Meetings & Information


Monday, May 31, 2010

Parx: The First of Many Embezzlements

Pennsylvania's legislature approved slot parlors at midnight on the Fourth of July.

Downsizing Casinos and The McDonald's of Gambling included comments and an article about Parx racetrack casino that portend of the Gambling Addiction to come --

The typical Parx gambler is a low-roller who lives
within 20 miles and drops $25 or $30 into the slots
three or four times a week.

Police: Ex-tax collector gambled taxpayer money

The former Jenkintown official blew more than $180,000 at Parx Casino, authorities said.

The slot machines at Bensalem's Philadelphia Park Parx Casino ka-chinged away.

Playing the high-limit slot machines, O'Neill lost $181,599 from Sept.14, 2007, through December 2009, according to the play usage recorded on his Player Card.

That card shows that O'Neill visited the casino 180 times during that time period.

The problem is not that O'Neill was losing but, according to Montgomery County authorities, he was losing taxpayers' money.

O'Neill, the former Jenkintown tax collector, Thursday was arrested on charges of theft and related offenses for stealing $226,973 in tax revenue that he had collected for the Jenkintown School District.

The sad part about this story is that it’s just the beginning, and as you’re reading there are not only other Pennsylvanians committing crimes to support their casino addiction but there are law abiding citizens who are mostly seniors who are gambling in our casinos excessively and have lost their savings and are now blowing their monthly fixed incomes. And even though Parx casino operators are aware of not only the excessive amount of time their patrons gamble along with their heavy losses through the Parx’s REWARD/CARD program they will never intervene. Now I’m not saying that the ex-tax collector who blew Montgomery County taxpayers money away in the Parx casino should not be held accountable for his actions but I am saying that the Parx’s casino operator should also be held accountable and should return the embezzled $181,599. The reason I say this is because if it was stolen merchandise like jewelry, art, or an automobile that was used to supports the thief’s casino addiction those items would be returned to their lawful owners.

This incident is why we must make our BILLION DOLLAR casino operators adapt to safeguards that address the compulsive casino gambling problem BEFORE one has the problem. Here in Pennsylvania I’ve been working with Rep. Paul Clymer on getting legislation passed that would make our casino operators send their patrons who they are already tracking with COMP/CARDS monthly statements. These statements would enable gamblers and their family members to spot a loved one's gambling problem BEFORE it gets out of hand.

Who knows how many Pennsylvanians and their innocents families would be in a better domestic and financial situation today when being made aware of their casino wins and mostly LOSSES month after month in black and white. This legislation has been put forth in our House and Senate in the last three sessions and has been the only legislation since our gaming law passed in 2004 that addresses the compulsive casino gambling problem ‘BEFORE’ one has the problem.

Gambling Addiction

Gambler in bid to steal cash

By Karon Kelly
A FORMER serviceman resorted to burglary after he gambled away the deposit for a new home with his partner.

Paul Williamson hoped to steal cash which he could use to place further bets in a bid to get the money back before his girlfriend found out.

Newcastle Crown Court heard the 28-year-old was linked to the raid, at the Washington home of a man he knew.

Prosecutor Malinda Blackburn told the court: "He was arrested and described himself as a compulsive gambler.

"He told officers he had been receiving counselling for his gambling addiction and just before the offence took place he had gambled away money meant for rent for new premises he and his girlfriend were to move into.

The court heard Williamson served a prison sentence in 2007 for theft from his employer.

He was sentenced to nine months behind bars after stealing almost £30,000 from the Town Centre Citroen Garage in Sunderland.

Glen Gatland, defending, said thanks to intensive counselling Williamson has not gambled at all this year and is determined to combat his addiction for good.

Mr Gatland said Williamson's father, a bookmaker's manager, committed suicide because of his own gambling addiction.

Slots: Not Economic Development

Mr. Kostrzewa's article below clearly and simply defined the false promises of slot parlors and casinos as quick solutions being offered.

Professor Robert Goodman (in "The Luck Business") addressed the unlikelihood of desirable companies locating within proximity of casinos due to the increased crime that accompanies them.
Studies indicate that crime increases within a 50 mile radius.
Not only is Fall River's decision flawed, but will likely preclude more desirable development.

So true --

Real economic development takes years of hard work. It takes energy and commitment.

And it has to be led by public officials.

John Kostrzewa: Banking on casinos is a threat to innovative, knowledge-based jobs of the future

May 30--Massachusetts state workers are clearing trees on 300 acres in Fall River that were targeted for a biotechnology manufacturing plant and high-tech employers.

It was part of a plan put together by city and state officials, in partnership with the University of Massachusetts, to lead the area out of its chronic economic woes by developing well-paying, white-collar jobs to replace the factory work that is long gone.

But during the last two weeks, city officials have changed course.

With dollar signs dancing in their heads, city leaders have decided the site is better suited for a casino, and they have cut a deal to sell the land to the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe.

Does all this look familiar?

Rather than doing the hard work, piece by piece, to attract the knowledge-based jobs of the future, the politicians chase the quick fix of easy money and a short-term promise of jobs that will get them through the next election.

Taxpayers have seen it again and again during the last 10 years.

In fact, it's in danger of playing out again just 20 miles down Route 195 at the State House in Rhode Island.

During this legislative session -- three years after the state fell into a deep recession because of its reliance on an old industrial and construction economy -- Governor Carcieri and lawmakers are trying to begin the long process of rebuilding Rhode Island. Last week, they debated proposals to make the tax code more competitive, help entrepreneurs raise capital and cut red tape for small businesses.

Much more hard work needs to be done to change Rhode Island's economy.

Since 2004, the number of high-tech jobs in Rhode Island has hovered around 22,000, or less than 5 percent of all jobs, according to the latest report of the New England Economic Project, a nonpartisan, nonprofit group. NEEP forecasts high-tech could be among the fastest-growing sectors, and the core of a new economy, if the right climate is created.

But while that discussion continues, there is yet another debate underway in Rhode Island about putting a referendum on the November ballot to allow full-scale casinos at Twin River in Lincoln and Newport Grand in Newport.

With the state expected to take in $292 million from the two sites this year, some legislators worry that plans taking shape in Massachusetts to license two casinos and perhaps slot parlors at dog tracks will siphon off gambling dollars, creating new holes in the state budget. The announcement of the Mashpee Wampanoags' plans in Fall River has raised the stakes, they say, because the tribe's casino would be just across the border and attract gambling dollars once headed for Rhode Island.

The danger is that the gambling debate, fueled by lobbyists for big-name companies, will grab the legislators' attention, change their focus and overwhelm all other issues at the State House. Real economic development will be pushed to the back burner.

The latest push for a full-scale casino in Rhode Island accelerated after Fall River Mayor Will Flanagan announced two weeks ago that he supported the Mashpee Wampanoags' plan to build a $500-million casino with three hotels, a water park and a shopping center on the site.

"As the mayor of Fall River, I have a responsibility to the people who elected me to put them back to work," Flanagan said.

Last week, the Fall River Redevelopment Authority voted tentatively to sell the land to the tribe for $21 million.

But it's far from a done deal. The tribe, which once planned a similar casino in Middleboro, Mass., has many hurdles to clear.

For example, the land was once part of Freetown State Forest. The transfer of the property from the state to the city includes a restriction that the site could not be used for a casino. That provision would have to be repealed by the legislature.

Also, casino gambling is illegal in Massachusetts. The governor and legislature would first have to legalize gambling. Then, the Mashpee Wampanoags would have to beat out many other competitors to win one of the licenses awarded by the state.

In addition to all that, Fall River residents would have to approve the casino.

If this effort fails, the tribe could still try to go the federal route to build a casino outside of the control of state regulators. That would require placing the land in a special trust, with the approval of federal regulators.

But land trust requests for some tribes were essentially frozen by a recent Supreme Court ruling. The Mashpee Wampanoags were one of them.

