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Sunday, December 31, 2006

Almost 30 video gambling machines seized

A video gambling machine raid in Ashburn Wednesday night proves successful.
Police seized 28 machines at six different stores. Police say some customers
were using their welfare checks to gamble on the machines. "This was
something that was just taking their money and is a violation of the law.
This is the first successful operation. This is not the first time we've
tried something like this but it's been the first successful operation that
we've had," says Chief Ben Sumner. The store owners have not been arrested
and police wont say if they will be.

posted by Jerry "Jet" Whittaker at 12/31/2006 09:32:00 AM

Ranong strictly prohibits officials from gambling

Ranong Province warns state officials not to get involved in all forms of
gambling, especially lottery. They will face both criminal charges and
disciplinary punishments if they do. Ranong Governor Kanchanapa Keeman added
that the province also bans officials from listening to or watching programs
broadcasting government lottery drawing. She said officials should set a
good example for the general public by exempting from immoral activities. As
for underground lottery operators, the governor said she had instructed
police officers to keep a close watch on them and deploy income tax and
money-laundering laws to punish them.
At present the Government Lottery Office (GLO) halts the distribution of
two- and three-digits lotteries as the government is considering the
amendment of the controversial GLO Act.

posted by Jerry "Jet" Whittaker at 12/31/2006 09:32:00 AM

Partygaming looks to buy Empire gambling sites

Sector leader PartyGaming said on Thursday it was in talks to buy part of
Empire, which confirmed it was selling gaming assets to become an investment
"It'll include Empire's Noble Poker and Club Dice casino sites," said one
industry source, adding that the deal was expected to be completed by the
end of this week. PartyGaming is leading the race to consolidate the on-line
gaming sector, having moved into bookmaking by buying Gamebookers in August
and having held talks to buy 888. The group once towered over rivals with a
market capitalisation of nearly STG5 billion ($NZ14 billion), but when the
United States banned on-line gambling in November it lost over three
quarters of its value and began seeking ways to recover mass. Another source
said that after any deal was concluded, PartyGaming could strike a software
licensing deal with Playtech, which already powers Empire's sites. It would
be Playtech's first deal with PartyGaming.
PartyGaming shares gained 2.5 per cent to 30½ pence by 1245 GMT on Thursday,
while Empire's shares rose by as much as 7 per cent, but were later down by
2.3 per cent at 43 pence. The two companies have previously been partners,
but suffered an acrimonious split last year when PartyGaming ring-fenced its
own poker players from those of four affiliates including Empire, which
relied on PartyGaming software. The split hit Empire hard, knocking 10 per
cent off its profits, and causing it to sue PartyGaming last December. That
dispute was settled in February when PartyGaming bought assets including
Empire's damaged EmpirePoker business for $US250 million. Empire's Internet
casino generated revenues of $US30.2 million in the first half of 2006,
while its poker site generated $US8 million, but like most of its peers it
has since quit the world's most lucrative gaming market, the United States.
PartyGaming is planning to take on board some of Empire's marketing experts
who have helped it stand out against bigger rivals in the past, sources
said. Empire has been seeking to distance itself from on-line gaming since
September. On Thursday, Empire said, "Following any such disposal, the
company's intention is to become an investing company." "The proceeds of any
disposal would be used together with the company's existing cash of
approximately $US250 million to invest opportunisticly in both private and
public businesses and across the small, mid and large-cap range of
companies," it added.

posted by Jerry "Jet" Whittaker at 12/31/2006 09:32:00 AM

Just What A.C. Needs: More Gambling

Casino impresario Steve Wynn is so needed in Atlantic City that a state
senator has suggested turning Boardwalk Hall into a casino for Wynn, writes
the Inquirer's Suzette Parmley. There's no real legislation he's planning,
but he did float the idea to see how "anyone who has an interest" would
respond. His model for the $3 billion renovation he's proposing is Union
Station in Washington D.C., only he wants to do it with slot machines. The
kicker? A full-scale renovation would pave the way for ex-bitter rivals Wynn
and Donald Trump to kiss and make up and operate an expansion of Trump
Plaza. The rumor is Trump would sell Trump Plaza to Wynn in exchange for
good land in Las Vegas, where Trump doesn't have a casino, oddly enough. So,
basically, what does this mean? More places to gamble in Atlantic City.
Yeeha! Oh, and supposedly the developers are supposed to build a new arena
to replace Boardwalk Hall if they want to turn it into a gambling mecca.

posted by Jerry "Jet" Whittaker at 12/31/2006 09:32:00 AM

Gambling duo prove there's no tax on luck

Brian and Terry Leblanc were once a couple of average guys, spending their
days washing windows and their nights drinking beer and watching sports on
television. In the late 1980s, the brothers won about $90,000 at Toronto's
Woodbine race track and decided to put that money toward more sports
betting. Within a few years, the Leblancs were managing a full-time betting
operation from their home in Aylmer, Que., wagering up to $300,000 a week
mostly on games such as Pro-Line. Their strategy was simple: bet huge
amounts on events with incredibly long odds. Naturally, they lost most of
the time, but, when they won, they won big. They pocketed $1.7-million three
times - on two bets in 1996 and one in 1999 - and won about $5.5-million
from 1996 to 1999. During that period, they wagered $52-million. It wasn't
long before the Canada Revenue Agency took note. In 2000, the agency sent
them a notice of reassessment for the years 1996 to 1999, saying their
gambling was a business and subject to tax. The case ended up at the Tax
Court of Canada and, last week, Mr. Justice Donald Bowman ruled in favour of
the Leblancs. "It is true, they won but to say they won because they had a
system has no basis in the evidence at all," Judge Bowman said in his
"They won in spite of having no system. If one is looking for a pattern, it
is that they bet massively and recklessly and in those games where they
could, they bet on long shots. Certainly it meant that if they won they won
big, but the converse is that if they lost, they lost big and, given the
astronomical odds against winning, their chances of losing were far greater
than their chances of winning." The judge said the Leblancs were compulsive
gamblers, but they were not running a business and their winnings were not
taxable. William Vanveen, an Ottawa lawyer who represented the brothers,
said the ruling was an important victory for gamblers everywhere. "What it
boiled down to was that luck is not taxable," Mr. Vanveen said Wednesday. In
order to win its case, he said the CRA had to prove that the men developed a
system to minimize their risk, something like a pool shark who practises by
day and then takes on unsuspecting drunks by night. "The mistake CRA made
was they just looked at the volume [of betting] and said all this volume
amounts to a business," Mr. Vanveen said. "These [lotteries] are advertised
and are accepted to be tax free. [The brothers] have a big win, they don't
work after that, so what's the problem?" The lawyer representing CRA was
unavailable for comment. The CRA could still appeal the ruling. They grew up
in the Toronto area and had little more than high-school education when they
joined their father's window-washing business in the 1980s. After winning
money on the track, they decided to jump into Pro-Line, which was launched
in 1992. They lost about $10,000 in their first year, but soon scored big
with two $1.7-million wins in January and February of 1996. By the
mid-1990s, they moved to Aylmer, near Ottawa, so they could play both
Ontario and Quebec lotteries. They kept their lives simple, driving old cars
and eschewing flashy jewellery. "They spent their time playing lottery games
or watching sports on television," the judge noted. "They also played Ping
Pong and golf and sat around the house drinking beer and eating pizza." Not
everything went well. Around 1996, Terry Leblanc fell in love with a
stripper named Josée Dubreuil and showered her with gifts, including an $850
engagement ring, $2,000 for breast implants and $14,000 in cash, according
to court records. The relationship ended after Ms. Dubreuil stole $124,000
worth of winning lottery tickets from a jar the Leblancs used to store
winning bets (the theft prompted them to buy a safe). Ms. Dubreuil was later
convicted and given an 18-month suspended sentence. In 2000, they also got
into a spat with dog-racing regulators in Australia who withheld nearly
$200,000 the brothers won via an online bet. The Australians alleged
manipulation but eventually backed down and gave the Leblancs their
winnings. Brian, now 35, and Terry, 41, were not available for comment
yesterday. According to Mr. Vanveen, Terry still lives in Canada while Brian
has moved to Britain.

posted by Jerry "Jet" Whittaker at 12/31/2006 09:32:00 AM

Almost 30 video gambling machines seized

A video gambling machine raid in Ashburn Wednesday night proves successful.
Police seized 28 machines at six different stores. Police say some customers
were using their welfare checks to gamble on the machines. "This was
something that was just taking their money and is a violation of the law.
This is the first successful operation. This is not the first time we've
tried something like this but it's been the first successful operation that
we've had," says Chief Ben Sumner. The store owners have not been arrested
and police wont say if they will be.

posted by Jerry "Jet" Whittaker at 12/31/2006 09:32:00 AM

Saturday, December 30, 2006

L.I. Gambling and Drug Rings Are Broken Up, Authorities Say

A sophisticated Long Island gambling ring that took in $8.6 million a year
was broken up with the arrest of 14 people, the Suffolk County district
attorney said on Wednesday. The district attorney, Thomas J. Spota, said
that the 14-month investigation also uncovered lucrative marijuana and
fireworks smuggling rackets that were run by the chief bookmaker, Salvatore
Gerrato, 45, of Seaford. In addition, three people were charged in the drug
case. "Surveillance of phone and computer communications established that
the gambling ring took in an average of $165,000 a week in bets," Mr. Spota
said. He added that the operation, which involved betting on professional
and college sports, had a wire room in Costa Rica. Mr. Spota said that a
59-year-old accountant, Stephen Tarnofsky of Merrick, was the leader of the
wire room. The gambling case eventually led investigators to the marijuana
and fireworks operations. According to the authorities, Mr. Gerrato oversaw
the smuggling of fireworks from Maryland and marijuana from California, and
these were distributed throughout the New York metropolitan region.
In May, the Suffolk Highway Patrol seized nine tons of illegal fireworks
from a vehicle returning from Maryland, according to Mr. Spota. The
authorities also confiscated more than $300,000 in cash from a recreational
vehicle that the smugglers planned to use to buy 100 pounds of marijuana in
California, Mr. Spota said. He added that on a typical cross-country run,
the smugglers could stash the vehicle with enough marijuana to yield $1
million to $1.5 million in street sales.
In raids on Dec. 14, investigators seized $1 million in cash, including
$600,000 from Mr. Tarnofsky's home, Mr. Spota said. Of the 17 people
arrested, 14 have been charged with promoting gambling in the first degree,
including Mr. Tarnofsky, Mr. Gerrato and Frank Lonigro, 33, of Hauppauge.
Three others were charged with fourth-degree conspiracy to possess
marijuana. Both charges are felonies and carry a maximum prison sentence of
four years, the district attorney's office said.
Mr. Gerrato was previously convicted of promoting gambling and, in 2001, was
sentenced to five years' probation, Mr. Spota said. Detectives were still
looking for Andrew Petrone, 34, of Freeport, a lawyer who, according to the
authorities, participated in the marijuana operation. He was arrested in
June for possession of a controlled substance in an unrelated case, Mr.
Spota said. He pleaded guilty and was scheduled for sentencing next month.
All the defendants were released on desk appearance tickets, and were
scheduled to appear before a judge in March, the authorities said. Mr. Spota
added that the investigation was not over. "I am sure it's a much larger
operation," he said.

posted by Jerry "Jet" Whittaker at 12/30/2006 03:21:00 AM

PartyGaming Confirms Talks To Buy Empire's Online Gambling Assets

Online gambling firm Partygaming has confirmed it is in talks to buy the
gaming assets of smaller rival Empire Online. Analysts said the deal could
be worth about $40m (£20.4m), and would probably include Empire's Noble
Poker and Club Dice Casino websites. Shares in Partygaming rose 2.5% on the
news in mid-day trading in London. The company has been refocusing its
business after it pulled out of the US market following the tightening of
anti-gambling laws there. Partygaming previously made 75% of its earnings in
the US. Analysts have been expecting a wave of consolidation in the industry
ever since the US moves began.
Empire said it planned to become an investment company after selling off its
internet gambling assets. The firm's Online Casino generated revenues of
$30.2m in the first six months of 2006, while its Online Poker site made

posted by Jerry "Jet" Whittaker at 12/30/2006 03:18:00 AM

A year in review. Online casinos and Gambling May

Part two in a series of news reviews covering the online casino and gambling
sector. May - Las Vegas Sands win a casino licence to build the first
casino in Singapore, costing three billion dollars. A bid from Coventry to
operate one of the super casinos in the U.K was thrown out by the
government, leaving the city's officials demanding answers. Kent town,
Dartford, suffered similar fate, where as Sheffield went the over way and
was put on the shortlist of candidates. The full list of candidates in
competition for the UK's first super casino was announced: Blackpool,
Wembley Stadium, Cardiff, Glasgow, the Millennium Dome, Manchester,
Newcastle upon Tyne and Sheffield were all short-listed. Two men were jailed
in Nottingham after they raided a casino and escaped with £45,000. They
received a total of 22 years in prison. Kerzner International sells their
casino operation to its management in a $3.2 billion deal, netting the
Cayzer family $237 million. June - As the world cup begins, bookies reveal
they are having a hard time as all the favourites seem to be performing as
expected. However, they appear to be crocodile tears, as a survey conducted
by Nielsen/Net Ratings showed that approximately 2.5 million Britons went on
to gambling sites, with bookies doubling their winnings to over £1 billion
from the last world cup in 2002. Lads' mag, Maxim, agrees to lend its name
to a £640 million Las Vegas hotel and casino. 32Red buy Littlewood's ailing
Bet Direct in a deal for over £11 million and was met with open arms by
investors. However, that optimism would not last the whole year as Bet
Direct turns into the industries hot potato. There are calls in Australia
for revenue gained from betting on sports events by gambling companies to be
put back into the sport. The French National Lottery is accused of cheating
players by printing scratchcards in a predetermined fashion. A successful
businessman, Robert Riblet, went on to file a two million Euro lawsuit
against the lottery. Tessa Jowell confirms that the UK will host an
International Gambling Summit, scheduled for October, in an attempt to unify
the various legislations of the numerous regulatory bodies. July - In a
massive shock to the gambling industry, David Carruthers, chief executive of
online gaming group BetOnSports, was arrested as he changed planes in
America en route to Costa Rica. He was charged by American federal
prosecutors with racketeering, conspiracy and fraud.

Shares in online gambling companies plummet as panic spreads throughout the
industry and many close their US facing businesses. Sportingbet were amongst
the worst hit, losing 50% of its revenue as almost £1 billion was wiped from
the market in days.

UK Deputy Prime Minster, John Prescott, reacted angrily to claims of
corruption over his friendship with Philip Anschutz, as the US tycoon looks
to open a super casino at London's Dome.

Top Irish jockey, Kieren Fallon, loses his appeal over allegations he was
involved in a betting scam but always maintained his innocence.

The government announce that casinos, betting shops and online gambling
websites will be allowed to advertise on television from next year, under
new proposed laws in the Gambling Act.

Ladbrokes return to the casino industry after a gap of more than five years
when it opened the £5 million Ladbrokes Casino and Sports Bar at the Hilton
in Paddington, London.

Rank look into the possibility of selling its world-renowned restaurant
business, the Hard Rock Café for a potential £500 million.

The government face more criticism as it's revealed that Anschutz
Entertainment Group (AEG) have admitted they have started building work on a
casino at the Millennium Dome. AEG claimed it would be too costly to wait
for a decision on the location of the UK's new casinos. Many see this move
as antagonising and somewhat presumptuous.

The world's very first strip poker tournament was hosted by Paddy Power in
London. Winner John Young from Slough generously gave the £10,000 prize
money to charity.

After the world cup in Germany, bookies report record figures with over $2
billion wagered would wide. William Hill announced that punters were betting
almost £30 million per day.

Spain begins to look more closely into the possibility of regulating
gambling as a partnership between William Hill and Codere hint at a possible
relaxing of laws.

Harrah's eyes a potential buyout of the UK's Stanley Leisure and London
Clubs International.

Ladbrokes announces that it will not be entering the US market, although the
decision was not final and would be up for review in the coming months. That
review would turn out to be very brief indeed.

There is speculation that PartyGaming is the prime candidate for acquiring
the Victor Chandler Group which includes an online casino, online poker
room, sportbook and telephone betting operation.

posted by Jerry "Jet" Whittaker at 12/30/2006 03:18:00 AM

Friday, December 29, 2006

Gambling to save face on Iraq

"You can always count on Americans to do the right thing but only after
they've exhausted every other possibility." --Winston Churchill(1874-1965),
former Prime Minister of England Sometimes, when a snake tries to swallow a
porcupine, it gets stuck in its throat and the predator has no choice but to
spit it out. The neoconservative Bush-Cheney administration, under the
pro-Israel Lobby's influence, thought that Iraq would be an easy meal, to be
savored while doing an easycakewalk, in the words of neocon Ken Adelman: "I
believe demolishing Hussein's military power and liberating Iraq would be a
cakewalk." Now, the Bush-Cheney administration will spend the next two years
it has left attempting to extricate itself from the morass they have brought
upon Iraq and upon the United States. According to former U.N. General
SecretaryKofi Annan, the U.S. is 'trapped in Iraq', and faces a no-win
situation. This is reminiscent of what former Secretary of State Colin Powel
is reputed to have said to George W. Bush before the military invasion of
Iraq: "If you break it; you own it!" How long and after how many more deaths
will this Iraq quagmire last? The geopolitical consequences of having a
country like the United States trapped in Iraq are enormous.
The Iraq conflict is turning into another Vietnam war-like fiasco. Already,
the Iraq war costs more in nominal terms than the Vietnam war and 58 percent
of Americansnow believe that George W. Bush led them into a new Vietnam-like
mess. Even though the 10-wise-person Baker-Hamilton Commission has
unanimously recommended that the U.S. terminate its open-ended presence in
Iraq and begin its disengagement and "redeployment" from the country, and
even though fewer than 30 percent of Americans approve Bush's policies in
Iraq, you can bet the house that George W. Bush will not follow the
recommendation of his father's advisors. Instead of beginning an orderly
troop withdrawal in 2007, as recommended by the Baker-Hamilton Commission,
G. W. Bush would rather gamble and raise the ante, and will risk turning
Iraq into an even bigger mess than it is today. It's like Bush's SUV has no
reverse gear! In a last attempt to salvage a losing and misguided
enterprise, and deep in his continuous state of denial, Bush will throw good
money after bad and will send thousands of additional American troops to
"secure Baghdad" and give the impression of some stability in Iraq. In
reality, Bush's "new approach" for Iraq may well have the consequence of
enlarging the conflict, possibly bringing Iran, Syria, Turkey and Saudi
Arabia into the inferno. In other words, the neocon inspired Bush-Cheney
team will do exactly the reverse of what the Baker-Hamilton Commission has
recommended. No wonder former president George H.W. Bush is crying aloud in
public. The Bush-Cheney administration invaded a foreign country illegally
and now thinks that its presence there has become indispensable. That takes
some gall. Trying to save face with "a last big push" to give the impression
of "salvaging" the situation is not a real policy for solving the Iraq mess.
This will only perpetuate the on-going civil war in that country and pile up
more deaths on the already high mountain of deaths. It is a cop-out, but
sadly in line with what one would expect from a dysfunctional

posted by Jerry "Jet" Whittaker at 12/29/2006 05:46:00 AM

Gambling boss selling firm to rival company

Noam Lanir, owner of the Empire Online, will sell his remaining shares in
the gambling company to rival PartyGaming for USD 40 million. A year and a
half after the company was put up on the London Stock Exchange, Lanir seems
to be heading out of the gambling business. Lanir will use revenues from the
sale of Empire, which total USD 300 million, to invest in real estate. The
sale deal with PartyGambling, the world's largest operator of gambling Web
sites, is expected to be finalized by the end of the week. Experts said
Lanir's decision is a signal that the two remaining Israeli online gambling
companies traded on the London Stock Exchange, 888.com and Playtech, will be
selling their shares in the future over US law banning online gambling. The
US Senate approved a the law on September 29, making it illegal for US
banks, credit card and companies to make transactions carried out in the US
to online gambling companies. Empire was worth USD 928 million when first
traded in London, but its shared fell significantly in recent months. The
company is estimated at USD 244 million today after its shares fell by 80

posted by Jerry "Jet" Whittaker at 12/29/2006 05:45:00 AM

Buyouts dominate holiday talk at Ford

Ford Motor Co. had offered him and its 75,000 other U.S. hourly workers a
choice of buyout packages. One option: A $100,000 lump-sum payment to walk
away forever. No job and no health care. For hourly workers at Ford, making
a decision on the buyout offers required a combination of economic
calculations and soul searching. For Swiercz, 40, who has two ex-wives and
pays $157.50 each week in child support for his 14-year-old son, taking the
buyout would be the equivalent of a third divorce. The math just didn't
work: The cheapest health insurance he found cost $450 a month. With child
support, he'd pay $1,080 each month before he paid rent or put gas in the
car. He chose to stay on the production line at Ford's Woodhaven Stamping
Plant. The decision feels "100 percent" like a gamble, he said. He's
gambling that the plant will stay open. He's gambling that, if it does,
enough workers will take buyouts so Ford can avoid layoffs there. He's
gambling that a worker from a closing plant who has more seniority won't
bump him off the job. "A lot of people I talk to say, 'It's just like craps:
It's a roll of the dice,' " he said. Some 38,000 Ford workers -- roughly
half of Ford's U.S. hourly work force -- said they would take one of Ford's
eight buyout packages.
The last will be gone by fall. Workers who are staying are every bit as
nervous as those starting over. The Woodhaven plant still runs three shifts.
Workers there got good news the Friday before Christmas that it will stay
open. The buyout and the future have been the dominant topic of conversation
there for six months, Swiercz said. "You talk to 25 people a day, that's
what 10 people are talking about," he said. "Not, 'How are your kids?' or
'What are you doing for Christmas?' (It's) 'You taking the buyout?'
"Everybody's worried about everything now," Swiercz said. Auto workers, who
can make $60,000 a year without overtime, and more than $100,000 with it,
"know they're never going to make this kind of money again," said Denise
Brooks, who has worked for 131/2 years at the Brownstown Ford plant. Cynthia
Allison was a single mother raising a daughter, Donielle, and getting
welfare before she got a job at Ford's Dearborn Truck plant. Nothing had
prepared her for how physically punishing it would be. Her first day, "I
kept saying, 'The money, Cindy, the money. A future for you and for Donny.'
When I got off that 4 a.m. shift, each step I took, my head said, 'Boom.
Boom. Boom.' " Allison is taking the $100,000 buyout and planning a future
without her $27 an hour salary. She's moved from a $1,200-a month apartment
in suburban Southfield to a $700 apartment in Detroit. She has no home
phone, no cable, she's stopped shopping for everything but necessities, she
no longer eats at restaurants and she's bartending nights. She's not bitter,
saying: "Thank you. Thank you, Ford, for helping me raise my daughters,
making it possible as a single parent. I don't want them to think I didn't
appreciate the time. Without them, I couldn't have done a lot of the things
I did for my daughters, or my family."

posted by Jerry "Jet" Whittaker at 12/29/2006 05:45:00 AM

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Legislation would raise minimum gambling age

Rhode Island's minimum gambling age would be changed from 18 to 21 under
legislation that a freshman state lawmaker plans to introduce in the General
Assembly next week. "It's just a vice that might be with them for a long
time," Fellela, a mother of four, said Tuesday. "I think it's a way of
protecting them a little bit longer."
The bill would raise the minimum age required to gamble in the state's
licensed betting facilities, to buy state lottery tickets, and to bet at
racetracks or play Keno.
Larry Berman, a spokesman for House Speaker William Murphy, D-West Warwick,
said similar legislation was introduced in 2002 but failed to advance. He
said Fellela's bill would be formally introduced next week and then assigned
to a committee. Messages left at Lincoln Park and Newport Grand, the state's
two gambling parlors, were not immediately returned Tuesday. The Rhode
Island Lottery does not have a position on the bill, said lottery
spokeswoman Jennafer Rampone.

posted by Jerry "Jet" Whittaker at 12/28/2006 08:05:00 AM

Israeli Police Crackdown Could Have Impact Worldwide

Israeli police have begun to crack down on internet gambling operators,
including those who run backgammon websites. Some of the more prominent
online gambling firms are run by Israelis including PokerStars, 888.com and
Titan Poker. While the majority of Israeli owned online gambling businesses
are based out of places like Gibraltar and The Isle of Man (similar to US
businessmen running internet gambling companies from Costa Rica and
Antigua), many of these websites contract employees within Israel for
marketing purposes. According to OnlineCasinoNews.com, reports suggested
that Major General Yohanan Danino, head of the Police Investigations and
Intelligence Unit, had notified Interlogic, which operates the Play 65
internet site, that both the police and the attorney general consider the
operation of a gambling site for backgammon games a criminal offence. The
official warned the company that it must cease to allow players on the site
to gamble real money on the results of the game, even though the game of
backgammon itself, or gambling with virtual money, is not prohibited.

posted by Jerry "Jet" Whittaker at 12/28/2006 08:02:00 AM

Legislation would raise RI minimum gambling age

A new bill being introduced in the General Assembly next week would raise
Rhode Island's minimum gambling age from 18 to 21. The bill is being
introduced by Deborah Fellela, a Johnston Democrat who was recently elected
to her first term. She says the legislation is aimed at helping teenagers
steer clear of gambling addiction and preventing them from wasting their
money. The bill would raise the minimum age required to gamble in the
state's licensed betting facilities, to buy state lottery tickets, and to
bet at racetracks or play Keno. Similar legislation failed when it was
introduced in the House in 2002.

posted by Jerry "Jet" Whittaker at 12/28/2006 08:02:00 AM

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Five Hanoians arrested in international gambling case

The group collected pools from gamblers in Vietnam and transferred the bets
to betting firms abroad to earn a discount. At weekends when European
football matches play, the men averagely received pools around VND100
million (US$6,250) a night. All payments were made via banking system. Three
men seen as organizers of the ring include leader Nguyen Van Phu, 34, and
two assistants Nguyen Bao Khanh, 35, and Pham Quoc Hung, 35. Two other
offenders are identified as Doan Tien Giang, 40, and Pham Dinh Phong, 27.
The ring began its illegal affairs early this year, police said. In related
news, police in Ho Chi Minh City busted a major Internet football betting
ring Sunday, arresting 14 bookmakers and seizing money worth over VND7
billion (US$437,500). The 14 offenders confessed they were bookies working
for a major gang with close connections with betting firms abroad.

posted by Jerry "Jet" Whittaker at 12/27/2006 04:00:00 AM

Happy Holidays To All Online Gambling Fans

Online Gambling Insider wishes everyone a very happy and prosperous festive
season. May all your dreams come true, may the reels stop in the right
places, the cards fall right and the right teams win when you want them
to....Merry Christmas and plain old happy holidays from all of us here at
Online Gambling Insider!
We will soon announce our "Best of 2006", so stay tuned! In the meantime if
you haven't played there, we recommend you click here to visit the All Slots
Casino website, or read our All Slots Casino Review.

posted by Jerry "Jet" Whittaker at 12/27/2006 03:57:00 AM

High stakes when gambling on life insurance

Penny Mann was just 15 years old when her father died in an automobile
accident. William Tejes, 45, was the manager of the water-treatment plant in
South Beloit, Ill., and a school board member. He was on his way to Chicago
for work when he lost control of his truck on an unsealed, wet county road
and hit a tree. In addition to daughter Penny, Tejes left behind a wife and
a son in college. But he also left behind a good life insurance policy, one
that carried the stricken family financially. "We could just grieve him and
not ... worry about the financial stuff," Mann said. "I knew [my dad] had
done what he needed to get done." But insurance agents say many Americans
put off buying life insurance. Nearly a third have no coverage at all,
according to a survey by LIMRA International, an industry trade group. It's
not surprising why: Few people are eager to consider their own mortality.
Cost is another reason why many people avoid buying an individual policy.
Wage earners need insurance most when their families are young, precisely
the time when they're most strapped, said Don Thompson, a Prudential
Financial agent who worked with the Tejes family. That's why term insurance
is so popular. A $500,000 policy for a young, healthy nonsmoker can cost
less than $300 a year. Term insurance allows level payments for the length
of the contract, usually 10, 20 or 30 years. The drawback is, once the term
is up, there is no more insurance.
Although buying term young keeps the premiums low, trying to get a new term
policy in middle age can be much more expensive, especially if health
problems such as diabetes or heart disease have cropped up.

Permanent insurance avoids those problems, but it costs a lot more. Several
different varieties -- whole, universal and variable life -- all use
premiums to build a cash value that can be borrowed. Different types provide
choices such as flexible premiums, investment options and guaranteed

After her experience as a teenager, Mann is a big believer in life
insurance. She has a $100,000 term policy that she bought with her husband
when they got married.

The couple are divorced, but her ex-husband became diabetic and would now
find it difficult to get an affordable policy, Thompson said.

posted by Jerry "Jet" Whittaker at 12/27/2006 03:57:00 AM

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Don't be in a huge hurry to privatize Hoosier Lottery

It is hard to fault Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels for wanting to improve
funding for higher education. Whether privatizing the Hoosier Lottery is the
way to accomplish that, however, remains to be seen. It's a complicated
proposal. Daniels wants to franchise the lottery for a fixed term. The
contractor would be licensed and regulated, just like casinos and
racetracks, and would continue current payment levels to the state. In
addition, the state would seek an up-front payment and a percentage of the
operator's revenue above a certain amount. The current funding levels for
police, fire and teachers' pensions as well as motor vehicle excise tax
replacement and state and local capital projects would continue. Sixty
percent of the amount paid up front would be placed in a permanent
endowment, with the interest paying for scholarships that could be forgiven
if the student stays in Indiana for three years after graduation. Of course,
there are many other strings attached to the scholarships. The remaining 40
percent would be used to attract outstanding faculty to public colleges and
universities in the state. Attracting top talent takes money. The plan has
distinct benefits, including improving the state's lagging educational
attainment level, improving the quality of education and keeping the
brightest high school graduates in Indiana. However, there are many
questions that need to be asked. The state's funding for higher education
hasn't increased at the robust level it ideally should. But the universities
and colleges have rapidly increased tuition and fees, citing reasons like
the need to attract top talent.
With this boost from the privatization of the Hoosier Lottery, what
guarantees will be made by the universities' trustees to hold tuition
increases low and for how long? Without a guarantee, there's no way to know
college costs will be controlled to help students ineligible for the
scholarships. And what does this outsourcing proposal mean for controlling
the expansion of gambling in Indiana? While the lottery would still be
regulated by the state, a pause to reflect on the state's already high
reliance on gambling as a revenue source is worthwhile. To what extent would
additional products and perhaps marketing efforts be regulated?

What would be the effect on the casino industry? What would be the effect on

Why would a private company be able to operate the Hoosier Lottery more
efficiently than the state? And if it cannot, and if a gambling expansion is
not in the offing, why would privatization make sense?

