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Tuesday, May 24, 2016

The Secret Addiction






The Secret Addiction


Attending class hungover, blacking out at every party and vomiting are all obvious signs of a developing drinking problem. What about missing class, anxiety, depression, mood swings, begging parents for money and excessive sports watching? These may just seem like the everyday struggles of a normal college student, but they also are all signs of a silent addiction that is just as harmful as drugs and alcoholism but harder to recognize: a gambling addiction.





Many young-aged adults experiment with gambling while in college, and it can lead down the same tumultuous path as alcoholism and drug abuse, but it isn’t nearly talked about as much as other  addictions.

Gambling addiction is not considered a mental disorder, although alcoholism and drug addiction are classified as medical conditions, according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. In college, there are many different outlets to help recognize alcohol and drug problems, from campus seminars to outreach programs. But there’s nothing about gambling. There are also many strict policies about consuming alcohol and drugs on campus with hard repercussions that can even lead to expulsion. At Sonoma State University, there is a link to a drug and alcohol resources page with four different campus resources and six local resources filled with information about the signs, symptoms and treatment of different addiction abuse, but there’s no word on gambling addictions.
Sonoma State isn’t the only university that doesn't take gambling seriously. According to National Council on Problem Gambling, only 22 percent of American universities have formal policies on gambling while almost every major university has policies on drug and alcohol use.
    ABC News reported on this issue that has been a problem since the early 2000s at the start of the online poker craze. They looked to Jeff Marotta, a problem-gambling services manager for the Oregon  Human Resources Agency.
"About one college student in 20 has a gambling problem, but it's an issue that's very much under the radar," said Marotta in a statement announcing a campaign to help prevent college gambling, published by ABC News in 2006. "Most colleges seem to view student gambling as a harmless extracurricular activity, yet we know that for a certain percentage of student gamblers it can lead to serious problems."    
    California is home to more than  90 casinos with 23 offering gambling to people of the age of 18 and up.
    Rohnert Park is home to the largest casino in California. Graton Resort and Casino opened its doors two years ago with a clear focus to attract young socialites interested in a night of drinking and gaming. Graton even holds more gaming tables than the MGM Grand Casino in Las Vegas. Graton is now nearing the opening of a $175 million, 20- room hotel. With the rise of gambling in the Rohnert Park area and the expansion of Graton attractions, gambling addiction needs to be taken more seriously at Sonoma State.
    Gambling takes place in many shapes and forms other than regular casino-style gaming. The lotto, sports betting and fantasy sports can all be considered gambling and they all begin while in college. According to the National Center for Responsible Gambling, 75 percent of college students have gambled in the past year, and 18 percent gamble on a weekly basis. Casino nights and poker tournaments are popular fundraising events put on by college organizations that introduce students to the gambling world.
     Gambling addiction can be extremely difficult to recognize. The first signs of a gambling addiction can be saving money for a casino trip, betting bigger bets, borrowing money to gamble, reliving past gambling experiences and secret gambling trips. If you or someone you know is suffering from gambling addiction, call 1-800-GAMBLER or visit gamblersanonymous.com.

High stakes indeed: Gambling with lives






  

Monday, May 23, 2016

JOHN SOWINSKI: Only Casino Interests Push Casinos in Florida



Economic Development? 








Only Casino Interests Push Casinos in Florida



- See more at: http://www.sunshinestatenews.com/story/mostly-only-casinos-want-casinos-florida#sthash.hsSNkvoK.dpuf