That's because the tribe was not formally recognized until 2007, and currently only tribes recognized before 1934 could use the land-into-trust process. Congress would have to give permission to tribes recognized after 1934 for them to place land in trust, which would allow them to build a casino.

Still, the tribe, which says it has financial backing from Arkana Ltd., the firm that invested in Foxwoods Resort Casino, in Connecticut, thinks it took a big step by acquiring the option for the land in Fall River.

"This proposal will bring economic opportunity for the tribe and its people, while also directly and indirectly creating thousands of jobs in Fall River during construction and subsequent operation," said Cedric Cromwell, chairman of the Mashpee Wampanoags.

One thing's clear. The proposal attracted plenty of attention, and not all positive.

In making the deal for the land, city officials reversed course on plans, years in the making, to create a SouthCoast BioPark on the 300 acres. Massachusetts previously earmarked $17 million for the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth to build a biomanufacturing plant and access road on the site.

The state also committed $35 million, partially funded with federal stimulus money, to build a connector to the biotechnology park from Route 24.

Now, University of Massachusetts officials say they are considering other sites. And administrators for Massachusetts Governor Patrick say the state will demand repayment for any money used for access roads if the site is designated for a casino.

After some public backlash arose over the casino project, Mayor Flanagan came up with an alternative.

He said he wants to acquire 150 privately owned acres in Freetown, near the casino site, for the technology development.

He said both a casino and a biopark can be created side by side.


Which one do you think will get the most attention?

There is no question that gambling, and the money it generates for states, is here to stay. It's built into state budgets already under stress, and there's no easy way to replace it.

But gambling and casinos are not true economic development.

They do not create the base for solid, long-term jobs on which a thriving economy is built.

Real economic development takes years of hard work. It takes energy and commitment.

And it has to be led by public officials.

When they lose focus, and gamble only on flashy, short-term returns, nobody ends up a winner.

John Kostrzewa is assistant managing editor/commerce & consumer issues. Reach him at 277-7330 or at

Sunday, May 30, 2010

TX Gov. reaffirms opposition to gambling expansion

Texas Gov. Rick Perry reaffirms opposition to gambling expansion

Gov. Rick Perry reaffirmed Wednesday that he's against expanded gambling in Texas, though he declined to say exactly how far his opposition goes.

Republican leaders have consistently rejected more gambling in Texas ....

Gambling Addiction

Jail term for threatening casino boss

A MAN with a serious gambling addiction, who spent more than €200,000 in deposits collected for debs and grads dances, has been sentenced to 10 months in jail for threatening the owner of a casino where he lost the money.

Mr Buttimer told Judge Angela NĂ­ ChondĂșin that Brown had a very serious gambling addiction which had led him to defraud students of dance deposit money; he was currently serving a five-year sentence for that offence.

Gambling Addiction Intervention

"Gabe” – Gambling Addiction

This episode launched the Emmy-award winning show, Intervention, and is worth revisiting. It was recently re-broadcast with updates to the progress of Gabe, a young man with a gambling addiction.

“I’m in love with gambling,” says Gabe. “That’s my mistress. My whole day revolves around how am I going to get money… I do wish that my life were completely turned around.”

Gabe’s first love is music: playing, singing, writing. It’s what he hopes and dreams about. But his gambling addiction has gotten in the way. “Being ashamed of myself is a major impact,” Gabe confesses. “I am a gambling addict.”

For the past 6 years, Gabe has been gambling 4 days a week, and up to 12 hours a day. When he’s in the casino, Gabe says he feels “such an excitement. I know the odds are against me…but I know it is possible [to win big]…I’ve done it before.” He’s also lost more than $500,000 in the past 6 years. He owes more than $180,000 to banks, casinos and credit card companies.
His father, Irv, says, “He’s possessed, but there’s never enough.”

Gabe says he once stayed up 4 days and nights gambling. “I’ve dug myself a hole so deep, the only way out I can see is to gamble again.”

An only son, Gabe was always close to his Mom, who spoiled him and made him her life. A demanding child, Gabe was also brilliant. In high school, he had a 156 I.Q. (131 is considered genius). At 11, he prepared at Cal State Lutheran for college and at 13, entered UCLA, the second youngest student ever admitted to UCLA. At 18, Gabe entered the Ph.D. program in biochemistry at UCLA Medical School and began teaching pre-med students. He got the idea to teach rap to his students and gained notoriety and a bit of celebrity, appearing on CBS with Dan Rather. His parents say he was led to believe he would have anything he wanted.

After one year in the Ph.D. program, Gabe left to pursue a career in music. For 5 years, he tried to produce, direct, start an online music company. He was unsuccessful.

At 21, Gabe started gambling. By age 25, he was gambling 4 days a week, maxing out all his credit cards and getting deeper and deeper into debt. His parents took out a home loan to pay off Gabe’s gambling debts. Last year, his parents had to sell their house, but Gabe still continued to gamble.

Gabe’s friends, Adam and Joe say he hasn’t paid them back for any money he “borrowed,” and he owes Adam more than $8,000. They don’t even want to take his calls anymore, because it will just be about getting more money to gamble. Adam says the parents are “fifty-fifty responsible for what he’s turned into.”

It’s true. They’ve enabled Gabe to keep on gambling. Since he is so brilliant, they let him do whatever he wanted. No need to take a menial job – he’s too gifted for that. They continued to support him – paying his apartment rent, food, car payment and insurance, giving him money to gamble and paying off his gambling debts. Now, however, they’re financially ruined and emotionally bankrupt. It has to stop. The family and friends have called for an intervention and meet a day ahead with interventionist, Jeff VanVonderen.

Irv tells VanVonderen that Gabe feels he’s entitled to everything they have, that they owe him – and that the idea is repellant to him. Gabe’s Mom can’t see how they can stop. When they’ve threatened to cut him off in the past, Gabe’s tried to commit suicide – 4 times. One time, he took an overdose of pills and hung himself by a rope by a mortuary. His parents found him, rushed him to the hospital where his stomach was pumped and he underwent a psychiatric evaluation. He was released.
The interventionist tells the parents and friends, “Tomorrow, he’s going to be held accountable. You need to have the biggest holds oh him that you can do. You’re not going to get another chance like this. This is crunch time.”

The next day, Gabe thinks he’s going to look at another apartment to rent. When he sees the assembled group, he’s already skeptical. It goes downhill from there, devolving into Gabe’s shouting and acting like a child. His parents give him the ultimatum: accept treatment or it’s all over: no more support, no more coddling. His friends tell him they’ll never see him again if he continues to gamble and doesn’t go for treatment. Gabe shouts at VanVonderen, saying “I don’t have any more tolerance for people trying to hoodwink me. I can take a bottle of pills and get over it.” VanVonderen says he’ll call 911 if Gabe is serious. Gabe tells him, “Okay, lay it on me. What else?” Ultimately, though, he agrees to go to treatment. He flies to South Carolina and enters Algamus Recovery Centers in Rock Hill. He leaves after 3 weeks against medical advice.

One year later, Jeff goes to see Gabe for the first time since Gabe left treatment. He tells him he’s going to be given “a second second-chance.” Jeff has arranged for Gabe to go back to Algamus. Gabe wants to think about it, and doesn’t wind up going.
Since 2005, Gabe has been producing his own music and teaching others. His parents continue to support him. And Gabe continues to gamble.

Rhode Island: A Gambling Arms Race

Dear Father McKenna:

I read your comments with interest and share in your frustration.