There are many other questions that need to be addressed. That cannot easily
happen if the lottery privatization is rushed through the General Assembly
at the same hectic pace as the Indiana Toll Road privatization.

posted by Jerry "Jet" Whittaker at 12/26/2006 06:20:00 AM

State's lottery may be going global

Recent developments indicate the state-run lottery may be headed toward
participation in a gigantic global online gaming system - with giant
jackpots - never envisioned by California voters, says a watchdog group. At
the same time, Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger - who appoints lottery
leaders - is on record in support of expanding the games to some unspecified
degree, as well as the revenue it brings public education. "We learned in
litigation last year \ that there are people at the lottery who believe
current law allows them to enter into international lottery games," Fred
Jones, an attorney for the California Coalition Against Gambling Expansion,
told lawmakers at a recent hearing. Lottery officials have said such a move
is not part of current plans. Even so, Democratic lawmakers are seeking to
rein in a lottery they feel is running amok after controversial decisions to
join the multi-state Mega Millions lotto game and approve the takeover of
California's lotto contractor, which is now indirectly controlled by two
Italian families. "They \ make decisions and we get to react to them," said
Sen. Dean Florez, a Fresno-area Democrat, who grilled lottery officials at
the hearing Florez said afterward he will introduce a bill that would
subject big changes in the state lottery to a vote of the Legislature. "We
ought to be in a more proactive situation," he said. The struggle over
control and oversight of the lottery is not new. It began with voter
approval of a state-run lottery in 1984. The outcome of the latest and
biggest surge in the battle, however, may well shape California's lottery
for years to come and determine whether it maintains the trust it says is
essential to its success. "What is important to us is the continued
integrity of the lottery," the agency's legal counsel, Donald Currier, told
lawmakers. The Lottery Act places integrity as second only to the sale of
tickets. At least one-third of the lottery's revenue goes to public
education and half is returned to players in prizes. Industry experts say
that without an untarnished image, gamblers lose trust in whether they have
a fair chance at winning lottery prizes, sales fall off, and schools don't
get the comparatively small but important stream of money they receive from
the games.
But lottery officials have consistently argued over the years that their
operation is unique - the only government entity set up solely to make
money. It's more like a business, they say, that needs independence from
legislative and political meddling to do its job. The tug of war has gone on
for years, until the lottery's recent approval of joining Mega Millions.

The move triggered an outcry from lawmakers and a lawsuit by a public-policy
advocacy group that resists gambling expansion, alleging the lottery had
exceeded its constitutional authority by extending a game outside the state.

A judge ordered a minor change in prize-claim periods to make Mega Millions
more fair to Californians.

But in the wake of the flap, the Schwarzenegger administration replaced many
of the lottery's top officials.

On the heels of that controversy, the new clash came over Italy-based
Lottomatica's purchase of U.S.-based GTECH, the lottery's on-line game

Despite questionable business practices by both firms, lottery officials
have assured critics that operations in California will continue unchanged.

The now foreign-owned GTECH is an industry giant, serving lotteries in 26
states and 50 countries.

"Our lottery has now taken on an international scope" and with it, the
possibility of global games, said Jones. Jones said voters over two decades
ago had no way of knowing where the lottery was going.

posted by Jerry "Jet" Whittaker at 12/26/2006 06:20:00 AM

Police break up major gambling ring, seize over $400,000

After putting the gang under watch for a period, the police, assisted by
forces from the central police department, moved in with 100 officers,
simultaneously raiding 13 premises. They caught bookies taking billions of
dong in bets. The 14 offenders confessed they were bookies working for a
major gang with close connections with betting firms abroad. The police said
some of the arrested men were skilled at using computers and were in charge
of classifying and summing up bets before sending them abroad. The gang's
clients were from the city and nearby provinces. The 13 offices in districts
10, Binh Thanh, Phu Nhuan, and Thu Duc were all well-equipped with
high-speed Internet, LCD monitors, and laptops, the police said. They are
continuing with their investigations.

posted by Jerry "Jet" Whittaker at 12/26/2006 06:20:00 AM

Video Gambling Is Making Comeback

Inside this arcade, with its dim lights and cigarette smoke, 70 game
machines are running non-stop with their brilliant screens and electronic
sounds. There are 15 customers in the arcade. However, each customer is
using four, five machines at a time, so none of the machines are idle.
Across a two-lane road, not even 20 meters away, is a police box that
belongs to the public safety division of a police station nearby in charge
of gambling arcade regulation duties. After the "Sea Story" sensation this
June, gambling arcades disappeared following the nationwide extensive
crackdown drive by the prosecution and the police. However, they are back
now, and they are thriving. As gambling arcades begin to make their
comeback, people who had lost large sums of money on games such as Sea Story
are again gathering at the arcades, hoping to win back what they lost.
Consequently, the arcade owners are doing extremely well to the point that
there aren't enough machines to go around. Most arcades do not have
signboards outside and have covered their windows with black vinyl so that
the inside cannot be seen. At another arcade around the same time in
Donam-dong, Seongbuk-gu, a female employee is explaining in detail to the
customers about various functions such as "foreshadowing" or "successive
hits." "If you see a white diamond in the middle, you get the highest score,
and if the screen becomes dark with sounds like water bubbles popping, it's
a "foreshadowing" of a big score that is soon to come. We have "successive
hits" as well. It's really not that different from Sea Story."
"Foreshadowing" and "successive hits" are standards for judging whether or
not the game is a gambling game, and are subject to regulation. The games
that have become widely popular after the Sea Story incident are "Diamond"
and "Iceland Adventure." The titles and screens are slightly different but
the game process is nearly identical to Sea Story. Illegal exchanges of gift
certificates used as prizes into cash are also still going on. At an arcade
near Yeongdeungpo Station, a small change booth is located right next to the
entrance of the arcade. There, gift certificates with a face value of 5,000
won were being exchanged for 4,500 won in cash.

Most of the people who frequent these arcades are small business owners in
their 30s to 50s, and people who do manual labor. A few matrons in their 40s
or 50s could also be seen. Most of them said, "I've come to win back the
money I lost playing Sea Story."

A man we met in an arcade in Bongcheon-dong, Gwanak-gu, who said he was in
his 40s and did manual labor, said, "I lost 10 million won playing Sea
Story. I've come back in hopes of winning back my capital."

Following the recent reopening of such gambling arcades, the prosecution and
police have decided to extend the crackdown period, which had been scheduled
to end by December 31, until April 28, 2007, when the gift certificate
system will be abolished.

posted by Jerry "Jet" Whittaker at 12/26/2006 06:19:00 AM

Gulf Coast Casinos Draw Holiday Gamblers

The only sign of Christmas on the casino floor is the poker dealer in the
Santa hat, and Darren White is glad for that: the subcontractor from Georgia
didn't come here to be reminded of the holidays, or anything, for that
matter, outside these flashy, noisy walls. He came for the distraction. And
Boomtown Casino in suburban New Orleans, like other casinos along the Gulf
Coast of Louisiana and Mississippi, is glad to provide it. Casinos, some of
which emerged from last year's damaging hurricanes as bigger, better
properties, are trying a range of tactics not only to draw players in _ and
make them feel at ease _ but also to get an edge in an increasingly
competitive marketplace. Heading into what is traditionally one of
industry's busiest weeks, halls are decked with decorations, both tasteful
and gaudy, holiday music is in rotation and casinos are trumpeting
traditional giveaways, dance parties and invitation-only soirees to bring in
players. "It's been a hell of a year," Boomtown's general manager, Dave
Williams, said in an interview at the casino in Harvey, La. This time last
year, many of the casinos, particularly in Mississippi, had not yet
reopened. Those that had, like Boomtown, had all the business they could
handle: construction workers here for the post-hurricane reconstruction
played Christmas Day, and folks in line waited, six-wide, to board the
riverboat on New Year's Eve, Williams said. Riverboat gambling revenue in
Louisiana hit a post-Katrina peak last December of $177.3 million, up from
$124.7 million in December 2004, said Wade Duty, executive director of the
Louisiana Casino Association. Since then, and as more casinos have come back
online, revenues have dipped nearer to pre-storm levels, he said. Meanwhile
in Mississippi, where there's an all-out effort to market Gulf Coast casinos
with hotels and other amenities as tourist destinations, gross revenue is
seemingly on pace to top last year, in spite of dips recorded this fall by
that state's tax commission. There are also two fewer casinos open now on
the Gulf Coast than before the hurricanes, 10 versus 12, said Becky Clark, a
staff officer with the Mississippi Gaming Commission. Casino operators are
confident heading into 2007, when further industry expansion is set to help
fill what some managers see as an almost insatiable appetite for the kind of
escapism _ from gambling and shopping to pampering _ casinos are peddling.
Boomtown is eyeing both a new gambling boat and hotel as part of its
proposed, $145 million expansion. One more casino also is set to open on
Mississippi's Gulf Coast sometime next year, Clark said. Casinos hope to
draw in crowds this coming week, building from low-key Christmas buffet
specials to pull-the-stops New Year's parties, meant as much to hail the
industry's rebirth as to draw in new customers with music and drinks and
to-be-announced promotions. Some casino hotels are completely booked leading
to New Year's Day.

"New Year's Eve sets the tone for your property," said Kerry Andersen, a
spokeswoman for southwest Louisiana's L'Auberge Du Lac casino, near the
Texas border.

This year, the offerings will include, among other things, an
invitation-only show with The Temptations and The Four Tops and a dinner.
The night tends to be the casino's biggest of the year, she said.

"You want to have the Golden Ticket," Andersen said, "the party everyone
wants to be at."

That's true nationwide, said Andy Holtmann, editor of the Casino Journal, a
trade publication. "For a lot of casinos, it's kind of a necessity," he said
of a New Year's Eve bash. "You have to take some marketing risks here," and
aim to set the casino apart from the competition, he said.

Some Gulf Coast casinos are preparing for an influx of customers as early as
Christmas Eve, a traditionally quiet day, and certainly by Christmas Day.
Many places are decorated, if not on the playing floor, where Christmas
lights would almost surely be dimmed by the flashing lights of slot machines
anyway. Visitors to Boomtown are greeted by faux alligators pulling Santa
and his sleigh.

For many families, cooped up in close quarters such as a federally issued
trailers, "It's almost like a savior thing," said Beverly Martin, executive
director of the Mississippi Casino Operators Association. "'The casino's
open, let's go down there, because there's a limit on what we can do here.'"

posted by Jerry "Jet" Whittaker at 12/26/2006 06:19:00 AM

Higher tax for gambling activities in Bulgaria

That daily game of toto might just become 10 per cent more expensive.
Organiser of chance events, toto, lotto and betting games will pay a 10 per
cent income tax on the outcome of sport competitions and chance events,
Bulgaria's Parliament resolved, giving final approval to the new Corporate
Income Tax Act. The National Assembly budget and finance committee proposed
that the rate of this tax be eight per cent, but the Cabinet, which moved
the bill, proposed a 10 per cent tax rate for all gambling activities,
Bulgarian news agency BTA reported on December 18. Deputy Finance Minister
Georgi Kadiev told Parliament that about 25 million leva were collected in
income tax from gambling organisers in 2005. A reduction of the tax rate to
eight per cent for all types of gambling activities would lead to a 2.5
million leva loss for the exchequer, while a 10 per cent rate for all such
activities would result in an extra budget revenue of 5.5 million leva, two
million of which would come from the Bulgarian sport totalisator, leaving a
net revenue of 3.5 million leva, Kadiev said. The rate of tax on income from
organised lotteries, raffles, bingo and keno games will be 12 per cent, the
MPs resolved. The same rate will apply to income from organised games of
chance where the value of the bet consists of an increased charge for a
telephone or other telecommunications link. Parliament also set taxes on
organised games of chance played on gambling devices. Meanwhile, an entirely
new Value Added Tax (VAT) Act and regulations for its application were voted
on in view of Bulgaria's European Union membership. The VAT rate remains 20
per cent and will apply to all realised goods and services on Bulgaria's
territory, excluding the tax-exempt ones. After Bulgaria's EU accession, the
mandatory threshold for VAT registration will stay unchanged at 50 000 leva.
Some of the existing provisions in the current VAT Act are also present in
the newly adopted law. New names have been introduced for many of the
concepts, such as: place of delivery, tax event, internal delivery in the
community and internal acquisition within the community.

Bulgarians are already talking about taxable deals and zero-rate taxable
deals. VAT shall be charged on almost all goods and services that are bought
and sold within the EU.

However, a number of countries have accepted, in addition to the standard
VAT rate, a reduced tax for more sensitive groups of commodities.

Therefore, Bulgarian firms trading with EU companies should be aware of the
procedures and rates followed by other EU members.

The VAT rate cannot be lower than 15 per cent, while reduced tax cannot be
lower than five per cent, according to EU legislation. On goods and services
exported from the EU, there will be no VAT charged.

VAT is calculated on the imported commodities and services to equalise their
value with that in the community.

VAT is levied on goods imported from third countries to any EU member state,
from which moment they become internal for the community and are VAT exempt
when moving within EU territory. The new VAT Act eliminates the customs
offices at Bulgaria's borders with EU countries. From January 1, they will
only function in case of export to or import from third countries.

Two new concepts will be introduced for the trade between EU firms
registered under VAT - internal delivery in the community that will
supersede the export, and internal acquisition within the community that
will supersede the import. In fact, that means that when a Bulgarian company
supplies commodities to another country and the recipient is also registered
under VAT, that delivery shall not be treated as export any more but as
internal delivery, taxable by a zero VAT rate. In this case the Bulgarian
supplier will have to issue an invoice without charging VAT. The tax will be
calculated by the recipient in compliance with the efficient rate in the
country for which the goods are intended.

The situation will be the same in the reverse example. The European supplier
will effect an internal delivery in the community without calculating VAT
and the Bulgarian company that will receive it will charge VAT in compliance
with the efficient VAT rate in this country.

But if a firm registered under VAT supplies commodities to another country
and the recipient is not registered under VAT, the regime of internal
deliveries in the community and acquisitions cannot be applied.

Distant sale will be then the case, i.e., the supplier sells the commodity
with VAT calculated according to the rate efficient in the country of its

When a firm from the EU effects supplies to Bulgarian companies, which are
not registered under VAT and for each one of the previous and the current
years the turnover of distant sales exceeds 70 000 leva, that company will
have to register under the VAT Act in Bulgaria.

The new VAT Act maintains the threshold for obligatory registration - annual
turnover of 50 000 leva, including in it already taxable by zero-rate

The possibility for voluntary registration, irrespective of the size of
turnover remains, i.e., non-registered persons engaged in economic
activities who did not have grounds for that by the end of 2006, will be
able to register under the VAT Act as of January 1 2007.

After Bulgaria's EU accession, all companies registered under VAT will be
given a new unique identification number that will replace the existing VAT
numbers. For Bulgarian companies it will be formed as BG + BULSTAT of each

posted by Jerry "Jet" Whittaker at 12/26/2006 06:18:00 AM

Monday, December 25, 2006

Xmas brings gambling dangers

Parents are being urged to think about the gift of time, rather than
materialistic items this Christmas. The Problem Gambling Association says it
is very common for people to gamble in an attempt to get themselves enough
money for presents but they often end up in a worse position. Youth Services
Project team Leader Lauren Cundall says many people underestimate how
valuable time spent together is. She says things such as reading stories and
parents talking about how they spent Christmas as a child can mean so much
more than the latest ipod or CD. Ms Cundall says homemade vouchers for
something like a day at the beach, is a great idea which could create
memories to last a lifetime.

posted by Jerry "Jet" Whittaker at 12/25/2006 04:04:00 AM

The Rich 100: We call

These may be dark days for the online gambling business, but you would never
know that from talking to Calvin Ayre, the founder and president of Bodog
Entertainment Group, the online sports book and casino. A recent crackdown
on Internet gambling by U.S. regulators and lawmakers has seen several
online casino executives thrown in jail and has plunged the industry into
chaos. But none of that fazes Ayre, the 45-year old Saskatchewan-born
entrepreneur who turned Bodog into one of the most recognizable Internet
gambling brands. "The power of our model is now being realized as we are
witnessing a surge in popularity in all of our digital entertainment
properties - including gaming - and we don't see this changing," he said in
an e-mail interview from Bodog's headquarters in Antigua. Both Bodog and
Ayre have been flying high for the past year. In addition to growing its
gambling business, the company has continued moves into mainstream
entertainment with a record label, a poker TV show that aired on the Fox
Sports Network in the U.S., and Bodog Fight, a pay-per-view extreme fighting
competition. Ayre has also graced the covers of both this magazine and
Forbes, where he proclaimed himself one of the latest additions to the
exclusive billionaire's club. Of course, that boast was based on the value
of Bodog before the U.S. authorities began cracking down and before the U.S.
government enacted the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act in
September, effectively banning Internet gambling by making it illegal for
U.S. financial institutions to process the Internet wagers of American
citizens. While some have called the new legislation unenforceable and
riddled with loopholes, it has been enough to convince many Internet gaming
companies and investors to fold their hands, sending the shares of publicly
traded gambling operations into free fall. On Oct. 2, the first day of
trading after the passage of the new U.S. law, shares of Gibraltar-based
Party Gaming PLC - which runs PartyPoker.com and trades on the London Stock
Exchange - plummeted from US$2.08 to US$0.87 per share. On the same day, 888
Holdings PLC shares dropped from US$2.86 to US$2.11, while Toronto-based
Cryptologic (TSX: CRY), which produces software for the online gambling
industry and recently announced it will be moving its headquarters to
Ireland, fell from $24.63 to $19. Whether online gambling is illegal in the
U.S. boils down to a matter of interpretation. Prosecutors maintain that
using the phone - or the Internet - to take bets from American gamblers is
illegal. As a result, most publicly traded companies have said they will no
longer do business in the lucrative U.S. market. But Ayre - and other
private gaming companies - maintain that U.S. authorities have no
jurisdiction over their business, since they operate in countries where
online gambling is legal. What isn't in dispute is how devastating
abandoning the U.S. market will be to online casinos. Party Gaming, for
instance, reported that in the first six months of 2006, more than US$512
million, or 77% of its US$661 million in revenue, came from U.S. wagers.
Gibraltar-based 888 Holdings PLC, operators of Casino on Net - one of the
largest online casinos - reported that during the same period more than 52%
of its US$165.3 million in revenue came from Americans. Bodog has no plans
to abandon the U.S. As a private company, it doesn't have to reveal its
earnings, but Ayre says last year it processed a total of about US$7.3
billion in wagers - more than three times the volume from 2004. That
translated into revenue of about US$210 million, with about a 26% margin to
the bottom line. Ayre claims Bodog's revenues are on track to reach about
$300 million this year. Before the crackdown, revenues like that would have
made Bodog worth billions. During the height of investors' love affair with
online gaming, many large Internet casinos were trading at 20 to 25 times
their earnings, says Spencer Churchill, an analyst with Toronto-based Clarus
Securities Inc. Now there are really no baseline metrics to value online
gaming. "You really have to look at each company on a case-by-case basis,
looking at their exposure to the U.S. market and the potential for growth in
other markets," he says.
How much Internet gaming companies are worth is now anyone's guess.
London-based Sportingbet PLC - operators of ParadisePoker.com, one of the
most popular online poker sites - announced in October that it was selling
its U.S. business for a mere US$1 to a private company in Antigua. The
difficulty valuing online gaming companies right now is one of the main
reasons Ayre is not on our own Rich 100 this year. But the fact that the
Internet gambling sector is in such disarray, doesn't mean that he isn't
rich - or that the online gaming business is not profitable.

Ayre still refers to himself as a billionaire on the Bodog website and in
the company's promotional materials. "In light of the recent growth in all
of our digital entertainment properties, including gaming, music and
television, I would now say that a conservative valuation of our company
would be well over one billion," he says.

posted by Jerry "Jet" Whittaker at 12/25/2006 04:04:00 AM

Nine charged with felonies after last week's gambling sting

Nine people arrested on gambling charges during a Dec. 15 raid by Fort Wayne
Police and Indiana Excise Police were formally charged with felonies in
Allen Superior Court on Thursday. According to police reports, undercover
police officers raided three businesses, an unmarked suite in Quimby Village
and a building next to The Venice Restaurant on Goshen Road. They seized
more than 50 gaming machines - including Cherry Masters - and more than
$21,000 cash. Charged with professional gambling were: Dessie A. Doty, 47;
Tina L. Muncie, 29; Danny L. Wasson, 42; Deloria J. Mitchell (a.k.a. Lori
Sanders), 51; Patricia E. Carpenter, 62; Todd M. Perkins, 37; and Sandra K.
Graf, 57. Steven A. Larimore, 55, and Ronald G. Huston, 56, were arrested at
Steve's Pool and Games in New Haven. They've been charged with promoting
professional gambling.

posted by Jerry "Jet" Whittaker at 12/25/2006 04:04:00 AM

Gambling on restraint

"The cease-fire between Israel and the Palestinians in Gaza appears to be
holding even after militants fired rockets into Israeli territory." This was
how the BBC's Radio Four described the situation around the Gaza Strip a
couple of weeks ago; in other words, the new definition of a cease-fire is
one in which the Palestinians continue firing Kassams while the IDF holds
its fire. This quote was originally noted by Charles Moore in The Spectator
magazine, but while he used it to pillory the BBC, it is now obvious that it
is also the way that the Israeli leadership understands the cease-fire.
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, with the backing of Foreign Minister Tzipi
Livni, who in recent months has been receiving a much wider place in the
national decision-making process, has decided - despite the opposition of
Defense Minister Amir Peretz, most of the other ministers and the IDF's high
command - that Israel can afford to absorb two or three Kassams a day
falling in the western Negev, in return for a general feeling of relative
calm and a favorable international climate. Olmert's calculation is that the
firings are mainly haphazard, with little chance of hitting a civilian
target and causing major damage. Most of the rockets on Thursday fell within
the Palestinian territory, and at this stage, it is better to keep the IDF
on a leash. He's being helped also by the mainstream press which has been
content over the last few weeks to relegate the Kassams to the back pages;
Benny Sela and the murder of Tair Rada are sexier stories. The feeling among
Israel's diplomatic corps is that this is a period of grace for the country.
The major enemies - Syria, Hizbullah and Iran - are beginning to suffer from
international isolation and all that the world is currently demanding of
Israel is that it lends Abu Mazen a helping hand. The argument is that the
Kassams are being fired by Islamic Jihad and other groups opposed to the
Palestinian president and retaliating with a large-scale attack will just be
playing into their hands. Israel apparently has more to gain by staying put.
Much better not to cause any new problems for George Bush, who is busy right
now burying the Baker-Hamilton report's recommendations and gearing up for
the US's last big push in Iraq. If we manage to keep our backyard quiet,
there's also a chance that the powers-that-be will finally get serious about
the Iranian nuclear program. All this seems to make perfect realpolitik
sense, especially since the IDF hasn't achieved that great a track record in
dealing with the Kassam threat, even when it was allowed to roam and fire at
will. Every resource was used - manned and unmanned aircraft, artillery,
tanks and special forces, backed up by every available intelligence asset.
Hundreds of terrorists were killed, but the firings didn't stop and Israel's
image suffered when the international media preferred to focus on civilians
killed in Beit Hanun rather than on the people of Sderot living under
constant bombardment.

The only problem is that we tried this policy before and it blew up in our
faces. Ten months of restraint around Gaza ended with the capture of Gilad
Shalit in June.

Two weeks later, six years of ostensible calm on the Lebanese border were
ended abruptly by the Hizbullah attack at Zarit, the death of eight
soldiers, the abduction of Eldad Regev and Ehud Goldwasser to an as yet
unknown fate and the rest of the summer's disasters.

Not retaliating might create the illusion of quiet for the majority of the
local population and a few temporary points in the diplomatic arena, but in
the rough neighborhood we live in, it's merely interpreted as a sign of
weakness. The Kassams might be mainly a demonstration of opposition to Abu
Mazen's weak attempts to establish control, but the longer they're allowed
to get away with it, others are going to take advantage and join in.

posted by Jerry "Jet" Whittaker at 12/25/2006 04:04:00 AM

Bettman gambling with NHL's future

It may be early to judge, but Gary Bettman might have really done it this
time. You never know with the NHL owners of course, but this latest fiasco
over the Pittsburgh Penguins just might be the one clanger that will open
their eyes to who is running their league. Research in Motion head Jim
Balsillie was all set to pay a monstrous amount of money to buy a team with
very low revenues, even though if everything went well and the rink had been
built by the casino group, it would have been several years before he saw
any type of return. Here was a guy so keen to buy a team that he was going
to put up $175 million US for a franchise that has exceptional players
playing cheaply right now, but with a collective bargaining agreement in
place whereby he would have virtually no chance to hang onto all those
players once they reach their free-agent freedom date. And what happens?
Bettman steps in at the last minute and puts 24 conditions on the deal, the
most onerous of the bunch being that he couldn't move the franchise for at
least seven years after competition of the sale no matter what the outcome
of the arena situation in Pittsburgh. Apparently he was terrified Balsillie
was going to move the team to Kitchener, where a new rink is planned.
According to Balsillie, these conditions came right out of the blue and were
introduced at the last minute and as such he walked away from a deal that
would have raised the value of virtually every franchise in the NHL. If the
Penguins were worth $175 million, how much are the Rangers, Wings, Avalanche
and Canucks worth? And Penguins owner/front man Mario Lemieux, who was
finally looking at his dream of putting hockey behind him for good and
getting his money out of what he never wanted to be involved in, saw it all
blow up in his face. No matter what happened after the sale, Mario would
have been a good guy who fought the good fight to keep the team in
Pittsburgh. If it moved, it would have been the ugly Canadian owner's fault,
not his. He would have had his money and been the town hero. Now he's
looking at still trying to peddle this team elsewhere, likely for a lot less
money, all because Bettman wasn't confident of being able to discourage
Balsillie from moving later in the process. And Lemieux is so stunned, he's
blaming the guy who wanted to pay him all that money for what happened,
blaming Balsillie for walking away from the deal.

At what point do the owners figure out they might be further ahead with a
commissioner who knows something about the game and the degree to which it's
still suffering under the dominance of these coaches, 70 per cent of whom
insist on playing some sort of roving trap whereby nobody even attempts to
score five-on-five? They just hang around and wait for penalties which come
in droves courtesy of a sea of officials who appear to be paid by the call.

At what point do the owners notice that their fan base is disappearing for
very good reason? The game is almost totally lacking action and emotion, an
entertaining game a surprise instead of the norm.

posted by Jerry "Jet" Whittaker at 12/25/2006 04:04:00 AM

Sunday, December 24, 2006

State police gambling sting

State police investigators say a retired trooper has turned to a life of
crime. KATC's David D'aquin was there when the former enforcer was read his
rights. CJ Melancon was a long time Louisiana state trooper. Now police say
he's running a gambling operation used by more than 1,000 people per week.
He's accused of money laundering and felony gambling. He and his son Shannon
Léger own a downtown Lafayette bar. His son is accused of felony gambling as
well. In all twelve people were arrested Thursday. Carlos Palma and his wife
are accused of running a separate organization. Norris Léger and his wife
Pamela are accused of running yet another gambling organization along with
delinquency of a minor. The Legers, the Palmas and the Melancons are all
from Rayne and are all accused of having their own gambling operations. The
others who were arrested are accused of actually taking the bets for them.
State police arrested folks in Rayne and Lafayette Thursday and all were
either booked into the Acadia parish jail, or the Lafayette parish jail.
State police had been investigating for the past year. "The bottom line is
when the law is broken; we have an obligation not only to ourselves as an
agency, but to the people of Louisiana to enforce those laws. That is what
we did here." The investigation is still open and state police expect to
arrest several more people as this operation continues.

posted by Jerry "Jet" Whittaker at 12/24/2006 01:43:00 AM

Italy Set To Hand Out Online Gambling Licenses

The USA might have tried to ban online gambling simply to regulate it down
the line, at least that's what Italy is in the process of doing. The latest
news from that government is a plan to auction off as many as 17,000
gambling licenses including permits for online casinos and poker rooms. The
start of 2007 will mark a complete turnaround by the Italian administration
on online gambling. The biggest European gambling firms are lining up to bid
for licenses in this rapidly growing sector of the market. Coral have an
Italian-language sports betting website up and running and also have
established a B&M presence in Genoa, while William Hill is partnering up
with Codere in Spain and is known to be very interested in the prospect of
moving into Italy. Finally Ladbrokes has already done a deal with Pianeta
Scommesse several months ago and followed that up in November with the
purchase of three betting shops in Turin (home of Juventus). There is a
split down the middle in the EU when it comes to online gambling. In the one
corner we have the United Kingdom now joined by Italy, Belgium, and Spain as
proponents of the regulation of the industry. On the other side with rapidly
diminishing support we find Germany and France (what a surprise for anyone
with a knowledge of European history) with a reactionary stance of local
protectionism. Our pick? The Allies will win this one as well - besting the
Hun and his Froggy pals on the battlefield of free trade! The small European
nations will fall into line once the big guns have decided which way to go
and sooner rather than later Europe will be the global leader in online

posted by Jerry "Jet" Whittaker at 12/24/2006 01:43:00 AM

Gambling with Freedom

Your after-tax income belongs to you. You are free to spend it, invest it,
waste it, burn it, or tithe it--and none of that is any politicians'
business. But if some lawmakers have their way, soon you won't be able to
gamble your money away on the Internet. In October, the Senate passed a bill
enhancing port security, and attached to the bill is a title banning
acceptance of credit cards or other payment instruments to process gambling
transactions. President George W. Bush signed the bill into law on October
13. Earlier versions of the anti-gambling legislation would have required
banks and Internet service providers to essentially spy on their customers,
sifting through all financial transactions. Unsurprisingly, credit card
companies didn't want to be deputized as online hall monitors, responsible
for ensuring that outfits for which they process card services remain
gambling-free. Thus, the latest version of the bill no longer obliges credit
card companies and banks to identify firms engaged in gambling. Instead, the
Treasury Department and Federal Reserve would be required to collect a list
of online gambling Web sites within 270 days. After that, banks and credit
card companies would be prohibited from making payments to companies on the
list. Dressed Up as a Security Issue
This new approach might address privacy concerns, but it runs roughshod over
individual freedom and fails to address another argument by the
advocates. As Rep. Jim Leach (R-Iowa), argues: "Internet gambling is a
national security concern because it can be used to launder money, evade
taxes, and finance criminal and terrorist activities." In the post-September
11, 2001 world, politicians should be concerned about shady financial
goings-on on the Internet. But legislation that enjoins cumbersome
government bureaucracies to determine which companies are officially
considered gambling operators will punish legitimate online businesses. Just
as there have been plenty of false positive identifications in the federal
airline no-fly list, it is highly probable some non-gambling sites will end
up on the government's list. Meanwhile, the measure practically invites
phony, fraudulent operations, whether or not credit card firms work with
them--there is more to the Internet than above-board Web sites, and lots of
places to hide in cyberspace--and new gambling sites are sure to pop up as
soon as the government lists the old ones.

And even if the government were to correctly identify all gambling sites,
punters could still bet using credit cards from foreign banks and other
non-U.S.-based payment methods.

Gambling Web sites are best monitored not by regulators but by online
gamblers themselves. Consumers have the incentive to look for endorsements
and seals of approval of the businesses with which they transact, and to
avoid fly-by-night operators. Most people who choose gambling as a pastime
realize the odds of winning are long and that the house usually wins. And
while gambling is a problem for some, others enjoy the challenge or just
think it's fun, and are able to contain addictive impulses.

Legislation is notoriously slippery. What constitutes "gambling" is often in
the eye of the beholder or legislator. Earlier versions of the bill had
exempted such activities as fantasy sports. Even investing can be a "gamble"
in the sense that "the opportunity to win is predominantly subject to
chance," as the legislation defined "gambling."

'Principle of Autonomy'

Apparently, only some gambling is bad. One gets the impression the real
motive behind the legislation is not to protect against crime or terrorism
but to legislate behavior. As Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) noted in opposing
earlier anti-gambling legislation: "If an adult in this country, with his or
her own money, wants to engage in an activity that harms no one, how dare we
prohibit it. ... The fundamental principle of the autonomy of the individual
is at stake."