As the president of No Casinos, I occasionally respond to the progambling missives of an industry that has the same interest in Florida that a tick has in a basset hound. 
But one that recently appeared in Sunshine State News is a bit novel. According to Steve Norton, who helped bring big-time casinos to Atlantic City and now wants to do the same favor for Florida, Orlando has blocked the rest of the state from gambling happily ever after [Ref: May 12 guest column, "Floridians Should Look Beyond Orlando to Weigh Casinos' Benefits"]
Yes, the nanny state in the middle of the state has stopped the dice from tumbling, the slots from spinning and the boom times from rolling. 
We would be one big, happy Las Vegas by the Sea. 
No Casinos gets singled out for its effectiveness in this effort and I certainly appreciate the shout-out, even if in his very first sentence, Horton spilled the beans that I get paid. I only wish I got paid as much as the people on his side. 
But seriously, and with all due humility, we are not as good as Horton implies. It’s not like casinos are some unknown quantity that we can spin a gullible public into opposing.
Casinos are multiplying in some parts of the country like amoebas in a petri dish, getting so crowded that they now are cannibalizing each other to survive. Raise your hand if you’ve ever been in one. So we don’t have to plot any voodoo marketing strategies. 
All we have to do is shine a light on the industry and say, “Hey, look everybody.” Rest assured, when Florida has said no to expanded gambling, time and again, it has done so with eyes wide open. 
Unfortunately, saying no to this industry is like saying no to a shoe-chewing puppy. No matter how many times you roll up the newspaper, they’re right back at it when you walk out of the room. 
As for Horton’s fixation with Orlando, let me begin by pointing out that Reuben Askew and Lawton Chiles were not from Orlando. Bob Graham and Jeb Bush are not from Orlando. In fact, both are both from Miami. 
Yet every one of these former governors strenuously opposed gambling expansion. Askew actually started No Casinos. 
Another person who is not from Orlando is Fabiola Santiago. The Miami Herald columnist recently had this advice for the Genting Group, which has been trying to open a casino on Biscayne Bay for almost five years now: “Enough already. Go away, Genting." 
You only say “go away’’ when you don’t need what someone is selling. In 2015, Miami set another tourism record, attracting 15.5 million overnight visitors, a 6 percent increase from last year. Have you ever heard someone say: “Gee, I’d pack up my bags for a week at South Beach but they don’t have slot machines." 
In fact, there already is a glut of pari-mutuel gambling halls in South Florida. Add a Genting casino to the mix and you’d spread too few customers among too many providers, a microcosm of what brought Atlantic City crashing down. The casino sellers just look at the rubble and say, “Carry on." 
The reason international gambling outfits like Genting are so desperate to tap Florida is because they are tapped out everywhere else. Google “casino saturation’’ and see for yourself. 
A common myth perpetuated by the industry is that more and bigger casinos spur economic development and create jobs. 
In fact, the state’s chief economist has dismissed that argument. Casinos don’t create new business. They simply divert money that would have been spent elsewhere to slot machines and card tables. 
In its comprehensive analysis of the Florida gambling market, the Spectrum Gaming Group reported that 93 percent of revenues from an expanded casino market would come from residents, not a stampede of high rollers flying in from around the globe. That means little economic benefit, no significant number of new jobs and no increases in local salaries. 
This is all public record, not No Casino spin. 
But for argument’s sake, why not? Why not open the door to more casinos? Here is my answer: Casinos create gambling addiction and then profit from it. Research indicates that living close to a casino doubles the chance of someone becoming a problem gambler, with a third or more of casino revenues coming from such problem gamblers. 
There also is growing research about the addictive nature of high-tech slot machines, which actually can transfix players in a zone, dribbling out just enough small winnings to keep them pumping in more money. It’s all about increasing seat time to maximize losses. 
As people are converted to problem gamblers, they become more prone to higher rates of suicide, divorce, crime and bankruptcy. 
What does it tell you that in 2014, the casino industry undertook an effort to stop parents from abandoning their children in parked cars while they gamble? 
Or that the FBI’s Boston office warned the growth of the casino industry in the region could lead to an increase in organized crime and public corruption. 
No Casinos and Orlando are not Steve Norton’s problem.
His product is his problem.
John Sowinski is president of No Casinos, a long-standing campaign to stop the expansion of gambling in Florida.
- See more at: http://www.sunshinestatenews.com/story/mostly-only-casinos-want-casinos-florida#sthash.hsSNkvoK.dpuf

Well done! 

We all know how Atlantic City's Fairy Tale became a nightmare....leaving Atlantic City on the brink of bankruptcy because of Gambling Market Saturation. Were the streets ever paved with the GOLD that was promised? 

