Category Archives: Elderly

Florida Senior Cafés Reopening Using a New Model in an Attempt to Distance Themselves from Internet Cafés

Casino Watch Focus has reported on the ongoing saga of Florida’s internet cafés.  These mini slot parlors and casinos were definitively banned after a massive operation took down a $300 million internet café.  Owners of these illegal gambling sites put forth a lawsuit attempting to prevent its enforcement, thus keeping them open so they could fight the legislation.  The injunction was denied but that hasn’t deterred certain owners from reopening under new guidelines.  The Sun Sentinel explains:

More than three months after a new state law forced senior arcades into retirement, the low-stakes, adults-only gaming venues are re-emerging across South Florida, with their owners and patrons playing by a new set of rules.

The law doesn’t call for an outright ban on senior arcades, but its restrictions, such as not allowing gift cards to be awarded as prizes, make them less attractive to players. As a result, senior arcades disappeared from South Florida.

In recent weeks, however, about 40 have reopened, complying with the law by offering retrofitted, coin-operated gaming devices and paper towels and cookware as prizes.

Those that operate Senior Arcades claim they are not the same as the more harmful and wide spread internet cafés.  They claim to be operating more like a Chuck E. Cheese that gives prizes based on coupons.  However, they originally dealt in cash gift cards, not simple prizes. Each owner seems to be opening up in different ways and each try to view their business as something other than playing slots for prizes, or gambling.  However, they are still offering prizes of up to $50 in value for 75 cents worth of slot machine credit. The Sun Sentinel continues:

Most senior-arcade managers say they’re trying to work within the law, rather than defy it. At Casablanca Game Room in Lauderhill, players buy at least $10 in tokens, play until they notch 75 cents, and then redeem their credits for prizes worth from $10 to $50, such as a set of nonstick frying pans or glassware. The room reopened on July 10 after being closed for three months.

“I just want the gift cards back,” says William Larkins, 86, of Sunrise. “You have to work much harder to win something now.”

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

Florida considers complete Vegas-Style gambling

The saga in Florida continues.  Casino Watch Focus has been reporting on the state of the gambling compact with the Seminole Indians and most recently reported that the compact had been voted down in legislative committee.  Now it appears that Florida is considering full scale commercial gambling as a means to balance its budget. The Orlando Sentinel reports:

Rep. Ellyn Bogdanoff, R-Fort Lauderdale, who strongly opposed the expansion of slots in South Florida, now says that since gambling is everywhere in Florida, she supports a “free market” approach. She is pitching a “Gaming Equalization Act” to lure a half-dozen gambling executives to build beachside hotel-casinos.

One of the Legislature’s staunchest conservatives, Rep. Alan Hays, says he wants the state to get into the gambling business directly by owning casinos and hiring private operators, similar to the state Lottery.

An online source is reporting that one Vegas investor is willing to spend $3 billion to develop a lavish casino resort and thinks Florida is just the place:

Sheldon Adelson, a billionaire global resort developer and CEO of Las Vegas Sands Corp (NYSE:LVS), tells The Miami Herald/St. Petersburg Times he is ready to invest up to $3 billion in a resort casino Adelson said his project would resemble a mega convention center housing malls, theaters, spas, hotels, restaurants and casinos. “We’re not interested in putting up slot parlors or a gambling den,” the entrepreneur told the newspaper.  “We want destinations and integrated resorts.”

It is still early in the process but groups are already speaking out.  Citizen Link reported:

John Stemberger, president of the Florida Family Policy Council, said it would negatively affect the state’s image and is the wrong way to finance the future.  “It’s unstable,” he said. “It’s economically destructive. It has enormous social consequences: Divorces, suicide, crime, increased addictions and bankruptcies. It’s just a bad deal.”

Let your Lawmakers know that you are not in favor of building of a 3 billion dollar casino that will bring in some tax dollars in exchange for making losers of the people.  Florida is full of seniors who will be great candidates for over the top addiction.  Lawmakers who vote to encourage this kind of harm have forgotten what it means to be a servant of the people in Tallahassee.  In effect they will let thousands of families experience certain ruin in exchange for their cut of casino win.  That’s what the people of FL have to look forward to if action is not taken.