Casino gambling is immensely profitable and if you'll pardon me for saying so, Casino Investors have more money than God!
They will continue to argue against all logic or reason, use any rhetoric to achieve continued expansion, such as competition to achieve continued expansion and protect their profits. On the United to Stop Slots in Massachusetts web site, this Race to the Bottom has been called A Gambling Arms Race.
Legislators will behave like Bobble Heads, nodding agreement instead of making sound fiscal policy decisions, like raise taxes or institute sensible reforms.
To the Bobble Heads, exploitation of the gullible absolves them of responsibility and they behave like adolescents saying "Everyone else is doing it!."
Ohio defeated slot machines 4 times and the Gambling Vultures were not deterred. Instead, they invested $50 million and only narrowly passed the referendum on the 5th try. They simply don't give up!
In Maine, voters said "No!" but the Vultures returned.
The same may be said of New Hampshire and Massachusetts and others.
The Vultures wear you down, out shout you, outspend you with the best lobbyists and media consultants possible, employ whatever corrupt practice works, make promises, deny the crime and community degradation that accompanies slots and pretend Predatory Gambling is simply entertainment.
Keep the Faith, Father!

For Father Eugene McKenna, the fight against the expansion of casino gambling in Rhode Island is starting to seem like a never-ending battle.

“We believe that the people of Rhode Island have decided on several occasions against casino gambling,” said Father McKenna, President of Citizens Concerned About Casino Gambling minutes before the House Finance Committee heard a bill that would allow a referendum to make Twin River a full-blown casino.

“All of that effort and energy that was put forward to defeat the last referendum in 2006 is being ignored as if it never even happened.”

Read more: Cranston Herald - Effort to protect state gambling revenues brings casino issue up again

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Not Economic Redevelopment

From Niagara --

When the Seneca Niagara Casino opened on New Year’s Eve 2002, it was surrounded by neighborhoods of rotting and dilapidated housing and vacant storefronts lined nearby Niagara Street.

Eight years later, the view hasn’t really changed.

“It’s pretty much what you could have predicted,” said Bryant Simon, director of the American Studies Program in the Department of History at Temple University, and an expert on casinos and urban renewal. “Since the 1970s, we’ve always wanted our urban renewal to be quick fixes.”

Simon said that has led state and local governments to push for the construction of all types of mega-projects like theme parks, aquariums, sports stadiums and, of course, casinos. But Simon, who has written a book on the economic development experiences of Atlantic City, said there are no silver bullets when it comes to revitalizing a blighted city.

“(Niagara Falls) could have looked at Atlantic City, they could have looked at Detroit,” Simon said. “(Casinos) basically destroyed local business in Atlantic City.”

But Simon, the casino expert, warns that waiting for casino-spurred development may only lead to disappointment.

“It doesn’t lead to reinvestment. It’s a bad model for redevelopment, but (cities and states) just keep repeating it,” Simon said. “Who benefits from casinos? The casinos.”

After reading the article above, I purchased Professor Simon's book which is an eye-opening account of what casinos didn't bring to Atlantic City. This is merely a breath-taking snippet - 80% Increase in Crime
Casinos and slot parlors aren't the urban redevelopment or economic engine the proponents would like to pretend.

Mohegan Sun and Foxwoods: DUIs

From the Spectrum Gaming Report prepared for the State of Connecticut, Division of Special Revenue, available on the United to Stop Slots in Massachusetts site:

Page 193
Driving Under the Influence (“DUI”) Arrests
With the tremendous increase in traffic in southeastern Connecticut, so too has come an increase in DUI arrests. This is particularly true for many of the municipalities near the two Indian casinos.288
Norwich, for example, a municipality just north of the two casinos, had 129 DUI arrests in 1992; 252 in 2008. DUI arrests in Montville totaled 37 in 1992; 87 in 1997 and 116 in 2007.

Page 194
The increases come at a time when DUI arrests statewide have fallen. In 1992, they totaled 12,088. In 2005, they declined to 9,874, a decrease of 18 percent.289

(Chart included for comparison)

[Norwich] Police there made 158 arrests in 2007 and 252 in 2008, the highest number of arrests made during the 16-year span that records were made available to us.

Page 195

The Troop E Barracks consistently leads the state in DUI investigations. The barracks is located within two miles of Mohegan Sun, and about 10 miles from Foxwoods. Troop E conducted nearly one out of every six State Police DUI investigations. It registered one-third more investigations than Troop F in 2007, the barracks with the next-highest number of DUI investigations. Troop F is located in Westbrook, 24 miles from Mohegan Sun. The totals reflect only State Police DUI investigations.

Local and state police in the region have become increasingly concerned with the rising number of DUI arrests involving drivers who last consumed alcohol at a casino.290 We asked police in Ledyard, Montville and North Stonington to determine how many DUI arrests had a casino nexus. Police in those municipalities reviewed arrest reports to see where motorists had their last drink during the 12-month period ending June 30, 2008. In Ledyard, nearly one out of four arrests involved casino patrons. In North Stonington, the figure was nearly one out of three. And in Montville, it was one of five. The figures only reflect those patrons who told police where they had their last drink. Roughly 20 percent of suspects refused to provide the information.

Page 196
Two motorists charged with DUI were involved in separate accidents that killed two Connecticut people in southeastern Connecticut in March and April of 2009. Both acknowledged to police that they had been drinking at Mohegan Sun, according to police.

On March 7, 2009, police reported that a sailor at the Naval Submarine Base in Groton drove a car into a van on Interstate 395, killing a Connecticut College student and injuring seven others. He allegedly was driving the wrong way on I-395.291

Michael Collins, Montville‘s resident state trooper, reported that the barracks received three emergency calls about the sailor‘s driving but troopers were 10 miles away at Foxwoods Resort casino investigating a report of a stolen vehicle. Dispatchers redirected the troopers to I-395 but they could not get there before the accident occurred.292

Meanwhile, Collins told us in an interview that he is concerned about a legislative proposal to extend drinking hours at the casinos, noting that his troopers ―are already stretched too thin.

On April 5, 2009, a Lisbon construction worker allegedly caused a crash on I-395 in Norwich that claimed the life of a 59-year-old woman from Willimantic, Connecticut. He, too, was arrested for DUI.293 Police charged both motorists with manslaughter.

In response to the fatals and other DUI-related fatal crashes in southeastern Connecticut, State Police and local police patrolled sections of I-395, Route 2 and Route 2A between 7 p.m. Saturday, April 11, 2009, and 3 a.m. Sunday, April 12, 2009. They made seven DUI arrests.

The Associated Press reported on April 30, 2009, that Mohegan Sun increased its efforts to spot gamblers who may be drunk in response to the two fatal accidents. Employees are receiving more training, and servers are limiting the number of drinks to two.

Norwich Police Chief Louis Fusaro said his department has not done a study of where motorists had their last drink but added he is convinced that for many of them, it was at a casino.

In a 1998 report, Fusaro said that two DUI-related fatal accidents that year claimed three lives. In both instances, motor vehicle operators admitted they had their last drink at one of the two casinos.294

In 2000, State Police were so concerned over the increase in DUIs that troopers began referring arrest investigations to the state Liquor Control Division in the hope that the division would cite the casinos.295

From 2002 to 2008, Mohegan Sun paid nearly $1 million to settle charges that it violated state liquor control laws involving nearly 300 casino patrons who were allegedly intoxicated or under age.

Page 197

The casinos are the only entity in the state where full-time Liquor Control agents are stationed. Each casino has five agents.296
Liquor Control agents also cited Foxwoods for more than 30 violations of state liquor laws from 2005 to 2008. The casino paid fines of more than $80,000 to settle the charges.297

Neither casino has ever administratively challenged a Liquor Control agent‘s citation, according to Suchy. The offenses are almost always settled with a $3,000 fine.

His agents, Suchy noted, must visibly observe an intoxicated patron. And then a patron must agree to identify himself or herself before a case is brought.

Sands: Promises, Promises, Promises

The casino vultures circling to suck Massachusetts' hard earned dollars from the local economy include Sheldon Adelson AKA Sands.

Image from Bella-Kona Race: July 2006

Sands promised:

to spend $600 million to build

a casino

300 room hotel

200,000-square foot, 50-shop retail mall

3,600-seat events center

that would create 1,825 jobs
[Sands created 780]

generate $16.5 million in host fees for area governments

draw 4 million people a year

Traffic coordinators say the number of cars is well short of the 104,000 Sands projected each week.