Government should not turn vices into crimes--even granting the notion that
gambling is a vice, which is questionable in the context of today's
Congress. Perhaps pork barrel spending is a more serious vice, one to which
Congress should direct its attention. How significant are gambling losses,
really, when compared to wasteful government spending for which citizens are
forced to foot the bill?

Once we travel down the road of regulating behavior on the Internet, there
is essentially no limit to government's ability to regulate behavior
anywhere. Washington should mind the federal budget casino instead.

posted by Jerry "Jet" Whittaker at 12/24/2006 01:42:00 AM

Court Rejects Sportwetten Gera Complaint Against Ban

Germany's highest court dismissed a complaint by Internet sports betting
company Sportwetten Gera GmbH against a ban imposed by the state of
Saxony-Anhalt two years ago. ``Sportwetten Gera wanted the immediate ban to
be abolished,'' Rainer Nitzschke, director of the German association of
private sports betting companies, said by telephone today. ``This didn't
happen. Customers from Saxony-Anhalt will therefore be excluded from the
company's services.'' Germany's Federal Constitutional Court rejected the
complaint because the company didn't suffer a ``major disadvantage'' as a
result of the immediate ban, according to a statement published on the
court's Web site today. The complaint was filed after Saxony-Anhalt's
government ordered the company to stop accepting wagers in the region, it
said. The court on March 28 ruled that the German states can uphold their
monopoly on the country's gambling industry until the end of next year.
After that time, they will have to boost efforts to fight gambling
addiction. State governments have already banned Bwin Interactive
Entertainment AG, an Austrian Internet sports betting company, from
operating and are boycotting Fluxx AG, an Internet lottery agent, to drive
out competition.

posted by Jerry "Jet" Whittaker at 12/24/2006 01:42:00 AM

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Police seize gambling machines

Three separate gambling operations in Selma were taken down simultaneously
as police made five arrests and seized 17 video gaming machines, each valued
at $8,000. A sixth person is wanted by authorities, who police said ran an
illegal gambling and bootleg liquor operation. There were five machines
seized at the Lawrence St. Grocery in Selma on Wednesday. Marcus Hopkins,
53, was arrested and jailed on $3,000 bond, police said. Six gaming machines
were seized at The Variety Shop. Joe Ford, 62, and Gidget Lewis, 45, were
charged and jailed on $6,000 bond. The third location was a house where
police seized six gaming machines seized. They arrested Corey Horton, 23,
and Georgia Carter, 36. Horton was jailed on $500 bond and Carter on $4,000.

posted by Jerry "Jet" Whittaker at 12/23/2006 04:04:00 AM

Moscow Sends Gambling Industry a Bill

The Moscow City Duma amended a law on Thursday that manages gambling
industry, making requirements for owners of casinos and slot-machine halls
stricter. The gambling industry is unfazed by the changes as no laws can
surpass the new federal law which nearly bans gambling in Russia in 2009.
The Moscow legislature passed the city law a day after the State Duma passed
a similar federal blueprint, moving all casinos to four gambling havens in
2009 and laying down requirements for the operation of casinos and
slot-machine halls until this time. Moscow has made the federal norms even
harsher, binding city casinos to have the area of at least 3,000 sq. meters
(800 sq. meters in the federal law) and no less than 200 sq. meters for game
arcades (100 sq. meters in the Russian law). A casino in Moscow must have at
least 30 gaming tables and slot-machine halls must have at least 60
machines. Currently 32 casinos and some 140 gambling halls in Moscow meet
these requirements, Moscow Deputy Mayor Iosif Ordzhonikidze says. The
official noted that the city budget would not suffer after some gambling
establishments are closed down because most small gambling firms evade tax
paying. Lavrentiy Gubin from Storm International which operates slot-machine
halls says that "requirements of Moscow authorities are quite feasible,
though the minimal area for casinos is probably set too high." Gambling
companies are more worried about the margin of net assets for their
companies. "Not all of the 32 casinos will be able to drive up their assets
to $23 million," Gubin noted.
Boris Belotserkovsky, co-owner of Ritzio Entertainment Group, estimates that
the Moscow law will halve the number of casinos in the city and will leave
only 25 percent of slot-machine halls working.

posted by Jerry "Jet" Whittaker at 12/23/2006 04:04:00 AM

Italy to Auction 17,000 Online Poker & Gambling Licenses

Seen as yet another indicator towards liberalization of gambling
restrictions in Europe, the Italian government has announced that it will
auction off 17,000 licenses for betting shops, kiosks, casinos as well as
for online casinos, poker rooms and sportsbooks. This is in preparation for
January 1st, when all Italians will be able to legally play online poker. In
spite of not being sure what the potential for the new Italian market is,
initial reports say that Betfair, William Hill and Ladbrokes are poised to
grab their share of the auctioned licenses. In fact, the European Union
Commission just Dec. 20 cleared William Hill's proposed joint venture with
Codere to enter the Italian gambling market. This enables them to exploit
betting licences being issued by the Italian regulatory authorities in the
new year.
Europe's 50 billion euro (approximately $65 billion US dollar or 130 billion
pound) market has become even more critical to the gambling sector since the
Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) was signed into law by
the USA in October, making it illegal for financial institutions to handle
online gambling transactions from US residents. The loss of US players
caused many legally-licensed companies to lose upwards of 50-60% of their
value overnight. It also caused many publicly-held companies to either sell
off US-facing parts of their companies or go private to avoid shareholder
lawsuits. Many companies are now regrouping around Europe with new games
offered in a variety of languages. Several large U.K operators appear
well-placed to take advantage of the new European laws. Gala Coral already
operate an Italian-language site and a betting shop in Genoa, William Hill
has a venture with Spanish firm Codere for Spain, and Ladbrokes completed a
deal with Italian firm Pianeta Scommesse back in August as well as buying
three betting shops in Turin last month. Meantime, many other countries such
as Spain and Belgium, who had formerly viewed gambling as marginally
acceptable, are now moving toward regulating the sector. This is due in
large part to increased access to gaming brought about by advances in
technology, because more people have access to the Internet, and because of
now-possible controls for regulation, enforcement and protection of minors
and at-risk users. Greece, Ireland, Hungary, Poland and the Czech Republic
are watching closely to see how early adopters fair.

Simultaneously, the European Commission is trying to ensure that any changes
to gambling laws across Europe comply with rulings by the EU that countries
not interfere with healthy competition. According to a judgment by the EU's
highest court, member states may place curbs on private gambling operators,
but these must be "non-discriminatory, proportionate and consistent".

This especially presents a challenge to countries, including Germany France
and Poland, to justify that present laws are not simply there to protect
state-owned gambling and lottery monopolies.

Charlie McCreevy, EU internal market commissioner, has already brought
infringement proceedings against at least half a dozen countries for
restrictions on betting markets.

Last month McCreevy told the European parliament that there is "Not a
chance," for consistent Europe-wide legislation on internet gambling at this

posted by Jerry "Jet" Whittaker at 12/23/2006 04:04:00 AM

German gambling ban upheld

A German court has announced that it has rejected a constitutional challenge
to a ban on online sports gambling from an internet sports betting company.
The company was not named in court papers. The nameless company has quoted a
March 1990 judgment in the state of Thuringia, going back to the days of
East and West Germany, which permitted sports betting. However, a following
ruling in 2004 banned internet betting with immediate effect. Although the
name of the company has been kept under wraps, news that shares in Austria's
Bwin.com fell 2.8 per cent perhaps offered some light on the identity,
particularly after Bwin has been at odds with the German state officials
recently. Germany's 16 states are currently in the process of drawing up a
law to prevent internet gambling completely in an effort to protect the
monopoly enjoyed by its state-run lotteries. The reasoning behind this
decision seems to go against the desire of the European Union to open up the
market, with Bwin claiming that if the law goes ahead their business model
would become obsolete. However, Bwin, who are currently the biggest
bookmaker in Germany, received some slightly better news earlier this week
as a Bavarian regional court suspended an order which attempted to ban Bwin
from accepting bets from Bavarian residents. "Bwin can continue to offer
sporting bets in Bavaria and to accept bets from Bavarian customers," Bwin
said in a statement.
The ruling, one of many pending court cases with German states, means that
Bavaria cannot enforce a ban before the main court case is heard.

posted by Jerry "Jet" Whittaker at 12/23/2006 04:04:00 AM

Gambling shop ordered to close

Rotorua gaming machine venue Whiskey Jack's has been ordered to close for
breaching the Gambling Act. The Gambling Commission backed a Department of
Internal Affairs' decision not to renew the venue's licence. First Sovereign
Trust, which operates the machines at Whiskey Jack's, has been told to shut
up shop immediately. Internal Affairs decided not to renew Whiskey Jack's
licence because the venue continued to be used as a gaming shop, which the
Gambling Act forbids. The trust appealed, but the Gambling Commission
endorsed the decision. There had been serious breaches over a long period of
time, the commission said.

posted by Jerry "Jet" Whittaker at 12/23/2006 04:04:00 AM

Gambling Bill Passes Reading

A bill that would close most casinos and slot-machine halls in the country -
including Moscow and St. Petersburg - cleared a third and final reading
Wednesday in the State Duma. To become law, the bill still needs the
approval of the Federation Council and of President Vladimir Putin, who
submitted the draft in October.
The bill received the support of 428 out of 450 deputies, indicating that
the law is certain to be adopted. The bill calls for the creation of four
zones for legal gambling - the Baltic exclave of Kaliningrad, the Primorsky
region on the Pacific coast, the Siberian region of Altai and the southern
Krasnodar-Rostov area.
Casinos and slot-machine operations elsewhere in the country would be banned
as of July 1, 2009. Gambling experts have have voiced doubts that the areas
will be able to draw enough visitors to make gambling viable there.

posted by Jerry "Jet" Whittaker at 12/23/2006 04:04:00 AM

Friday, December 22, 2006

New policy on gambling

Protecting children and preventing crime and disorder have been revealed as
key policies of Lancaster's new gambling policy. Members of the city council
have also agreed to help residents living close to businesses involving
gambling to have a say on new licences. As part of the Gambling Act 2005,
the council is set to take on responsibility for premises for licensing
gambling, granting permits for gaming machines in clubs and institutes,
regulating gaming machines in pubs and clubs and registering lotteries,
among others. The approved policy was drawn up after consultation with more
than 70 individuals and organisations, including parish councils, licensed
trade associations, betting shops, amusement arcades, leisure companies and
Lancashire Police.

posted by Jerry "Jet" Whittaker at 12/22/2006 02:51:00 AM

Gambling proposal calls for an alliance between long-time competitors

Why am I not surprised that on Wednesday, the Austin American-Statesman,
Dallas Morning News and Fort Worth Star-Telegram all reported that a
proposal to broadly expand gambling in Texas is in the works in Austin? Hey,
gambling-expansion proposals have emerged every two years in Texas since the
early 1990s, just before each Legislature convened. What is different about
this proposal? This plan would authorize casinos on the state's three Indian
reservations - presumably, Class 3 casinos where players play against the
house and not each other - and it would put video lottery terminals in the
state's ailing horse and dog tracks.
The plan would also authorize 12 "resort-style casinos," two each in Houston
and Dallas, one each in Bexar, Tarrant and Travis Counties, one in Galveston
and another in South Padre Island. Three more would be in places chosen by
the Texas Gaming Commission, the über-gaming agency created under the
Unlike earlier proposals, this plan teams up Indian reservations, horse- and
dog-track interests and full-blown casino developers, interests that have
been competitors in the past - always unsuccessful ones. According to
proponents, the whole package will generate $1.6 billion annually for the
state, money they envision spending on college tuitions, which have been
skyrocketing since they were deregulated, and children's health insurance in
a state that leads the nation in uninsured kids. Anyone familiar with the
Texas budget will tell you that $1.6 billion per year is not chump change.
And arguments already being advanced by gambling proponents are familiar
ones that aren't really in dispute. Texas provides Nevada more gamblers than
any other state except California, its neighbor, and there are more direct
flights from Texas to Las Vegas than to any other destination. The Lone Star
State is also surrounded by states with legal gambling. Go to any of these
state-line gaming emporiums and you are likely to find Texas plates on well
more than half the cars in the parking lots. Nor is it difficult to find
places to risk money in Texas. Eight-liner emporiums are everywhere and
pro-sports betting is ubiquitous in virtually every larger workplace and
many watering holes. And yes, there's no shortage of gaming still available
online. But what are the chances of this proposal moving forward? In a
phrase, it won't be a slam-dunk. Winning two-thirds margins in both House
and Senate to put a constitutional amendment on the ballot won't be easy for
lawmakers who plan to return to the local church to talk about their service
to the community. Then, winning voter approval won't be simple or easy.
Pari-mutuel betting finally made it on its eighth try on the ballot.
And however overstated, there will be the talk about the criminal element
casinos bring. And far more reality based, there are also very real
connections that will be made between widely accessible gaming and
obsessive-compulsive disorders and low-grade property crimes. Hardest to get
around, however, will be that none of Texas' previous gambling expansions -
bingo, pari-mutuel race tracks and the Texas Lottery - have delivered the
revenue promised.

posted by Jerry "Jet" Whittaker at 12/22/2006 02:51:00 AM

The highs and lows of online gambling

Online gambling continued its rise in 2006 despite some tough decisions by
the US government to restrict the practice in America. Major sporting events
such as the World Cup pushed traffic on gambling sites even higher, with
research group Nielsen//NetRatings claiming that more than one million UK
punters went online on the first Saturday of the competition to read match
reports and place bets. This success actually caused problems for online
betting operations such as BetUK, Sporting Odds, Bet365 and Betfair, all of
which suffered delays with their sites. However, the positive start did not
last too long and in July the US fired the first shots in a looming war with
online gambling companies by arresting the chief executive of Betonsports.
David Carruthers was arrested at Dallas Fort Worth airport while
transferring to a connecting flight to Betonsports' headquarters in Costa
Rica. He was charged with conspiracy to offer bets to US citizens. The court
also filed charges against company founder Gary Kaplan, media director Peter
Wilson and nine other employees. Betonsports finally succumbed to pressure
from the US authorities in August and stopped accepting bets on its site.
That decision came just a few weeks before a new US law was introduced to
outlaw online gambling. Public companies lost more than £4bn of their market
value and millions of customers as they were forced to shut their US

posted by Jerry "Jet" Whittaker at 12/22/2006 02:50:00 AM

Philadelphia wins final OK for casino gambling

Pennsylvania gambling regulators cleared the way Wednesday for Philadelphia
to become the nation's largest city with a casino, while rejecting Donald
Trump's bid for a slot-machine parlor and plans for another casino near the
Gettysburg battlefield. The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board chose from
among 13 groups of casino giants, politically connected investors,
celebrities and nationally known developers when it awarded five licenses
for standalone slot parlors. Philadelphia will surpass Detroit as the
largest U.S. city with casinos. Winners include groups led by billionaire
Chicago-based developer Neil G. Bluhm and the Connecticut-based Mashantucket
Pequot Tribal Nation; each plans to build on the city's riverfront. "We're
thrilled and delighted. We're very excited and we're going to build a great
project," Bluhm said. "We want to do something really special here." The
gaming board rejected an application by Trump's casino company for a casino
in northwest Philadelphia. And it rejected a proposal by Isle of Capri
Casinos Inc. to build a gaming house in Pittsburgh. The board awarded 11
permanent slots licenses, each allowing as many as 5,000 machines. Six
licenses are earmarked for the state's horse-racing tracks. So far, two
racetracks -- Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs and Philadelphia Park -- have
opened slot parlors under conditional licenses, and racetracks in Chester
and near Erie are expected to open slot parlors in the next two months. Gov.
Ed Rendell rejuvenated a 25-year drive to legalize casino-style gambling in
Pennsylvania by promising that slot revenues will help reduce property taxes
and revive the state's declining horse-racing industry. The law passed in
2004 authorized up to 61,000 slot machines at 14 sites.

posted by Jerry "Jet" Whittaker at 12/22/2006 02:50:00 AM

Gambling pushed to fringes in Russia

Garish or goofy or grim, Russia's casinos and slot-machine halls are some of
the most vivid testimony to communism's collapse. But, under legislation
approved Wednesday by Russia's lower house of parliament, the $6 billion
industry is to be driven out of Moscow, St. Petersburg and most of the rest
of Russia. Once the bill is signed into law, gamblers will have only until
mid-2009 to lay their bets in Russia's major cities. After that they'll have
to go to a remote part of Siberia or three other regions distant from
Moscow. "These are repressive measures - essentially they amount to a ban,"
said Yevgeny Kovtun, vice president of the Association of Gambling
Businesses, which unites about 30 gaming companies. With the exception of a
drab national lottery, Soviet citizens had no outlet for their speculative
urges. That changed with the chaotic arrival of capitalism: Neon-decked
casinos sprouted in big cities, some offering prizes of luxury cars or $1
million in cash. Slot-machine halls have appeared throughout the country,
sometimes even next to schools. Russia's oil-driven economic upswing of
recent years sent new cash to the gaming tables. But a public backlash has
grown. "This is a business based on vice. It brings no good," said Vladimir
Medinsky, deputy chairman of the parliament committee that drafted the
legislation. "It hasn't been banned altogether, because it is a natural vice
and should therefore be controlled," he said. The zones, which are currently
infrastructure-free wilderness, are in the Altai region in Siberia, the
rainy Pacific coast region of Primorsky, the Kaliningrad area along the
Baltic coast and an area in Russia's south between Rostov and Krasnodar.
Industry players say that while limitations are needed, a complete ban
except for the gaming zones is harsh and could kill the industry. The
restrictions, they say, assume Russians will be ready to jump on a plane and
fly to the taiga - the sub-Arctic forest region - to make a bet. "In the
U.S. people know about Las Vegas from childhood, but in Russia gambling
tourism doesn't exist," Kovtun said. "Before, a person would pop into a
casino or slot-machine hall between the metro and his house. Now ... the
gaming companies will have to entice him to the Pacific coast."

Under the new legislation, no new gambling institutions will be allowed to
open as of the new year, and by summer only those with assets worth more
than $23 million will be allowed to continue working, killing off smaller

Dr. Zurab Illiich Kekelidze, deputy director of the Serbsky Center for
Social and Forensic Psychiatry, said citizens of the former Soviet Union are
more vulnerable to gambling's pull.

"They have no psychological immunity to casinos and to slot machines,
because in Soviet times they didn't exist," said Kekelidze, who treats
patients with pathological gambling dependency.

While Kekelidze welcomed the creation of gambling zones, he said efforts
should be made to educate people about gambling and provide better treatment
and counseling for addicts. Otherwise the gaming zones could act as "levers
of psychological instability," in poor regions like Kaliningrad, he said.

Lavrentii Gubin, a spokesman for Storm International, which runs six casinos
and 26 slot-machine halls across the country, warns that only big gaming
companies will survive the tough new rules, allowing illegal gambling to

Although the government has said it is willing to allocate billions of
dollars to build infrastructure, "so far not a single company has said it is
interested in the project," Gubin said.

posted by Jerry "Jet" Whittaker at 12/22/2006 02:50:00 AM

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Papajohns.com Bowl Joins Gambling Bonanza

December and January are Arnie Wexler's busiest times. Four more bowl games,
including the Papajohns.com Bowl, increase the angst for Wexler, a
recovering compulsive gambler in New Jersey who works with addicts. "When I
stopped in 1968, all of the games were on Jan. 1," Wexler said. "Now they're
all spread out. It's not good for the gamblers. As long as they have another
day, they still have their dream alive and can bail out." ESPN purchased the
inaugural Papajohns.com Bowl in Birmingham mainly to add television
programming. One million or so TV sets won't be tuned in simply for the joy
of watching East Carolina play South Florida. Birmingham's bowl will attract
three times the betting action than if this matchup was a regular-season
game, said Jimmy Vaccaro, an oddsmaker at American Wagering in Las Vegas.
South Florida is a four- to five-point favorite. The time slot (noon
Central) is conducive for early action in Las Vegas at 10 a.m., setting up
"a perfect three-ring circus," Vaccaro said. Birmingham's bowl kicks off a
Saturday with three college games and one NFL game. "For the people who
don't understand and bet to bet, if they win that first bet, they have money
in their pocket and they'll bet San Jose State-New Mexico. If they lose,
they'll be even and have one more (college) shot with Tulsa-Utah," Vaccaro
said. "It's what we call in the industry `churning the money.' It's like a
mini-NCAA Tournament Thursday. It's all on television and it spurs interest
because it's one after another." Eighty-five percent of people that
illegally bet on sports do so on football, said Danny Sheridan, USA Today
analyst and oddsmaker. "If you think somebody's going to watch the
conclusion of South Florida and East Carolina if they don't have a bet on
it, you're crazy," he said. "You could have 100 bowl games and people would
watch. The school names are irrelevant if you're a bettor." Bowls provide
networks with relatively cheap programming that produces enough viewers to
keep sponsors happy. Only one of the 28 bowls last year drew a TV rating
less than ESPN's average rating for a 2006 regular-season major league
baseball game (1.2). Sixteen of 28 bowls improved their TV ratings in
2005-06, even as 18 of 28 decreased in attendance. College football's
postseason now stretches from Dec.19 until Jan.8, a 32-game, 21-day bonanza
for gamblers leading into the NFL playoffs. Ten years ago, the college
postseason was 18 games over 15 days.

Vaccaro said the increase in bowl games represents, at the very least, the
indirect result of networks and colleges feeding America's gambling habit.

"If the game wasn't on TV, it would draw less attention and less money on
it, but there would still be money bet on it," Vaccaro said. "We keep
feeding this big monster and it gives us a return on this investment."

Sheridan said the bowl system - in which only the national championship game
truly matters - is designed to attract gamblers.

"If you have a competitive game, if the spread and over/under are in doubt
throughout the game, you will have a highly rated game," Sheridan said.

"It's not to say everybody who watches bowls bets. But you've got 40 million
people betting on these games."

The chair of the NCAA postseason football licensing subcommittee, Southern
Mississippi Athletics Director Richard Giannini, disputes the argument that
the influence of gambling impacts bowl TV ratings.

"I may be naive. I don't see how that plays a part," Giannini said. "I don't
gamble. I have no idea how it works. I don't see the correlation other than
I'm sure in Las Vegas you see a line on the game. I don't see any
correlation between the bowl games and the gaming industry, nor have I ever
been asked the question."

Alabama is the biggest betting state per capita in the country, said
Sheridan, who lives in Mobile.

"They bet on high school sports in this state," Sheridan said. "I'd be
surprised if you don't see a plane flying over Birmingham's bowl promoting
off-shore betting."

posted by Jerry "Jet" Whittaker at 12/21/2006 09:12:00 AM

Auditor vows to be gambling watchdog

A dispute might be brewing among state regulators over who will oversee
Pennsylvania's multibillion-dollar casino industry. Auditor General Jack
Wagner on Tuesday told the Gaming Control Board he intends to be the "fiscal
watchdog of gaming operations and related state programs." As the board
prepared to vote today on awarding 11 slot machine casino licenses
statewide, Wagner said he plans to issue a report card on each casino --
showing what portion of their workforces is hired from within Pennsylvania
as well as how well those operations met diversity goals and conducted
background checks on employees. Wagner's statement "gives us pause because
it appears that the Auditor General's Office is seeking to also gain
oversight of the gaming industry," said Doug Harbach, a board spokesman. The
board "has sole regulatory authority over the gaming industry in the
commonwealth," Harbach said. But he said the board welcomes the "interest of
the auditor general in monitoring the work of this agency" and would
cooperate as required by law. "We have the legal authority to audit the
Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board, every way and backwards," Wagner said.
The state's 2004 slots law does not require casinos to hire Pennsylvanians,
but Wagner said his priority in an audit would be measuring to what extent
the gambling industry fills jobs from within the state's borders. It's fair
game, because slots proponents promised 10,000 to 15,000 industry jobs in
the state when the law was passed, said Wagner, a former state senator. Jobs
are important because most of the casinos will be located near the borders
with West Virginia, Ohio, Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey and New York,
Wagner said. "All of that is well and good, but secondary to the real
problem, which is the legislation" legalizing slots, said gambling opponent
Dianne Berlin, coordinator of CasinoFreePA. The first audit might be
available by the end of 2007, Wagner said. Asked how he would access the
private personnel records of casino companies, Wagner said he expects to get
the information from the Gaming Control Board.

posted by Jerry "Jet" Whittaker at 12/21/2006 09:11:00 AM

Gambling addict robbed bank in hopes police would kill her

A Truro woman was in such despair over her gambling addiction that she
robbed an Amherst bank in September hoping police would shoot her dead. "I
thought death was my only option," a sobbing Margaret Alice Baldwin said
Tuesday in Amherst provincial court before Judge Carole Beaton sentenced her
to 59 months in prison for robbing the Scotiabank branch on South Albion
Street of $100,000. Ms. Baldwin, 61, also received a concurrent 12-month
sentence for having a weapon - bear spray - during the robbery. The court
was told the robbery was the second time Ms. Baldwin had attempted "suicide
by cops." In 1999, she robbed a takeout restaurant in Miramichi, N.B., of
$540 hoping that she would be killed. She was sentenced to three years for
that robbery. Ms. Baldwin told the court she spent 25 years in the military
as a nurse before a neck injury ended her career. After her medical
discharge, she had a tough time adjusting to civilian life.
"Little did I suspect on Oct. 19, 1994, when I used that first VLT for some
social gambling, that I was doomed to spiral to the depths of hell," she
told the court.
"I lost $600,000. I've lost my dream home, my car. I lost my values, my
self-respect and my family. I became a piece of garbage." She attempted
suicide by hanging and by crashing her car. Ms. Baldwin said she tried to
get help for her gambling addiction on an outpatient basis but it didn't
work. After she was released from prison after the Miramichi robbery, she
entered an in-patient program at a Toronto clinic and was treated
successfully. But she couldn't afford to continue with the clinic's
outpatient rehab program and fell back into gambling after moving back to
the Maritimes. By last August, she had hit bottom and figured the only way
out of her desperate situation was to return to the Ontario clinic. She said
she asked for financial help from the Nova Scotia government but was
refused. "That put me into a full-blown crisis," she said. "I decided the
only way to stop it was to stage another robbery. I thought if they (police)
wouldn't shoot me for $540, they might shoot me if I stole $100,000." Ms.
Baldwin entered the Amherst bank on Sept. 5 and asked to see manager Maria
Campbell. Once inside Ms. Campbell's office, Ms. Baldwin produced a
handwritten note demanding $100,000 in unmarked, untraceable bills and
warned that she had a bomb strapped to her waist that accomplices in the
parking lot could set off. She was wearing a black veil covering her face
and white sport socks on her hands.

Police arrested her within minutes after she left the bank and recovered all
the money.

"It must have been scary for the people in the bank, but it was not my
intention to scare or harm people," Ms. Baldwin said, dabbing at tears. "I
only wanted to die.

"I hope Ms. Campbell can forgive me, not for my sake, but for hers. She
needs to get on with her life and not think of me."

posted by Jerry "Jet" Whittaker at 12/21/2006 09:11:00 AM

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Gambling Critic Won Thousands

A recently appointed member of the Pennsylvania gaming board was a longtime
critic of gambling when he was a legislator but he has won thousands of
dollars at casinos, a newspaper reported Sunday. Former state Rep. Mark
McNaughton voted against the state's slot machine law in 2004 and opposed
gambling for years before that, but at the same time he won $15,500 from
2003 to 2005, according to tax returns obtained by The Philadelphia
Inquirer. The five-term Republican from Harrisburg disclosed his winnings on
his federal income taxes but not on state ethics forms, the newspaper
reported. McNaughton said he didn't report his gambling winnings on the
ethics disclosure statement for lawmakers because he didn't believe it was
required. However, the State Ethics Commission says it considers such
winnings income, which legislators must note on annual disclosure forms if
it exceeds $1,300. He said Friday that he was only acting on the wishes of
his constituents when he opposed efforts to expand gambling in Pennsylvania.
'Gambling should not be everywhere. It should be a destination-oriented
activity where you go there and enjoy the day or two and return,' he said.
'I don't believe it's in the best interests of citizens to be able to walk
across the street and play slots.' He is due to take his $145,000-a-year,
appointed position on the gaming board by the middle of next month. Ethics
rules only bar board members from gambling or taking compensation from a
licensee or an applicant in Pennsylvania, according to spokesman Doug
Harbach. McNaughton said most of his winnings came from playing slot
machines in Las Vegas and stud poker in Atlantic City, N.J.

posted by Jerry "Jet" Whittaker at 12/20/2006 09:15:00 AM

National Council on Problem Gambling Head on PocketFives Podcast

"Problem gambling is gambling behavior which causes disruptions in any major
area of life: psychological, physical, social or vocational. The term
"Problem Gambling" includes... "Pathological", or "Compulsive" Gambling, a
progressive addiction characterized by increasing preoccupation with
gambling, a need to bet more money more frequently, restlessness or
irritability when attempting to stop, 'chasing' losses, and loss of control
manifested by continuation of the gambling behavior in spite of mounting,
serious, negative consequences." For 34 years, the NCPG has set out to
inform, educate, and provide a resource for gamblers everywhere. On
Thursday, December 21, 2006, NCPG Executive Director Keith Whyte joined the
PocketFives.com Podcast to discuss this organization.
"We try to provide a safety net for those who have a problem," said Whyte.
"We want to make sure that, if people do gamble, they do so responsibly. If
they don't, we're there to pick up the pieces." The NCPG focuses on
educating the gambling community and others on identifying problem gambling:
"People with gambling problems are preoccupied with gambling and lose
control. They're basically talking and thinking about gambling 24 hours per
day. Many other things in their life are not important anymore." After
identifying problem gaming, the next step is assisting in its treatment:
"First, it's offering your friendship and letting the person know it's not a
judgment you're making. Second, if you do offer some suggestions, offer them
a resource like a phone number or a website." The NCPG offers a 24-hour,
confidential hotline to call in, 800-522-4700. Counselors are standing by
and everything is kept in the strictest of confidentiality. "We've made, as
a society, enormous progress to encourage people with an addiction to seek
help. We haven't done as well with gambling problems. I think there's still
a significant amount of shame and stigma, which prevents a lot of people
from getting the help they need from talking to a friend." The game of poker
offers a unique paradox between a potential problem gambler chasing the
"skill" they possess in poker as opposed to the "luck" offered to them by
other casino games of chance: "With poker and with other skill-based games,
one of the problems is that, when people believe there's a difference
between luck and skill, many people in general and especially those with
gambling problems believe that their skill or luck is so much better than
anyone else's. The more skill a game is perceived to have, the more trouble
people can get into because people believe they are going to be able to beat
the system."

