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Saturday, August 1, 2015

High stakes in fight over island casino






High stakes in fight over island casino

Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head (Aquinnah) estimates nearly $5M in annual revenue from gambling hall

By George Brennan
gbrennan@capecodonline.com

Posted Aug. 1, 2015 at 2:00 AM
Updated at 7:02 AM 


The Wampananoag Tribe of Gay Head (Aquinnah) expects to see revenues of up to $4.9 million per year if a federal judge allows it to open a gambling hall in the tiny Martha’s Vineyard town, according to a court document.
It’s the first window into how much the tribe expects to make from its Class II facility, which will feature electronic bingo games that look and feel like slot machines.
The $4.9 million estimate is modest compared to the $200 million that Plainridge Park Casino, the state’s lone operating casino, expects to take in its first year. Plainridge generated $6.1 million in revenue in its first week of operation, according to the Massachusetts Gaming Commission.
But the $4.5 million projected for the tribe from the facility in the first year would be a 64 percent increase over the tribe's roughly $7 million annual budget, Cheryl Andrews-Maltais, chairman of the Aquinnah Wampanoag Gaming Corporation, said Friday.
The tribe’s existing revenue comes from federal grants, some of them geared toward specific uses like health care, tribal council Chairman Tobias Vanderhoop said Friday. Those funds aren’t enough to provide services like education, housing and youth programs to all of the tribe’s 1,269 members, he said.
“(The grants) are not adequate to extend services to those who live beyond Martha’s Vineyard,” he said. All but about 300 members live off the island.
“We hear through the grapevine people saying, `Why can’t you do a bike shop or general store?’ How can you run a government on that?'” Andrews-Maltais said.
Earlier this week, U.S. District Court Judge Dennis Saylor allowed a temporary restraining order halting construction of the gambling facility in an unfinished community center on the tribe’s reservation.
Saylor is expected to hear arguments Aug. 12 in the overarching case of whether the Aquinnah tribe has the same rights as other federally-recognized tribes under the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act. The state and town of Aquinnah have tried to block the tribe from opening a casino, saying a land settlement agreement finalized in 1987 prohibits gambling, but the tribe has opinions from federal agencies saying the Indian casino laws supersede that deal.
The tribe turned its attention to its island headquarters after then-Gov. Deval Patrick refused to negotiate a compact for a mainland casino.
The revenue projections for the tribe, which are $4.5 million in the first year and increase to $4.9 million in the third year, were done by Klas Robinson, a Minnesota-based consulting firm that has done extensive work in Indian gaming, according to the company’s web site.
“It’s not out of the ballpark,” said Clyde Barrow, a casino expert who has watched the Bay State market closely. 
The island casino could benefit from the tourism industry, though it’s not likely to draw any more visitors to Martha’s Vineyard, Barrow said.
“It wouldn’t be a destination,” he said. “People who are there and have already been to the beach and shops might say, ‘Let’s go check out the casino for a while.’”
Because it's a Class II facility, the tribe wouldn't have to share any revenue with the state, under federal law.
A tribe referendum is scheduled for Aug. 16 to either reaffirm or reject previous approvals to use the center for gambling. 
“At the end of the day, the will of our people will be heard and we will move in the direction they decide,” Vanderhoop said.

http://www.capecodtimes.com/article/20150801/NEWS/150809950/101015/NEWSLETTER100


Friday, July 31, 2015

Is Las Vegas Sands A Victim Of Geopolitical Rivalry?


Interesting excerpt:

Is Las Vegas Sands A Victim Of Geopolitical Rivalry?


According to the Guardian, which cites a secret report commissioned by Sheldon Adelson's China unit, Sands China, back in 2010, Chinese authorities in the mainland feared U.S. gambling establishments were used by the CIA to ensnare and blackmail Chinese officials. The report, which was prepared by a private investigator amid disquiet among U.S. establishments in the former Portuguese territory, stated that several Chinese officials believed the CIA was very active in Macau, adding that U.S. intelligence infiltrated and utilized U.S.-owned gambling businesses to "support their operations."
The investigation was conducted after it was felt that Macau's authorities were turning increasingly hostile toward U.S.-owned casinos, particularly Sands China, according to the Guardian's recent article.
While LVS has ridiculed the report, calling it an "idea for a movie script," from an investor's point of view, one cannot ignore this story. Given that China today is the biggest geopolitical rival of the U.S., China's crackdown on corruption could well be a ploy to scare away government officials from gambling in Macau.

http://seekingalpha.com/article/3374855-is-las-vegas-sands-a-victim-of-geopolitical-rivalry


High rollers: Dealers describe special treatment, abuse





Casinos forced to deal with rule-breaking high rollers


07.31.2015     08:22 AM     

SportsMemo.com blog entry.
Not surprising, but for all the stringent rules casinos have, those who enter with a suitcase full of cash can typically get away with anything they want. That includes acting like a spoiled six-year old who doesn't like it when they lose.