When the Casino Fever was contagious in Massachusetts, Steve Norton was salivating to invade....at the time, a poster employing the name 'Steve Norton' continued to post endlessly in response to each newspaper article promoting the great wonders of Predatory Gambling, to paraphrase: "and you don't even need to graduate from high school to get one of those great jobs...' 

At the time, Centaur, Mr. Norton's Indiana endeavor had filed for bankruptcy to essentially re-negotiate terms with the state...while also buying another casino out of bankruptcy. In response, the "Steve Norton" poster wrote:

 You mention Centaur, which is not in Bankruptcy, but has been unable to pay interest due. But you fail to mention the extraordinary up front fee to Indiana of $250 million for 2,000 slots and a tax that averages nearly 50%. Part of the reply: 

If you made a poor business decision, should a state bail you out? Steve Norton wrote an Op Ed, printed in the New Bedford Standard Times that began: 

I have no problem with anyone being opposed to gaming, whether on moral, religious or even economic reasons. 

Didn't Mr. Norton also file for bankruptcy in Pennsylvania to preserve a Gambling License? All so very complicated! 

When the Gambling Market becomes saturated, the bankruptcy court allows 're-negotiation' of terms, such as Twin River in Rhode Island that was approved to preserve greyhound racing and jettisoned it in bankruptcy court, along with other issues. Mr. Norton paints a rosy picture. 



Dan Finney is right about our addiction to casino funds



Dan Finney is right about our addiction to casino funds

Rev Carlos Jayne, West Des Moines, Letter to the Editor

May 21, 2016

Thanks to Dan Finney for his straight-out truth about the star of the Iowa gambling cartel — Prairie Meadows [It's time to break our addiction to gambling money, May 19]. I say "cartel" because there is no legitimacy in casino operations, as their revenue is from "suckers." We citizens allow that, of course, because we  have become addicted to "free money" from the Polk County cash cow.
In the '80s Iowa churches led by the United Methodist Church started "Citizens for Gambling Free Government." It was a noble undertaking and successful for a couple of short years in slowing down casino expansion. Eventually all the existing Iowa casinos at the time formed an alliance and with the acquiescence (practically) of the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission, started dividing Iowa into "segments of suckers" so as to not be predators of each other but, rather, stick to being predators of the public in their designated areas. Obviously, the biggest pot of suckers is in the area designated for Prairie Meadows.
We are addicted to the money coming from our Polk County cash cow and the big, bad IRS is after its share. Will we have to start supporting our local nonprofits with increased donations rather than depending on casino suckers? Will horse breeders have to make their own way? Will our tax money have to pay for roads and potholes as originally intended?
— the Rev. Carlos Jayne, West Des Moines, retired United Methodist legislative advocate



Money Laundering Closes Normandie Casino





Normandie Casino to close after nearly 70 years

- See more at: http://www.gardenavalleynews.org/article/normandie-casino-close-after-nearly-70-years#sthash.0qgVY9N4.dpuf

The Normandie Casino, which started as the Western Club in 1940 before being purchased by Russ Miller in 1947, ends it legacy as the oldest poker club in the state as it closes its door when earlier this year its four owners where charged with money-laundering. In late April, the California Gambling Control Commission revoked the casino’s license to operate, but granted the business a four-month reprieve for the sale the casino, the Daily Breeze reported. 

The card club at 1045 W. Rosecrans Ave., Gardena was a family business, operated by the Miller Family for nearly 70 years. 

Russ Miller changed the casino name from the Western Club to the Normandie. It is speculated that among those bidding to purchase the Normandie is Larry Flynt, who owns the Hustler Casino, Gardena’s remaining card club that operates at the corner of Vermont and Rosecrans avenues. Flynt, a source said, would be interested in the spacious Normandie property to turn into a Vegas-style resort, complete with a hotel and shops. 

The timing of such a business venture would coincide with the arrival of the Los Angeles Rams football team, and the completion of a stadium construction in nearby Inglewood in 2019. Flynt did not comment on the rumored transactions.