The NCPG website, www.ncpgambling.org, provides an extensive resource for
those interested in learning about responsible gambling. You'll find an
anonymous online quiz that will take your answers and make suggestions as to
your gambling behavior. There is also a directory of gambling counselors,
frequently asked questions, and, overall, tools to assist and educate people
in gambling responsibly.

posted by Jerry "Jet" Whittaker at 12/20/2006 09:14:00 AM

Internet Gambling and Las Vegas to Play Prominent Role in '08 Elections Caucus

Forget Hillary vs. Obama. There's another question in the Democratic
presidential race: Does what happens in Vegas really stay there, or can Sin
City set the course for the nation? Nevada has a new prominence in deciding
the party's next nominee. It will hold an early caucus January 19, 2008,
sandwiched between Iowa and New Hampshire. The prized position is an attempt
to bring more diverse voices into determining the Democratic candidate
beyond the two overwhelmingly white, rural states that have traditionally
dominated the process.The hope is that a Western state with a large
population of Hispanics and union workers will bring fresh issues to the
debate. "I've always felt that the system we have of choosing our president
has been very cockeyed," said incoming Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid,
the state's top Democrat. Nevada "will give the American people a better
idea of what a candidate should be for and against." That doesn't mean
candidates should be for gambling and against limits on prostitution. Nevada
may be famous for some of the nation's most liberal entertainment laws, but
state leaders are more interested in promoting other, less sexy political
concerns. Those include water rights, nuclear waste disposal, health care,
education and maintaining military installations. Local activists say they
don't expect to see the candidates on the Strip, except maybe to hold
fundraisers in the large meeting rooms or spend the night in the hotels.
However, they can be expected to be asked where they stand on Internet
gaming and betting on collegiate sports, issues important to the local
economy. "You are going to get certain questions about local issues just
like you get questions in Iowa about corn subsidies," said Democrat Tony
Sanchez, chairman of the committee drafting the caucus rules and overseeing
its operation. "But the thought of, 'Hey, let's get a picture of you rolling
the dice' -- that's not going to happen." Westward ho The selection of
Nevada is part of an effort to increase Democratic support in the West, once
a bastion of conservatism. Democrats won several statewide elections in the
West last month and the Democratic National Committee is considering holding
its 2008 convention in Denver, Colorado. Reid was the driving force behind
moving up Nevada's caucus and has a lot at stake in its success.

That will be a big job. Nevada had only 17 caucus sites in 2004 -- one per
county -- and just 8,500 of the state's nearly 1 million active registered
voters took part. That was a huge jump from 2000, when fewer than 1,000
participated, and the increase overwhelmed the party and delayed results for

This time, the party plans to have as many as 1,000 sites, Reid said.

The Nevada Democratic Party hired Jean Hessburg, the former head of the Iowa
Democratic Party who helped oversee the last Iowa caucus, to run the
operation and avoid some of the problems seen in 2004. She will be assisted
by Iowa political veteran Jayson Sime and a trio of media consultants
experienced in presidential politics -- Jamal Simmons, Bill Buck and Roger

The question is how much time the candidates will spend in Nevada versus
Iowa and New Hampshire, where they are expected to attend parties in
people's homes statewide. The candidates will have an incentive to stick to
the Las Vegas area because two-thirds of the voters live in Clark County.
Reno also has a concentration of Democrats, but the rest of the state is
sparsely populated and overwhelmingly Republican.

At stake in the Nevada Democratic caucus voting will be 22 base delegates,
compared to Iowa's 39 and New Hampshire's 19.

Labor unions critical
Many Democrats considering a bid have been working Nevada. New Mexico Gov.
Bill Richardson has visited repeatedly from his nearby home state, and John
Edwards has been courting the state's labor leaders. The 2004 vice
presidential nominee already has an endorsement from the Laborers' Local

The labor support will be critical in Nevada because unions will be the most
natural organizations to get voters to the caucus. The largest is the
Culinary Workers Union Local 226, with 60,000 members who serve the drinks,
clean the hotel rooms and cook the food at casinos. Political director Pilar
Weiss said the union has many friends in the race and won't make an
endorsement until late in the process.

"There is not a favored son or daughter," she said.

Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack stopped in Las Vegas on his presidential campaign
announcement tour and Edwards plans to include it on his later this month.
Sens. Joe Biden of Delaware, John Kerry of Massachusetts and Chris Dodd of
Connecticut have also made trips in recent months.

Two top-tier contenders who have not announced -- Sens. Hillary Rodham
Clinton of New York and Barack Obama of Illinois -- have not visited since
Nevada moved up its date.

Can Dems appeal to Nevadans?
It's too early to gauge what kind of appeal they would have in the swing
state, although former President Clinton made many friends here with his
2000 veto of a bill that would have sent nuclear waste to Nevada's Yucca

One of Bill Clinton's fans is Billy Vassiliadis, who created Las Vegas'
successful "What happens here, stays here" marketing campaign and a slick
brochure and video that helped convince Democrats to bless Nevada's early

Vassiliadis has a picture of himself with Obama hanging in his office and
once held a fundraiser for Edwards at his chic headquarters. He said he
wants to stay neutral in the presidential primary, but paused when asked
what he would do if the former president asked him to support his wife.

"There's almost nothing Bill Clinton couldn't ask me for," Vassiliadis said.
"That would be tough."

Reid said that with so many senators in the race, he will not endorse
anyone. "That would be a little bit foolish for me to do that when I have to
ask them for things here all the time and they have to ask me for things,"
he said in a recent interview.

He said he will ask the gambling industry to support the caucus effort.

"I hope they step up and help with funding some of the things that need to
be funded in this new environment we have there," Reid said. "And I'm
confident they'll do that."

Reid rejects suggestions that associations with legalized gambling could
hurt presidential candidates, noting that numerous states have it.

Frank Schreck, an attorney who has worked for gambling clients and was a
chief fundraiser for Bill Clinton, said the industry is sensitive to
appearances for politicians but will want to know where they stand on issues
important to them.

"It's in private conversations because you don't want to embarrass anybody,"
Schreck said.

posted by Jerry "Jet" Whittaker at 12/20/2006 09:14:00 AM

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Venues to lose pokies in gambling crackdown

The Victorian Government has announced which gaming venues are to lose poker
machines under its plan to cap machine numbers in 19 Victorian regions. The
Government promised to move 543 gaming machines during the election campaign
and they will come from venues in Dandenong, Hume, Latrobe, Maribyrnong,
Monash and Warrnambool. Some clubs will lose only one or two machines and
they can be moved to other regions not covered by the cap. Gaming Minister
Daniel Andrews says it is part of a $132 million plan to reduce problem
gambling. "A comprehensive plan to take action on problem gambling," he
said. "This is the biggest package, the biggest policy and the biggest
financial commitment in terms of addressing and taking action on problem
gambling that Victoria has seen."
Opposition gaming spokesman Michael O'Brien says the Government is simply
moving pokies around instead of reducing the total number. He says it shows
the Government is not serious about tackling problem gambling. "You can't
solve the drug problem by moving drug dealers across the street and you
can't solve gambling problems by moving pokie machines from suburb to
suburb," he said. He says the caps will do nothing to help reduce problem
gambling. "This decision means that there will not be one less pokie machine
operating in Victoria, operating on one less day, taking one less dollar of
revenue," he said.

posted by Jerry "Jet" Whittaker at 12/19/2006 08:51:00 AM

Cash needed to tackle gambling

ILLEGAL gambling dens could spread in Redbridge unless the council gets more
money to deal with the problem. Community protection officer, Alan Drake,
fears the council will be unable to carry out its new licensing and
enforcement responsibilities under the Gambling Act 2005, unless proposed
funding levels are increased.
He said: "We aren't currently equipped to enforce the legislation under the
Act, and to be honest, the £20,000 of funding we will get each year will
barely cover our administrative costs. "What this means in practice is that
if we hear about a suspected illegal gambling den in the borough, we will
not have the manpower or finances to take action against it." Speaking at a
recent area one committee meeting, Snaresbrook ward councillor, Sue Nolan,
dismissed the Act, which transfers full responsibility for the licensing of
gambling premises to local councils from Wednesday, January 2007, as an
example of Government incompetence. She said: "This Act just looks like more
muddled policy and spin to me, with very little thought gone into the
practicalities involved. "This is simply another example of the Government
asking local councils to carry out new duties without giving us the finances
to do so effectively. "It's essential the council has the capability to
enforce the law when alerted to illegal gambling by the public." Councillors
have forwarded a recommendation calling for the Government to increase the
proposed level of funding.

posted by Jerry "Jet" Whittaker at 12/19/2006 08:51:00 AM

Philly to be largest gambling city

Visitors come here to see just one bell - the Liberty Bell. Soon they'll be
looking for a row of them - on a slot machine. Pennsylvania's 2-year-old
state gaming board is to award licenses Wednesday for two slot machine
casinos to be built here. That will make Philadelphia the largest city in
the country with casinos and put legalized gaming within 2 miles of
Independence Hall, where the founding fathers gambled their fortunes on
revolution. The arrival of slots parlors here is part of the spread of
gambling through the mid-Atlantic. New Jersey, New York and Connecticut have
casinos. Pennsylvania and Delaware have slots at racetracks, and Maryland's
incoming governor wants to do the same. In Philadelphia, founded by Quakers
whose religious beliefs prohibit gambling, slots casinos are facing a cold
welcome from the neighbors. In Pennsport, the riverfront neighborhood where
Rene Goodwin lives in a 19th-century brick row house, the elevated bulk of
Interstate 95 separates narrow residential streets from big-box stores and
the city's container port. One of the casinos is proposed for a vacant site
next to Wal-Mart. "It isn't this hinterland," says Goodwin, who leads
Riverfront Communities United, a group of seven neighborhood associations.
Pennsport would be overwhelmed by traffic and crime if the slots parlor is
built two blocks away, she says. "It's a real place, where people know each
other. . Is it worth destroying one of the best neighborhoods in the city
for a casino?" Five proposals are competing for the two licenses. The
developers include Donald Trump; the Pequot tribe, which runs Foxwoods
Casino in Connecticut; and the owner of Philadelphia's two daily newspapers.
Four of the proposed slots parlors would be built along the Delaware River,
and the fifth would be across town, closer to wealthy suburbs. Something to
come for Bringing gambling to Philadelphia has long been supported by former
mayor Ed Rendell, who is now governor. Mayor John Street, who leaves office
next year, also supports it as a boost to the city's tourism business. The
city's convention center plans a $700 million expansion to be completed in
2009. Street says convention planners already schedule an evening in
Atlantic City for conventiongoers. He predicts the state will eventually
allow table games as well. About half the revenue from the Philadelphia
slots parlors would be money now used to gamble elsewhere, according to the
city's gaming task force.

"If you want people to live in your city, to live in your region, to bring
their conventions here, to bring their bodies here for vacation, you've got
to have something for them," he says. "I want them to look like casinos, I
want them to feel like casinos. A real casino with all of the opulence. I
want to see a little neon."

The state's 54% tax on casino revenue - the highest of the 36 states that
have legalized gambling - is earmarked for property tax relief. And in
Philadelphia, it would allow a cut in the city's wage tax paid by people who
work in the city regardless of where they live. If casinos ultimately take
in $2 billion a year as projected, the city says it expects a 13% cut in the
wage tax, which is 4.3% for city residents and 3.8% for commuters.

In addition, the city will receive a $25 million "host fee" paid by the
casinos, says Shawn Fordham, a mayoral adviser and executive director of the
city's Gaming Advisory Task Force. The two casinos are projected to generate
10,000 permanent jobs.

Casino Free Philadelphia has gone to court to try to overturn the 2004 state
law allowing slots. Jethro Heiko, who heads the group, says the public
hasn't seen the casinos' final proposals that were modified after the period
for public comment closed. Nor has the state established standards for
neighborhood impact, the lawsuit argues.

"Do we even want Philadelphia to be the next Atlantic City?" he says. "We
already have a lot of good things happening in the city. We're not

posted by Jerry "Jet" Whittaker at 12/19/2006 08:51:00 AM

Long Time Gambling Critic Won Thousands At Slots

A recently appointed member of the Pennsylvania gaming board was a longtime
critic of gambling when he was a legislator but he has won thousands of
dollars at casinos, a newspaper reported Sunday. Former state Rep. Mark
McNaughton voted against the state's slot machine law in 2004 and opposed
gambling for years before that, but at the same time he won $15,500 from
2003 to 2005, according to tax returns obtained by The Philadelphia
Inquirer. The five-term Republican from Harrisburg disclosed his winnings on
his federal income taxes but not on state ethics forms, the newspaper
reported. McNaughton said he didn't report his gambling winnings on the
ethics disclosure statement for lawmakers because he didn't believe it was
required. However, the State Ethics Commission says it considers such
winnings income, which legislators must note on annual disclosure forms if
it exceeds $1,300. He said Friday that he was only acting on the wishes of
his constituents when he opposed efforts to expand gambling in Pennsylvania.
"Gambling should not be everywhere. It should be a destination-oriented
activity where you go there and enjoy the day or two and return," he said.
"I don't believe it's in the best interests of citizens to be able to walk
across the street and play slots." He is due to take his $145,000-a-year,
appointed position on the gaming board by the middle of next month. Ethics
rules only bar board members from gambling or taking compensation from a
licensee or an applicant in Pennsylvania, according to spokesman Doug
Harbach. McNaughton said most of his winnings came from playing slot
machines in Las Vegas and stud poker in Atlantic City, N.J.

posted by Jerry "Jet" Whittaker at 12/19/2006 08:51:00 AM

Monday, December 18, 2006

Using gambling revenue to pay for other needs is wrong

I don't understand the governor's agenda. I believe privatization is good,
but to use gambling as a source of revenue to pay for other needs is wrong.
Gambling needs to be removed from the government's protective umbrella. We
know wherever there is gambling there are vice and corruption; we also know
that reducing the size of government bureaucracy eliminates a source of
corruption. Is he trying to be all things to all people? He's too smart to
believe that. He should stay on the straight path.

posted by Jerry "Jet" Whittaker at 12/18/2006 07:57:00 AM

Palu councillors caught gambling

Six Palu municipal councillors were arrested Thursday and charged with
gambling. Police arrested the suspects in a hotel room and seized Rp 225,000
(US$25) in cash and playing cards. The councillors are being held for
questioning at Palu Police Headquarters. Officers identified the suspects as
Yos Sudarso, chairman of the Democrat Party in Palu, Arifin Labanu (Democrat
Party), Andi Indra Adil, Paharuddin Sumang and Aswandi (Golkar Party), and
Revi Arifin Pasau (National Concern Party). Police were acting on an
anonymous tip that a group of city councillors were gambling in a room at
the Sentral Hotel in South Palu. Palu Police chief Adj. Sr. Comr. Atrial
initially declined to comment on the arrests, but on Friday said police were
investigating the case and that the suspects would not receive any
preferential treatment. The chairman of the Golkar Regional Executive Board
in Palu, Rusdi Mastura, told The Jakarta Post he had asked police to handle
the case as they would any other criminal matter.

posted by Jerry "Jet" Whittaker at 12/18/2006 07:57:00 AM

Other forms of gambling already exist lawfully

In Sunday Stabroek of the 10th December 2006, the headlines read, "Religious
leaders against casino gambling." I am simply astonished that these
religious leaders' mindset is still immersed in the dark ages. A few years
back, whilst living in the USA I would visit the race tracks daily. I was
very surprised at first that racing would be allowed on Good Friday. I soon
realized that America does not have the time for religious sentiments. For
them Good Friday is just another day. It became abundantly clear to me why
America is such a wealthy country. I am sure God will forgive the land of
the brave their transgressions. For God helps those who helps themselves. As
a nation, some of our religious leaders are morally bankrupt. They are more
interested in driving in fancy four by fours and preaching in an
air-conditioned church. What is so wrong with casino gambling when we
already have horse racing, lottery, and many gambling clubs. Does the church
ever refuse donations from people who win the lottery? Does the Church ever
enquire if the donations given to them are from dubious sources? These
religious leaders are living in a cocoon. They must look at countries like
Curacao and Antigua which have thrived on casino gambling. Unlike Guyana,
these countries do not have our huge resources which we have never truly
utilised. They are strictly dependent on tourism, which is a facet of casino
gambling or vice-versa. It is the same for Aruba and Bonaire. Guyana has to
attract tourists, casino gambling goes with the territory. If the religious
leaders are against casino gambling they must find jobs for the young people
leaving schools. The horse racing betting shops have provided a great
service to this nation by finding jobs for our young folk. Mr. Chetram Singh
and Mr. Yusuf Mungroo, must be commended for their perseverance. These
religious leaders must talk the talk and walk the walk. They must not forget
how the Vatican acquired some of their wealth. Do you think that there are
no casinos in Italy? These religious leaders need to focus on nation
building and not try to get immersed in affairs that will affect the general
populace's pockets. In closing, Jesus told the mob who wanted to stone the
woman for adultery "He that is without sin cast the first stone."

posted by Jerry "Jet" Whittaker at 12/18/2006 07:57:00 AM


Would-be online gambling advertisers in the Ontario province of Canada will
need to update their knowledge on what is and is not permitted following the
passage of a consumer protection bill containing advertising restrictions,
which was passed by the provincial legislature this week. According to an
assessment in p2pnet.net News by Michael Geist, who holds the Canada
Research Chair in Internet and E-commerce Law at the University of Ottawa,
the new legislation contains provisions prohibiting the advertising of
Internet gambling sites. The provisions underwent important changes at
committee level, however, so that the final bill looks somewhat different
from the one that was introduced in the fall. Geist writes that when first
introduced, the bill contained a blanket prohibition on advertising an "an
Internet site that operates an internet gaming business contrary to the
Criminal Code." The bill defined advertising as: (a) the promotion by print,
publication, broadcast, telecommunication or distribution by any means, of
information intended to promote the use of an internet gaming business, (b)
self-promotion and a contract under which one person obtains the services of
another to develop or distribute the advertisement, (c) a link in a website
intended to promote the use of an internet gaming business. However, after
the committee stage, the bill contained some important changes. While the
blanket prohibition remains unchanged, the definition of advertising has
been narrowed to instances where the advertising originates in Ontario or is
primarily intended for Ontario residents. In Geist's opinion, the positive
effect of this change will be to exclude the vast majority of Internet
gambling advertising, which neither originates in Ontario nor is primarily
targeted at residents of the province. The prohibition against linking has
also been narrowed by excluding links "generated as the result of a search
carried out by means of an internet search engine." In other words, Google
and other search engines won't be liable for links to gambling sites
generated through search queries.

Geist concludes that most Internet gambling sites are therefore unaffected,
unless they specifically target Ontario with their advertising. Instead,
there are two obvious effects.

Offline, it seems likely that Internet gambling newspaper and radio
promotion, common in some newspapers and on sports radio stations, will

Online, Internet search companies and websites will likely refuse
advertisements that specifically target Ontario. Such targeting may occur
either by way of the promotion itself or by using geo-identifying

This law may also capture Ontario bloggers and websites that focus on
Internet gambling. Those sites won't be able to feature Internet gambling
advertising and may even face liability for posting links to various
gambling sites.

posted by Jerry "Jet" Whittaker at 12/18/2006 07:57:00 AM

Bingo parlor probed for gambling

Kannapolis bingo parlor is under investigation for illegal gambling after a
search by the North Carolina Alcohol and Law Enforcement agency. The Rowan
REACT Team Bingo at 1912 N. Main St. was investigated by officers Dec. 9.
Officers collected evidence from the game. The operators, Cherry and Bobby
Snipes, were ticketed for gambling, according to Rowan County Department of
Justice court records. The crime is a misdemeanor. Cherry Snipes was listed
as a secretary and Bob Snipes was listed as a chaplain in the report.
According to a search warrant, the Snipes were paying out offerings of more
than $2,500 in prizes during one bingo session. Court documents state that
officers received complaints about a game within the bingo parlor's normally
scheduled game. That game had a progressive jackpot, which is illegal and
constitutes gambling, the records state. Before the search Dec. 9, officers
had been called to the bingo parlor. Court records state that an undercover
officer went into the business Aug. 27 and purchased four packs of bingo
player sheets for $20. A document by Agent R.B. Putnam states. "During the
'early games' there were declared winners of these games. I never saw a
check wrote out at the counter, I never saw a check given to the winner, I
saw cash money exchanged between the counter and the bingo runners and the
runners paid cash to the winners of these games." Bingo is allowed in North
Carolina. But under the State of North Carolina Bingo Law bingo games are to
be held so that the maximum net proceeds are used by a charitable or
nonprofit group. "The only justification for this part is to support such
charitable, nonprofit causes," the law states. "And such purposes should be
carried out to prevent the operation of bingo by professionals for profit,
prevent commercialized gambling, prevent the disguise of bingo and other
game forms or promotional schemes." The maximum amount of prize in cash or
merchandise that can be paid for any one game of bingo is $500, the law
states. The most that can be paid out during a single session is $1,500.
Court records state that the Rowan REACT Team Bingo is alleged to have
offered or payed out more than $2,500 in prizes during one session of bingo.
During the search Dec. 9, officers collected $1,598.40 from the bingo game.
The cash was collected as evidence in the case. Records show that the Snipes
have a scheduled court date of Feb. 7 in Rowan County. Cherry Snipes said
that she called the North Carolina Alcohol Law Enforcement agency herself.
Snipes said that other bingo halls do the same type of activities she and
her husband are accused of and that prompted them to allow players to play
extra games, so that they wouldn't go to rival bingo halls.

posted by Jerry "Jet" Whittaker at 12/18/2006 07:57:00 AM

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Russia considers gambling curbs

Russia's lower house of parliament on Friday backed sweeping gambling
legislation force casinos across the country to relocate into four
designated zones.
The State Duma voted 425-0 on a key second reading to pass the
Kremlin-backed legislation, which would set up the four special regions by
July 1, 2009.
All gambling and slot machine businesses -- including those in Moscow where
casinos and slot halls appear to be virtually on every street corner --
would have to close and move to the Primorsky, Altai, Rostov/Krasnodar or
Kaliningrad regions. Primorsky is a Pacific region, wedged between the Sea
of Japan and China; while Kaliningrad is located on the Baltic Sea and cut
off from Russia proper by Lithuania and Belarus. The Rostov/Krasnodar
regions are located along the Sea of Azov and the Black Sea, while Altai is
a mountainous region along the borders with Kazakhstan and Mongolia. New
rules would also go into effect on Jan. 1, 2007, setting up minimum age
limits for casino-goers, a minimum number of gambling tables and slot
machines for establishments to operate and other restrictions.
Lawmakers in the pro-Kremlin United Russia party, which dominates the Duma,
have long pushed for gaming halls to be located outside city limits, blaming
a surge in cases of gambling addiction on companies that control the
multibillion-dollar industry. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union,
gambling in Russia has exploded, with slot machines alone raking in an
estimated $3.6 billion last year.

posted by Jerry "Jet" Whittaker at 12/17/2006 05:29:00 AM

Rupert Murdock About to Buy Online Gambling Company

Satellite broadcaster BSkyB is in advanced talks to buy the online sports
information and gaming firm 365 Media Group Plc for 94 million pounds, the
Times reported on Friday. The two companies would not comment on the report.
365 Media Group said on October 5 it had received a number of informal bid
approaches. 365 Media Group, which was previously called UKbetting, runs
gambling and sports Web sites including Football365 and sportlinglife.com
which reach over 9 million users each month. BSkyB owns the popular Sky
Sports Web site and earlier this month announced it had agreed a tie-up with
Google Inc. to deploy the Internet search company's suite of search,
advertising and video functions on its broadband service. BSkyB launched its
broadband service in July and a deal to buy 365 would fit with its expansion
of online content. Shares in BSkyB were down 0.9 percent at 1 p.m. at 522.5
pence while shares in 365 were up 2.3 percent to 65 pence giving it a market
value of 93 million pounds. Shares in 365 have risen from 55.5 pence on
October 5 since it revealed the bid approaches.

posted by Jerry "Jet" Whittaker at 12/17/2006 05:29:00 AM

Anti-online gambling ad law

The Province of Ontario has passed new consumer protection legislation that
contains provisions prohibiting the advertising of Internet gambling sites.
The provisions underwent important changes at committee (first reading,
second reading after committee), however, so that the final bill looks
somewhat different from the one that was introduced in the fall. When first
introduced, the bill contained a blanket prohibition on advertising an "an
Internet site that operates an internet gaming business contrary to the
Criminal Code." The bill defined advertising as: (a) the promotion by print,
publication, broadcast, telecommunication or distribution by any means, of
information intended to promote the use of an internet gaming business, (b)
self-promotion and a contract under which one person obtains the services of
another to develop or distribute the advertisement, (c) a link in a website
intended to promote the use of an internet gaming business.
After committee, the bill contained some important changes. While the
blanket prohibition remains unchanged, the definition of advertising has
been narrowed to instances where the advertising originates in Ontario or is
primarily intended for Ontario residents. The effect of this change will be
to exclude the vast majority of Internet gambling advertising, which neither
originates in Ontario nor is primarily targeted at residents of the
province. Moreover, the prohibition against linking has also been narrowed
by excluding links "generated as the result of a search carried out by means
of an internet search engine." In other words, Google and other search
engines won't be liable for links to gambling sites generated through search
queries. So what gets covered by this law? Most Internet gambling sites are
unaffected, unless they specifically target Ontario with their advertising.
Instead, there are two obvious effects. Offline, it seems likely that
Internet gambling newspaper and radio promotion, common in some newspapers
and on sports radio stations, will disappear. Online, Internet search
companies and websites will likely refuse advertisements that target
Ontario. Such targeting may occur either by way of the promotion itself or
by using geo-identifying technologies. This law may also capture Ontario
bloggers and websites that focus on Internet gambling. Those sites won't be
able to feature Internet gambling advertising and may even face liability
for posting links to various gambling sites.

posted by Jerry "Jet" Whittaker at 12/17/2006 05:29:00 AM

Affadavit sheds light on gambling case, pharmacist's alleged double life

Undercover IRS agents had several conversations with a McDowell County
pharmacist about the way a gambling operation was run, according to a
federal search warrant affidavit. The pharmacist, Saad Kamil Deeb, is under
federal indictment on money laundering and gambling charges. Deeb, who owns
and operates Citizen's Pharmacy in Welch, was indicted last month by a
federal grand jury on charges of conspiracy to evade reporting about $1.7
million in income he received from allegedly operating a gambling parlor,
his own gambling profits and from skimming $250,000 or more a year from the
business for four or five years. Deeb's accountant, Bluefield resident
Charles "Bud" Donchatz, has been cooperating with federal investigators for
more than a year and introduced the undercover agents to the pharmacist.
Agents recorded a number of the meetings, including one at Donchatz' office
in February where Deeb admitted he had been making deposits and withdrawals
from a McDowell County bank in amounts just below the $10,000
federally-required reporting mark, the affidavit states. He also
acknowledged doing Internet gambling, most of it in Curacao, Netherlands
Antilles, according to the affidavit. And, the affidavit states, Deeb said
he did not want to pay taxes on his profits. "I'm taking about a quarter of
a million a year," Deeb is quoted as telling the agent about skimming the
pharmacy profits. "I don't like to report all this sh-- and pay taxes on
it." But he also expressed reservations about his alleged illegal activities
in February and seemed to have the feeling IRS agents were closing in on his
activities. "I'm expecting any day they're going to come," the undercover
agent reported Deeb told him. Investigators also went through the income tax
returns of Deeb's former girlfriend, Sherrie Hickson, and his friend, state
liquor inspector Jimmy Kemal Hazemey, the affidavit revealed. Both allegedly
did banking and moved money around for Deeb, though neither has been
charged. Federal agents also noted the pharmacy has 10 separate telephone
lines and Deeb's residence has five. From December until June, more than
51,000 calls were made to or from those phone lines.

The agent who wrote the affidavit, IRS Special Agent Stephen Rowley, stated
that "is consistent with large-scale sports gambling."

But Deeb didn't know what to do with all the cash. In one recorded meeting
with Donchatz he allegedly told the accountant, "This between me and you.
You know really kills me ... I mean, uh, this store's making so much money
an' I can't, uh, know which way to f------g pocket all I can, you know what
I'm saying?"

He then asks the best way to do that.

Rowley also wrote that Deeb agreed to place bets for the IRS undercover
agent's supposed clients, saying he kept six cell phones for placing bets.

Deeb had purchased the former Moose Lodge in Welch, and an informant told
IRS agents he paid a Charleston firm to install an in-floor safe in the
structure, the affidavit states. He told the undercover agent he planned to
open a bar on the first floor of the building and a methadone clinic on the
second, according to the affidavit.

posted by Jerry "Jet" Whittaker at 12/17/2006 05:29:00 AM

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Stop gambling for Christmas, say Filipino bishops

Filipino bishops have decided to take on both illegal and state-run gambling
for Christmas and have urged Catholics to remember the spirit of the season
and not throw away their money. Launched by one of the country's most
charismatic prelates, Mgr Oscar Cruz, archbishop of Lingayen-Dagupan, the
campaign has targeted illegal and government-run games. For almost five
years now, the prelate has been involved in an all out fight against betting
and gambling which has earned him the enmity of game lords and death
threats. His campaign received a boost in the last few days when the
Conference decided to join him. Its chairman, Mgr Angel N. Lagdameo, made an
"urgent and ardent appeal" urging local and national officials, ordinary
citizens and business leaders to say "No" to numbers game. His appeal was
read in Catholic churches in last Sunday mass, the second Sunday of Advent.
The prelate said that he was "happy and quite satisfied" when national
authorities decided to join the bishops to fight the problem. "This way they
show they are united against this social scourge". Mgr Cruz's main target is
jueteng, the Philippines' most popular game. It has become a national
phenomenon that generated gambling activities worth 13 billion pesos "over
185 million euros or close to 250 US dollars) last year, a business run by
14 or 15 gambling lords who divided up the Philippines 24 provinces among
themselves and will do anything to protect their interests. The bishop told
AsiaNews that "about 85 per cent of this money goes into payolas, kickbacks,
to protect the 'gambling lords' and are paid out to government, police, army
and even media. If you don't like it, you're not welcome in the country,"
the prelate explained.

For this reason, Archbishop Cruz has received threatening phone calls and
letters as well as death threats. But he won't let up and give in to fear.

"In the country, the phenomenon is so widespread because Filipinos have
bought into a gambling culture. We are an agricultural country and farmers
have long periods of free time. This way, rackets can set roots and play on
people's hope for the big one as they spend their time having fun," he said.