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

A brief look at crime 8/31-9/6

Accused threatened to murder estranged wife

The man who stands accused of murdering his estranged wife in Tarxien on July 13 had previously threatened to kill her if he did not get half of everything during separation procedures, the victim’s sister testified on Tuesday. Ms Milenkovic said that her sister sought separation because of her husband’s drinking and gamblingproblems.  The money was soon gone, being squandered on alcohol and gambling by her husband. Ms Milenkovic said that she advised her sister to settle some gambling debts at the time.

2 immigrants guilty in fatal Vegas Strip bombing

A Nevada jury found two illegal immigrants guilty Friday of capital murder and explosives charges in a bombing in a Las Vegas casino parking lot that killed a hot dog stand vendor in 2007.  Prosecutors said Duarte-Herrera provided the bombmaking expertise and Rueda-Denvers supplied a motive – jealousy and revenge against Dorantes Antonio, who was dating Rueda-Denvers’ ex-girlfriend, Caren Chali.  Chali now 30, the mother of Rueda-Denvers’ child, worked with Dorantes Antonio at a hot dog stand at the Luxor and was with him when the bomb exploded. She was not injured.

Joplin resident ordered to serve prison sentence

The U.S. attorney’s office said Seward watched the woman gambling inside the casino and then followed her to her car in the parking lot, where he snatched her purse and tried to flee. When the woman fought back, he punched her in the face, knocking her out momentarily.

Gambling Raids Pile Up Across The US, The Latest In Georgia

Anyone who is looking into running an illegal gambling operation in the US needs to be aware of one thing. Authorities are actively cracking down on the se operations, and they are arresting people in the process. Across the US, there has been an effort made to ensure that video gambling does not become an acceptable practice.

Chips were down so dealer stole

A GOLD Coast croupier stole $5700 of casino chips because she needed the money, a court has been told.  Wai Ying Ayumi Ho, 24, pleaded guilty to stealing chips from Jupiters Casino while working on the baccarat table in June this year.

MGM Mirage and Chinese Organized Crime

The Daily News has reported that one of six bidders to run a Las Vegas-style video slots emporium in Queens has ties to Chinese organized crime. MGM is in a partnership agreement in Macau with Patsy Ho, daughter of that Chinese casino resort’s gambling magnate Stanley Ho.  MGM’s partnership with Pansy Ho be found “unsuitable,” [AG Division]

Five years for Andres Wines thief: Woman stole more than $7m to feed gambling habit

A Dundas woman has been sentenced to five years in prison for stealing more than $7.4 million from her job at a Grimsby-based winery.  Christine Papakyriakou had pleaded guilty in April to using her position as an accountant with Andres Wines, now Andrew Peller Ltd., to siphon off the money over an 11-year period to feed a gambling addiction. Her gambling debts were reportedly between $5 million and $10 million.

She stole and gambled $350,000

Riley, 55, had her nose stuck in her Patricia Cornwall novel for several hours at Bowen District Court yesterday where she was waiting to be sentenced for gambling away $354,724.83 belonging to Tourism Whitsundays. Riley gambled away 23 per cent of Tourism Whitsundays’ annual income Riley, who has a 10-year-old child, pleaded guilty to fraud.  Prosecutor Scott Thackeray said Riley used Tourism Whitsundays’ finances for internet betting.

Charity fraudster appears in court

A fraudster organised charity race nights in north Norfolk to help terminally ill children and then kept more than £8,000 of the proceeds for himself.  Ferris was arrested on August 7, 2008 and admitted during interviews to an online gambling addiction that amounted to tens of thousands of pounds and had resulted in him losing his house and car.

Ex-AmeriCorps director gets 6 months in prison for $150K embezzlement

A former AmeriCorps director now living in Hopkinton was sentenced yesterday to six months in prison for embezzling more than $150,000 while on the job to feed his addiction to betting on horse races.  In a presentencing memo, prosecutors wrote that Holden had a clean record before the embezzlement and tax-evasion charges and turned to crime because of his gambling problem.

Former caretaker sentenced for thefts

A Grand Rapids woman [70] authorities say stole thousands of dollars from at-risk adults and used it to gamble will spend a year in jail [She was] ordered to pay $47,741.36 in restitution plus other costs and supervision fees for three counts of felony theft.  Trickey, who operated a business called Protective Care in Grand Rapids, was the court-appointed guardian for adults described as at-risk — defined by state law as having a condition that substantially impairs them. Her responsibilities included managing their money and handling their financial affairs.  “She stole money from some of our community’s most vulnerable people,” Lambert said.