Of Crime: Not there yet?
The article contains an anecdotal quote and not facts.

It fails to mention regional numbers of money-related crimes that increase with the presence of casinos/slot parlors, bankruptcies, domestic violence, child abandonment and so on.

In Slots = Community Degradation

From Texas Republicans Got It Right About Slots!

Skyrocketing Crime

Sept. 2004 research showed casinos hiked violent crime 13%.

Everywhere video slot machines have been legalized, crime rates have skyrocketed, including aggravated assault, rape, robbery, larceny, burglary, auto theft, embezzlement, and fraud.

1st 3 years of gambling in Atlantic City, New Jersey went from 50th in nation in per capita crime to 1st in the nation.

From Ohio Gambling Opposition

In Atlantic City, 25% of small businesses closed 3 years after casinos opened. Prior to casinos, the unemployment rate in Atlantic City was 30% higher than the rest of the state. 10 years later, it is 50% higher than the rest of the state.

Do Casinos Cause Crime?

In the midst of an economic crisis, the U.S. gambling industry continues to grow—and so does the debate over its connection to crime.

It’s a familiar, and sad, story: a 41-year-old housekeeper in Bangor, Maine, forged $40,000 in checks belonging to elderly people in the assisted-living home where she worked, then gambled it away at Hollywood Slots, a cavernous 1,000-slot-machine establishment that dominates one side of Bangor, an old, poor, church-spired New England town.

She pleaded guilty, blaming an addiction to gambling, and in 2008 received a three-year prison term.

Sands, to the dismay of its investors, anted up its $600 million and raised that $143million [due to overruns]. This summer, Sands will spend an additional $30 million-plus to complete the hotel and $26 million to set up 89 table games, such as blackjack and craps, at the casino. By next year, its investment will stand at roughly $800 million.

Notice how they expanded gambling to increase their revenues before they fulfilled their promises?

Of Tourism and Economic Development:

And while Sands does not release attendance numbers, no one disputes that millions of people have driven and taken buses into Bethlehem -- many of them from New York and New Jersey.

So, what you're saying is that patrons are Day Trippers, probably mostly locals sucking discretionary income out of the economy and enriching Mr. Adelson et al?

What opponents dispute is whether many of them ever leave the casino to venture into Bethlehem.

Bethlehem Economic Development Director Tony Hanna said with most of the bus seats sold as day trips, visitors have little time to experience the city's historic downtown or eclectic South Side business district. But he expects that to change after tables are added this summer and the hotel opens next spring.
[Note to Hanna: Don't hold your breath! Look at the evidence.]

Why support a dead industry?

Whether it's Beacon Hill and House Speaker "Racino" DeLeo or Albany, all the arguments to 'Save Racetracks' with slots are the same flawed arguments to prop up a dead industry.

Maybe it's time to consider the collapse of greyhound racing and accept the inevitable.

NYRA needs to change course makes a few good points about government bailouts to racetracks and market saturation, but maybe we should be asking "Why?"

The funding mechanism for the New York Racing Association is kind of like the guy at the bar who vows to keep drinking so he can postpone the hangover.

Ultimately, the plan implodes and all you're left with is an empty wallet and a massive headache.

So even though it was probably wise in the short-term for the state to loan the racing association $25 million to keep it afloat while it works on getting video slot machines installed at Aqueduct, there's no way the state or NYRA can keep going with this plan forever. Eventually, the money will dry up and the pain will come.

State bailouts, OTB income, lottery receipts and video gambling are temporary and unreliable sources of revenue to sustain a $2 billion industry that employs thousands of people, sustains dozens of farms and other related support systems, and props up the summer tourist season in Saratoga.

And experts on the industry, including famous trainer D. Wayne Lukas and economist Richard Thalheimer, told the Associated Press last week that they're worried that the horse racing will become a drain on the money-generating slot machine parlors, eventually prompting them to disassociate themselves with racing so they can keep more of the gambling revenue.

"The horsemen need to make sure that when they embrace casinos, that they have a locked-in contract," Lukas told the AP. "because the casinos will eventually wake up and say, ‘We don't need the horses. We're doing fine without the horses.'"

If you want proof that that's occurring now, pop into the Saratoga racino, which was supposed to act as a draw for the harness races. Hardly anyone watches the racing unless they're escaping the slot area for a cigarette or a little air.

The growing competition and the uneasy relationship between gambling and racing over revenues means that slot machines to sustain the horse racing industry is unreliable and short-sighted as a revenue source.

Gambling Addiction

Judge refuses to unfreeze Alfred Villalobos' assets
A history of high-stakes gambling losses is cited as the main reason. Villalobos is accused in a state lawsuit of using his influence with CalPERS officials to win investment deals for his clients.

Reporting from Santa Monica and Sacramento —
A state judge on Friday cited a long history of high-stakes gambling losses as a principal reason for denying a request from Nevada pension fund marketing intermediary Alfred R. Villalobos to lift a court-ordered freeze on his assets.

Villalobos, who attended the hearing but did not speak, is a central figure in state and federal investigations of the role of investment go-betweens at public pension funds. His assets were frozen, through a court-appointed receiver, as part of a fraud lawsuit filed against him by the California attorney general's office.

Villalobos' attorneys said he needed his assets unblocked to get the money he needs to defend himself in the lawsuit. But the state opposed the move, saying he is a heavy gambler and could lose the money betting.

The judge agreed. "This isn't your normal type of gambler," said Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge John H. Reid during a morning hearing in Santa Monica. "It's highly improbable" that he would stop gambling.

This mirrors the attorney general's arguments that the Incline Village, Nev., resident has a history of high-stakes gambling. He was "such a good customer that Harrah's Casino provided a complimentary penthouse suite to him for 20 months" in Stateline, Nev., while repairs were being made to his mansion in nearby Zephyr Cove, the state said.

The judge said he was particularly troubled to find out that Villalobos ran up a $670,000 gambling debt with the El Dorado casino in Reno. "That's more than I make," he said.

The civil case against Villalobos, which seeks up to $70 million in restitution and $25 million in penalties, also names as a defendant Federico Buenrostro Jr., the chief executive of the California Public Employees' Retirement System between 2002 and 2008.

The lawsuit alleges that Villalobos, aided by Buenrostro, lavished CalPERS officials with gifts, free trips and expensive entertainment to influence them to award billions of dollars' worth of pension fund investments to his clients, including such major Wall Street private equity managers as Apollo Global Management. Villalobos was paid more than $47 million in commissions for his activities as a so-called placement agent. The suit also accuses Villalobos and his company, Arvco Capital Research, of fraudulently engaging in securities business without licenses.

Villalobos denied the accusations in the lawsuit, saying he took no money from CalPERS and did no harm to the pension system or its members. Wearing a dark pinstriped suit, Villalobos was visibly upset with the state's allegations, at times shaking his head in disagreement during the proceedings.

His attorneys attempted to convey to the judge that the receivership is overly restrictive. One of his lawyers, Daniel S. Ruzumna, said the freeze on Villalobos' possessions, such as bank accounts, 15 homes, a fleet of Bentley, BMW and Hummer automobiles and an extensive art collection, was "unprecedented" in California law.

"I don't think there's a basis to continue these onerous restraints," Ruzumna said. "If you freeze all of a person's assets, they don't have enough money to survive."

The judge, however, said that the receivership allowed Villalobos' relatives to continue living in the homes. "I think that's appropriate. It's a concession that allows him to live a fairly normal life," Reid said.

In the end, the judge said that the receiver, David Pasternak, should remain in place. The ruling, said Atty. Gen. Jerry Brown, allows the state to "now move forward to recover the millions of dollars Villalobos made as part of his fraudulent scheme to improperly influence public pension fund investments."