Reports say the Miller family notified the state’s Employment Development Department in late April of the Normandie’s 380 employees, who face pending permanent layoff. 

Reports said the four Miller sons, who ran the casino operation, spurned selling the business in recent years. The casino came under investigation and in January 2016, the four partners pled guilty to federal charges that the Gardena club violated anti-money laundering provisions of the Bank Security Act, it was reported. 

The casino hid the winnings of several high rollers by failing to properly record and report a series of huge cash transactions in 2013, according to the court documents. 

The Normandie club agreed to forfeit $1.3 million in illegal earnings, documents show. It’s managing partners also agreed to pay $1 million in federal fines, as mentioned in the plea agreement. 

Court records showed that the casino failed to record information for one player who had racked up more than $1 million in winnings during a six-week span. 

“The United States has an array of anti-money laundering statutes designed to prevent criminals from using the American financial system to launder the large sums of cash generated by illegal activity such as organized crime, drug trafficking and human trafficking,” U.S. Atty. Eileen M. Decker said in a statement. “Casinos that fail to follow these rules are particularly vulnerable to criminals who seek to disguise illegal cash as gambling winnings.” 

Mark Werksman, the attorney representing the Normandie Casino, said that his client has cooperated in resolving this case. He added that no individual managing partners or owners are facing criminals charges or jail time. - See more at: http://www.gardenavalleynews.org/article/normandie-casino-close-after-nearly-70-years#sthash.0qgVY9N4.dpuf

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

DELAWARE: Heroin money laundered at casinos, police say



VIDEO ON LINK


Heroin money laundered at casinos, police say



James Fisher, The News Journal

May 17, 2016

A 31-year-old Felton man, Deangelo Mcglotten, is the "ringleader" of a large-scale heroin distribution effort that a two-year police investigation just broke apart, authorities said announcing the indictment of Mcglotten and 12 other people on drug, conspiracy, racketeering and money laundering charges.

Police also said the investigation uncovered a money-laundering scheme that sent proceeds of illegal drug sales through casinos. A Georgetown businessman, Salman Choudhary, 37, was charged with involvement in organized crime, racketeering, money laundering, attempting to evade tax and failing to file tax returns. He was held on a bond of $1.7 million, the largest cash bond of any of the people indicted after what authorities called "Operation Duck Hunt."

"A heroin distribution ring operating in Kent and Sussex Counties was led by Deangelo Mcglotten along with his closest associates, Timothy Felix and Adrian Coverdale," said Nathaniel McQueen Jr., superintendent of the Delaware State Police. "The illegal proceeds of the drug organization were being laundered by Salman Choudhary through casinos, businesses and personal property."

Felix, 30, of Dover, faces eight criminal charges including drug dealing, conspiracy, racketeering and money laundering. He was held on $750,000 cash bond. Coverdale, 34, of Blades faces six similar charges and was held on $400,000 cash bond.

Police declined to specify exactly how the suspects allegedly laundered ill-gotten money at casinos, saying the investigation had not yet wrapped up and pointing out some of that information should be withheld pending the suspects' trials. "I know you have some good questions, but we have to hold off on that," Bratz told reporters.

Comments law enforcement officials made at the news conference suggested the alleged money laundering happened at the Dover Downs casino, and that discovering it was key to getting the investigation off the ground.

"It began as a possible money laundering case and evolved into one of the largest heroin seizures in Delaware, along with other asset seizures throughout Sussex County to include money, property and guns," said Greg Nolt, director of the Division of Gaming Enforcement, at the news conference.

A DSP spokesman, Sgt. Richard Bratz, said the operation began in April 2014 and culminated in multiple search warrant executions and arrests on May 11. Earlier, on Jan. 13, he said, police searched Mcglotten's home and an Acura vehicle linked to him but didn't arrest him in connection with the probe until last week.

Still, Mcglotten had been detained on heroin-related charges during the course of the two-year probe. He was arrested by Dover police in July 2014 after a tip that he was in possession of a lot of heroin; at the time, police said 1,300 bags of heroin weighing 19.5 grams was in his car.