"All men are created equal except in the casino," Glen Costales, the pit manager, said at a hearing before a tribal gaming commission in May. Transcripts of the hearing were obtained by The Associated Press. "If it's a premium player, he gets away with a lot more than the five-dollar player would get away with."

"The casinos pretend they have rules that are set in stone, like going into a bank or dealing with a police station. Are they supposed to allow late bets? Absolutely not. Do they do it all the time? All the time," said Kaufmann, a dealer who sees plenty of crude behavior himself. "The abuse, the screaming, the cheating, the sexual harassment. Throwing things around. It's worse all the time."





High rollers: Dealers describe special 

treatment, abuse

Image
JESSICA HILL / AP
In this Sept. 18, 2013, file photo, patrons play craps at a table at Mohegan Sun in Uncasville, Conn. In the competition to attract and keep the biggest spenders, casinos are known to pull out the stops with comped hotel rooms, meals and rebates for a percentage of their losses. During a May 2015 hearing, dealers said they often had to endure abuse from high roller betters while extending courtesies average players do not receive.



Updated Tuesday, July 28, 2015 | 1:27 p.m.
UNCASVILLE, Conn. — One high roller requests a refrigerator full of bananas that he squeezes and throws as he gambles. Another urinates against a wall. Other high-stakes players described by a pit manager at Mohegan Sun, one of the world's largest casinos, throw chairs, scream at dealers and expect rules to be bent at the tables.
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In the increasing competition for the biggest spenders, casinos are known to pull out all the stops with comped hotel rooms, meals and rebates for a percentage of their losses. But some dealers say efforts to satisfy and retain the players — known as "whales" — go much further, with casinos tolerating abuse and extending courtesies that test the integrity of the games.


"All men are created equal except in the casino," Glen Costales, the pit manager, said at a hearing before a tribal gaming commission in May. Transcripts of the hearing were obtained by The Associated Press. "If it's


Costales was testifying in support of a pit boss, Maria DeGiacomo, who was fired this year after the casino accused her of colluding with a high roller by allowing late bets at a blackjack table. DeGiacomo and other employees say dealers frequently grant similar requests from top players.

The player, Matthew Menchetti, was a regular who lost as much as $50,000 on visits to Mohegan Sun, and a lifetime total of more than $1 million. Casino security flagged his play as suspicious in February and asked state police to arrest him and two dealers, but the detective concluded DeGiacomo and another dealer apparently took it upon themselves to keep Menchetti happy and playing, according to a police report, and no charges were filed.

His attorney, John Strafaci, said Menchetti is seeking to have his name cleared by the gaming commission since state police cleared him of wrongdoing. He said what his client was doing was normal for players of his caliber.

Mohegan Sun's president, Raymond Pineault, said its termination of the dealers involved and its ejection of the player demonstrate it does not tolerate any bending of the rules.

Shane Kaufmann, a vice president for a branch of the Transport Workers Union in Las Vegas, which represents several thousand casino dealers, said rules are frequently ignored at high-stakes tables.

"The casinos pretend they have rules that are set in stone, like going into a bank or dealing with a police station. Are they supposed to allow late bets? Absolutely not. Do they do it all the time? All the time," said Kaufmann, a dealer who sees plenty of crude behavior himself. "The abuse, the screaming, the cheating, the sexual harassment. Throwing things around. It's worse all the time."

Gaming commissions enforce the rules at casinos across the country, but the level of scrutiny can vary by jurisdiction. Dealers say state inspectors in Atlantic City, New Jersey, for one, have a reputation for toughness. In Connecticut, the state does not have any oversight of table games at Mohegan Sun and Foxwoods, where the tribes that own the casinos also control their own gaming commissions.

Costales, who described the banana squeezer and public urinator without revealing their names in his testimony, said such outrageous behavior is tolerated more these days because of growing competition than when he joined the business three decades ago.

Menchetti, who also was testifying in support of DeGiacomo, told the gaming commission that when he said he'd forgotten to post a bet, DeGiacomo and others generally made accommodations. He said the intention was never to steal — at most, it prolonged his stay at the table — but he expected special treatment, given his level of play, according to the transcript of the hearing.

"It's no different in my mind than me calling my host and asking him for an extra 2,500 points on my account so I can go purchase something at a Lux, Bond & Green," he said, referring to a jewelry store.

DeGiacomo said Menchetti did not do anything close to cheating and the two of them became victims of selective enforcement because certain bosses did not like either of them.

DeGiacomo, who is still fighting her dismissal, said rules shifted depending on the player and pit bosses were encouraged to keep high rollers happy. She testified during her hearing: "I have to make sure that we get our money, which we did, every time he played. There's maybe two times he won."