When the proceedings wrapped up, Villalobos left the courtroom wearing dark sunglasses, refusing to speak to anyone other than the lawyers who flanked him.

"Obviously, the judge didn't agree with us," said Ruzumna, on his way out of the courthouse. "But hopefully he'll see things differently next time."

The next hearing is slated for Aug. 23 in Santa Monica.

The continuing scandal over alleged influence peddling by Villalobos and possibly other placement agents at CalPERS has spurred proposed legislation aimed at curbing gift giving and the payment of huge commissions by placement agents.

A CalPERS-backed bill that would require placement agents to register as lobbyists and ban fees that are based on a percentage on investment deals is slowly making its way through the Legislature in the face of strong opposition from the securities and banking industries.

On Friday, the bill, AB 1743 by Assemblyman Edward Hernandez (D-West Covina), was approved by the Assembly Appropriations Committee with Democratic support on a party-line vote. The measure now moves to the full Assembly.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Conroy: A bill we’ll later regret

Rep. Conroy prepared a report that considered only the costs of expanded gambling/slot machines in the Commonwealth that's available here:

United to Stop Slots in Massachusetts

Rep. Conroy was among the heroes who refused to vote in lock-step with House Speaker "Racino" DeLeo.

Here are his comments after the House vote:

Conroy: A bill we’ll later regret

By Tom Conroy/In The Arena

SUDBURY — Earlier this month my colleagues and I in the Massachusetts House of Representatives debated the issue of expanded gaming in our Commonwealth, and ultimately passed a bill that would usher in potentially as many as 15,000 slot machines located at four resort casinos and four racetracks. Mark my words today: if the Senate does likewise and the governor signs such a bill, we will regret this initiative and seek to unwind it at some point in the future.

The issue of expanding gaming in our Commonwealth is complicated, in part because it is being sold as a jobs proposal. Families are suffering and unemployment remains high. It is understandable for elected officials to try to create new jobs in such an environment; bringing a new industry into the state holds out that hope.

As a state, we also need revenues, because many folks around the state need support and services from their state government. Proponents of expanded gaming point toward bringing Massachusetts’ residents’ gambling dollars from surrounding states (e.g. Connecticut) back to Massachusetts. Certainly, by opening a casino in Massachusetts, we could recapture some of that spending from elsewhere.

Nevertheless, it is not clear to me that the benefits of expanded gaming outweigh the costs that would be imposed upon families and our Commonwealth. These costs are considerable, and entail:

· An increase in the number of gambling addicts in the state, and the destruction of families that would ensue;

· An increase in the educational, public safety, and infrastructure burdens placed upon municipalities that host or abut expanded gambling facilities;

· An increase in the number of families on public assistance, who cost taxpayers money;

· A loss of jobs in surrounding retail, hospitality, and entertainment businesses; and

· A decrease in the amount of state aid that flows to local communities through the lottery.

Do we want to place, in essence, a further tax on those who do not or will not acknowledge that slot machines are a losing proposition? Do we want to shutter small businesses in surrounding communities? Do we want to gamble with our local aid dollars?

Ultimately, I believe that we can help the private sector create more jobs in other, more productive industries that offer more middle-class jobs and opportunities for Massachusetts residents. If we focus our efforts, for example, on strengthening our sophisticated manufacturing sector, biotechnology, and alternative energy, we could create more jobs and wealth for families around the state.

My vote against the expanded gaming bill was part of a minority. The House-passed bill now shifts to the Senate, which will act upon the legislation in the next month or two. The governor will weigh in this summer, and may veto all or part of a bill that comes to his desk. Stay tuned.


The FY2011 state budget debate is in full swing this week, and unfortunately, the revenue news is still not good because of our weak economy. The state is expected to bring in about $19 billion in revenue from various sources for the period July 2010 to June 2011, which is about $2 billion less than pre-recession levels.

Like many private sector businesses that have experienced falling revenues in the past two years, the state government is tightening its belt and reducing spending. Last year, the final budget approved included over $1 billion in reductions to programs and services, primarily in the health and human services sectors. This year is no different, with the House Ways & Means budget proposal we are debating this week including $1.4 billion in spending cuts, including $745 million in reductions across nearly 300 line items, with 15 line items eliminated entirely. We estimate that over 1,500 jobs will be cut from the state government if this spending plan becomes law this summer. Such personnel cuts would be in addition to the 2,000 state employee reductions that have occurred in the past two years.

Over the past two weeks, many of you, along with lobbying and advocacy groups, have appealed to me via email or letter to increase funding for certain line items — from mental health funding, to assistance for seniors, to funding for summer jobs for inner-city youth, to state park maintenance, to local aid to our towns — all precious programs and services that help so many folks around our Commonwealth. I am keeping track of your appeals and would like to support line item increases for all of these programs. Many folks and families are struggling and I empathize with their situations, each as wrenching a story and as worthy of help as the next.

But we also need to be mindful of supporting a balanced budget, a constitutional obligation. With only a handful of my colleagues willing to increase taxes, there is little will in our representative democracy to increase revenues in order to pay for program and service funding increases. This is the unfortunate reality that we live in today. If there is a well-spring of support amongst the populace to raise taxes in order to pay for service increases, I have not heard it.

Once again, we will do our best on Beacon Hill to balance the needs of the many with the limited resources at our disposal. I remain optimistic that our economy is rebounding from recession, and that more employment opportunities and less pressure on funding for state services will be our narrative in the very near future.

Tom Conroy is state representative for Lincoln, Sudbury, and Wayland and can be reached at or 617-722-2460.

Gambling Addiction and Bankruptcy

WSJ reports --

Former National Basketball Association star Antoine Walker has filed for personal bankruptcy, owing casinos $1.27 million ....

Among Walker’s largest unsecured liabilities are $770,000 listed as gambling debt owed to Harrah’s Entertainment in Las Vegas and $500,000 listed as gambling losses owed to Ameristar Casino in East Chicago, Ind.

The burly former Kentucky Wildcat owes the Las Vegas District Attorney $750,000 in restitution. Walker was arrested last year in Las Vegas for allegedly writing bad checks but had charges deferred when he agreed to a payment plan. He also owns sports agent Mark Bartelstein $458,000.

89 people died

If Toyota recalled

8,000,000 vehicles


89 people died

why would House Speaker "Racino" DeLeo and Senate President "Cha Ching" Murray support a business that claims 2% of their patrons become addicts?
Las Vegas has a high suicide rate because of Gambling Addiction. Las Vegas has the highest school dropout rate. Las Vegas has the lowest college graduation rate.
Massachusetts can do better.

Toddler Adandoned

Valerie Tran Wasn’t About To Let A Toddler Spoil Her Fun

La Center, Washington (The Weekly Vice) - Valerie Tran, a 32-year-old Oregon woman, was arrested Tuesday for allegedly leaving her toddler in a car for 13 hours while she was inside a casino gambling and drinking.

According to the La Center Police Department, Tran was recorded by security cameras pulling into a parking space at Chip's Palace Casino around 4 a.m.. A security officer on patrol heard the 3-year-old crying in Tran’s Lincoln Navigator SUV in the casino parking lot about 1:30 p.m.

La Center police Sgt. Jerry Lester was eating lunch at the casino when security officers approached him and then led him to the SUV the boy had been abandoned in.

When casino workers paged the car's owner, Tran came forward and identified herself as the car's owner.

Investigators say Tran was intoxicated and couldn't understand why everyone was making such big deal that the child was left unattended.

Tran admitted to having been inside the casino since about midnight and told officers she checked on the boy every few hours.

Security officers say the toddler had soiled his clothes and only had spoiled milk to drink for nourishment.

"He had wet his diaper. His diaper had soaked through into his clothing," Lester said.

Although police hadn’t seen Tran driving the SUV, her measured alcohol level was at 0.14, which is more than the state’s DUI threshold of 0.08.

