell Robinson was indicted for first degree murder in the strangulation of his girlfriend, FSU art student Elisabeth Killam. Killam was killed in her Chartre Oaks apartment three weeks ago.  The grand jury also indicted Victor Hamilton on two counts of first degree murder. Hamilton is the accused triggerman in a double homicide at a Tennessee Street hotel last month.  Lemon Lane was also indicted for first degree murder in the shooting death of Anthony Nathan back in August. Deputies say the shooting on Cathedral Drive was the result of a gambling dispute.

Insurance agent sentenced to 13 years in prison

A former Sacramento life insurance agent has been sentenced to 13 years in prison and ordered to pay $434,000 in restitution for stealing from her clients to fund her gambling habit. Between January 2005 and August 2007, Flora convinced at least a dozen retirees living in El Dorado, Sacramento, Yolo, San Joaquin, Solano, Stanislaus and Butte counties to invest between $5,000 and $88,000 with her, a news release said. She sold annuities to retirees who sought financial security, but then also offered additional investment opportunities, promising annual returns ranging from 10 percent to 20 percent. She told them their funds would be used to make real estate loans to investors paying high interest rates. But she made only a few interest payments to investors. Instead, she used the money to play the slots almost daily at Thunder Valley Casino in Placer County.

Kids raiding houses to feed online habit

Young people are being driven to break into neighbours’ houses or stack up bills on their parents’ credit cards so they can gamble online, says the Problem Gambling Foundation. Research director Phil Townshend said a record number of people were seeking help from the foundation for online gambling addictions, and the problem was set to spread among young people.

Iowa man accused of trying to rob woman at casino

A 21-year-old southeast Iowa man is accused of breaking a 76-year-old woman’s arm as he tried to rob her at a casino.  Authorities say he tried to take the woman’s purse, and when she wouldn’t let go he knocked her to the ground.  She suffered a broken arm, dislocated shoulder and broken ribs.

Ex-bookkeeper sentenced for fraud

A gambling addict was on Friday jailed for six years for stealing more than R2-million from two legal firms while in their employ as a bookkeeper. Chabillal said some of the money stolen from the second firm had  been used to repay the first.  She stole from her employers, taking money from their respective  trust accounts.  He said he also agreed with defence attorney Deon Louw that Cronje was a pathological gambler…She was sentenced on 153 counts of fraud, and one of money laundering, all taken as one.

Supermarket manager stole £112k in fortnight to fund roulette addiction

A SUPERMARKET boss who stole £112,000 from Lidl in a fortnight to fund her gambling addiction was jailed yesterday.  The 38-year-old manager took the cash from Lidl’s Langstracht store in Aberdeen over a two-week period in September last year. [She] would squander up to £4000 a night at the roulette wheels in the city’s casinos.  She took cash from her store to gamble – then stole even more in the hope of winning the cash back.

Homeowner association president sentenced for embezzling $87,000

The former president of the Gander Road Homeowner’s Association, who admitted to embezzling $87,000 from the group, was sentenced Friday, Oct. 9, to five years probation. Griffin pleaded guilty June 17 to one count of honest services mail fraud. Griffin must repay the restitution at the rate of $1,000 per month and receive counseling for gambling addiction. Rice also ordered that a lien be placed on Griffin’s home.

Woman loses $25,000 in jewelry at Joliet casino

An Oak Lawn woman lost $25,000 worth of jewelry in restroom Sunday at Empress Casino.  The woman told police she hung her purse on a door hook of a casino restroom stall about 4:30 p.m.  The woman turned away from her purse, police said, and when she turned back, the purse was outside the stall and open, and a jewelry case containing $25,000 worth of jewelry was missing.

Connecticut: Former Manchester Cop Accused Of Theft Accepted Into Program

A former police sergeant accused of stealing more then $19,000 from Police Explorer and child safety seat funds has been accepted into a special program in lieu of going to prison. Police said she stole the money  because she had more than $240,000 in gambling debts.

Employee Stole Soju Worth $260,000

Ulsan Nambu Police Station apprehended an employee of an alcoholic beverage company for stealing soju worth nearly 300 million won ($260,000) from his workplace.  Police said the man, named only as Kim, entered the warehouse of the liquor company he worked at from March to July about 50 times after his colleagues had left and hid some 11,000 boxes of soju with a market value of 290 million won.  Kim sold the liquor to clients for a cheap price and spent the money at casinos abroad.

Trial of 22 opens in SW China on organized crime, gambling charges

Twenty-two people went on trial Wednesday in southwest China’s Chongqing Municipality on charges related to running an organized crime ring and illegal gambling dens. The alleged ringleader, Xie Caiping, was charged with organizing and leading an organized crime gang, running illegal gambling dens, and harboring people taking illegal narcotics, illegal imprisonment and giving bribes to officials.

The municipal authorities arrested more than 2,000 government officials, police officers and suspected gangsters in a crackdown on organized crime this summer. Among those arrested was Wen Qiang, director of the municipal judicial administrative bureau and former executive deputy director of the municipal public security bureau.

Woman accused of embezzling from elderly parents

Authorities have charged a west Michigan woman with embezzling at least $100,000 from her parents’ life savings of $275,000.  Eloise Russo is accused of taking the money to pay for gambling losses, a $10,000 gift and a $16,000 new car for her sister. The 53-year-old woman is free on bond following her arraignment Wednesday — two days after her father, Thomas Sherwin of Hudsonville, died at age 90.

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