As part of the state police investigation, the detective interviewed several dealers who said Menchetti would hit the table, curse and yell at them. They told the detective that in cases where he or other high rollers asked to post a late bet or for other considerations, they would defer to a superior.


http://lasvegassun.com/news/2015/jul/28/high-rollers-dealers-describe-special-treatment-ab/?_ga=1.48915744.70279974.1427122288



Two people accused of cheating at casinos



  • Two people accused of cheating at casinos









    • By Staff Reports

      Posted Jul. 30, 2015 at 3:09 PM 


      LAKE CHARLES — Two Houston residents were arrested by Louisiana State Police Gaming Troopers and accused of cheating in separate incidents at two different Lake Charles area casinos, according to LSP.
      Long B. Nguyen, 44, was accused of cheating during a game of Mini-Baccarat on July 25 at a Lake Charles area casino.
      Nguyen was located in the casino and interviewed by troopers from the Louisiana State Police Gaming Enforcement Division, after which he was arrested "for cheating and swindling," the release states.
      Another incident allegedly occurred on July 27, according to police, when  Thu T. Vo, 41, was playing Mini-Baccarat at another Lake Charles area casino.
      Vo was also located by authorities within the casino, interviewed and arrested "for cheating and swindling," police said.
      Both Nguyen and Vo were booked into the Calcasieu Parish Correctional Center.
      If convicted, each faces up to five years in prison and/or up to a $2,000 fine.
      http://www.beauregarddailynews.net/article/20150730/NEWS/150739975





    Batman-inspired sheriff spends taxpayer dollars like Bruce Wayne on casinos and first-class trips




    Batman-inspired sheriff spends taxpayer dollars like Bruce Wayne on casinos and first-class trips




    Clayton County Sheriff Victor Hill -WXIA screencap

    Thursday, July 30, 2015

    Man Steals Security Guard’s Car During Attack Outside Resorts World




    Police: Man Steals Security Guard’s Car During Attack Outside Queens Casino

    Wednesday, July 29, 2015

    Tribal Labor Sovereignty Act moves forward after markup session



    Tribal Labor Sovereignty Act moves forward after markup session

    Former Tech employee indicted on felony theft charges to feed lottery addiction




    Former Tech employee indicted on felony theft charges

    Douglas Sims blames actions on addiction to Texas Lottery

    Posted: July 28, 2015

    Sims
    Sims
    A former Texas Tech employee told a Lubbock police detective he stole from the university and from two other businesses to support his addiction to playing the Texas Lottery.
    A Lubbock County grand jury indicted Tuesday Douglas Sims on a three third-degree felony counts of theft between $20,000 to $100,000.
    Prosecutors accuse Sims of stealing thousands of items from three companies including Tech and pawned them at four pawn shops and at a metal scrap yard in Lubbock, according to an arrest warrant.
    Sims later told Lubbock police Det. Bradley McMahan he initially lied to him about not stealing Tech property to save his job.
    Sims is listed as an asbestos compliance manager for Tech’s engineering services, according to the Tech staff directory online.
    However, officials said Sims’ indictment only alleges items stolen from two contracting companies.
    More charges alleging theft from Tech may follow, the officials said.
    Tech spokesman Chris Cook said Sims was fired earlier this month.
    McMahan reported he went through a database pawn shops and jewelry stores update and discovered Sims received more than $56,000 from selling 1,076 items from pawn shops between January 2012 to June 27, the warrant states.
    The items pawned included surveying equipment such as a level, a survey magnet and tripods; construction equipment such as a drill, a grinder and a power inverter; and air testing equipment such as a vaporizer, a pump and a microscope.
    The items belonged to Wilkerson Properties and to X8 Environmental, for whom Sims worked on a part-time or contractual basis.
    The owners of the firms said Sims had authority to use the property but not to pawn it.
    After conducting surveillance on Sims, McMahan interviewed Sims at his office at Tech.
    The detective reported Sims knew why he was there and admitted to pawning the property to pay back loans.
    Sims initially denied stealing Tech property, but later admitted to stealing from the school.
    McMahan reported Sims confessed to his employers he stole their property and was willing to return the property and make amends.
    Sims left the detective a voicemail saying “I got pretty stupid there, and greedy.”
    Sims also provided a list of items he pawned without permission, the warrant states.
    Sims blamed his actions on his addiction to playing the Texas Lottery. He told McMahan his gambling addiction nearly cost him his marriage.
    McMahan reported Sims gave him consent to search his vehicle and the detective found golf clubs, pawn tickests and literature on addiction recovery, the warrant states.
    Sims was arrested July 14 and was released on bond July 17, according to court records.
    A third-degree felony carries a punishment of two to 10 years in prison.

    http://lubbockonline.com/crime-and-courts/courts/2015-07-28/former-tech-employee-indicted-felony-theft-charges#.Vbi2X7NVhHw