Gambling is not only widespread among the poor but also among higher social
classes, who are "more narrow-minded and tight-fisted" and play a "game
different from jueteng".

posted by Jerry "Jet" Whittaker at 12/16/2006 06:49:00 AM

New gambling commission

A new shadow Gambling Commission, led by Graham White, has been set up in
Jersey to prepare for the move to a more statutory Gambling Commission. The
other members of the commission are Peter Cruickshank and Jeremy Arnold. The
gaming industry in Jersey, with an excellent reputation as a well regulated
jurisdiction, is hoping to expand further and attract more investment to the
island. On top of this, the Commissions role will be to promote the region
as an attractive proposition for remote gambling companies and to ensure
that any potential harm is minimised, as well providing schemes to protect
the young and vulnerable. Graham White, who was chief inspector of the U.K's
equivalent commission from 1983 to 2005, well bring valuable experience to
the role as Jersey look to compliment the mainland U.K upon the introduction
of the new Gambling Act next September. Members will sit on the commission
for a maximum of three years, during which time it is expected that Jersey's
Gambling Commission Law and the Gambling Law will be changed, or at the very
least, debated.

posted by Jerry "Jet" Whittaker at 12/16/2006 06:46:00 AM

La Vergne Police arrest Murfreesboro residents; others on gambling charges

An anonymous tip lead to the arrest of 22 people on gambling and other
charges and a gambling establishment was closed down in La Vergne Wednesday
night. The operation took place less than 75 yards from a church. Of the 22
arrested at 121E George Chaney Blvd, five were for felony charges while 17
were given misdemeanor citations. "We received an anonymous call that there
was gambling going on and when we went over there to do a welfare check, we
noticed the security camera on the outside of the building," LPD Lt. Ted
Boyd said Thursday morning. "Officers Russell Howell and Chip Davis knocked
on the door and the owners let them in. Apparently, the owners tried to
convince police that they had made a place for their friends to get together
and play poker." The games stated at 8:15 p.m. and reportedly would go on
until the next morning. There was a $200 entry fee to play, Boyd said,
noting they'd only been operating for about three to four weeks. Three of
the individuals - Steven Colbert, 42, of Shelbyville; Denny Kalinic, 33, of
Columbia and Cathy McPherson, 23 of Shelbyville - were charged with the
promotion of gambling and aggravated gambling. Two individuals ---Ashley R.
Hayes, 38, of Rockvale and Tyrone L. Jackson, 30, of Nashville -- were
charged with gambling and possession of drugs. Approximately 400 pills were
confiscated, along with nearly ½ pound of cocaine and a small amount of
marijuana. The pills were Oxycontin, Loratab, Xanax, Percoset and more.
Charged with gambling were Landace Clackner, 26, of Nashville; Ernest Milton
Darrett, 51, of Smyrna; Samuel B. King, 31, of Hermitage; Jefferson W.
Morrill, 36, of Nashville; Van L. Ho, 22, of Lebanon; Millard Austin, 28, of
Murfreesboro; Thomas James 31, of Smyrna; Robert Martin, 34, of Smyrna;
Jerry K. Shadowens, 41, of Smyrna; Rangsit T. Iamsaard, 37, of Murfreesboro;
Matthew M. Skaggs, 28, of Murfreesboro; Christopher S. Bissinger, 25, of La
Vergne; Russell A. James, 30, of Murfreesboro; Allison Johnson, 27, of
Antioch; Joycelyn Edwards, 27, of Antioch; Mark Pellatiro, 32, of Antioch
and Gary Armstrong, 48, of Nashville. In addition to the arrests, LPD
officers seized $15,063 in cash, two trucks - a 2005 Chevy Silverado 3500
and a Dodge Ram SRT 10 - two TVs, five guns, leather furniture, a
refrigerator (which was used to store alcohol and food), gaming tables and a
poker machine. Only the poker machine will have to be destroyed. If the
owners of the trucks aren't able to get their vehicles back, they - along
with the other items - will be sold at auction.

Ten officers from second and third shift responded to the call and
Vice/Narcotics and LPD's Crime Scene Unit were called in to assist and
process the scene.

According to Boyd, this is the largest bust by LPD officers on one call in
one night.

"I'm proud of our department for the hard work they did in making these
arrests and closing down this operation," Chief Steve Lindsay said. "This
was a major operation and we're glad we shut the games down before they
could possibly lead to more crimes within the city."

posted by Jerry "Jet" Whittaker at 12/16/2006 06:46:00 AM

Ex-Minister Linked to Gambling Scandal

Prosecutors are tracing the bank account transactions of former Culture and
Tourism Minister Chung Dong-chea as they investigate suspicions that
government officials were bribed by businessmen looking for licenses to sell
gift vouchers used as payouts in an illegal gambling scheme. A former
assistant of Chung, identified only as Yoo, was arrested last month on
charges of taking 137 million won ($149,000) from executives of CS Club
Korea, one of the country's 19 companies authorized to issue the gift
certificates used at adults-only game arcades. ``We are looking into Chung's
financial transactions to confirm some suspicions. We have not found
anything as of yet worth commenting on,'' said an official from the Seoul
Central District Prosecutors' Office. ``We are looking into Chung's
financial transactions to confirm some suspicions. We have not found
anything as of yet worth commenting on,'' said an official from the Seoul
Central District Prosecutors' Office. Since the end of August, the
prosecution has mounted an investigation into allegations public officials
at the Culture Ministry and its sub-organizations were lobbied by companies
applying for licenses to sell game machines and gift vouchers. With the
investigation entering its fourth month, prosecutors have arrested more than
30 government officials, businessmen and members of organized crime units
involved in operating what were essentially gambling parlors. Baek Eeek, a
former director at the Culture Ministry arrested for taking 35 million won
from a gift voucher issuer, was sentenced to three years in prison and a
fine of 36 million won by the Seoul Central District Court Wednesday. Chung,
a lawmaker from the governing Uri Party, was at helm at the ministry from
2004 to March this year. During his tenure, the country saw the video slot
machine empire grew beyond recognition, with the ministry loosening business
restrictions on game arcades. Pressured by calls for an easier reviewing
process, the ministry, under Chung, introduced a permit system for companies
applying for licenses to sell the vouchers in March last year. The
certification process allowed any applying company to issue the vouchers by
meeting certain requirements in revenue and market coverage.

However, authorities were forced to scrap the new rating methods just three
months later, after it was found that some companies obtained licenses by
manipulating their sales records.

There have been suspicions that ministry officials rushed the introduction
of the permit system after being lobbied by the companies.

Prosecutors are pushing their probe further into politicians, planning to
summon Uri Party lawmaker Cho Seong-lae sometime next week for questioning
about his relationship with the owner of Friends C&M, one of the voucher
issuers. Investigators are currently tracing his bank account transactions.

Prosecutors could also call in Grand National Party (GNP) lawmaker Park
Hyung-joon for the second time next week. Park was summoned Wednesday after
it was found that he received 100 million won from a company issuing the
vouchers to fund a culture event he chaired.

The Culture Ministry's decision in 2002 to allow arcades to provide certain
types of gift certificates as payouts, has been widely blamed as the cause
of the rapid expansion of gambling, with most arcades unlawfully trading the
vouchers for cash.

Before the police clampdown in August, government authorities counted about
20,000 adults-only game arcades doing business around the country, most of
them providing gambling games _ that is double the number of 24-hour
convenience stores.

The recent gambling scandal first erupted in late July when prosecutors
indicted the chief executives of the two companies that manufactured and
distributed ``Pada Iyagi'' (Sea Story) video slot machines.

Most of the machines were illegally reprogrammed to allow higher payouts
than the legal limit of 20,000 won. ``Pada Iyagi'' is the country's most
popular slot machine game by far with more than 45,000 units sold.

Speculation of influence peddling mounted when it was found that Roh Ji-won,
one of President Roh Moo-hyun's nephews, worked as an executive of a company
acquired earlier this year by Zico Prime, the game's distributor.

posted by Jerry "Jet" Whittaker at 12/16/2006 06:46:00 AM

Friday, December 15, 2006

Christchurch reported to have most gambling-related crimes

Chief executive John Stainsfield says the foundation has been monitoring
reports of crime in the country. He says the number of gambling facilities
in Christchurch is one of the problems. Mr Stainsfield says operators need
to take more responsibility, but the community also needs to recognise the
signs of problem gambling. He says the city council's decision not to lift a
moratorium on new pokie machines is a victory for the 2,000 submitters who
opposed the move.

posted by Jerry "Jet" Whittaker at 12/15/2006 08:38:00 AM

Gambling with no guarantees: Casino may be years, yards away from Duquesne

With only seven days until the Pittsburgh Gaming Commission awards a gaming
license to one of three slots competitors, concerns about traffic problems
have risen to the forefront. City officials are concerned that, regardless
of the casino location, congestion and parking issues will be major problems
because of Pittsburgh's many bridges, tunnels, rivers and outdated highway
networks. Isle of Capri has pledged $290 million toward the project, which
includes building a new arena to keep the Penguins in Pittsburgh. The
proposed site of the temporary casino would be built in a parking lot above
Mellon Arena and below Crawford Square, less than a half-mile from Duquesne
University. According to a Dec. 10 issue of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette,
however, Isle of Capri has estimated that only 1.1 people will be in each
car arriving at its proposed Uptown site, as compared with 2.3 and 2.35
people at the other potential North Shore and Station Square casinos,
respectively. This could mean the majority of those who would access the
Uptown location would come via public transportation. Liuetant Lee Speer
with Duquesne Public Safety, said he believes a casino nearly would not
cause parking or traffic problems on or near campus. "We're private property
and people know that," he said. In addition to the congestion problems that
could arise, Duquesne officials and students have strong opinions about the
overall impact of the potential addition to the community. In a February
2006 press release, President Charles Dougherty said that, since a third of
Duquesne's 10,000-student population live on the Bluff, the university is
concerned with the idea that easy access to a casino could lead to gambling
problems. "We don't want them exposed to a slots parlor within a five-minute
walk of campus," Dougherty said when he first expressed his disapproval for
the Isle of Capri plan to put a slots parlor close to Duquesne University.
"As we must locate a casino in Pittsburgh, let it be far away from large
concentrations of students."

Although Dougherty's concerns are reasonable, some have questioned his

Duquesne University President Charles Dougherty made waves in the city last
semester by being one of the first prominent figures in Pittsburgh to oppose
the Isle of Capri proposal on grounds that it would be detrimental to the

However, Dougherty's disapproval was met with claims from community members
who accused Duquesne University of a conflict of interest on grounds that
Duquesne board of directors member Glenn Mahone has a 25 percent stake in
the competing Forest City Enterprises proposal, which plans to build in
Station Square.

A Pennsylvania lawyer and Duquesne alumnus, speaking under condition of
anonymity, seems to think that there is another reason for Duquesne's

"It's all about the property values," he said about the area surrounding the
university. "If that casino gets put in, [Duquesne] won't be able to buy up
all that land and keep it under non-profit status."

The other two potential sights for the casino would be a 10-minute ride by
bus or the T.

"It's not like students aren't going to go gamble if the casino is somewhere
else," he said.

During a visit to a Duquesne University political science class in Spring
2006, Allegheny County Executive Dan Onorato admitted he is not a huge fan
of gambling in Pittsburgh, but did not see the need for Dougherty's
disapproval of the Isle of Capri proposal.

"Sure, there will be some adverse affects, but I'm a pragmatist. I'm sure [a
casino] could help the city in some ways," Onorato said. "I have a hard time
believing students wouldn't be able to find the Casino if it was in the
South Side."

Others, like Tom Gerlach, trust that Dougherty's remarks are genuine.

"From the standpoint of the University, [opposition to the casino] makes a
lot of sense," said Gerlach, a senior Duquesne University supply chain
management major. "You can't argue with facts."

A resident of the Hill District, Gerlach already sees the crime and
prostitution that government officials fear would envelope the area if a
casino is built Uptown.

"I'm sure that's the main concern of the University," he said.

Audrey Guskey, a marketing professor at Duquesne, has mixed opinions on a
potential casino's influence in the Hill District.

"It could improve Uptown," she said. "But I don't approve of gambling coming
to Pennsylvania."

Speers agreed.

"In my professional opinion, I wouldn't like to see it."

Public affairs officials said no further comments have been made by the
university regarding the issue.

posted by Jerry "Jet" Whittaker at 12/15/2006 08:38:00 AM

German states set to ban Internet gambling

Germany's federal states plan to ban Internet gambling, according to draft
documents to be discussed by the country's state premiers on Wednesday.
Reports in the German media are suggesting that Germany's states will meet
this week to outline plans for banning Internet gambling in the country.
Despite pressure from the European Commission to open up Europe's gambling
market to competition, ministers from most states want to sign off on new
rules aimed at protecting their lucrative monopoly as lottery operators,
said Handelsblatt. German lottery company Fluxx AG has joined fellow online
compatriots Tipp24 AG in saying
that it may have to abandon its native market if the country's 16 states
pass a new law effectively banning private operators. Fluxx's CFO Stefan
Haenel said that the company would not give up on Germany without a fight,
but warned that it would be going to 'use opportunities' outside the
country. It was also reported that the mainly private firms, such as Tipp24
and Fluxx, would be granted a one-year transition period. The ministers will
meet in Berlin on Wednesday morning.
The state of Saxony and two other states imposed a ban earlier this year on
commercial betting. That was directed mainly at Austrian Internet betting
firm bwin.com whose German unit is the country's biggest commercial
bookmaker. Bwin and its peers are facing increasingly stringent regulations
in the United States and Europe, where governments are curbing Internet
gambling to protect customers and state-run lotteries. The European Union's
commissioner for internal markets and services has already said that the
current German state monopoly breaches EU law and said that the government
needs to pass laws that apply to everyone, both private companies and
state-run gambling operations, equally.

posted by Jerry "Jet" Whittaker at 12/15/2006 08:38:00 AM

ONLINE ONLY LETTERS: Court right on gambling; Moore should go

I read with great delight your story regarding the Alabama Supreme Court's
unanimous ruling that "video sweepstakes games at a greyhound dog track in
Birmingham are illegal gambling devices, no different from slot machines."
Mark White, Milton McGregor's attorney, according to the story, said "the
ruling means that Alabama will continue to lose money to neighboring states
that offer lotteries or casino gambling operations." The article further
quoted White in saying," Again, our state is inhibited in its ability to
compete with our neighboring states for revenues and funding that support
local education, business and growth." Why are they giving so much attention
to lotteries and casino gambling operations as competition for revenues and
funding to support local education, business and growth? Are there other
wholesome business opportunities for Alabama that can be competitive enough
to produce revenues and funding for local education, business and growth
besides lotteries and casino gambling operations? How about toothbrush
manufacturing plants in which toothbrushes are made, distributed and sold
worldwide? More paper companies that produce tissue, paper towels, writing
paper, copier paper and etc. (especially since timber is one of Alabama's
top industries and there is such a great demand for paper goods worldwide)?
More quality assisted living facilities for the elderly in areas where they
once lived? More appropriate recreational facilities for the young and
not-so-young in their own communities? Organic farms that supply healthy and
life-sustaining food to the world? Treatment facilities in communities
throughout the state where they are needed to address the problems of
addictions, including gambling?

posted by Jerry "Jet" Whittaker at 12/15/2006 08:38:00 AM

Duma names locations of gambling zones

The committee on economic policy under the State Duma lower house of the
Russian parliament recommend the house to approve the second reading of the
amendments to the gambling bill, specifying the locations of gambling zones.
The gambling zones will be located in the Kaliningrad region, the Altai
republic, the Maritime territory and on the borders of the Rostov region and
the Krasnodar territory. The presidential bill whose first reading was
approved by the State Duma on November 15, envisions establishment of a new
regime of state regulation of gambling business. It also stipulates that the
country cannot have more than four gambling zones functioning simultaneously
in its territory. The gambling zones will be of two types - "residential"
and "special" zones. In a residential zone, a casino should be allotted no
less than 800 square meters and 100 square meters for gambling machines,
while "special" gambling zones should be located beyond residential areas. A
gambling center is authorized to begin activities, provided it is given a
special license issued for a term of five years. The casino bill also
envisages certain restrictions on casino activities and bans underage
persons from gambling. Only Russian juridical entities backed by non-
governmental and non -municipal juridical entities with the assets worth no
less than 600 million roubles may organize gambling centers in Russia, the
bill says. All the gambling institutions that do not comply with the new
bill should be closed as of July 1, 2007. All the casinos that conform to
the bill may continue activities on the Russian territory without the
special license until January 1, 2009. President Vladimir Putin ordered
lawmakers and the Cabinet to put an end to the mushrooming gaming machines
and gaming halls in the country after a televised interview with Russian
citizens in September 2005. Putin, in fact, implemented his instruction
himself, by submitting a new bill on gambling to the State Duma on October
6. The document sets tough rules, tested in many countries, aimed at the
maximum weakening of the negative social consequences of this business and
its decriminalization.

posted by Jerry "Jet" Whittaker at 12/15/2006 08:37:00 AM

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Pub's gambling licence suspended

This is the first time the commission has suspended a pub gaming machine
operator. Earlier this year it suspended the Dunedin Casino for two days.
The Casino was found to have breached the Gambling Act by turning a blind
eye to a problem gambler who gambled away $6.6 million over three years -
much of it in money stolen from her employer. The Whitehouse Trust used
$33,000 for non-community based payments including contributing to a
Papakura mayoral campaign, to pay for its venue manager, Roger Garrick, to
attend an Australasian Gaming Expo, and for a grant to the Ardmore Tenants'
Association for challenging noise restrictions on the Ardmore Aerodrome. The
payments, which breached the Gambling Act or licence conditions, were
identified in an audit of the trust's gaming operations.
The Department of Internal Affairs acting director of gambling compliance,
Greg Crott, said the Gambling Commission's decision was a good reminder to
all societies of their responsibilities. "The money raised by the gaming
machines is held in trust by societies for the community and is destined to
benefit a range of activities identified as authorised purposes under a
society's licence conditions," Mr Crott said.
AdvertisementAdvertisement"Societies can claim expenses for their operations
but they must be actual, reasonable and necessary and we scrutinise these
carefully during audits."

posted by Jerry "Jet" Whittaker at 12/14/2006 05:50:00 AM

Sibling rivalry halts Macao gambling IPO

Winnie Ho claims Sociedade de Turismo e Diversões de Macau owes her about 3
billion Hong Kong dollars, or $386 million, in dividends for the past five
years for her 8 percent stake. Winnie, 83, has filed more than 30 lawsuits
against her brother over alleged debt, defamation and the shareholding
structure of the companies. "We don't need all these lawyers if he plays by
the rules and the law and pays me back the money he owes me," Winnie Ho said
in an interview with Bloomberg television. "But that's just Stanley, always
thinking he can just walk over anybody." Sociedade de Turismo's
casino-operating unit has delayed plans to raise 15 billion dollars selling
shares in Hong Kong because of the court actions. The Macao casino market
has boomed since Ho's four-decade monopoly ended in 2002, as Las Vegas Sands
and Wynn Resorts built casinos and tourists flocked from mainland China.
Stanley Ho's law firm, Herbert Smith, said in a letter that he and his
company "refute entirely all of Madam Winnie Ho's allegations." Stanley Ho
will not comment further because of ongoing legal proceedings, the letter
said. A spokeswoman for Stanley Ho, Janet Wong, did not immediately respond
to an interview request. Winnie Ho helped run the company's casinos for 25
years before being fired as executive director in December 2001. She alleges
that shareholder meetings held by Sociedade de Turismo were improperly
convened. Stanley Ho has said the company lost the shareholders' registry.
Stanley Ho tried to buy his sister's stake in 2005 "at a very unreasonable
price," she said in the interview on Dec. 5. "So I told him 'why don't I buy
out your share instead.' He claimed he was not optimistic about the
company's future." Sociedade de Turismo controls 80 percent of Sociedade de
Jogos, or SJM, which operates the casinos. SJM had 5.56 billion patacas, or
$690 million, of net income in 2005, up from 4.04 billion patacas a year
earlier, according to the company's filing to the Macao Gaming Inspection
and Coordination Bureau. The company paid 11.4 billion patacas in dividends
to shareholders last year. Stanley Ho's stake in Sociedade de Turismo is
about 25 percent, though the family owns more. The Forbes 2006 Rich List
estimates his net worth at about $6.5 billion.

Macao, the only place in China where casinos are legal, awarded casino
licenses to a Las Vegas gambling tycoon, Stephen Wynn, and a Hong Kong
property developer, Lui Che Woo. Each license holder can issue a
subconcession license. Lui's was given to Las Vegas Sands, the world's
biggest casino company by market value.

Macao, a former Portuguese colony, was returned to China in 1999. Since then
there has been an influx of gamblers from mainland China.

The Macao economy expanded 11.4 percent in the third quarter. The city, a
special administrative region of China, attracted more mainland Chinese
visitors on individual visas than Hong Kong for the first time in September,
government statistics show.

SJM's share of Macao gambling revenue plunged to about 59 percent in less
than three years since Las Vegas Sands opened the first foreign-controlled
casino in the city, Anil Daswani, an analyst with Citigroup in Hong Kong,
wrote in an Oct. 12 report.

"We expect SJM to suffer market share losses for the rest of the year,"
wrote Daswani. SJM "is the biggest loser from the liberalization of the

The SJM market share may drop to 42 percent by the end of next year and to
20 percent by 2009, Daswani wrote.

"I know there's a lot of competition coming, but there's still a role for
SJM," Winnie Ho said. "The most important thing is for Stanley to give up
control of the company and get out."

Macao is vying with the Las Vegas Strip as the world's biggest casino
gambling hub. Macao took in 45.1 billion patacas in gross gambling revenue
in the first 10 months of this year, according to the government. The Las
Vegas Strip revenue for the year ended June 30 was $6.39 billion, according
to the Nevada Gaming Control Board.

Wynn Resorts earned $45 million in sales from the first 25 days of
operations of its debut Macao casino. The $1.2 billion Wynn Macao, which
opened Sept. 6, derived more than 81 percent of revenue from 212 gambling

posted by Jerry "Jet" Whittaker at 12/14/2006 05:50:00 AM

Germany to ban internet gambling

Germany's federal states plan to ban internet gambling, according to draft
documents to be discussed by the country's state premieres on Thursday.
Despite pressure from the European Commission to open up Europe's gambling
market to competition, ministers from most states want to sign off on new
rules aimed at protecting their lucrative monopoly as lottery operators. It
also reported that the mainly private firms, such as Tipp24 and Fluxx, would
be granted a one-year transition period. The ministers will meet in Berlin
on Thursday morning. The state of Saxony and two other states imposed a ban
earlier this year on commercial betting. That was directed mainly at
Austrian internet betting firm bwin.com whose German unit is the country's
biggest commercial bookmaker. Bwin and its peers are facing increasingly
stringent regulations in the US and Europe, where governments are curbing
Internet gambling to protect customers and state-run lotteries.

posted by Jerry "Jet" Whittaker at 12/14/2006 05:47:00 AM

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Lawyer for James Giordano Sees Flaws in Queens DA "Gambling" case

When James Giordano and 24 others were indicted by the Queens District
Attorneys office last month, many in the online gambling world immediately
feared the worst. The first "take down" of a "significant" internet
gambling business since President Bush signed a bill into law that would
attempt to prevent some forms of gaming transactions. The Queens DA himself
through spokesperson, Kevin Ryan, said it himself: "The arrests by
prosecutors and police in New York City represent the first time that
Internet gambling charges have been brought since President Bush signed into
law last month the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act." This case is
similar in nature to that which went down a few weeks ago in Montreal where
a number of individuals with suspected "Mob ties" were arrested. They too
had a connection with a gambling enterprise that just happened to utilize an
online website. Neither the Queens or Montreal cases actually signal an
escalation in online gambling industry prosecutions but rather demonstrate
an increasing focus on gambling enterprises that operate at least partially
from North American soil through use of agents (also known as "runners") and
do so by offering a website to clients. The vast majority of online
gambling industry companies operate exclusively off North American shores.
The charges made public by the DA's office are felony violations of the
Penal Law, and, nothing related to the recent law passed related to internet
gambling. Authorities said they broke the case wide open last year when New
York Police Department investigators secretly hacked into a laptop computer
that James Giordano had left in a Long Island hotel while attending a
wedding. Giordano, 52, was arrested Nov. 15 by FBI agents who scaled the
walls of his fortress-like Florida compound. He was indicted along with 26
others, including three family members, on charges of running an online
gambling scheme that rivaled casino sports betting. Prosecutors allege that
since 2004, Giordano had run a $1 billion-a-year operation involving tens of
thousands of bettors and 2,000 bookies. One of Giordano's attorneys says the
numbers derived at by investigators is "mathematically incorrect".

posted by Jerry "Jet" Whittaker at 12/13/2006 07:09:00 PM

Lawyer for James Giordano Sees Flaws in Queens DA "Gambling" case

When James Giordano and 24 others were indicted by the Queens District
Attorneys office last month, many in the online gambling world immediately
feared the worst. The first "take down" of a "significant" internet
gambling business since President Bush signed a bill into law that would
attempt to prevent some forms of gaming transactions. The Queens DA himself
through spokesperson, Kevin Ryan, said it himself: "The arrests by
prosecutors and police in New York City represent the first time that
Internet gambling charges have been brought since President Bush signed into
law last month the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act." This case is
similar in nature to that which went down a few weeks ago in Montreal where
a number of individuals with suspected "Mob ties" were arrested. They too
had a connection with a gambling enterprise that just happened to utilize an
online website. Neither the Queens or Montreal cases actually signal an
escalation in online gambling industry prosecutions but rather demonstrate
an increasing focus on gambling enterprises that operate at least partially
from North American soil through use of agents (also known as "runners") and
do so by offering a website to clients. The vast majority of online
gambling industry companies operate exclusively off North American shores.
The charges made public by the DA's office are felony violations of the
Penal Law, and, nothing related to the recent law passed related to internet
gambling. Authorities said they broke the case wide open last year when New
York Police Department investigators secretly hacked into a laptop computer
that James Giordano had left in a Long Island hotel while attending a
wedding. Giordano, 52, was arrested Nov. 15 by FBI agents who scaled the
walls of his fortress-like Florida compound. He was indicted along with 26
others, including three family members, on charges of running an online
gambling scheme that rivaled casino sports betting. Prosecutors allege that
since 2004, Giordano had run a $1 billion-a-year operation involving tens of
thousands of bettors and 2,000 bookies. One of Giordano's attorneys says the
numbers derived at by investigators is "mathematically incorrect".

posted by Jerry "Jet" Whittaker at 12/13/2006 06:24:00 PM

12 people arrested in alleged gambling ring

A dozen people are arrested in a bust into what police say was a large-scale
gambling operation with ties to the Patriarca crime family. Police say they
recorded about 675-thousand dollars in bets on professional and college
sports games in the 45 days they were listening in on phone calls with
wiretaps. State Police Major Steven O'Donnell says the suspected ringleader
is Edward Lato, a man who O'Donnell says has a long history of running
gambling rings. Lato is charged with racketeering, bookmaking and other
crimes. Authorities also arrested Kevin Lisi, of Houston, Texas. He's
accused of taking bets from Texas. The arrests happened yesterday.

posted by Jerry "Jet" Whittaker at 12/13/2006 05:57:00 PM

SA regional gambling 'excessive'

A report has found there are too many gambling machines in South Australian
regional areas and it is having a negative effect on communities. The Centre
for Economic Studies tabled the report at a Provincial Cities Association
meeting on Friday. It found the state-wide reduction in the number of poker
machines has not reduced problem gambling in country areas. Chief executive
Ian McSporran says the association is getting final comments on the report
from country councils and will ask the Independent Gambling Authority to
address the problem. "The number of gaming machines within provincial cities
has been excessive as compared to those per capita in the Adelaide
metropolitan area and we see it as a regressive taxation on the people," he

posted by Jerry "Jet" Whittaker at 12/13/2006 04:54:00 PM

Rhode Island police bust alleged gambling ring connected to Mob

Rhode Island police have arrested a dozen people in a sports betting ring
that allegedly generated about $675,000 in illegal wagers in just two
months, all under the watch of a man whom detectives call a ranking member
of a New England Mafia family. The man accused of being the ring leader,
Edward Lato, 59, of North Providence, is a longtime member of the Patriarca
crime family, a syndicate that traditionally dominated criminal rackets in
Providence, Boston and beyond, said Maj. Stephen O'Donnell, a spokesman for
the Rhode Island State Police."He's as high as you can go before you get to
the bosses," O'Donnell said Monday.Investigators said they gathered evidence
using court-approved wiretaps that allowed them to listen to telephone calls
and read text messages sent between accused ring members.Charged with
racketeering, organized criminal gambling, conspiracy and bookmaking, Lato
was released Monday after posting bail.The arrest alone could land Lato
behind bars. He was sentenced in 1999 to five years, 10 months in prison
after admitting that he made extortionate loans to gamblers and businessmen,
then hired strong-arms to collect debts.Freed from federal prison in 2004,
Lato is still serving three years of supervised release. Getting arrested
again violates the terms of that release, although authorities at U.S.
District Court in Providence haven't decided whether to detain him, said
Barry Weiner, the court's chief probation officer.An attorney for Lato could
not immediately be reached for comment.O'Donnell said police arrested Lato
in a home as he was examining betting records with Rocco Falco Jr., 59, of
Smithfield, who was sentenced to more than four years in prison during the
same extortion case that earlier snared Lato.Detectives accuse Falco and
Gary Cedroni, 38, of North Providence of serving as underlings for their
alleged Mafia boss. Both men are charged with racketeering, criminal
gambling and bookmaking.
Ring members largely solicited bets from around Rhode Island, although Texas
authorities arrested 39-year-old Kevin Lisi of Houston as part of the probe.
He's now held in a Texas jail pending extradition to Rhode Island, where
he's charged with gambling offenses.