Tran was booked into the Clark County Jail on a charge of leaving a child unattended in a vehicle.

Child protective services took custody of the boy, who was in good condition.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Iowa: Addiction increases within 50 miles

From Keloland --

A study in Iowa says the closer someone lives to a casino the more likely they are to have a gambling addiction.

Right now Iowa has 16 casinos, it will soon have 17 when the Lyon County project is complete. Having all those casinos in the state is one reason counselors say 88 percent of Iowans have gambled, above the national rate of 80 percent of Americans who say they have gambled before.

A study done by the state of Iowa in 2005 shows that people who live within 50 miles of a casino are more likely to develop a gambling problem. It also showed that Iowa counties with a casino had more bankruptcies. And, counselors say one in five Iowans who seek treatment for a gambling addiction have attempted suicide.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

An overdose of gambling

An overdose of gambling

My son died of an overdose of gambling. A few months ago. He hanged himself. And it was gambling that put the noose around his neck, pulled it tight, cut off his air supply. The people that got him started, sold him on gambling, are still raking in the money. And nobody’s holding them accountable for the death and misery they cause.

Here we are—fighting a war on drugs, going after drug lords in Colombia—and pushers in the ghetto, trying to keep them from killing our kids.

Then we turn around, and our own government is pushing the lottery. A dollar and a dream—win big!! Ten million, two hundred forty million dollars! Make every dream you ever had come true! And you’re helping education. Isn’t that great?—win/win—nothing to it, nothing bad. And if you get tired of one game, there’s “win 3” and “win 4” daily numbers—or you could try “pick 10” and “take 5” three times a week, and then there’s MEGA MILLIONS—or “scratch offs” that started with 50 cents or a dollar each, but now they’re up to 2 dollars, 5—10—20—50 dollars! And so well decorated you can give them as gifts. Hell, you hardly need to buy anything else.

And the trouble is…some people hardly do. Like my son. Before he got hooked on gambling, he and his wife owned 5 apartment houses: 4, 5, or 6 apartments in each one. And a heating and air conditioning company. He did roofing, plumbing, house remodeling, and electrical work. He was the hardest working person I ever met. And he was making good money. Till he started gambling. And couldn’t stop.

He became obsessed with LOTTO, began selling his property, gambled away over $500,000 worth of assets. He maxed out his wife’s credit cards without her knowing. He drained his son’s bank accounts, and then—this really got me—he laid his hands on the money—$4,500—his granddaughter was saving to go on a horse farm vacation. You can’t stoop any lower than that. His wife left him, his family broke up.

He tried Gamblers Anonymous, but he just got better at lying. He was such a good liar none of us knew he was still gambling. But he never stopped. In the weeks before he died, he kept borrowing money. He signed contracts and got advance payments for roofing or contracting jobs he never even started. And then…he hanged himself. [He hanged himself.]

After we found him…when we cleaned out his place, we found five 30-gallon garbage bags full of lotto and scratch off tickets, not counting the ones he’d thrown away.

And the nightmare didn’t stop there. We had people calling us, coming to the door, threatening us—people he owed money to, people with job contracts he’d signed. They were mad at him, at us—frustrated, sometimes desperate. We couldn’t do anything for them—these weren’t our debts—but after a while my wife was afraid to stay at home by herself.

Some people will say, hey, this guy was a loser, couldn’t handle it, that was his problem, not mine. But I want you to think about a few things.

First, the State—our government—was doing everything it could to hook him. Notice the way they put out one game after another—get tired of one, and there’s another new one, and the stakes keep rising. And there are ads everywhere: commercials, TV ads, with those insidious messages: “Just a little bit of luck”—designed to suck you in—hooks to grab you. A lot of people can’t resist them. Bob couldn’t.

And another thing—no addict ever hurt just himself (or herself). A lot of people are paying for Bob’s addiction. Not just his family. You think second-hand cigarette smoke can hurt you—kill you? Try the second-hand effects of a gambling habit.

I’m telling you—gambling is a killer: gambling has the highest suicide rate of all the addictions, people die every week from an OVERDOSE of GAMBLING, and none of us escapes the effects of that! None of us.

Gambling Addiction

Jim Anderson and Anna Kay France Talk About Gambling

Some people at a small radio station in Buffalo, New York, are trying to help inform the public about issues concerning the expansion of legalized gambling, not only in Erie county, but across the Nation. Jim Anderson and Anna Kay France invited me to be a guest on their show, Conversations About Gambling. The show airs on Mondays from 12:30-1:00 (EST). I talked about my book, Confessions of a Slot Machine Queen, and also about what is happening here in Detroit, where I am spending the week promoting the book and visiting family.

I’m grateful for the way people in the black community who work with media-community based radio and community newspapers-are responding to my work. I believe it’s important for those of us who live and work in university environments to collaborate with people who are leaders in their communities on issues, such as gambling, that bring more harm than good. Otherwise, we render ourselves obsolete.


Las Vegas: Where Streets Are Paved With Gold?

It was often said in Nevada -- and would be frequently repeated over the
decades to come -- that if the legal casinos took a toll in gambling addiction,
lost jobs, broken families, suicides, crime to pay debts, and other misery, at
least Las Vegas sent those agonies back out of state, home with the suckers
who suffered them. But in fact the town shared in the plague. The sum of the
oppression, violence, and abuse was for many a sad little society. "Las Vegas
has many bitter people living in it," Turner wrote at the end of the decade.
"This city has more trash peddlers per capita than any other city three times
its size," wrote a former resident, "more broken homes, more prostitutes, and
more so-called common law marriages than any city five times its size."
According to FBI data that the state's newspapers often neglected to publish
or buried on an inside page, Nevada now had the highest crime and suicide
rates in the nation, with Las Vegas employing three times as many police as
any other city its size, and dealing with record-breaking crime rates in bad
checks and burglary, as well as liquor consumption more than 200 percent
above the national aveerage.

"The Money and The Power," by Sally Denton and Roger Morris,
Page 146

Monday, May 24, 2010

Blindfolded public officials

Slot parlors by any name bring crime, increased bankruptcies, family destruction, addiction and all the negatives you don't want in your community. Slot parlors by any name bring low-wage dead-end jobs that provide no opportunity for advancement and no transferable skills.

There is no community that has proven otherwise.

Ninety percent of slot parlor profits come from 10 percent of patrons, a fact not denied by the industry. The industry requires addiction to survive.

Three years after casinos were legalized in the small town of Deadwood, S.D., felony crimes had increased by 40 percent, child abuse had increased by 42 percent and domestic violence assaults had risen 80 percent.

In Indiana, a review of the state's gaming commission records revealed that 72 children were found abandoned on casino premises over a 14-month period.

SMR Research Corp. has called gambling "the single fastest-growing driver of bankruptcy." Gambling-related bankruptcies in metro Detroit increased by as much as 40-fold within 18 months of the opening of Casino Windsor, just across the Detroit River.

Of Nevada:

Democratic lawmakers often blame the low spending for the state's ranking on what they call the bottom of all the good lists and the top of all the bad lists. Nevada has among the highest number of uninsured children and suicide rates, and

among the lowest reading scores and college degrees per capita.

The University of Northern Iowa included crime and bankruptcy statistics, among numerous other comparisons, and stated:

The data over the 12-year period show that crime is higher in the casino counties in contrast to the control counties. The visual trends show higher number of total arrests and total offenses reported in the casino counties.

The report may be found at

Something-for-nothing schemes are expensive.

I recently found the quote below and found it particularly appropriate:

"Blindfolded public officials practice job creation guided by wolves posing as seeing eye dogs." [The Great American Jobs Scam, by Greg LeRoy, Page 4]

The statistics are there for wise men to heed. I would hope our leaders are wise and refuse to support expanding gambling.

The only reasonable approach is to insist on an Independent Cost Benefit Analysis before legalizing slots.