Pocono Downs Casino Fined For Underage Gambling

The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board levied a $97,500 fine against the Mohegan Sun Casino at Pocono Downs for having failed to prevent minors from gambling. The fine was placed against the casino for fifteen separate incidents involving minors either gambling or being in the restricted area of the gaming floor.

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

A brief look at crime 8/17 – 8/23

1 dead, 3 injured in overnight shooting in St. Louis

A teenager is dead and three other people are hospitalized after a shooting in St. Louis.  Investigators say the victims and others had been gambling in a dice game prior to the shooting.

Founder of BetonSports Pleads Guilty to Fraud, Forfeits $43 Million to Government

As part of a complex plea agreement, Kaplan, 50, entered pleas of guilty to charges of conspiracy to violate the RICO statute, conspiring to violate the Wire Wager Act and violating the Wire Wager Act. The plea had Kaplan forfeit to the United States $43,650,000 in criminal proceeds, which he wired from a Swiss bank account to a U.S. District Court bank account approximately one week prior to entering his guilty pleas.  BetOnSports advertised heavily in the U.S. to solicit U.S. residents to place sports wagers by telephone and over the Internet.

“Gary Kaplan made millions of dollars by making it too easy for people to gamble away their hard earned money without having to leave their homes,” said John V. Gillies, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI in St. Louis. “Today’s guilty plea should have a lasting effect because Kaplan was not only the founder of BetonSports, he was also one of the pioneers of illegal online gambling.

Mom charged after leaving infant in car to gamble in Windsor

Police today said a 32-year-old Tilbury, Ontario, woman has been charged with abandonment after allegedly leaving her infant daughter in a hot car while gambling at Caesars Windsor Casino….one count of abandoning a child and failing to provide the necessaries of life for allegedly leaving the 6-month-old girl in her car while she played the tables Thursday. Police said she admitted she had a gambling addiction.

Texas Completes Biggest Gambling Prosecution Ever

The state combined many of their law enforcement agencies on the raid that took place back in May of last year. When executing the search warrant, they found thousands of dollars in cash and also seized the eight-liner machines. In addition to the illegal gambling charges, founder of Aces Wired, Gordon Graves, plead guilty to felony tampering with evidence charges. The state of Texas is just one state that is attempting to crack down on these illegal gambling establishments.

Former health care worker pleads guilty of exploiting elderly St. Charles woman

A former health care worker was placed on probation today after admitting that she took $100,000 from an elderly St. Charles woman because of a gambling problem.  McClinton worked for a health care company an 85-year-old woman used in 2005 to help care for her 103-year-old mother.

Ex-panhandle sheriff sentenced to nearly 6 years

The former head of the Florida Sheriffs’ Association apologized to his Panhandle county and former employees for heading a money laundering and corruption scheme before a judge sentenced him to nearly six years in federal prison.  Investigators have said the bonus money came from Homeland Security and Justice Department training grants and that an inner circle within the department used some of the money to fund first-class Las Vegas gambling trips.

2 Orange County farms raided in dog-fighting probe

Federal and state law enforcement agents raided two Orange County farms Tuesday in an investigation of suspected breeding and training sites for dog-fighting operations. “There should be more” arrests, said Jeff Franklin, a spokesman for the Indiana Gaming Commission’s gaming control unit, which investigates illegal gambling. He said the investigation began about two years ago when the commission received a tip about gambling on dog fights.

Former credit union employee promises to repay $537,000 stolen for gambling

Court documents reveal that while audits during that period uncovered inconsistencies in automatic banking records, she was able to explain them away, at least in part because she was a highly trusted employee.

Ex-federal employee sentenced to 3 years for embezzling nearly $600,000

A former federal accountant who admitted embezzling nearly $600,000 from the government has been sentenced to three years and one month in prison. Harrington said he used the money to gamble and to pay off gambling-related debts and loans.