In all, police confiscated 1.75 kilograms of heroin during the investigation, with a street value of $1.2 million, Bratz said. On May 11, police arrested eight people, including Mcglotten, Choudhary, Felix and Coverdale.

Six others were indicted by a Sussex County grand jury but have not yet been located or arrested, police said. They are:



  • Linda Mcglotten, 49, of Milford, the mother of Deangelo Mcglotten
  • Reginald Mcglotten, 30, of Millsboro
  • Obrien Morris, 26, of Millsboro
  • Luis Manzanet-Garlaza, 27, of Milford
  • Sohail Zeeshan, 39, of Rehoboth Beach
  • Luis Manzanet-Garlaza, who police said has ties to Milford, northern New Jersey, Florida, and Puerto Rico.


  • If anyone has any information in reference to the location of the listed wanted subjects, they are asked to contact Sgt. M. Dawson at (302) 752-3815.  Information may also be provided by calling Delaware Crime Stoppers at (800) TIP-3333, via the Internet at www.delaware.crimestoppersweb.com or by sending an anonymous tip by text to 274637 (CRIMES) using the keyword "DSP."

    "Where possible, we want to try to eliminate entire networks of drug dealers and hold those at the very top of the organization responsible. The time and the effort necessary to do that is extensive," said Delaware Attorney General Matt Denn at a news conference in Georgetown. "We are going to continue to diligently pursue ops like this one, to disrupt trafficking operations and hold responsible those who put this poison into our communities, but until our state is successfully treating the addiction crisis that has gripped our state, the demand for these drugs is going to continue, and eventually new dealers are going to seek to replace these ones.”

    Contact James Fisher at (302) 983-6772, on Twitter @JamesFisherTNJ or jfisher@delawareonline.com.

    EDITOR'S NOTE: An earlier version of this story had an incorrect number of people indicted. The correct number is 13 in all.


    http://www.delawareonline.com/story/news/local/2016/05/17/heroin-money-laundered-casinos-cops-say/84439438/


    Tuesday, May 17, 2016

    Higher bad debt provisions seen at Genting Singapore




    Higher bad debt provisions seen at Genting Singapore

    Sunday, May 15, 2016

    Macau Plans Oversight, Entry Capital Hike for Gaming Promoters






     Wed May 11, 2016 

    Macau gambling industry review finds casino operators fulfilled all commitments

    The government of Macau on Wednesday said all casino operators in its territory had fulfilled commitments agreed in initial contracts signed over a decade ago, marking the culmination of a year-long review into the impact of the gambling industry.
    But the government said it would tighten regulations for junket operators - promoters that bring high-rolling gamblers to casinos - and that its regulator had started an investigation in February to ensure accounting compliance.
    Macau is the world's largest gambling hub by revenue, and is the only territory in greater China where casinos are permitted. But it is so dependent on gambling - which brings in over 80 percent of government revenue - that it is trying to diversify.
    Authorities have also increased regulation over the past two years, coinciding with a central government campaign against ostentatiousness among public officials. Over that time, gambling revenue has plummeted to five-year lows and monthly revenue has dropped by over half since the start of 2014.
    The review was widely seen by analysts, investors and industry executives as a window into how authorities viewed the operators ahead of license renewals starting in 2020.
    In the review, the government acknowledged the contribution to boosting economic growth by operators Sands China Ltd (1928.HK), Wynn Macau Ltd (1128.HK), Galaxy Entertainment Group Ltd (0027.HK), Melco Crown Entertainment Ltd (MPEL.O), SJM Holdings Ltd (0880.HK) and MGM China Holdings Ltd (2282.HK).
    It said they each met commitments including creating upward mobility for employees and diversifying gaming revenue. The government said non-gaming elements generated income of 23.2 billion patacas ($2.90 billion) in 2014.
    "Currently, total non-gaming spending of tourists in Macao is comparable to that of Las Vegas. However, the percentage is diluted as Macao's gross gaming revenue is far too high," the government said.
    On junkets, the government said initial findings suggest increased awareness of compliance since the Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau (DICJ) began its investigation. It said the regulator had visited about half of junket operators - over 80 - and that the investigation will be completed in six months.
    The regulator is also working with the industry to establish a central credit database to minimize credit risk. The industry is riddled with bad debt as there is no formal mechanism for claiming from gamblers in China as casino debts are illegal.