Join us in calling for one:

Predatory Gambling - The Corruption of the Family

MassFamilyInstitute — April 07, 2010 — Massachusetts Family Institute is opposed to the legislation proposed by House Speaker Robert DeLeo that would bring slot machines to racetracks and two Vegas-style casinos to Massachusetts. Visit for more information. You can also visit

Misplaced Trust

MassFamilyInstitute — May 10, 2010 — The latest anti-casino web ad from Massachusetts Family Institute, exposing the fact that the House of Representatives approved expanded gambling without the benefit of a truly independent study on the pros and cons.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Attorney suspended for gambling addiction

Rhode Island Lawyers Weekly --

A Providence attorney who says he has been battling a gambling addiction has been suspended from practicing law for six months. The state Supreme Court imposed the sanctions on John S. Ciolli, who was given a one-year suspended sentence after pleading no contest in 2007 to three misdemeanor counts of bookmaking. Ciolli has said he became addicted ...

From Dolan --

Subject: Gambling addiction leads to suspensionb [sic] by R.I. Supreme Court
Pub: Rhode Island Lawyers Weekly
Author: Rhode Island Lawyers Weekly Staff

Issue Date: 05/10/2010 Word Count: 3


Gambling addiction leads to suspensionb by R.I. Supreme Court
by Rhode Island Lawyers Weekly Staff
Dolan Media Newswires

PROVIDENCE, RI -- A Providence attorney who says he has been battling a gambling addiction has been suspended from practicing law for six months.

The state Supreme Court imposed the sanctions on John S. Ciolli, who was given a one-year suspended sentence after pleading no contest in 2007 to three misdemeanor counts of bookmaking.

Ciolli has said he became addicted to betting on sports events and bet large sums of his own money with reputed members of organized crime. He said he is seeking help.

The court said that the suspension was necessary to restore the integrity of the state’s legal community.

The decision is In the Matter of: Ciolli, John S. (Lawyers Weekly No. 60-050-10).

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Night of the living slots players

Night of the living slots players
One-armed bandits turn players in zombies, take joy from gambling
By Carlo Rotella

I KNOW that the debate about bringing casino gambling and racetrack slots to Massachusetts raises serious questions about social cost and benefit. I’m not going to rehearse them all over again. Instead, I want to ask you a pertinent question: Have you ever been to an all-slots casino?

I have, and it has affected the way I think about legalized gambling. As a general rule, I’m inclined to favor letting consenting adults do what they want to do. But, because I cover boxing matches sometimes, I’ve had to visit a couple of casinos with licenses that allow only slot machines (which sometimes serves as a “starter’’ phase leading to a license that also allows table games), and now I’m not so sure.

Last time I crossed the gambling floor at Twin River Casino in Lincoln, R.I., for instance, I was stopped dead in my tracks by the spectacle of a Funky Amish-themed band grimly cycling through its repertoire on a stage in the middle of a sea of slots uncomplainingly manned by semi-catatonic refugees from the partial wreck of the welfare state. If Earth were destroyed and a ragtag remnant of radiation-damaged humanity fled in a spaceship and crash-landed after hundreds of years on a far-distant planet, and as part of their effort to reconstruct civilization they tried to reassemble “leisure’’ from the paltry half-remembered material at their disposal, then Twin River on that Friday night is what they might come up with.

I go back and forth on the lesson of the all-slots casino. On the one hand, I think it’s a negative reminder that gambling is a form of culture that’s about more than losing or winning or lousy math skills. When you strip the pleasure from the routines of gambling, as an all-slots casino does, you’re left with little more than the deskilled, dehumanized extraction of money from individuals by corporations. You lose the pleasures of table games: the texture of green baize and the heft of chips, the stylized hand-dances of dealers and croupiers, the fellow patron at the poker table who explains that he’s going to make a mistake and see your raise because he would pay that much to watch rats make love.

Slots at racetracks similarly encourage patrons to ignore signature pleasures like the analytical rituals and poetic shorthand of the racing form (“bumped; no threat’’), the cavalry-charge rumble of the horses coming around the turn, and the willful unwise decision to visit the paddock to discover that the 25-1 horse looks like it could run through a brickwall — causing you to momentarily forget that almost every racehorse in creation looks like it could run through a brickwall.

For some gamblers, the cultural rewards of gambling may even begin to compensate for the inevitable financial losses. I think we underrate people’s ability to understand that they’re going to lose when they gamble. Consciously or not, they probably know they’re not going to win. But there’s some kind of satisfaction in the trying, in having their most trivial choices (the red or the black?) seem to matter a great deal, and perhaps even in ritually torching their hard-earned money in a simultaneous bid for a better life and protest against the life they have. Think of seemingly futile gambling as a really expensive variant of pinning cash to the statue of a saint as it’s carried through a neighborhood during a street festa.

An all-slots casino rejects all that, reducing gambling to little more than bad odds and time down the drain.

But, on the other hand, maybe we can only see this kind of gambling for what it truly is when we strip the cultural trappings from it. There’s an all-slots casino lurking under the surface of even the plushest full-service “destination’’ casino. No matter how you dress up casino gambling, underneath it’s like that scene in “The Matrix’’ when we see all the humans in pods being milked of their life force by nefarious machines, only in casinos the people hooked up to the machines are allowed to drink and smoke to pass the time while being used up. Maybe the cultural trappings are misdirection, like the pseudo-reality that keeps the enslaved humans quiescent in “The Matrix.’’

Or maybe all-slots casinos are just uniquely terrible places. As I said, I go back and forth. But if the future looks like an all-slots casino, even a fancied-up one, I hope it stays on the other side of the state line.

Carlo Rotella, a guest columnist, is director of American Studies at Boston College.

For the people, by the people? Not!

Remember Frank J. Fahrenkopf Jr., the NIMBY chief executive officer of the American Gaming Association?

Senate Democrats plan to block legislation that would prevent officials from conducting some business in Atlantic City

An amendment inserted by conservative Republicans bars any money in the so-called "Cash for Caulkers" program from being spent on travel to "gambling or gaming establishments."

The House approved the bill May 6 by a 246-161 vote. Now, the legislation is in the hands of the Senate, which reportedly intends to remove the anti-casino language.

"It's not going to be in there when it finally passes. I've been assured of that," said Frank J. Fahrenkopf Jr., chief executive officer of the American Gaming Association, the lobbying group for the casino industry.

Assured? Isn't it amazing what generous campaign contributions can buy?

Federal sentiment against the casino industry intensified after questionable spending for a similar state energy program in California. Government workers who were organizing the California program racked up an $8,000 bill for hotel rooms and meals while holding a planning meeting at an Indian-owned casino, Fahrenkopf said.

NH: Unlike Massachusetts, Independent Study

When pressed to conduct an Independent Cost Benefit Analysis (which has never been done in the Commonwealth), House Speaker "Racino" DeLeo dismissed the call and instead presented his "Slap Dash" legislation crafted behind closed doors by lobbyists and industry. The grossly flawed legislation will directly benefit his district which contains two race tracks, creating two slot parlors.

Except for 37 heroes who conducted their own research, considered the future of the Commonwealth instead of their campaign coffers and voted the facts, Beacon Hill Bobble Heads voted in lock step with the Speaker, beholden for favors and chairmanships.
New Hampshire instead opted for an independent study that raises significant issues that "Slap Dash" ignored.

The pros and cons of more gambling

The 15-member Gaming Study Commission released a report Thursday on its study of models for expanding gambling in the state and the impact that would have on New Hampshire's quality of life, backed up with reams of data from the New Hampshire Center for Public Policy Studies.

The commission, created by Gov. John Lynch last year, said it was not asked to support or oppose expansion.

"However, if policy makers do decide to expand legalized gaming, what matters is how carefully they do it — not how quickly," the report said.