Suicide try made by suspect

A second man arrested in connection with the fatal shooting of a Holyoke man Aug. 9 remained under guard at Springfield hospital Saturday after attempting suicide, police said.  DeJesus and Bonilla-Torres shot Hernandez in an attempt to rob him of his gambling winnings, said Holyoke police Chief Anthony R. Scott.

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

A brief look at Gambling related Crime 6/22-6/28

Authorities say con man blew $400,000 in a day at casino

Authorities say a Park City con man who severed his ankle bracelet and fled Utah before he could be sentenced tried to fake his own suicide and gambled away at least $400,000 while on the run. Authorities say he had grown a full beard and undergone eye surgery so he wouldn’t have to wear glasses. Phelps said one person who spotted Geddes while he was on the lam said the fugitive lost $400,000 gambling in one day.

Former Elks treasurer admits stealing $475K in lodge money to pay off gambling debts

A former Elks club treasurer pleaded guilty today to stealing $475,000 from the fraternal lodge with a former tax board commissioner so the pair could pay off gambling debts in Atlantic City, authorities said. Konstantin Belenky, 42, of East Hanover, pleaded guilty in Superior Court in Morristown to third-degree theft from the Florham Park-Fairfield Elks Lodge 815. In entering the plea, Belenky agreed to continue cooperating with investigators against alleged co-conspirator Anthony Crecco, a former Morris County Tax Board commissioner, who was indicted in April on theft charges in the case.

Six years for stealing retired nun’s life savings

A former financial planner was sentenced Thursday to six years in prison for stealing a retired nun’s life savings.  William H. Lofthus looted $427,163.95 from the elderly woman and blew it at riverboat casinos. Bernice F. Laurins died penniless in November 2005 at the Château Living Center in Willowbrook. The retired nun was 92.

Woman stole from 90-year-old to fund online gambling

A former manager of a Yarmouth sheltered housing block stole £14,500 from a vulnerable 90-year-old woman to fund her addiction to on-line gambling …. Mrs House’s finances had started off as legitimate but her addiction to gambling and being made bankrupt had forced her to steal from the victim. “As she looses more and more money she turned then to taking money from the injured party.”

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

Man Shot in the Face at Ameristar Casino

KMBC reported this tragic story:

Police are investigating after a 54-year-old man was shot leaving Ameristar Casino early Friday morning.

KMBC’s Jana Corrie reported that the victim was a passenger in a car that was leaving the casino. Police told Corrie that an older-model blue car with peeling paint cut off the car the victim was in near the casino’s exit. A man in the blue car got out and shot the man in the face.

The victim has serious injuries, but is expected to recover.

Police said they are looking for two men who were in the blue car. Anyone with information on the shooting is asked to call the TIPS Hotline at 816-474-TIPS.

The connection between Prop. A and more suicides

One of the biggest problems with Proposition A is that it removes the enforcement mechanism necessary for enforcing Missouri’s self-ban list.  With no enforcement mechanism in place, gamblers who lack the control to stay away from casinos will be able to simply walk right on to the casino floor.  The results of problem and pathological gambling are tragic and can lead numerous problems and Missouri was the first state to implement a self-ban, known as the Disassociated Persons List.  A new study published in the September issue of Psychology and Aging, published by the American Psychological Association. has examined why people placed themselves on Missouri’s self-ban lists and the results are shocking:

Researchers Lia Nower, JD, PhD, of the Rutgers University Center for Gambling Studies, and Alex Blaszczynski, Ph.D. of the University of Sydney, Australia, looked at 1,601 self-described problem gamblers who asked between 2001 and 2003 to be banned from Missouri casinos. The results of their study were published in the September issue of Psychology and Aging, published by the American Psychological Association.

Older adults – over age 55 in this study — reported gambling an average of 17 years before “self-exclusion” – more than twice the length of time reported by younger adults. All participants were asked to cite the main reason or reasons why they sought to be barred from casinos. Younger, middle-aged and older adults all gave as the primary reasons gaining control, needing help and hitting rock bottom. However, nearly 14 percent of older adults surveyed – a higher proportion than any other group – indicated they sought help because they wanted to prevent themselves from committing suicide.

Prop A is DANGEROUS for Missourians as it will clearly open the door for problem and pathological gamblers to simply walk into the casino and by their own admission, this could lead to Missourians losing their lives to suicide.