During raids, police seized roughly $20,000 in cash in bills as small as $2
and as large as $1,000. They also confiscated an ounce of cocaine, Vicodin
pills, steroids and syringes, gambling ledgers and six vehicles.

posted by Jerry "Jet" Whittaker at 12/13/2006 04:31:00 AM

8 arrested in illegal gambling game

Tampa police arrested eight people Sunday afternoon near Raymond James
Stadium, accusing them of running an illegal lottery game. The game promised
customers a chance at an Xbox or a stuffed animal simply by guessing the
right number on a ball, said Tampa police Sgt. Bill Todd. Plainclothes
officers working at the Tampa Bay Buccaneers game spotted the gambling
operation. The operators set up a booth just southeast of the stadium at
3430 W Douglas Ave., selling chances, police say. Under state law, such
games that involve no skill are illegal, a misdemeanor offense. Police think
the game operators travel around the country. Investigators found gambling
receipts totaling $8,505. All arrested were operating the booth or passing
out promotional fliers, Todd said. Seven of those arrested face a
misdemeanor charge of playing a game of chance, jail records show. Thomas
Davis, the game booth's manager, faces a felony charge of keeping a gambling
house, according to an arrest report.

posted by Jerry "Jet" Whittaker at 12/13/2006 04:28:00 AM

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Pats take away fun for gambling fans

Pats bettors took a pretty good whack yesterday, watching the Patriots fall,
21-0, to the Miami Dolphins as 3 1/2-point favorites, dipping to a miserable
6-6-1 against the spread this season. In a lifetime of pathetic performances
in Miami, this one might be the worst because the Pats were 9-3 heading in.
Offense, defense, special teams, stat men and the waterboys all contributed
nothing to a team whose cracks get wider with each passing week. It's hard
to pinpoint any one specific area, for there were a bunch of them, some
quite visible (Matt Light and his linemates), some rather invisible
(coaching) and some far, far away (Deion Branch).
It's hard to believe Pats bettors still can muster the courage to back this
team in any way. Barely able to beat the Lions last week (another losing
wager), the Patriots did not give their backers any hope yesterday - not a
jolly way to head out Christmas shopping this week. And someone please tell
punter Ken Walter to retire again!

posted by Jerry "Jet" Whittaker at 12/12/2006 04:55:00 AM

Group gears up to oppose Lehigh Valley gambling plan

A group opposed to the development of a Lehigh Valley slots parlor is
gearing up to monitor plans to build a casino on the former site of
Bethlehem Steel Corp. The Bethlehem Defense Fund last week announced plans
to hire attorneys, engineers and traffic consultants to keep an eye on the
Sands BethWorks Gaming LLC plan to build a casino. Bethlehem attorney James
D. Rawlings II was retained by the group with Allentown attorney Timothy T.
Stevens. Rawlings said the goal is to block the Sands from getting a state
casino license. "The group retained us in order to, shall we say, pursue all
possible avenues" with respect to preventing gaming and casinos in the area,
Rawlings said told The Express-Times of Easton. Should the Pennsylvania
Gaming Control Board choose the Sands proposal from among five applications
for two available licenses, Rawlings promised "a very close and meticulous
oversight of any and all operations as relates to the city of Bethlehem."

posted by Jerry "Jet" Whittaker at 12/12/2006 04:55:00 AM

Ex-mobster pays big for scams

Michael Franzese's hand was cut and bleeding, symbolic of the blood covenant
he had entered into. In his cupped palms burned a prayer card, a saint lit
aflame in front of a ring of men that was to become his lifelong
brotherhood. In a darkened room he heard these words: "Your allegiance to La
Cosa Nostra is bound by blood. Should you ever violate this oath your blood
will be shed." It was Halloween 1975. At 24, Franzese was no longer just a
young man, he was a sworn member of the Colombo crime family - a mobster. "I
vividly remember that night," he said. "I became a part of what my dad was a
part of, and it meant a lot. I belonged to a union of men. It was
exhilarating." At the height of his mob involvement, Franzese's gas tax
schemes and sports gambling scams brought in between $6 million and $7
million a day. In 1985 he was indicted on charges of racketeering,
extortion, embezzlement and conspiracy. He served less than four years of
his 10-year prison sentence, but was sent back in 1991 for violating

posted by Jerry "Jet" Whittaker at 12/12/2006 04:54:00 AM

Pats take away fun for gambling fans

Pats bettors took a pretty good whack yesterday, watching the Patriots fall,
21-0, to the Miami Dolphins as 3 1/2-point favorites, dipping to a miserable
6-6-1 against the spread this season. In a lifetime of pathetic performances
in Miami, this one might be the worst because the Pats were 9-3 heading in.
Offense, defense, special teams, stat men and the waterboys all contributed
nothing to a team whose cracks get wider with each passing week. It's hard
to pinpoint any one specific area, for there were a bunch of them, some
quite visible (Matt Light and his linemates), some rather invisible
(coaching) and some far, far away (Deion Branch).
It's hard to believe Pats bettors still can muster the courage to back this
team in any way. Barely able to beat the Lions last week (another losing
wager), the Patriots did not give their backers any hope yesterday - not a
jolly way to head out Christmas shopping this week. And someone please tell
punter Ken Walter to retire again!

posted by Jerry "Jet" Whittaker at 12/12/2006 04:54:00 AM

Group gears up to oppose Lehigh Valley gambling plan

A group opposed to the development of a Lehigh Valley slots parlor is
gearing up to monitor plans to build a casino on the former site of
Bethlehem Steel Corp. The Bethlehem Defense Fund last week announced plans
to hire attorneys, engineers and traffic consultants to keep an eye on the
Sands BethWorks Gaming LLC plan to build a casino. Bethlehem attorney James
D. Rawlings II was retained by the group with Allentown attorney Timothy T.
Stevens. Rawlings said the goal is to block the Sands from getting a state
casino license. "The group retained us in order to, shall we say, pursue all
possible avenues" with respect to preventing gaming and casinos in the area,
Rawlings said told The Express-Times of Easton. Should the Pennsylvania
Gaming Control Board choose the Sands proposal from among five applications
for two available licenses, Rawlings promised "a very close and meticulous
oversight of any and all operations as relates to the city of Bethlehem."

posted by Jerry "Jet" Whittaker at 12/12/2006 04:54:00 AM

Monday, December 11, 2006

Online Gambling Firms Face Football Red Card

It's been a tough year for online gambling to say the least and now the
British Gambling Commission is investigating the legality of shirt
sponsorship deals for English Premier League football clubs. All bets could
be off for companies such as Mansion and 888 Holdings to continue sponsoring
Premiership clubs like Spurs and Middlesbrough. There are four premier
league teams sponsored by online gambling companies: Aston Villa, who have a
two-year deal with 32Red; Blackburn, who along with Leeds United are
sponsored by Bet24; Tottenham, whose deal with Mansion was worth over $84
million; and Middlesbrough, who are in the final year of a big contract with
888. The concern raised by the British Minister of sports is that children
are exposed to this advertising as many of them purchase the kit of their
favorite team. Naturally these shirts are branded with online gambling
logos. Earlier this year France arrested two executives of the Austrian
sports betting giant BWin when they gave a press conference to announce a
similar sponsorship deal with Monaco, one of the largest football clubs in
the country. One cannot help but feel that this is a petty response based on
specious logic. Billboards which can be seen throughout every football game
played around the world frequently show products that are unsuitable or
illegal for children. Children watch these games on television so why should
companies promoting alcohol consumption be allowed advertising space? Double
standards are once again being applied to the online gambling industry, but
hey, there's nothing new with that - it's becoming a global epidemic in

posted by Jerry "Jet" Whittaker at 12/11/2006 04:13:00 AM

Kansas senator proposes expanded gambling

As reported by the Lawrence Journal-World: "They've tried slots for tots and
busted. "But a key state senator said Friday that expansion of casino
gambling to pay for a backlog of repairs at regents universities might hit
the jackpot. ".The six public universities have said they need $727 million
to repair and maintain their facilities, including $285 million at Kansas
University and KU Medical Center. "Last year, the Kansas Board of Regents
proposed a tax increase to address the problem, but that went nowhere in the
Legislature. ".Expansion of casino gambling is a perennial issue before the
Legislature but has so far failed to advance, including proposals tied to
raising funds for public schools and reducing property taxes."

posted by Jerry "Jet" Whittaker at 12/11/2006 04:13:00 AM

Isle of Capri Sinks on Singapore License

Isle of Capri Casinos Inc. shares fell sharply Friday after the company's
bid for a Singapore gambling license was rejected, crimping plans for
overseas expansion. Isle of Capri, based in St. Louis, watched its shares
plunge $1.14, or 3.8 percent to $28.91 in midday trading on the New York
Stock Exchange. Volume was heavy. Earlier Friday, Singapore awarded its
second gambling license on the Sentosa Island resort to Malaysia's Genting
International. Singapore reversed its decades-old ban on casino gambling
last year, hoping to double visitor arrivals to 17 million by 2015. The
first contract was awarded in May to Las Vegas Sands Corp., which plans to
open its $3.6 billion casino resort by July 2009, based on expectations that
it will attract convention and business visitors. The news prompted Morgan
Joseph analyst Adam Steinberg to cut his rating on Isle of Capri to "Hold."
We believe investors would be wise to take some money off the table," he
wrote in a research note Friday. Nollenberger Capital Partners analyst David
Barteld kept a "Sell" rating on the stock. "In our opinion, investors must
refocus their attention on Isle's core operations, which have deteriorating
fundamentals," the analyst wrote in a note Friday. Isle of Capri is also
bidding for a license to operate a casino in Pittsburgh, with a decision
expected on that by Dec. 20. Wachovia's Brian McGill thinks Isle of Capri is
a slight favorite among the three bidders there. He added that the share
price run-up since October indicated investors priced in Isle of Capri
winning licenses in both Singapore and Pittsburgh. He rates the stock
"Market Perform."

posted by Jerry "Jet" Whittaker at 12/11/2006 04:13:00 AM


A 40 minute debate raised by a Brit Labour MP in the House of Commons
Thursday on football shirt sponsorship, mobile gambling and the absence of
prosecutions for breaches of current gambling regulations, grabbed the
headlines the following day. During the forty minute sitting, also attended
by Minister for Sport Richard Caborn, Labour MP Ben Chapman said that he did
not wish to see the UK turn into a centre for online gambling, and that
"many operators are looking to Britain to fill the void left by the US."
Chapman quoted the BBC's recent Panorama documentary (see previous
Online-Casinos.com/InfoPowa reports) as illustrative of the potential he saw
for gambling addiction to "grow significantly" without "more and better
restrictions." Chapman particularly emphasised his concerns for the young,
saying: "We need to ensure mobile phone credit can't be used to stake
money." The Labour MP expanded his argument by saying he was also worried
about football shirt sponsorships and internet site links. Referring to what
he called the "proliferation" of sponsorship deals, he said: "A big part of
this is attracting customers, not only from competitors, but from those who
have never gambled." Chapman added: "The glamorous nature of top-flight
football means we should be extra cautious about allowing gambling companies
to be associated with it." Caborn responded in a speech which highlighted
his department's commitment to a "modern and flexible licensing regime".
Caborn referred to the 1968 Gambling Act as "draconian", yet he also said he
too felt "concerns" about shirt sponsorship, and said the Gambling
Commission would be looking into the issue in the New Year. Caborn said
"regulation, not prohibition" would protect children from the "harmful
effects of gambling". Middlesbrough (888.com), Tottenham (Mansion),
Blackburn and Leeds (Bet24) and Aston Villa (32 Red) all have shirt deals
with online gambling operators. The BBC reported that gambling firms have
been particularly keen to strike deals with Premiership football clubs
because of the heavy media exposure the Premiership attracts. "Premiership
matches are shown all over the world in over 220 countries," Nigel Currie,
of sports marketing consultants Brand Rapport, told the broadcaster. The
developments will be causing alarm at the affected clubs, claims the BBC as
large sums of money are at stake. Tottenham's Mansion deal, for example,
signed pre-season 2006/07, is worth GBP 34 million over four years.

Reporting on the issue, The Guardian sport section claimed that under the
new rules, to be introduced next September, the position on such sponsorship
remains unclear. The story says that the particular concern is with the
popularity of replica shirts among children.

Any ban would bring the UK into line with France, where gaming companies
cannot advertise unless they have a French licence.

At present, only two French betting monopolies have been awarded licences in
that country, leading to complications and the arrest in September this year
of two executives from the Austrian public company Bwin, which was
sponsoring a Monaco football club at the time.

posted by Jerry "Jet" Whittaker at 12/11/2006 04:13:00 AM

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Singapore's First Casino School Grooms Future Dealers

It doesn't exactly look like Casino Royale, tucked into a far corner of a
hardly glamourous shopping centre far from Singapore's glitzy Orchard Road.
The smell of fat used by cheap food stalls lingers in the air, and the array
of shops offer kitsch and knick-knacks at bargain prices. But behind the
thick glass door and past wood-panelled walls and heavy, upholstered chairs
waits everything that makes a passionate gamblers' heart beat faster. There
are roulette, blackjack and baccarat tables, poker games and chips as far as
the eye can see. But none of the players are James Bond imitators, nor are
the vast sums being bet on the tables genuine: Real money is taboo in this
casino. The dealers are freshmen practising the arts of sorting chips,
spinning roulette balls and shuffling decks of cards - students at
Singapore's first casino school, gearing up for the approaching casino era
in the city-state. Ignatius Sharma stands at the roulette table and juggles
a tall stack of chips from one hand to the other without dropping a single
one. He pushes 10 stacks of 20 chips each across the table, first with his
left hand, then with his right. None of the stacks topples. "Now four stacks
of 20," Sharma advises his students, and the future dealers must follow his
order, using precise finger movements to push the stacks across the table.
"Now six, then eight!" Sharma instructs. Students who topple any of their
stacks must start from the beginning. "I'll never be able to do this,"
groans one. Another appeared to have overslept and didn't have time for his
morning shower, prompting a look of contempt from the teacher. "Hygiene is
an important part of the training course," Sharma says. Hairstyles, makeup,
fingernails and attire need to be neat. "Casino guests are expecting
well-groomed staff," Sharma stresses. Singapore will move into the domain of
gambling paradises by 2009 with the construction of two casino resorts after
having argued over the plan for years because of concerns that the rigid
city-state might degenerate into a sinful place. But the tiny country wants
its slice of the lucrative pie. It is estimated that the two planned casinos
would contribute more than 1.4 billion dollars per annum to Singapore's
gross domestic product, and a minimum of 35,000 staff will be needed to run
them. And the recently established Club Gambling Training Centre is where
many of them will learn the tricks of their new trade with the first class
slated to graduate in January.

Unlike the motley new group of chip jugglers, the pioneering class is
smartly dressed in black slacks or skirts, white shirts or blouses,
waistcoats and bow ties. Their advanced level of skill is apparent as well.

The motto for all students is "practise, practise, practise." One day, all
the calculating and hand movements will come naturally.

The school's director, Ramachandar Siva, sets high standards with his
six-month training courses, which costs each student about 5,000 Singapore
dollars (3,300 US dollars).

"We not only teach dealing techniques, but we also advise our students how
to handle gamblers who have just lost their shirts," he says.

"Don't joke about players' losses, not even after work, because he might
eventually learn about it," Siva warns.

The students also are taught an array of cheating tricks so they will be
able to recognize and prevent them.

"Many casinos are not doing that because they are afraid croupiers might
teach those tricks to their uncles," Siva smirks.

Students also learn to expose the palms of their hands after each handling
of cards or chips and to never accept either directly from the hands of
anyone else. Everything must be laid down on the table.

"During shopping, I sometimes jerk back my hand in shock when the cashier
wants to give me my change. I'm just so used to it," chuckles instructor
Darwin Cusi.

Students are also being taught to detect compulsive gambling.

Singapore's casino laws are rather strict. Gambling houses are obligated to
identify gamblers who have become addicted and get help for them.

Most of the students who will graduate in January want to try to find
employment in casinos in neighbouring Malaysia, Macau or Australia to gain
further experience.

When things finally kick off in Singapore in 2009, these young people
already want to have climbed up the management ladder.

Among them is talented Eddie Goh, 39, who is already talking like he has a
number of junior dealers under his wings.

"It's important in a casino to start at the bottom because it helps to be
better than my junior croupiers," he says.

posted by Jerry "Jet" Whittaker at 12/10/2006 09:42:00 AM

Illegal Gambling Machines Seized

Officials from the Gambling Commission with police officers, customs
officials and Burnley Borough Council officers raided seven businesses
across the borough last week after tip-offs that machines were being
supplied and operated illegally. The machines had no permits and many had
jackpots of £25, but current laws dictate that these machines can only be
situated in pubs, amusement arcades and clubs that hold valid permits.
Gambling Commission inspector Pippa Coombes said: "We are determined to
crack down on the suppliers and operators of these illegal machines and are
grateful to Pennine Police and Burnley Borough Council for their support.
"The illegal supply of gaming machines is a key concern to the Gambling
Commission, the police, and local authorities nationally. Multi-agency
operations like the one in Burnley are proving to be crucial in targeting
uncertified suppliers of illegal gaming machines." The new Gambling Act
comes into force next year and gives new powers to the Gambling Commission
to fine operators and to prosecute illegal gambling. She continued: "This
operation took place under the existing laws, but it demonstrates the vigour
with which we will use our powers in future. "The protection of children and
vulnerable people is a major concern for the commission. Illegal gaming
machines are often situated in premises such as chip shops and takeaways
which are frequented by children. "Additionally, these machines are
unlicensed and unregulated and may have had their mechanisms tampered with
and this puts the public at risk of being ripped off." Coun. Charlie Bullas,
the council's Executive member for community safety, said: "This enforcement
action was necessary in order to halt the spread of illegally sited gaming
machines in the borough and to fully support the principles of the new

posted by Jerry "Jet" Whittaker at 12/10/2006 09:42:00 AM

Football faces loss of gambling sponsors

SPONSORSHIP deals between online gambling companies and football clubs could
be banned in the UK if it is decided that they encourage children to gamble.
The news comes after the Gambling Commission announced that it will
investigate whether shirt sponsorship deals - such as those at Middlesbrough
and Tottenham Hotspur - unfairly expose young fans to online casinos or
gambling sites. Companies such as 888 Holdings, 32 Red, Bet24 and Mansion
are at risk of losing deals with Premiership clubs if a ban is brought in,
while the clubs face being stripped of multi-million pound sponsorships.
According to marketing consultants Brand Rapport, online gambling interest
has helped drive shirt sponsorship deals in Premiership football up by 25
per cent to around £70 million - with Spurs, Blackburn Rovers, Aston Villa
and Middlesbrough the main clubs to benefit. The commission has said that
the whole issue of football shirts would be examineds. Ministers are also
being put under pressure to prevent problem gambling and to stop gambling
influencing children and vulnerable people. Any sponsorship ban would be in
line with the position taken in France, where representatives of Austrian
gaming company Bwin were recently arrested and charged with illegal
promotion of gambling after agreeing a sponsorship deal with Monaco FC.

posted by Jerry "Jet" Whittaker at 12/10/2006 09:42:00 AM

Anti-gambling pill fails to end urge

A San Diego pharmaceutical firm said clinical trials were a flop for an
orally administered drug aimed at blunting addicts' urge to gamble. "The
results . are disappointing," Ken Cohen, president and chief executive of
publicly traded Somaxon Pharmaceuticals Inc., said in a prepared statement.
Somaxon two years ago was the first U.S. firm to take formal steps toward
marketing an anti-gambling pill. It obtained North American licensing rights
to a Finnish firm's treatment for impulse-control disorders using the drug
nalmefene hydrochloride. Researchers for years have been trying to unlock
the root causes of addictive behavior.
In its statement Wednesday, Somaxon said tests on human subjects at various
dosages "did not demonstrate a statistically significant difference compared
to placebo" treatment. The company also reported adverse side effects,
including insomnia, nausea and dizziness. The company said it will "evaluate
the results from these trials before making determinations regarding the
future of the nalmefene program." An intravenous version of the chemical
compound is permitted for use in the United States to counteract morphine
and other opiate drug overdoses.

posted by Jerry "Jet" Whittaker at 12/10/2006 09:42:00 AM

Saturday, December 09, 2006

New York City The History of Gambling in Gotham

The first settlement in New York Harbor was established by Dutch fur traders
in 1613 and was called New Amsterdam. These early traders were adventurers,
gamblers, willing to take big risks for big profits. One particularly shrewd
player, Peter Minuit, convinced the resident Native Americans to sell him
Manhattan Island and Staten Island for about $24 worth of goods. The
Indians, to whom the idea of land ownership was ridiculous, thought they got
the better deal. Conquered by the British in 1664, the settlements' name
was changed to New York in honor of the Duke of York. Unlike Puritan New
England, gambling in New York was a popular, socially accepted activity
under the British. Colonial America was a new, untamed land with opportunity
and danger at every turn. Only the most rugged, independent risktakers were
attracted to it. Eventually, they wanted to run their own game. The leaders
of the American Revolution bet their lives and all they owned in a no-limit
confrontation with the world's strongest player, Great Britain. New York
City became the first capital of the newly formed United States. In 1789,
the first President, George Washington, was inaugurated at Federal Hall on
Wall Street. The Louisiana Purchase in 1803 doubled the size of the country.
As the frontier moved westward into the Ohio and Mississippi River Valleys,
New York City developed into a major port and financial center. Gambling
thrived in the taverns that crowded early mercantile New York. The working
class section of the city known as "The Bowery" was a rough gambling
In addition to wagering on card and dice games, "blood sports" were popular.
Patsy Hearn's grogshop had a "Men's Sporting Parlor" famous for its rat

It was estimated in 1850 that there were "6,000 places in the metropolis, or
approximately one to every eighty-five inhabitants, where gambling in one
form or another was permitted." The New York Herald described the city in
1850 as "the great headquarters of the gamblers in this country". Gamblers
were estimated to be winning $5 million annually from NYC citizens.

For twenty years before and after the Civil War, John Morrissey was the most
famous gambler and casino operator the country had ever seen. And, he was
one of the most colorful characters of his era. A tough Irish brawler,
Morrissey shocked the world when won the U.S. Championship in New York in
1852, outlasting skilled professional boxer Yankee Sullivan in a 37- round
melee. The Champ retired undefeated in 1858. Using his fame and fortune,
Morrissey next turned to the gambling business.

Eventually, he owned and operated five gaming houses in New York City. The
wealthiest and most powerful men in the country were among his regular

Historian Herbert Asbury tells us that Morrissey "was an expert Poker
player, and in private sessions with his friends was noted for scrupulous
fairness" but his public casinos "were operated as skinning houses".

With the money he made from his NYC gambling houses, Morrissey developed
Saratoga Springs as the foremost gambling resort in the country. It included
a luxurious hotel, casino, spa, opera house, theater and race track. Richard
A. Canfield, America's first great casino king, opened the Madison Square
Club in NYC in 1888. While almost every gambling hall cheated players,
Canfield understood that housebanked games assured the casino could be run
profitably as well as honestly.

The décor of the Club was dignified and comfortable, a stark contrast to the
loud, gaudy "hells" that dominated NYC. It was distinguished, too, for being
an honest operation. The Saratoga resort and track, neglected for some years
after Morrissey owned it, was bought by Canfield. He renovated it and again
made it the greatest gaming resort in America. It was a favorite of the rich
and powerful. Presidents Cleveland and Taft were frequent guests.
Industrialist Cornelius Vanderbilt once had an epileptic seizure while
playing poker. When he recovered, the game resumed.

Canfield eventually sold Saratoga and returned to New York City where he
opened a fabulous casino called "The House of the Bronze Doors" just blocks
from Time Square. A few years later he was wiped out in another game, the
Stock Market, and died in 1914.

The last man to really harness gambling in the Big Apple was Arnold
Rothstein. Born in Manhattan in 1882, he grew-up in the city.

Rothstein brought together the diverse elements of the underworld and
fashioned them into a highly profitable industry whose goods and services
were illegal. He introduced organized crime.

In 1910, Rothstein opened his first gambling house on West 46th Street.
Within a few years he had politicians and the NYPD in his pocket. Through
gambling, Rothstein eventually financed much of the criminal activity in the
Eastern U.S. Prohibition in 1920 created an upheaval in Rothstein's
organized crime empire. Suddenly it was a lawless free-for-all. Arnold
shunned the booze business. An organization man, he concluded there was no
controlling it. An avid gambler himself, Rothstein dropped $320,000 in a
poker game one evening. Convinced the game was fixed; he refused to pay and
walked out. A few weeks later he was gunned down in a room at the Park
Central Hotel.

With the end of Prohibition, the Great Depression, and World War II gambling
in New York City would never again reach the level of acceptance and
significance it had during the city's earlier history.

posted by Jerry "Jet" Whittaker at 12/09/2006 06:43:00 AM

Macau transportation minister arrested on corruption charges

The transportation minister in Macau, China's booming casino capital, has
been arrested for allegedly accepting bribes, the government said Thursday.
The suspect, Ao Man-long, is the most senior leader to be detained in the
former Portuguese enclave since it returned to Chinese rule in 1999. His
arrest comes as the territory off China's southern coast tries to shed its
reputation of being a shady gambling destination and evolve into an
international tourist spot. The rare detention was announced by Macau's
leader, Edmund Ho, who told reporters there was "irrefutable evidence" that
Ao was involved in corruption. "Because the investigation is under way, I
cannot disclose any details. Obviously, Secretary Ao has abused his power
for personal gains," Ho said, without elaborating.
Ao, who has held his position for seven years, was arrested on Wednesday
night for allegedly taking bribes and engaging in illegal financial
activities, a government statement said, without providing further details.
Ho said other people were involved but no other civil servants have been
implicated. Hong Kong's government broadcaster, RTHK, quoted Macau's
anti-graft agency as saying that more arrests were made in Hong Kong and
that bank accounts in Hong Kong were being investigated. Hong Kong's
Independent Commission Against Corruption confirmed it had assisted the
investigation but declined to provide details. Macau includes a peninsula
and two small islands about 60 kilometers (37 miles) west of Hong Kong. It
is the only place in China where casino gambling is legal. Before its return
to China, the tiny territory _ less than one-sixth the size of Washington,
D.C. _ was plagued by violent turf battles between triad gangs. Since the
handover, the once-frequent shootouts have become rare. U.S. investigators
have said that Macau has been used as a base by North Koreans laundering
money in the territory's banks. Washington has imposed sanctions on a Macau
bank that served North Korean companies.

posted by Jerry "Jet" Whittaker at 12/09/2006 06:43:00 AM

Gambling Addict Jailed for Stealing $3.5 million

Australian mother of two Kate Jamieson was jailed today for a maximum of
seven years by Judge Roland Williams in the Victorian County Court. Jamieson
pleaded guilty to 13 counts of obtaining financial advantage by deception
and 23 counts of theft. The court was told that while she was working as a
loans officer for a bank between 2001 and 2004, she illegally shifted AU$22
million, which netted her AU$3.5 million. She then developed a gambling
addiction fueled by a VIP casino membership and its rewards of Grandprix
tickets and limousines. The judge said her crime was a 'massive" breach of
trust, and questioned why Jamieson was given VIP membership to Melbourne's
Crown Casino.

posted by Jerry "Jet" Whittaker at 12/09/2006 06:43:00 AM

Domestic violence, gambling linked

Problem gambling could be a factor in at least half the domestic violence
cases reported to programs for abused women and abusive men in Cumberland
County, and a group there is studying the correlation. The Cumberland County
Transition House Association has a $10,000 grant from the Nova Scotia Gaming
Foundation to study the connection and design intervention programs. An
association spokesperson wasn't available late Wednesday afternoon, but the
foundation's annual report released Wednesday says the 50 per cent figure is
"alarming." The report says that could be a conservative estimate, since it
was only compiled informally, but the study will verify the links. Liberal
MLA Diana Whalen said it was significant the statistic came out on the day
dedicated to recognizing and eliminating violence against women. "I think
really an important piece of information," she said. The foundation provides
funding to community groups, district health authorities and the Health
Promotion and Protection Department for gambling research, education and

posted by Jerry "Jet" Whittaker at 12/09/2006 06:43:00 AM

Casino bosses gamble on faiths meeting

Casino bosses have met Luton's faith leaders as they seek to pave the way to
a large, new gambling den at the former Vauxhall site. Grosvenor Casinos'
chief Paul Armitage held talks with the town's Council of Faiths and
Churches Together as a way of smoothing community relations for its bid to
run one of the nation's new wave of casinos. The meeting, held at the
Salvation Army Hall, Vicarage Street, was just the latest step in the
industry's efforts to make Luton a centre for gambling in the region. But
Luton's faith leaders maintained their opposition to the proposal. Luton
Churches Together's Mike Thomas said: "We are in no doubt there would be
increased debt within a community which has a very big problem already."
Luton Borough Council has applied to be one of the local authorities able to
licence either one of the large or small casinos introduced under the
Gambling Act 2005 and a number of companies are eyeing the possibility of
moving into the renovated space near the airport.

posted by Jerry "Jet" Whittaker at 12/09/2006 06:43:00 AM

Attorney Seeks To File Class-Action Gambling Suit

According to a state law that is more than a century old, gamblers can
recoup money lost, and now a new lawsuit is aimed at the Birmingham Race
Course with that goal in mind. A judge at the Jefferson County courthouse
will decide whether the case can go forward as a class-action lawsuit. Most
people think that it's a given that when people walk through the doors of
the Birmingham Race Course, if they bet, they could lose money. Attorney
Matt Lembke, however, said that there's a state law protecting gamblers. The
Legislature passed the law in 1852, which says that if a gambler loses money
in a bet, he has six months in which to have that money returned. A man's
wife, children and next of kin have 12 months to go back to the person who
won the bet and collect money lost. Lembke filed a lawsuit Monday on behalf
of all Alabamians who have gambled and lost to the sweepstakes games at the
Birmingham Race Course. "I think this is part of a carefully structured
policy on part of the Alabama Legislature to discuss gambling. Alabama law
is clear: gambling is illegal, and this is a manner in which the Alabama
Legislature said we need and it's on the books and we think the statute
ought to be enforced," said Lembke. First, a circuit court judge has to rule
on whether the filing meets class-action qualifications. If it does, Lembke
is counting on the race course to inadvertently help his clients recoup
their bad bets.
"It is our understanding that the race course has an elective database where
each customer has an account which would show exactly how much they pay and
exactly who much they won or lost," said Lembke. There would feasibly be
thousands of clients and millions of dollars involved.

Lembke's law firm was involved in suing the track for operating illegal
gaming machines, which the Alabama Supreme Court ruled on Friday broke state

"If history is any guide, Mr. McGregor will fight this tenaciously and we
will fight this tenaciously and it will be up for the judge to decide if
this meets the qualifications for a class-action under Alabama law," said

He advises anyone who has lost money to wait for the outcome of the
class-action suit ruling and said that anyone who has lost money will be

posted by Jerry "Jet" Whittaker at 12/09/2006 06:43:00 AM

Thursday, December 07, 2006

More Public Officials Linked to Gambling Scandal

Prosecutors are questioning two former officials from the Ministry of
Culture and Tourism over suspicions that they took bribes from a company
issuing state-licensed vouchers used for payouts at video game arcades.
According to investigators at the Seoul Central District Prosecutors'
Office, Kwak Young-jin, a former director of the Culture Ministry's cultural
industry bureau who now works for the Prime Minister's Office, spent 10
million won ($10,790) to buy shares in Andamiro Entertainment in 2000. The
company failed in its plan to be listed on the stock market, however, and
Kwak was paid 11 million won, prosecutors said. Kim Yong-sam, who worked
under Kwak at the ministry in the division for game and music content,
invested 50 million won in Andamiro on Kwak's advice and was given 47
million won back. Kim now works at the state-run Korea National University
of Arts. Besides Kwak and Kim, two other Culture Ministry officials bought
stocks of Andamiro, investing 10 million won each and getting 11 million won
back, prosecutors said. Andamiro is one of the 19 companies licensed by the
government to issue gambling vouchers. The company's chief executive, Kim
Yong-hwan, 47, was arrested Monday for misappropriating about 6 billion won
in corporate funds and using some of the money to lobby government officials
for business favors. ``There is enough reason to believe that the money
Andamiro Entertainment's Kim repaid the ministry officials were actually
bribes. The public officials bought Andamiro's stocks at 200,000 won per
share but did not suffer financial loses after stock prices dropped below
80,000 won per share three or four years later,'' said a prosecution
official. ``The ministry's cultural industry bureau was directly related to
licensing companies that issue gift vouchers _ which were used for illegal
gambling payouts after being converted to cash _ and sell video game
machines, so their connection with Andamiro certainly raises a lot of
questions,'' he said. Since August prosecutors have been investigating
suspicions that public officials from the Culture Ministry and its
sub-organizations were bribed by businessmen seeking licenses to issue gift
vouchers or distribute slot machines. The ministry in 2002 made the decision
to allow certain types of gift certificates to be used for payouts at
adults-only video game arcades, a move that is now blamed for facilitating
the growth of the country's illegal gambling sector.

With most gaming rooms unlawfully trading the vouchers for cash to lure more
customers, the country's slot machine empire grew beyond recognition with
the number of adults-only game arcades outnumbering 24-hour convenience
stores by 20,000 to 9,500 earlier this year.