    (Reporting by Farah Master; Editing by Christopher Cushing)

    Macau Plans Oversight, Entry Capital Hike for Gaming Promoters



    May 11, 2016

    • Gaming hub regulator prepares to set up credit database
    • Six casino operators' gambling licences to expire from 2020
    Macau plans to raise capital requirements for gaming promoters and is preparing to set up a credit database to weed out risky gamblers as it increases oversight of the junkets business that brings in high-stakes players to the local casinos of Las Vegas Sands Corp. and Wynn Resorts Ltd.
    Macau "intends to raise the entry threshold of junket promoters,” according to a government statement discussing its interim review of the city’s gambling industry since 20-year casino licenses were issued. No further details were given at a briefing Wednesday to announce results of the review. Bloomberg reported last month the city is working on rules including a proposal to hike capital requirements for new junket operators to 10 million patacas from the current 100,000 patacas.
    The closely watched report is meant to help set policy direction for the $30 billion industry as local units of casino operators such as MGM Resorts International and Melco Crown Entertainment Group Ltd. struggle to cope with Macau’s two-year gambling downturn. The city’s top official in charge of its shrinking economy has said findings from the review could be used as thebasis to consider whether licenses for the six operators will be renewed when they start to expire in 2020.
    “This document could be used as some sort of general framework upon which license renewals will be discussed over the coming years, although there’s nothing in the report that explicitly says this,” said Grant Govertsen, an analyst at Union Gaming Group. “We haven’t seen anything that suggests this will result in any changes to the status quo.”



    Macau casinos have been under pressure to attract more tourists after President Xi Jinping in December 2014 called on the city to diversify from gambling. Macau’s economy contracted 20.3 percent last year as casino revenue plunged amid China’s slowdown and the Beijing-led anti-graft campaign which scared off VIP gamblers.
    Macau’s government is working to promote cross-revenue between gaming and non-gaming elements, according to the interim report, prepared by the University of Macau’s Institute for the Study of Commercial Gaming. It also highlighted that all six operators have fulfilled concessionary requirements. The junket industry of gaming promoters needs to contend with issues including custody of client’s money and credits, lax entry and exit of the market and excessive bargaining power towards gaming operators, according to the report.
    Non-gaming business generated 23.2 billion patacas for Macau’s operators in 2014 and tourist spending away from the tables is comparable to that of Las Vegas’, the report found.

    Licence Renewals

    Current Macau concessions and sub-concessions which began in 2002 are set to expire in March 2020 for SJM Holdings Ltd and MGM China Holdings Ltd, and in June 2022 for the remaining four: Sands China Ltd., Wynn Macau Ltd., Galaxy Entertainment Group Ltd. and Melco Crown.
    Secretary for Economy and Finance Lionel Leong said at Wednesday’s briefing that the government will also have to consider the quality of life for Macau residents when considering whether to renew casino licenses. The official had said last year the government will evaluate whether operators fulfilled commitments such as developing non-gaming facilities and providing staff with training and advancement opportunities.
    The proportion of local employees holding managerial jobs or higher for the operators rose to 80 percent in 2014 from 60 percent in 2008, according to the report.



    Bloomberg Intelligence’s index of Macau gaming stocks rose 16 percent in the first quarter after about $46 billion of market value was wiped out last year from the city’s six gambling houses.

    Limit Growth

    Macau wants to limit growth in the number of new gambling tables to not more than 3 percent per year through 2023, and also plans to raise the contribution of non-gaming revenue to the casino industry to above 9 percent from 6.6 percent in 2014, according to a May 6 statement posted on Macau’s government website, citing Leong.
    The Chinese city, the only place in the country where casinos are legal, had 5,957 gambling tables at the end of 2015, an increase of 4.3 percent from a year earlier, according to Macau government data. Tax revenue from gambling contributed to 81.6 percent of Macau’s public revenue, the data showed.