Since starting the investigation, prosecutors have arrested several public
officials and businessmen, including Baek Eeek, the current director of the
ministry's cultural media bureau, and have imposed overseas travel bans on
more than 100 people.

posted by Jerry "Jet" Whittaker at 12/07/2006 06:30:00 AM

Special prosecutor named in gambling raid case

A judge appointed a special prosecutor to handle the case against a former
state Teamsters union president charged with operating a multi-county video
gambling ring at nearly two dozen bars. Henry County Prosecutor Kit Crane
will oversee the charges against John L. Neal and 38 other people charged in
the operation. Madison Superior Court Judge Thomas Newman Jr. appointed
Crane on Monday because Thomas Broderick, who takes office as Madison County
prosecutor Jan. 1, has been Neal's attorney in an unrelated matter. Neal,
69, of Yorktown, was arrested Sept. 18 on felony charges of professional
gambling, promoting professional gambling, money laundering and corrupt
business influence. He was originally held on $2 million bond, but he was
released after his bond was reduced to $75,000. The arrest came about 1 1/2
years after Neal's release from federal prison. He pleaded guilty in 2000 to
charges of illegal gambling, money laundering and tax evasion. Neal is
expected to appear in U.S. District Court on Jan. 26 to face charges he
violated his federal probation. A message seeking comment was left Monday
evening at the office of Neal's defense attorney, Richard Kammen.
Authorities shut down 23 taverns in Madison, Delaware and Henry counties
during the raids connected with Neal's arrest. Some have since been allowed
to reopen.

posted by Jerry "Jet" Whittaker at 12/07/2006 06:30:00 AM

Madrid to Begin Licensing Online Gambling Sites

Following the lead of Great Britain, Spain is the latest country to embrace
online gambling and it is only a matter of time before the United States
does so to....or we can dream it does. According to IGamingBusiness,
Madrid's regional government is set to regulate gaming through the
introduction of licenses. "The move comes in the wake of Italy's decision to
regulate gaming, which prompted a flood of applications from UK bookmakers
and online companies such as Ladbrokes, William Hill and Gala Coral, who are
also expected to bid for licenses in Madrid along with Sportingbet and
PartyGaming in the online sector. "Madrid's regional government announced
that it was allowing minimum ?1 bets in games locations as well as telephone
and online bets, covering sports and other competitions, as well as allowing
internet bets on bingo and casino games. "The licenses will last for five
years and be renewable if the Madrid regulator's conditions are met. The
announcement will also include strict regulations to prevent the
participation of young and mentally ill people.

posted by Jerry "Jet" Whittaker at 12/07/2006 06:30:00 AM

Grady County prosecutor can continue on gambling case

CHICKASHA, Okla. A Grady County judge rules that District Attorney Bret
Burns can continue prosecuting a case against the county's sheriff and seven
others charged in a gambling case. Special District Judge Ken Harris says he
made the ruling yesterday because he did not have enough information to
remove Burns from the case. Sheriff Kieran McMullen says the judge's
decision doesn't hurt or help his case, but McMullen says he thinks Burns
should be dismissed from the case. McMullen was charged along with five of
his deputies and two Chickasha police officers -- one of which is his
wife -- after a September 6th raid at the Chickasha Elks Lodge by Burns, the
Alcoholic Beverage Laws Enforcement Commission and the Oklahoma Highway
Patrol. Investigators say the lodge had illegal slot machines, poker
tournaments, blackjack games and cash drawings.

posted by Jerry "Jet" Whittaker at 12/07/2006 06:29:00 AM

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Tribe sees a big prize in a riverfront casino

In the 17th century, ancestors of the Pequot Tribal Nation lost their
position as the dominant culture along New England's Atlantic Coast. Today,
the Pequots - now owners of the world's largest casino - aim to secure a
position along Philadelphia's Delaware riverfront to build a $560 million
slots palace. If Foxwoods Development Co. wins a license Dec. 20 to build on
the 161/2-acre site on South Columbus Boulevard in South Philadelphia, its
Foxwoods Casino Philadelphia will be the tribe's first gambling venture
outside Connecticut - confirming it as a major player in the casino
industry. "It's certainly the next step for this tribe," Foxwoods chief
executive officer William Sherlock said in an interview in his office next
to the sprawling casino in Connecticut. "Philadelphia could be that first
step for a plethora of projects throughout the United States." But
Philadelphia presents some special challenges. Five companies are competing
for two casino licenses in the city. And Foxwoods' plans are opposed by
community groups fearing the impact of the big slots parlor on South
Philadelphia. For Foxwoods, the stakes are enormous. The tribe was made
wealthy by its Foxwoods Resort Casino - a 5-million-square-foot gambling
destination on a 1,200-acre reservation in southeastern Connecticut. The
casino, which started as a high-stakes bingo hall, is now a $1.2 billion
enterprise contributing 25 percent of its slots revenue to the state. The
tribe established the Foxwoods Development Co. in 2003 to oversee expansion
of its Foxwoods brand. It has its eye on Las Vegas, Atlantic City and
Biloxi, Miss. It's also building partnerships with other gambling companies,
including MGM Mirage. And it assists other Indian tribes. In June, Foxwoods
Development signed a seven-year management contract with the Pauma Band of
Mission Indians to manage its $300 million casino north of San Diego. Last
year it had a consulting contract with the Picayune Rancheria of the
Chukchansi Indians, a tribe that runs a central California casino. "They've
blazed the trail in a new arena for gaming in this country," said Howard
Dickstein, an attorney who represents large tribes with casinos in
California. "They've earned the respect of other tribes." In Connecticut,
Foxwoods averages 40,000 visitors per weekday, and up to 55,000 on weekends.
About 1.3 million arrive on buses each year. It employs 10,300 in three
hotels, 30 restaurants, numerous retail shops, entertainment venues and two
golf courses.

The Pequots and other tribes began gambling operations on reservation land
under the 1988 Indian Gaming Rights Act. In Connecticut, the tribe was
permitted to offer bingo and table games, such as poker and blackjack, which
were legal in the state. Slot machines were not, so the Pequots opened a
table games casino in 1992 by expanding the original bingo hall. The tribe
entered into the slots revenue sharing agreement a year later in exchange
for also being allowed to offer slot machines.

For the 12 months ending June 30, Connecticut took in $204.5 million from
Foxwoods, according to the state Division of Special Revenue, the agency
that tracks all forms of gambling in Connecticut. It received an additional
$224 million from nearby Mohegan Sun - another casino operated by the
state's Mohegan Tribe - under a similar compact.

Foxwoods now has 390 game tables and 7,400 slot machines - the most of any
U.S. casino. It will soon add 1,500 slots with its eighth expansion, and a
hotel tower featuring a 4,000-seat theater and 824 rooms with MGM Mirage.
The MGM Grand hotel, set to open in spring 2008, will allow the resort to
compete with Las Vegas for conventions and top concert acts.

"In the early days, it was more about 'just build it and they will come,' "
Foxwoods Casino president John O'Brien said. "Today, it's much more

The bingo hall, now the world's biggest with 3,500 seats, attracts devotees
such as Maria Marcinko, 51, a state government worker from Harrisburg.
Marcinko makes the 51/2-hour trip to Foxwoods at least four times a year to
take part in the big tournaments.

"Yes, I'll go to the slots parks in Pennsylvania," Marcinko said as she
marked her game sheet with a lavender dauber on a recent Saturday. "But I
won't stop coming here - because of this bingo hall. There's nothing like it

Foxwoods, which draws clientele mainly from New York, Massachusetts and
Connecticut, does not report its earnings. But industry experts say the
casino is one of the most profitable in the business.

Andrew Zarnett, an analyst with Deutsche Bank AG, estimates the tribe has
generated about $350 million in cash flow - money left over after operating
expenses but before taxes - per year. "They clearly have the ability to
expand beyond Connecticut, and have been aggressively looking for
opportunities in the last two or three years," he said.

Their golden ticket

The Pequots became one of the most powerful American Indian cultures in
southern New England in the early 1600s, controlling much of the region's
coastline and currency - the Wampum, a bead made from a hardshell clam. But
a series of conflicts with European settlers reduced their population to
about 2,500 from 4,000, according to historians.

Income from their casino has helped the Pequots to rebuild their community,
create jobs, and provide health care, education and other services for the
members, who now number about 900, according to tribal chairman Michael J.
Thomas. Gambling has paid for a community center, a fire and police
department, and new housing. It also financed the $250 million Mashantucket
Pequot Museum and Research Center, which documents the tribe's history.

The money has also helped the Pequots to build political and casino industry
allies. Since 1995, the Pequots have given $3.1 million to Democrats and
Republicans - from individual donors and through the tribe's political
action committee.

"The world has clearly changed, and we certainly need every ally we can get
today," Thomas said. "We've returned to this position of influence, and we
hope to keep it alive for a long, long time."

Sherlock, the Foxwoods chief executive officer, said Foxwoods Development
began looking at Pennsylvania in summer 2003 - a year before the legislature
approved slot-machine gambling.

Under the casino's ownership structure, local investors would own 70
percent, and Foxwoods Development would own 30 percent and manage the

Sherlock said Foxwoods fielded more than one offer to partner with a
Pennsylvania slots license applicant, but found the group including
Comcast-Spectacor chairman Edward Snider, developer Ronald Rubin, and Lou
Katz's daughter, Melissa Silver, to be the best fit.

Snider said that his family is close with the Rubins and the Katzes. He said
the three families agreed to become involved with a casino development when
the legislature first considered legalizing slots.

"We decided that if this was going to happen... we could step in and invest
in one of them, and give back to the community," Snider said. "That's what
motivated us."

Snider said 42 percent of profits would benefit underprivileged children in
Philadelphia and South Jersey through trusts established by the investors.

Foxwoods backers hoped that would sway community groups.

Still, of the five applicants for a city license, Foxwoods has generated the
most controversy and community opposition.

posted by Jerry "Jet" Whittaker at 12/06/2006 05:18:00 PM

Lake Stevens tackles gambling tax

Gambling businesses in Lake Stevens would pay one of the lowest tax rates in
Snohomish County if a proposal before the City Council is approved. The
council is expected to review the proposal tonight . According to a 2005
study conducted by Lake Stevens, only Sultan has a lower gambling tax than
the proposed 5 percent tax Lake Stevens officials are considering. The city
wants to impose the gambling tax before it annexes the Frontier Village
area - including the Highway 9 Casino - on Dec. 20. If passed, the tax could
bring in as much as $139,000 each year to help provide police services at
gambling businesses, Police Chief Randy Celori said. The gambling tax
proposal, first presented in October, sparked an outcry from some businesses
saying a tax could force them out of business. Since then, the city has
floated a number of proposals, all less than Snohomish County's current
tax - 5 percent on pull tabs and 10 percent on card tables' gross earnings.
The Lake Stevens proposal is much less, Mayor Vern Little said. "We set it
less than half what they're paying in the county," he said. The Lake Stevens
proposals would introduce a tax at increasing amounts over three years, he
said. Many of the business owners asked for a tax on net earnings - after
they deduct their costs -rather than a tax on gross earnings. Under a gross
tax, a customer could spend $100 and win that money back, but the business
would be taxed on the $100 in revenue. A net tax would tap into only the
business' actual gambling earnings. Businesses are required to file
quarterly earnings reports to the state Gambling Commission. Those reports
detail gross earnings and net earnings on card tables, officials said. The
net earnings reported to the state are the gross minus poker prize payoffs,
Highway 9 Casino general manager Carol Henry said. Determining the true
net - the number that reflects the entire business proceeds - would be
difficult short of having city accountants audit the business' books, Henry
said. That's not a business the city wants to get into, city finance and
administration director Jan Berg said.

Through negotiations, the city decided to stick with a net earnings tax
based on numbers filed with the state, Celori said.

The only other Snohomish County city to have approved a net gambling tax is
Sultan, according to the report.

Of the eight other cities that have a gambling tax, all tax gross earnings
and some, such as Marysville, tax card tables as much as 20 percent.

The Lake Stevens proposal is for a 5 percent tax.

Billy Tackitt, the co-owner of the Buzz Inn restaurant in downtown Lake
Stevens, which sells pull tabs, said he's fine with the current proposal.

"As long as a tax is reasonable, I don't think too may people will object to
it," he said.

On Friday, city officials met with the Highway 9 Casino, the city's only
card table business, and a representative from Barclays North, the
building's landlord.

At the meeting, the group discussed a slightly lower tax for the card table,
Celori said.

"We feel pretty confident that (the city is) trying to work with us," the
casino's Henry said.

The revised proposal is good for the casino business, said Blair Anderson,
the president-elect of the Greater Lake Stevens Chamber of Commerce and a
Barclays North representative.

"We think it will keep the casino in business, so we're actually pretty
excited about it," he said.

The City Council is scheduled to review the proposal tonight but likely
won't vote until its next meeting, Celori said.

The council next scheduled meeting is Dec. 11, but the city could call a
special meeting before then.

posted by Jerry "Jet" Whittaker at 12/06/2006 03:05:00 AM

'Stock exchange a gambling den'

The stock exchange should have no place in a developing country like
Pakistan. It is not an institution to promote industrialization. In fact, it
is more or less a gambling den where the savings of the middle class people
are regularly siphoned off, says an eminent economist. "No investment had
been made in education, health, water and power sectors which could pull the
country and its people out of abject misery while more than $20 billion had
been received in foreign remittances," Dr Akbar Zaidi said this while
addressing the weekly lecture programme of the PPP on "Fiscal Policy and
Development", held at the party secretariat on Sunday. He said this large
fiscal space gained due to 9/11 episode could have been used in enhancing
trade and industry activity and creating employment but this money was used
by the military regime for plots and stock exchange and to enrich the
unscrupulous upper class, which ultimately increased the income gap in
Pakistan. The economist said that loans had been rescheduled while more than
$20 billion were received through foreign remittances alone. "The billions
earned in this way also go tax free in order to boost the so-called investor
confidence," he said, adding, as a result property values had been pushed
out of reach of even the upper middle class. Dr Akbar Zaidi recalled that by
far the highest expenditures as percentages of GDP had been made by the
government of late Zulfikar Ali Bhutto on social sector, infrastructure,
consolidating steel and machinery manufacturing and developing heavy
industrial base in the country. He said these facts had been hidden from the
public owing to long years of propaganda and misinformation and asked the
PPP to reopen the subject of services to the country and its people rendered
by the late Bhutto. He felt that such a discussion would also be of great
help to the present PPP leadership to take up a progressive course.
Emphasizing that an anti-people economic policy could never result in a
pro-people fiscal policy, Dr Zaidi said that the bulk of the tax income in
the country consists of indirect taxes on every item of daily use. He said
this was a regressive system where the poorest and the 50% population living
below the poverty line were paying indirect taxes at the rate at which the
richest were paying it.

The sales tax, which brought in the highest tax revenue, was the most unjust
and the most regressive tax that had been levied at such high rates by the
federal government. Taxes should be progressive in which incomes should be
taxed directly, he added.

The bulk of taxes should consist of direct taxes levied on the rich in
proportion to their incomes, he said while rejecting the excuse that because
of tax evasion collection of direct taxes was not possible and thus indirect
taxes had to be levied.

This argument was put forward only to reward and facilitate rich tax
evaders, he remarked. Why should the burden of their crime be shifted on the
poor? Why can't the government take effective measures against tax evasion?
Dr Zaidi questioned.

"Our record shows that the democracies in the West and the international
financial institutions had always extended their full financial support to
military dictators in Pakistan and had withdrawn their support and even
imposed sanctions when elected democratic governments took over," he said
and added that foreign loans were accumulated in the days of General Ziaul
Haq and these had been wasted through and through.

Dr. Zaidi said the succeeding democratic governments had to pay around six
billion US dollars every year only as interest payment on these loans.

The economist strongly advocated for instituting an inquiry under a civilian
NAB to determine who took the foreign loans and where these were spent.

Former federal minister and Coordinator Karachi Coordination Committee of
the PPP, Aftab Shahban Mirani, presided the function.

posted by Jerry "Jet" Whittaker at 12/06/2006 03:05:00 AM

Online gambling

There's no denying it, punters in the UK love to have a flutter. That
explains why there are more than 8,000 bookmaking outlets huddling among
Britain's clothes shops and restaurants. But you don't even have to leave
the comfort of your own home to place a bet these days. The online world is
quickly catching up with its high-street opposition. In 2005 and 2006,
according to estimates from MarketResearch.com, the online gambling business
flowered, with an estimated 2,300 gambling sites on the internet today. The
internet may offer more opportunities to bet but that is no reason to throw
caution to the wind. As the UK charity GamCare puts it: "Gambling can be
great fun, but it's also important to know when to stop and what the danger
signs are." With an estimated £1bn wagered on this summer's FIFA World Cup
alone it is big business, and there're a lot of gamblers who won't be seeing
the money from their bets again. So let's be clear from the start: gambling
is not an investment. If you can't afford to lose it, don't bet with it. The
gambling world may only have been pulling in internet punters for the past
10 years, but the ability to lose your shirt on the web now comes in many
different flavours. Imagine any kind of gambling you can do in the real
world and you can usually find the equivalent game of chance online. Whether
it's the football Pools, horse racing, the dog track, lotteries, dice,
bingo, roulette, blackjack, slot machines, backgammon or poker, someone is
always willing to take your money. Whether you get it back or not depends on
your luck. Perhaps the easiest way to gamble online is by visiting one of
the online bookmakers. These tend to offer the same service you could expect
if you walked into any William Hill, Victor Chandler, Paddy Power or
Ladbrokes betting shop. As with the vast majority of sites, you sign up with
a debit or credit card, which is used to transfer money to a gambling fund.
And if your luck's in, winnings will be paid into the same account. Bets can
be placed on everything from Premiership football to golf by clicking the
checkboxes, in much the same way you would use a pencil on a form in the
real shop.

Of course, if you subscribe to the belief that in the long run you can never
beat the bookie, there are even ways around that. With sites such as Betfair
you can bet as normal and try and beat odds set by someone else, or you can
become the bookmaker and set odds for other people.

This second option is known as 'laying' the bet. For example, you could
decide Chelsea won't win the Premiership come May 2007 and 'lay' them at
odds of two to one. If someone bet £100 on Chelsea winning the league, you
would owe them £200 if Jose Mourinho's men lift the trophy. But you would
get to keep that £100 if the Blues don't retain the title.

posted by Jerry "Jet" Whittaker at 12/06/2006 03:04:00 AM

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

State shouldn't gamble on treatment for addicts

It's been a little over two weeks since the first legal slot parlor in
Pennsylvania opened at the Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs racetrack. Three more
slots parlors are expected to open at other racetracks within the next three
months. Ultimately, 14 parlors are expected to open in Pennsylvania,
bringing in what is hoped will be sufficient additional revenue to school
districts throughout the commonwealth, and at the same time easing the
burden on local taxpayers. But in all the hoopla the state has put into the
establishment of casino gambling in Pennsylvania, one disquieting little
side fact has sprung up. Despite the fact that one casino is now drawing in
gamblers, and others will soon be up and running, Pennsylvania does not yet
have a gambling addiction program in place to handle the expected increase
in compulsive gamblers seeking treatment. When the legislation for the slots
program was approved, one of the provisions was that Pennsylvania set aside
at least $1.5 million per year for programs to provide compulsive gamblers
with assistance and treatment for their addiction. By law, casinos must
advertise the existence of such services. But the Mohegan Sun can't
advertise a state-run service because none are in place at the moment. The
Pocono Downs casino is complying with the law by providing a telephone
number for the Council of Compulsive Gambling, a Philadelphia-based
organization. However, those calling the hotline may get a recording,
because the council does not have the money necessary to staff the telephone
at all times. Gene Boyle, the director of Pennsylvania's Bureau of Drug and
Alcohol Programs, has indicated that a state-based program to treat
compulsive gambling addictions will be established within the next several
months. We certainly hope so. Because the number of people with gambling
problems is definitely going to increase, given the fact that new outlets to
fuel their addictions are in the process of being set up throughout the
commonwealth. It also strikes us that Harrisburg could have better used the
two years it took for the first slots casino to open by making certain a
state-wide and state operated program for gambling addiction was up and
running in that time period.

A state-wide program to treat compulsive gambling will not eliminate the
addiction, but it will provide those suffering from the sickness an outlet
to help them deal with the problem. Which makes it very important that such
a program be put in place as soon as possible. At the moment, the state is
relying on existing providers, such as the Council of Compulsive Gambling of
Pennsylvania to fill the gap. But such a gap is wide indeed given the fact
the council - and other similar organizations -- have only limited funds to
provide such services. Only when the state fulfills its obligation mandated
by law to provide counseling and other services for compulsive gambling will
some of those suffering from the addiction have the means of obtaining
treatment to prevent them from recklessly throwing their money away in the
slots casinos, as well as other gambling outlets.

posted by Jerry "Jet" Whittaker at 12/05/2006 05:06:00 AM

Sheringham speaks out on gambling

West Ham United striker Teddy Sheringham has expressed his fears about
gambling. Speaking in London, Sheringham said that this addiction is
becoming more of a danger for younger players starting out in football. He
sited the reasons for this problem being the amount of leisure time that
players had added to the amount of money that they have available for
gambling. He is very much of the opinion that players nowadays are not as
disciplined as they ought to be and perhaps didn't focus as much as they
ought to on becoming true professional footballers. Sheringham himself is an
avid poker player, but said that his main focus was always on his football.

posted by Jerry "Jet" Whittaker at 12/05/2006 05:06:00 AM

Packer game on gambling pursuits

It could also prove the defining event in his personal corporate and
business development -- cementing his commitment to a Pacific and then
global gaming future. For the first time, we can reveal the full detail of
this extraordinary resort casino proposal, dubbed "Harry's Island", on
Singapore's Sentosa Island. Ostensibly, the "Harry" is mid-20th century
Howard Hughes-style adventurer Harry O'Brien, who "discovered" Sentosa.
Observers though have pondered whether it is entirely coincidental that
Harry is also the affectionate family name of the founder of modern
Singapore, Lee Kuan Yew. Whatever, the Singapore Government decides next
week between the "Eighth Wonder" consortium, of which Packer and his Macau
casino partner Lawrence Ho are members, and two tough competitors. One is
the Malaysian Genting group, which has teamed with Universal Studios in a
themed resort. The other is the Bahamas-based Kerzner casino group, which
has teamed with a Singapore company backed by the government-owned Temasek
investment arm. The Eighth Wonder proposal is far bigger than the other two
and way, and I mean way, over the top. It's already been revealed that the
group has possibly the world's best known sportsman -- soccer legend Pele --
to headline its sports offer. But that's only the start. You want to promise
the world's best restaurants? Roll out Alain Ducasse and his 14 Michelin
stars. Spectacular entertainment while the guests are chowing down? That
will come from Franco Dragone, who was the creative director behind much of
Cirque du Soleil. An oceanographic water world? It has to be Cousteau. Well,
it can't be the late Jacques, so instead it's grandson Philippe. A wellness
centre after a night at the tables? Deepak Chopra. Adventure park? Who else:
Mr Universal Studios Bob Ward. Spectacular events? The man behind the 2006
Winter Olympics ceremonies, Marco Balich. Fashion? Vera Wang.
You want to make sure the tables run on time? Good old German engineering in
Siemens. Oh yes, and these days security is a basic requirement. So who else
to oversee that but Mr 9/11 himself, Rudy Giuliani.

The main player in the consortium is Mark Advent, who built the New York New
York casino in Las Vegas. But Packer and his Hong Kong partner bring an
absolutely critical regional component.

Two points about Packer and his PBL group are to be made if the consortium
wins. The commitment will be less than half a billion dollars, soaking up
only a small part of the $4.5 billion released from the half-sale of the
local media assets.

SO IT does not itself preclude Packer/PBL going deeper into media if he

In financial terms, it's not an either-or. But if he wins, it will cement
his focus on building his gaming-resort business around this side of the
Pacific -- from Macau through Singapore to the two casinos in Australia, at
Burswood in Perth and Crown in Melbourne.

This would irresistibly build into a push into gaming and resorts in the US.
And it would absolutely bury any possibility of going deeper into 20th
century media in Australia, where the focus is decidedly online.

What tends not be understood is the way Packer actually inherited a business
that he had created. At least remarkable, quite possibly unique.

Very pointedly, not the media side, but the gaming side which he and Peter
Yates -- first as a Macquarie adviser and then as PBL CEO -- built over
father Kerry's rather grudging acceptance.

If you've inherited a company you take great pride in having yourself built,
why would you be that committed to the part you only inherited?

posted by Jerry "Jet" Whittaker at 12/05/2006 05:05:00 AM

Vodka, gambling paraphernalia, list of VIPs located on accident vehicle; Bid to smuggle container of fireworks foiled

Three persons who were injured in a two-vehicle collision have been admitted
to a hospital, reports Al-Watan daily. A police source said a pick-up truck
overturned after crashing into the car driven by a young Kuwaiti woman.
Inside the overturned pick-up truck police found a roulette machine and
three bottles of vodka. It has been reported the occupants of the pick-up
truck - an unidentified man, a young woman and her mother - were all under
the influence of alcohol. They will be referred to a police station for
interrogation after they are discharged from the hospital, says a reliable
source. Police have also found in the vehicle a list containing names of
VIPs and information on gambling activities. Smuggling bid foiled: Customs
officers at the Shuwaikh Port recently foiled an attempt by a Kuwaiti man to
smuggle fireworks into the country, reports Al-Rai daily. The daily quoting
a reliable source said a customs officer suspected a container arriving from
China. Shipping documents showed the container carried a cargo of furniture
however, when the officer ordered to search the container several cartons
containing fireworks were found hidden among furniture. The 'importer' has
been detained for interrogation. Stray bullet hits Bangladeshi: Police are
looking for an unidentified person for accidentally shooting at a
31-year-old Bangladeshi man in the head. The victim has been admitted to the
intensive care unit of the Jahra hospital, reports Al-Watan daily.
Unconfirmed reports said the man was hit by a stray bullet said to have been
fired by an unidentified person during wedding celebrations in a neighboring
house. Sponsor accused of rape: A lawyer representing the embassy of an
Asian country has filed a complaint with the police accusing a Kuwaiti man
of raping a maid - citizen of that country - during a probation period,
reports Al-Watan daily. However, when the sponsor was summoned by police, he
denied the allegation saying the maid had fabricated the story because he
refused to give the maid two months salary in advance. The daily did not
give more details.

Cash taken from eatery's till: Police are looking for an unidentified person
who allegedly broke into a fast food restaurant in Julai'a and escaped with
KD 276 from the cash box, reports Al-Rai daily. The daily did not say how
the suspect got into the restaurant and when the cash was stolen.

Fake police rob Pakistani: Police are looking for four unidentified persons
for impersonating police and stealing KD 500 and a cell phone of a Pakistani
man, reports Al-Rai daily. In his complaint to police the victim, identified
only as M.A., told police the men waylaid him in Salmiya and demanded to see
his identification papers. One of the men then grabbed the wallet from his
hand and escaped on foot.

Police foil robbery attempt: Police have arrested three Egyptians for
attempting to steal electrical cables from a contracting company in Bneid
Al-Gar, reports Al-Rai daily. The suspects were caught in the act by a
police patrol. Patrolmen saw two vehicles parked in a suspicious manner and
when a police officer asked the men what they were doing in the area they
claimed one of the vehicles had broken down. The police patrol pretended to
drive away and kept a watch on the movement of the suspects from a distance
and caught them red-handed while breaking into the site of the contracting
company. During interrogation they admitted to planning to steal the cables.

Man loots compatriot woman: Police have arrested an Egyptian man for
assaulting a compatriot woman, threatening her with a knife and snatching
her handbag containing KD 650, reports Al-Watan daily. Police arrested the
suspect and recovered from him part of the loot after the woman gave police
his description.

Family rescued from blaze: Timely arrival of fire-fighters saved the lives
of an entire family after their house in Khaldiya caught fire, reports
Al-Qabas daily. The first floor of the house where the family lived was
totally destroyed. Two fire-fighters suffering from asphyxiation were given
first aid on the spot.

Docus stolen for stamps: Police are looking for an unidentified person for
breaking into the General Customs Department and stealing official documents
containing revenue stamps, reports Al-Rai daily. A security source said
police investigations revealed the man got into the department by climbing
over the fence. Police believe the suspect might have stolen the documents
to get hold of the revenue stamps. According to published reports recycling
used revenue stamps and selling them for a cheaper price is common in

Girl 'rescued' from bedoun: Police have arrested a bedoun youth for
kidnapping a 13-year old girl, reports Al-Rai daily. A police source said
securitymen conducted intensive investigations after the girl's mother filed
a complaint with a local police station. Acting on a tip-off police raided a
camp in Julai'a and 'rescued' the girl.

Iraqi girl attempts suicide: A 20-year-old Iraqi girl who tried in vain to
end her life by swallowing a large dose of a chemical has been admitted to a
hospital, reports Al-Watan daily. The daily did not give more details.

Maid jumps to her death: An Indonesian maid allegedly jumped to her death
recently from the fourth floor of her sponsor's apartment in Mahboula,
reports Al-Watan daily. During customary interrogations at a police station
the sponsor was quoted as saying the victim had earlier tried in vain to run
away from his home because of what he said some 'disagreement'.

Liquor sold in plastic bags: Police have arrested an Indian man for trading
in locally-manufactured alcohol, reports Al-Watan daily. The man was caught
by a police patrol on suspicion after he was seen carrying a plastic bag
which contained nylon bags filled with alcohol. The suspect was arrested
inside a commercial complex in Salmiya.

'Versus' unchanged, man deranged: An unidentified Syrian man who claimed to
have found a copy of the Holy Quran with 'changed' verses, has been referred
to the Psychiatric Hospital, reports Al-Watan daily. It has been reported
the man walked into a police station claiming he found the copy of the holy
book inside a mosque in Jahra and during interrogation police discovered the
man was suffering from mental problems.

posted by Jerry "Jet" Whittaker at 12/05/2006 05:05:00 AM

Reputed mob underboss arrested in gambling-extortion probe

A reputed underboss of the New England Mafia was arrested Friday on gambling
and extortion charges, authorities said. Carmen Salvatore DiNunzio, 49, was
arrested by state police in Boston's North End after being indicted by an
Essex County grand jury on charges of extortion, maintaining and operating a
gaming operation, and conspiracy to maintain or organize a gaming operation,
the Essex District Attorney's office announced. DiNunzio, an East Boston man
known as "The Big Cheese," operated a cheese shop in the North End. He
allegedly rose through the ranks of local organized crime to become
underboss about four years ago, running Boston rackets, The Boston Globe
reported. A state police officer testified in federal court last year that
Arthur Gianelli, a Lynnfield bookmaker and brother-in-law of former FBI
agent John Connolly Jr., was paying DiNunzio $2,000 a month for permission
to operate his gambling business. Gianelli is facing trial on federal
racketeering charges. The Essex County District Attorney's office said
authorities have been investigating alleged mob-related extortion of
bookmakers involving DiNunzio since 2001. William Angelesco, 35, of Chelsea,
was arrested earlier this year in a related case, charged with promoting and
organizing a gambling operation. Angelesco was acquitted last year in an
alleged revenge slaying at a Revere strip club in December 2001. DiNunzio is
held on $250,000 bail at the state police barracks in Danvers pending his
arraignment on Monday in Salem Superior Court. He could face up 15 years in
prison if convicted.

posted by Jerry "Jet" Whittaker at 12/05/2006 05:05:00 AM

Monday, December 04, 2006

EU Spokesman: Bulgaria's Gambling Law Must Apply to Everybody

Oliver Drewes is spokesman for the internal markets commissioner, Charlie
McCreevy. He was approached by Darik Radio to comment amendments to
Bulgarian law on gambling. Tsvetana Minkova from Darik News spoke to Oliver
Drewes. Q: Do you think changes in the law for gambling might lead to some
impediments for competition in this area in Bulgaria? A: We have a policy of
not commenting on amendments of specific laws before we've seen the law or
the particular amendment so it is very difficult for me to comment
something, which I haven't seen. I can tell you what the general point of
view of the Commission is on the issues concerned. It is a matter, which is
governed by the basic treaties along with some case law of the Court of
Justice. This means we have no harmonization of that area on the European
level and each member state can have its own proper policy as long as basic
treaty provisions are not violated. For example if you think of classical
treaty obligations in respect of free movement of services that means within
the EU you can deliver services across borders. That is the basic freedom.
On the other hand you can restrict that freedom for certain purposes, for
example for protection of minorities or certain health concerns. That's
generally accepted, also for prohibitive actions so that people don't get
addict or whatsoever. Member states can design their own policy in that
respect but when they do so they have to really respect the principle of non
discrimination. So that when you introduce these restrictions they must
apply to everybody in the same way. Q: The EC has started some legal actions
against some cases of violation in member states. A: We did start legal
actions in up to ten cases involving at least nine member states. You can
put restrictions on services in this area if it is for example a bar, or as
you know, there are also special polices designed for bar opening hours or
drunk people being allowed into bars. There are different views on that in
member states and it is allowed that you restrict people under 18 or 21 for
going in a bar. But when you put these restrictions, you have to set up a
system where each and everybody is treated in the same way. Q: Are these
restrictions valid for both state institutions and the private sector? A:
The government may put limits and obligations that everybody is treated the
same. For example the government may say the state operator must pay certain
amount into the public finance, for the public good you can put the same
obligations for the private operator.

Q: Are there examples of violation on the laws?

A: Certainly there are examples for that and it is not against European law.
Everybody has to pay taxes so at least companies have to pay taxes too. It's
generally accepted practice in case law.

Q: What is the aim of these measures?

A: Those are measures to protect minors or people from getting addicted to
gambling activities and that is a policy which the member state can set up.
That should be a general policy that should apply to all operators.

Q: What penalties can be imposed on countries for violations on the law?

A: There is one common line in all the cases, that is, the preferential
treatment is given to certain operators and not to others. According to the
treaty rules and principles you have to respect free movement of services.
Of course you can put certain restrictions. The common procedure that goes
between the Commission and the member states is that the state has to put in
line with community law and is then obliged to change its law. There could
be punishment, but it is applied in a very small number of cases. Usually of
the country does not change the law, it is imposed a fine.

posted by Jerry "Jet" Whittaker at 12/04/2006 09:40:00 AM

Don't forget counseling for addicted gamblers

State regulators and lawmakers eagerly have been counting the take from the
Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs, the first slots parlor in the state. It is
abundantly clear already, in this new era of gambling as a primary source of
state revenue, that the state government cares little about the negative
aspects of the new industry - so little that it allowed casinos to open
without establishing a crucial aspect of the state's own gambling law. That
law requires the establishment, by the state government, of a treatment
program for gambling addicts to be funded by part of the state's gambling
take. No such program is in place, even though the law itself requires the
casinos to advertise the state program to its customers. According to the
state Department of Health, a program will be in place six to eight months
from now, but it does not even know if it will operate the program itself or
contract it to a private treatment center. In the meantime, the Mohegan Sun
at Pocono Downs has advertised the number of a private treatment program in
Philadelphia. But, due to a lack of funds, that program often does not have
enough personnel to provide counseling, so callers are greeted by a
recording. Even when the state manages to meet its legal obligations by
establishing a program, that likely will be underfunded, as well. The state
expects to collect $1 billion a year from the casino operations, but has
mandated a minimum contribution for addiction treatment of just $1.5 million
a year, which could rise depending upon the total take at the slots. From 4
percent to 6 percent of all gamblers develop gambling addictions, according
to Gamblers Anonymous. And the likelihood of addiction doubles for people
when a casino opens within 50 miles of their homes. All this should be
alarming to state lawmakers . . . but wait - lawmakers are counting on
addiction to help fuel the state's take. These are the same people, after
all, who passed a bill in the dead of night, without debate and minutes
before the end of the legislative session, which would allow casinos to
serve unlimited free alcohol to patrons.

Gov. Ed Rendell should veto that utterly irresponsible bill, and expedite
the creation of an effective program to treat the addicts that the state is
about to help create.

posted by Jerry "Jet" Whittaker at 12/04/2006 09:40:00 AM

Chambers seek gambling revenue for major attractions

A coalition of Iowa chambers of commerce is asking the Legislature to set
aside a chunk of new gambling revenue to help pay for major attractions
across the state. This would be a renewal of sorts for the Vision Iowa
program. The Iowa Chamber Alliance announced this proposal, and a dozen
others, at a Statehouse news conference. The alliance represents 16 regional
groups, including the Mason City Chamber of Commerce. "For successful
revitalization, community leaders need a wide variety of tools," said Nicole
Christian, senior vice president for DavenportOne, an organization that
includes the Davenport Chamber of Commerce. Vision Iowa is a program started
in the summer of 2000 that earmarked more than $200 million for 13 projects,
with most of the money spent in the state's largest metro areas. The program
gave out the last of its money in December 2004. Legislative leaders have
talked about renewing it or replacing it with a similar program, but no
action has been taken. Not only do Chamber Alliance leaders want a new
program, they want it to have more favorable terms than Vision Iowa, with no
cap on the amount of money that can be given to individual projects. The
Chamber Alliance plan would allocate 25 percent of new gambling revenue for
such a program. On other issues, Debi Durham, president of the Siouxland
Chamber, said the Legislature needs to find a way to lower property taxes
for businesses. "Property taxes in the state are very uncompetitive for
commercial and industrial property," she said. The reason for the problem is
the so-called rollback, a decades-old tax discount for homeowners that puts
a disproportionate share of the tax burden on businesses. Incoming House
Speaker Pat Murphy, D-Dubuque, in mid-November said the Legislature will
make it a high priority to deal with property taxes, though he had no
specific plan. Among the other recommendations of the Chamber Alliance:
* The state law passed this summer restricting eminent-domain powers should
be reconsidered to take into account the law's potential harm to the
economy. The high-profile law was passed by the Legislature in an override
of Gov. Tom Vilsack's veto.

* The state should simplify its income tax formula by reducing the number of
tax brackets in a way that will not alter the amount of money raised.

* Federal, state and local governments should work together to encourage the
development of renewable-fuel production in Iowa.

* The state should reduce the wage requirements needed for employers qualify
for aid from the Iowa Values Fund. Right now, employers must pay well above
the average wage for their region. The Chamber Alliance wants to lower the
requirement to employers will only need to meet the average.

posted by Jerry "Jet" Whittaker at 12/04/2006 09:40:00 AM

Sunday, December 03, 2006

A Veteran Moderate Moves On

The House of Representatives wastes no sympathy on defeated members. So at
the beginning of this week, Jim Leach of Iowa sat in an office almost devoid
of furniture, the walls stripped bare of the mementos of his 30 years of
service -- with just a few hours remaining before the painters moved in to
prepare his domain for its new occupant. Leach, who once was chairman of the
Banking and Financial Services Committee, would have been in line to head
the Committee on International Relations in the next Congress, had
Republicans maintained their majority and had he been reelected. But he
lost, 51 percent to 48 percent, to college professor David Loebsack, as
Democrats won top-to-bottom victories in Iowa this month. Leach, noted for
his independence, was the only Iowa legislator to oppose going to war in
Iraq. That kind of record helped him prevail in past races despite his
heavily Democratic district, which gave a higher percentage of its
presidential vote to John Kerry than any other district held by a
Republican. But this year two special factors helped tip the balance against
him. First, he became a target for crafting the Unlawful Internet Gambling
Enforcement Act, which passed Congress as part of a larger bill in October
and was signed into law just before the election. The Poker Players
Alliance, which had fought the measure banning banks and credit card
companies from servicing Internet gambling firms, targeted Leach and other
sponsors with e-mails to its members and publicity in poker magazines. A
post-election survey paid for by the gambling group found a net 5-point
swing against Leach attributable to that issue. John Pappas, the spokesman
for the alliance, said it is putting together a presentation for the new
members of Congress using Leach's experience to show that "this issue is not
a winner for them; in fact, the main proponent was hurt by it." The alliance
wants poker exempted from the Internet gambling ban or the ban lifted in
favor of government regulation and taxation. In addition, the Christian
Coalition criticized Leach for his support of embryonic stem cell research
and for his insistence that the national GOP drop a planned mailing
attacking Loebsack on the issue of gay marriage.

"But the big force," Leach said in a conversation in his nearly empty
office, "was the accountability thing -- the overwhelming dissatisfaction
with the Republican Congress."

Because he can understand and even sympathize a bit with that feeling, Leach
said, "I am probably the least disappointed defeated member" of the vanished
Republican majority.

On the other hand, the man who was known as "the conscience of Congress"
because of his personal high standards -- no PAC money or out-of-state
contributions -- said he regrets not being part of the policymaking at "a
really critical moment for the United States in its relations with a
changing world."

And he worries about the political dynamics of a Congress that is more and
more polarized -- and therefore less and less representative of the American

Leach was one of eight members of the dwindling tribe of Republican
moderates who lost their seats this election, unable to separate themselves
from the public rejection of a conservative-dominated White House and

In Leach's view, while presidential races tend to pull candidates to the
center, in Congress the abundance of "safe" seats, gerrymandered to
guarantee victory to one party or the other, makes party primaries the
critical elections. And in those low-turnout primaries, it is the
activists -- usually no more than "one-quarter of one-third" of the
electorate -- whose views prevail.

"The Republicans have been governing from within" their party base, rather
than reaching out to the other party, he said, and now that Democrats have
the majority, they will be tempted by electoral dynamics to do the same

It is possible, Leach said, that a new president could change the pattern,
and he is rather hopeful that his early picks for the nominations -- Mitt
Romney and Barack Obama -- might do that.

posted by Jerry "Jet" Whittaker at 12/03/2006 02:53:00 AM

Regular gambling is linked to poor health

People who gamble also have an increased risk of health problems such as
angina and liver disease. Gambling can be as serious an addiction as
substance abuse or alcoholism. The latter are both associated with other
health problems and so, also, is gambling according to a new study from the
University of Connecticut. Their data comes from the National Epidemiologic
Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions, which covers more than 43,000
Americans. More than a quarter of the participants gambled five or more
times a year. Forms of gambling included playing cards for money, betting on
horses, dogs or sport, buying lottery tickets or playing the stock market.
Around one per cent were considered to be problem gamblers and 0.5 per cent
were addicted to gambling. Those who gambled were more likely to have high
blood pressure or suffer from alcohol abuse or obesity. The problem and
pathological gamblers also had an increased risk of angina and liver
disease. The findings show that gambling should be taken as seriously as
other addictions - not only for the social and psychological problems it
brings, but also because of its effect on physical health.

posted by Jerry "Jet" Whittaker at 12/03/2006 02:53:00 AM

Don't Bet on Fiscal Restraint

Good news! The proceeds from new table games at the state's racetracks will
go to help the elderly and infirm stay at home instead of being trundled off
to nursing homes. What a relief. I thought the cash was headed for gambling
operators and political pork projects. Gov. Joe Manchin suggested this week
at a press conference that if a measure is approved that would clear the way
for table games at the state's racetrack casinos, he'd like to see some of
the cash go to keep the old folks at home. That tells us a couple of
things: 1) the measure will be approved and 2) the new games will mean extra
money, not just a replacement for the cash that will be lost now that the
state of Pennsylvania will be fleecing its own flock at the video slots, at
least at first. Gambling expansion generally comes tied to something happy
sounding -- schools, education, seniors, veterans, wayward panda bears ...
whatever. You could just as easily say that gambling money funds the
restoration of the Governor's Mansion or the salaries of every hack
politician's brother-in-law hanging onto the state payroll. But by putting
the slot shekels in a special account, we can kid ourselves into thinking
that our budget wouldn't be busted if it weren't for gambling, but that is
only a contrivance. You can tell yourself that your pay for Tuesday goes to
your mortgage while your pay for Friday goes to your grocery bill, but if
you got cut back to three days a week, Kroger and the bank both would know
it. Since labor Democrats rolled up some key victories on Election Day, I'm
not betting on any spending cuts in the session to come. Our continually
swelling budget will get more swollen still as our governor and legislators
keep thinking of new initiatives. That means we'll need lots of cash on
And as we learned in 2001 when Bob Wise used what little political capital
he brought into office on making state government the top dog in the
neighborhood gambling business, you've got to offer something, like free
college tuition, for instance, to get things rolling. It's particularly
piquant for Gov. Manchin to use in-home health care for seniors as his
enticement for passing table games. Keeping people out of nursing homes was
one of the marquee issues for anti-gambling Sen. Russ Weeks, R-Raleigh.
Manchin worked hard on behalf of Mike Green, the greyhound breeder who beat
Weeks. Now, Weeks' favorite cause -- and an issue on which he sharply
criticized Manchin -- will be used to sell a gambling expansion he fought so
hard against. That's what I call sending a message. One of the problems that
the gambling interests have had in Charleston, aside from perennially
overstating their odds for success, has been that we've done every gambling
expansion in the most screwy, backdoor fashion imaginable. Lawmakers have
never come clean on gambling. I remember when I would tag along with my
Catholic buddies to parish street fairs to get in on the best blackjack
games, which were always run by the priests. I assumed until I moved south
of the Kanawha that it was like that everywhere. It is not. The rest of you
good people seem to be opposed to a friendly game, even if done with the
benefit of clergy.

But even so, according to our polls, there seems to be little complaint
around the state, even in the most ecclesiastical corners, about having
table games at the tracks. If people like me and my Wheeling brethren like
to roll dice or play blackjack and vote to allow it, the rest of West
Virginia seems content to leave us to our own wicked business.

The legislative math is easy to do, and it seems pretty likely that table
games will really be attained this year, especially with the governor giving
the initiative a little do-good gloss.

What people don't approve of are Gov. Wise's little neighborhood scholarship
generators, which look suspiciously like slot machines.

They're a blight on the state, and the money mostly comes from people who
can ill afford to lose it. Then we get to pay the bill when their lives
flounder on the rocks of state-sponsored convenience gambling.

For a brief moment before the election, it seemed like a compromise was
working itself out. Bring in the high rollers at the tracks with table games
and let the licenses for those dingy little slot parlors gradually expire.
The revenue would more than replace what was lost, and we'd be free of the
moral shame of having the state living off of the addictions of pensioners.

The best part is that we finally could come out in the open on gambling --
destination gambling at luxury racetrack casinos, lottery tickets and
nothing more. It would let us finally stop lying to ourselves.

But the people who are making money off those machines and those pensioners
have decided that they weren't going to let a good thing go.

They've formed their own lobbying group, led by some politically powerful
players from around the state, people like the mayor of Wheeling's brother,
Anthony "Herk" Sparchane, who runs a lot of the slots in his brother's

The argument they're no doubt making to the governor is along these lines:
"Why replace revenue if you can just triple it. If you're helping the people
with $50 million, think of how much more helpful you'd be with $150

posted by Jerry "Jet" Whittaker at 12/03/2006 02:52:00 AM

One pleads guilty in gambling ring, four others expected

One of nine men indicted for running a gambling ring that took bets on
football and basketball games pleaded guilty Wednesday in federal court
And Joesph Saladino's plea may be the first of several guilty pleas from men
whom prosecutors allege were connected to a conspiracy that runs as far back
as the 1980s. "There's a total of five" guilty pleas in the works, including
Saladino, said Assistant U.S. Attorney John Scully as he left Judge Philip
Reinhard's courtroom. The other possible guilty pleas are John P. "Tiger"
Frisella, Joseph F. "Pep" Fiorenza, and Joesph's two sons, Nicholas and
Rick. Wednesday, Reinhard set Friday afternoon hearing dates for the four.
Their trial was initially scheduled to start Dec. 11.It's still not clear
what will happen with the other men who were indicted in the case. They are
Charles A. Purin, Frank C. Giardono, Nick Provenzano and John F. Salamone. A
tentative trial date for them has been set for Feb. 12.All of the men,
except Saladino, were indicted and arrested in early February, just days
before the Super Bowl, on gambling charges.Federal prosecutors have been
characteristically tight-lipped about details of the alleged conspiracy, but
court papers filed this week list some of the evidence the Justice
Department plans to present if the case goes to trial.The documents say that
Frisella and Saladino had, at least by 2001, set up a "wireroom" in a
Rockford apartment building at 1912 17th Ave. where they would take
bookmaking calls from bettors over two telephones that were listed under the
name of a woman known to Saladino. The feds also obtained phone records that
show hundreds of calls made from the men to 800 and 888 numbers. A
government wiretap that was placed on one of the phones in the wireroom was
activated Nov. 26, 2001, according to court documents.

"It was immediately apparent that Joseph Saladino was involved in a sports
betting business and there were ultimately several thousand conversations
intercepted on this phone," the documents read. "Some of the calls were with
the defendants and other conspirators, but the majority were with bettors."

The Justice Department is also apparently prepared to present witnesses that
placed bets with the members of the alleged ring or could identify some
members as people who picked up or delivered gambling payments.

Among these witnesses is a person identified only as "a family member of
Charles Purin" who would testify that they helped drum up business for the
bookmaking operation run by Saladino and Frisella.

Saladino, who did not file an official plea deal with the court, faces up to
five years in prison and the government is seeking to seize $500,000 in

posted by Jerry "Jet" Whittaker at 12/03/2006 02:52:00 AM

Animal cruelty, gambling alleged

A Summerdale man faces allegations of setting up a cockfighting ring outside
his home where dozens of people bet on battles between the birds, a
law-enforcement official said. Francisco Hurtado, 34, is charged with
cockfighting, conspiracy to promote gambling and cruelty to animals. All
three of the counts are misdemeanors. Baldwin County sheriff's deputies
received an anonymous call Sunday morning about illegal gambling on
Woodhaven Dairy Road East, near Fish River, according to Sheriff's Office
spokesman Lt. John Murphy. They arrived to find a large number of cars and
about 50 people crowded around an outdoor pit lined with plywood, he said. A
few people scattered into a wooded area nearby when deputies approached,
Murphy said. "Through the course of several interviews, it was determined
that they were gambling on the chicken fights," Murphy said. The cockfights
may have been ongoing for some time, he added. "You could tell that it was
something that hadn't just been put up," Murphy said. "The pen had been
there, there were chairs out there, garbage, beer cans, a fairly decent
amount of people there for some time greater than just that morning."
Deputies found at least 20 birds on the property, several of which were
"aggressive" birds, but did not have the means or authority to confiscate
them, according to the spokesman. "You can't just turn them loose," he said.
One rooster was dead, and two of the birds had been injured. Raising such
birds is legal and, Murphy added, "pretty common throughout the county and
throughout the region." Hurtado posted a $5,000 bond and was released,
according to jail officials. No court date has been set. Conspiracy to
promote gambling is a Class A misdemeanor, and is punishable by up to a year
in jail, while cruelty to animals is a Class B misdemeanor punishable by up
to six months in jail. The penalty for cockfighting is a fine between $25
and $50.

posted by Jerry "Jet" Whittaker at 12/03/2006 02:52:00 AM

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Panagiotakos: Revisit casino gambling

Tuesday night's broadcast of SunTalk Live is now available on www.lowellsun.com or by dialing 978-364-4098. On the weekly phone-in show, Sun Editor Jim Campanini and state Sen. Steve Panagiotakos discussed how Gov.-elect Deval Patrick's victory will reshape legislative priorities. Panagiotakos, a power broker on the Senate's Ways and Means Committee, lauded many of Patrick's ideas but noted that the state has limited financial resources and will have take care of the most pressing problems like education aid, higher-ed funding and job creation initiatives. He also said Patrick and the Legislative should revisit the expanded gambling issue. "How can we leave $400 million on the table?," when the state struggles to fund important programs," inquired Panagiotakos. In addition, Monday night's sports talk show hosted by Sun blogger Teddy Panos can be heard on www.lowellsun.com or by dialing 978-364-4099. The broadcast features New England Patriots' beat writer Dave Pevear discussing the team's win over the Chicago Bears and the NFL

posted by Jerry "Jet" Whittaker at 12/02/2006 01:31:00 PM

Twelve to stand trial for organized gambling

The major ring, led by Ngo Tien Dung alias Dung Kieu, was found to have handled bets of over US$10 million within three months from December 2005 till February 2006. Dung and his subordinates will face two counts of gambling and organized gambling after earning illegal profits of $200,000 from betting pools during the period, police documents state. The ring, which started operations in 2004, mainly bet on football matches in European leagues. It collaborated with betting firms in Hong Kong and Cambodia and managed the action via the Internet. In Vietnam, it set up a network of bookies from the north to the south at Hanoi, Hai Phong, Thai Binh, and Ho Chi Minh City. Eleven other offenders include Nguyen Ngoc Quang, Nguyen Thanh Chon, Vu Manh Ha, Nguyen Ngoc Ha, Hoang Tuan, Ta Quoc Lich, Bui Thi Thanh Thuy, Bui Thanh Phong, Le Quang Loc, Nguyen Minh Toan, and Vu Van Hien. Besides facing the two gambling-related counts, the ring leader Dung Kieu is also charged with murder. In 1988, when he was jailed in northern Bac Thai (nowadays Thai Nguyen) province he beat to death cellmate Hac Van Trong for stealing a piece of pork. The case had yet to be brought to light by investigators, which is until Dung was arrested last year as a result of the gambling investigation.

posted by Jerry "Jet" Whittaker at 12/02/2006 01:28:00 PM


Ontario gambling officials, already under critical scrutiny for questionable lottery retailer conduct and supporting political attempts to ban advertising for online gambling were facing further protests this week regarding the sale of already won scratch cards. Ontario media reported that a national gambling watchdog group has claimed that current scratch card sale practices are unfair and misleading to the consumer. The Gambling Watch Network has reportedly complained to Ontario's ombudsman that scratch tickets are sold even after the top prizes have been won. A spokesman for the watchdog group said retailers should stop selling tickets if the buyer has no chance of winning the jackpot. Apparently similar scratch card practices have been the subject of scrutiny and lawsuits in the United States, causing some state lotteries to include disclaimers on the tickets explaining that some prizes may already be won.

posted by Jerry "Jet" Whittaker at 12/02/2006 01:27:00 PM

Friday, December 01, 2006

Study gives snapshot of casino gambling

A multi-year study has given the first glimpse into the impact of increased casino gambling in Surrey and Langley The socio-economic impact study being conducted for the provincial government is tracing the effects on local residents of the spring 2005 opening of the Langley Cascades casino and of slot machines at Fraser Downs racetrack in Surrey, plus two facilities in Vancouver. Researchers surveyed residents at random as well as patrons in casinos. Their first-year findings show the percentage of problem gamblers in Langley City climbed from 2.5 per cent in 2004 to 4.9 per cent last year. The rate climbed from 5.6 to six per cent in Surrey, but actually fell in Langley Township from four per cent to 2.6 per cent in 2005.
The firm behind the study, Blue Thorn Research and Analysis Group, concluded the change was not statistically significant.
"The venues appear to have produced new gamblers," the report found. "Some people are now gambling at the venues that previously did not gamble. It is possible that some of these new gamblers may develop problems." Researchers also interviewed nine counsellors who work in the region with problem gamblers. Obvious impacts were limited because the facilities are new, the counsellors said, adding their clients "were already in trouble well before these facilities opened." The report said the counsellors believe the casino in Langley may have led to an increase in the number of mental health clients there, because of the casino's proximity to low-income housing and residents without ready transportation. The counsellors also suggested the addition of new gambling sites creates "enormous temptations" for problem gamblers, and the increased convenience and visibility increases the risk of relapse. Overall, the report concludes that based on the first year's findings the new casinos have had a relatively small impact on general gambling behaviour. In 2004, about 76 per cent of Langley City residents surveyed said they never played slot machines. That number fell to about 60 per cent in 2005 after the casino there opened (versus about 64 per cent for Langley township.)

About 40 per cent of Langley City residents surveyed said they gambled at the casino after it opened, versus 30 per cent of Langley Township residents.

In contrast, 74 per cent of Surrey residents surveyed said they didn't play slot machines in 2005 – actually up slightly from 73.7 per cent in 2004 prior to the installation of the Fraser Downs slots.

Surrey residents who do gamble at slot machines don't automatically go to Fraser Downs – it was fourth on the list of where they normally play slots, behind Las Vegas/Reno casinos, River Rock in Richmond and Cascades in Langley.

Eleven per cent of those surveyed in Surrey said they did gamble at Fraser Downs in 2005 and spent on average $54 per visit.

Langley City residents spent an average $36 per visit, but more – nearly six per cent – said they go every day.

Just 0.6 per cent of Langley Township residents surveyed said they're daily customers at the Cascades, but they spend more — $63 per visit on average.

Of the combined Vancouver-Surrey-Langley residents surveyed, 20 per cent said they don't gamble. Sixty-five per cent are rated as non-problem gamblers – the classifications were based on their survey responses – while a further 10.5 per cent are ranked "low risk," 3.7 per cent are ranked "moderate problem gamblers" and 0.7 per cent are ranked "severe problem gamblers."

The report found there was "no discernible impact" on crime or traffic near the casinos.

It also concludes the casinos haven't attracted measurable numbers of tourists from outside B.C.

"At present it appears the overwhelming majority of patronage is local," the report says.

It does note residents surveyed aren't travelling out of B.C. to destinations like Las Vegas to gamble as often, adding money now spent here is being "recaptured."

Officials with B.C.'s Gaming Policy and Enforcement Branch say they're satisfied the initial findings show no significant impact from the new gambling venues.

"Many of the measures of problem gambling remain statistically the same," said assistant deputy minister Derek Sturko.

"Obviously we've got to watch the longer trend," he said. "But in general there was no massive shift in circumstances."

posted by Jerry "Jet" Whittaker at 12/01/2006 01:51:00 AM

South African judge rules against online gambling

As reported by the South Africa Citizen: "Online gambling is still outlawed in South Africa, even though the service is offered from outside the borders of the country, a Pretoria High Court judge has ruled. "Judge Willie Hartzenberg decreed yesterday that an application launched by Casino Enterprises Swaziland, which runs Piggs Peak Casino in Swaziland, disclosed no cause of action because it wanted the court to declare gambling actions in Gauteng legitimate, which were prohibited by local legislation. "…The casino maintained its online gambling took place legally in Swaziland and did not contravene the Gauteng Gambling Act…"

posted by Jerry "Jet" Whittaker at 12/01/2006 01:51:00 AM

Gambling on the Hill II

As a black man born and raised on the Hill, I applaud poet-scholar Kimberly Ellis for her courage and love for our people and her opposition to Isle of Capri Casinos putting a casino on the Lower Hill. I remember as a child of 8 how I came home from school and saw a notice on the door that we had to move because of the construction of the Civic Arena. Now, 50 years later, the old wound is being opened again. Black people in Pittsburgh are being robbed of our heritage for gambling, slots and hockey. Pittsburgh has always been a cruel city for blacks, which is why many like myself were forced to leave the city we love. Through tricks and the help of Uncle Toms and Aunt Lucilles we are being robbed again. I support Kimberly Ellis in her noble fight and I tell Isle of Capri Casinos to back off with the threats against my sister. The only jobs blacks will get from the casino are dishwashers, janitors and prostitutes.

posted by Jerry "Jet" Whittaker at 12/01/2006 01:50:00 AM

Poker player held without bail in New York online gambling case

A professional poker player accused of running a $3.3 billion illegal sports gambling operation was ordered held without bail Wednesday. The balding and bearded James Giordano stood silently with hands cuffed behind his back at his arraignment in Queens Criminal Court as his lawyer entered a not guilty plea on his behalf. Giordano, 52, was arrested Nov. 15 by FBI agents who scaled the walls of his fortess-like Florida compound. Authorities said they broke the case wide open last year when New York Police Department investigators secretly hacked into a laptop computer that Giordano had left in a Long Island hotel while attending a wedding. Giordano was indicted along with 26 others, including three family members, on charges of running an online gambling scheme that rivaled casino sports betting. Among them was Frank Falzarano, a former scout for the Washington Nationals and the San Francisco Giants, who was arrested at his Seaford, N.Y., home. Falzarano was accused of being a top earner in a network of 2,000 bookies who took cash wagers from tens of thousands of customers nationwide. He was arraigned earlier this month. He was released on $500,000 bail and told to return to court Jan. 3. The $1 billion-a-year scheme, hatched in 2004, involved placing sports bets through bookies, who would assign bettors secret codes to track their wagers and monitor point spreads and results through a restricted Web site. The bets were taken on all kinds of sports, including football, baseball, basketball, hockey, car racing and golf.

Authorities said defendants laundered and stashed away "untold millions of dollars" using shell corporations and bank accounts in Central America, the Caribbean, Switzerland, Hong Kong and elsewhere.

Giordano's daughter and son-in-law also were arraigned Wednesday. Both pleaded not guilty.

His wife, Priscilla Giordano, was released on $1 million bail Wednesday. Daniel Clarin, the son-in-law, was held without bail. The daughter, Melissa Clarin, a mother of two young children, was freed on $500,000 bail.

Roger Adler, the Clarins' lawyer, said outside the courtroom: "This is obviously a significant case. We are trying to get our hands around it."

Attorneys for the other defendants declined comment Wednesday.

Giordano and Clarin were scheduled to return to court Dec. 7 for another bail hearing.

All four were extradited from Florida, where they live, to New York on Tuesday.

The 27 people, from New York, New Jersey, Florida and Nevada, were charged with enterprise corruption, money laundering, promoting gambling and other counts following a 28-month probe led by Queens District Attorney Richard Brown.

posted by Jerry "Jet" Whittaker at 12/01/2006 01:50:00 AM

Pull 'misleading' scratch tickets, gambling watchdog group urges

A national gambling watchdog group has raised new concerns about lottery scratch cards sold in Ontario, charging that current practices are unfair and misleading to the consumer.The Gambling Watch Network filed a letter with Ontario's ombudsman complaining that scratch tickets are sold even after the top prizes have been won. Brian Yealland, the group's spokesman, said retailers should stop selling tickets if the buyer has no chance of winning the jackpot.(CBC) "People go on purchasing those tickets although they have no chance of winning, and it seems to us that this is a breach of the understanding one has in buying a ticket," Yealland said. This practice has been the subject of scrutiny and lawsuits in the United States, causing some state lotteries to include disclaimers on the tickets explaining that some prizes may already be won. In Iowa, instant win tickets are pulled from stores once the grand prizes have been claimed, said Tina Potthoff, a spokeswoman for the Iowa State Lottery. "We want to make sure our players have a chance to win the top prize every time they purchase a ticket," Potthoff said. "If by chance a top prize is missing and they only have a second- or third-tier prize, we feel that's false advertising." A spokesman for the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation said players can call a toll-free number printed on the back of each scratch and win ticket to find out which prizes are still available to be won.

posted by Jerry "Jet" Whittaker at 12/01/2006 01:49:00 AM

Know the signs of problem gambling

When a person continues to gamble, despite the fact it is causing financial, marital, family, legal, employment, social, or school difficulties, it is a problem.Last week's article depicted an example of how a woman's gambling behaviour destroyed many aspects of her life, as well as those of others. That was a true story. She would not have stopped if she had not been forced to. No one in this woman's life knew that she gambled. Gambling is described, simply, as playing a game of chance for stakes. It occurs in many forms, such as lotteries, break-open tickets, casinos, sports betting, horse track betting, Bingo, table games, and the stock market. Pathological gambling is a progressive disease that is devastating to the gambler, as well as everyone who he or she has a significant relationship with.The American Psychiatric Association identifies pathological gambling as a "disorder of impulse control." It is an illness that is chronic and progressive. But it also can be diagnosed and treated. According to Robert L. Custer, M.D., there are three phases identified in the progression of gambling addiction:

    •The winning phase

    This occurs when gamblers experience a big win, or a series of wins, that causes them to feel (unreasonable) optimism that their winning will continue.

    •The losing phase

    During this phase, gamblers will brag about their wins, start gambling alone, think more about gambling, and borrow money legally or illegally. They may start lying to family and friends and become more irritable, restless, and withdrawn.

    Home life becomes unhappy and they are unable to pay off debts. Gamblers begin to "chase" their losses, believing they must return as soon as possible to win back their losses.

    •The desperation phase

    During this phase there is a marked increase in the time spent gambling. This is accompanied by remorse, blaming others, and alienating family and friends.

    Eventually, the gamblers may engage in illegal acts to finance their gambling.

posted by Jerry "Jet" Whittaker at 12/01/2006 01:48:00 AM


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Remember, you can beat the odds, but you can't beat the percentages.