"Expanded gaming would generate additional revenues and economic activity, but it would also generate additional societal and economic costs. A fully informed decision about expansion requires a business model analysis that accounts for both benefits and costs. Such an analysis should center on the state's long-term interests, not just short-term financial or other needs," the report's first major finding states...."

The report said given the gambling that already occurs across New Hampshire, the state should support an independent review of its current regulations to determine their effectiveness and the state's capacity to handle an expansion "to assure that the interests of the state and its citizens are being protected now." Ferrini said that one of the commission's recommendations is that a very well-thought-out regulatory structure be put in place prior to any expansion, one that the report recommends should be independent, accountable and thorough, and that the state follow up any expansion by monitoring what comes of it.

New Hampshire Governor Lynch said of the proposed Massachusetts legislation --

“Since when did we ever do anything in New Hampshire because Massachusetts is doing it? When Massachusetts wants to do something it makes me want to do the opposite.”

Casino will bring a lot more of everything

Casino will bring a lot more of everything
Laurel Leader-Call

LAUREL — To the editor:

I live in Jones County about three miles from the Bogue Homa Reservation. The Indians struggle with the same problems the community does, improving our lives, jobs and a better place for our children to grow up.

There is talk about a small casino locating in Jones County. There are no plans for motel or housing facilities so it would target a 50 miles radius.

Let’s look at some of the joys it would bring to our county and surrounding areas.

More traffic on our country roads and highways. Insurance companies will love it.

More tired sleepy drivers who have spent hours of play.

More law officials, patrols and jail space.

More cases for our taxed court system because of embezzlement, family problems, traffic violations, etc.

More crimes – in other casino areas most crimes have increased by hundred-fold expect murder.

More voluntary fire personnel and equipment to protect us.

More increase on our existing water system.

More amusement – high-tech slots and poker – can make a gambling addict in about 14 months. More addicts.

I truly believe all these joys will add jobs to Jones County and the taxpayers will have the great honor of paying for them.

Choctaw tribes is exempted from state taxes, county taxes, city taxes and school taxes, casino profits would go to the tribal office in Philadelphia.

Choctaws are a beautiful race, a unique creation of God. Pow Wows (a couple have been open to the public.) Celebrations honored your heritage and all the military service people present was education. My request is that the tribe would be honorable and do no hurt or harm to our community.

– Julia Johnson




Democratic candidate for District Attorney Michael T Kogut, today stated, In their rush to bring casino gambling to Massachusetts the legislature is planting the seeds for a law enforcement breakdown. They need to step back, take a deep breath and consider the costs and burdens the presence of casinos will have on local city and town police and fire departments, the district attorney's office, the courts, the probation department, victims services and prisons.

Kogut continued, "No serious candidate for District Attorney, committed to preventing crime, can ignore the fact that study after study has shown when casinos come to town, crime increases. Robberies, aggravated assaults, domestic violence, motor vehicle violations, including DUI's, and embezzlements all increase. Those crimes put an added burden on the already inadequately funded local law enforcement, prosecutors, victims services and courts. Those crimes take a serious and permanent economic and social toll. That cannot go unaddressed."

Kogut noted that Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal stated in a public forum on casinos that the state of Connecticut made a huge mistake by failing to plan for or adequately mitigate the local impacts of casinos. "We can not afford to make the same mistake in Massachusetts.", Kogut stated.

"I am sensitive to the economic realities of where we are as a state and county. I know the hardships that many families are experiencing in these economic times, but it would be irresponsible for me or any other candidate for District Attorney to support a proposition that we all know will increase crime in our county."

Michael T. Kogut is a former Assistant Attorney General and a former Assistant District Attorney. He is a democratic candidate for District Attorney of Hampden County.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Andy Rooney rips predatory gambling

Watch CBS News Videos Online

Andy Rooney of 60 Minutes rips predatory gambling

Last night Andy Rooney took aim at the government program of predatory gambling and scored a direct hit. Here are his comments:

“I have good news for you tonight. According to an American Gaming Association report, revenue from casino gambling fell by almost two billion dollars last year.

A lot of people are out of work and it turns out that when people are unemployed, they gamble less. You'd think they might gamble more but they don't. There's some good things about everything, I guess.

In 2008 the casinos earned $32.5 billion. Last year they earned only $30.7 billion. I use the words "earned" and "only" loosely but casino income was down a lousy little two billion dollars last year. It's enough to bring tears to your eyes.

It's a law for people to protect themselves by wearing seat belts for their own safety when they're in car. How come the government doesn't protect citizens from losing their money by making gambling in casinos illegal? There should be a sign in front of every casino that says "enter at your own risk...of losing your shirt."

The thing that bothers me most about gambling is that people fritter away money so they don't get to spend it on things that someone else has been paid to produce. Gambling produces nothing.

There's only so much money in the world and if it's lost at a gambling table, it's money that isn't spent on things America makes. I mean who's best for this country - a machinist at an automobile plant in Detroit or a blackjack dealer in Las Vegas?

The gambling casinos keep something like 20 percent of everything bet for themselves, so there's no chance of anyone but the casinos winning over a period of time. They make billions - and where do the billions come from? They come from all of us because we're the losers. I mean, suckers is what we are.

If I write as though I was above all this, I'm not writing right. I've gambled half a dozen times in Las Vegas and even though I know how dumb it is. I think I can win. I've never won but that doesn't stop me from thinking "maybe next time."”

Andy Rooney takes on the American Gaming Association

Andy Rooney takes on the American Gaming Association

Andy Rooney’s comments about the American Gaming Association’s recently released statistics about the “losses” the commercial casino industry reported suffering during 2009 should be a wake-up call for anyone who still believes that casinos are the way to help boost this country’s economy.

In his typically caustic manner, Rooney brought the Sunday, May 16, 2010, edition of the CBS show 60 Minutes to a close by informing us that, according to the American Gaming Association, casinos earned $32.5 billion in 2008, but only $30.7 billion in 2009.

“It’s enough to bring tears to your eyes,” said Rooney. Of course, he was being his usual cantankerous self, but he raised some serious issues about this country’s growing dependence on gambling for new revenue. In order for casinos to make that much money, people must lose billions of dollars, money that could be put to better purposes.

Rooney also wanted to know why the government doesn’t protect its citizens from losing so much money by making gambling in casinos illegal. The answer is simple: it’s the government-local, state, and national elected officials-that is ensuring that we have ample opportunities to lose the billions of dollars the casinos rake in every year, by allowing the expansion of legal gambling to happen everywhere.

It also is important to note that the American Gaming Association reported on revenues from the “commercial casino industry,” and not the Native American casinos, since the Native American casinos don’t have to report their profits. So the numbers are probably much higher, even more billions of dollars, if the Native American casinos are taken into account.

I’m so glad Andy Rooney had the guts to speak out on national television about this plague on our society. The billionaire Warren Buffett also has been very critical about the gambling industry. He recently met with Tom Grey, who for years has been fighting against legalized gambling, to talk about the negative effects of gambling.

Hopefully, some of the country’s more prominent black entrepreneurs and elected officials will speak out as well. We just can’t afford to have more gambling in poor communities like Detroit, Gary, Indiana, Milwaukee, the list keeps on growing.




Posted by Duncan Renaldo on Tue, May 18, 2010

The University of Illinois Intitute of Government and Public Affairs has an outstanding study that they have published online, that shows that Casino Gambling causes crime.

Unlike the wild, off the wall, untrue statements made by the casino pushers about economic benefits, the 2000 Illinois University study showed that Casinos do not pass the COST vs. BENEFIT test.

The figures for crime range back to 1996, and are most likely greatly increased by today, but the study found that anywhere from 3% to 30% of the casino counties crime was attributed to the casino. Auto theft was the highest crime.

The University of Illinois study found that each PROBLEM GAMBLER costs society $10,112 2000 dollars. Again, that cost would have increased for 2010.

Further, according to the study, each adult in Cape Girardeau County, would pay between $100-$150 per year for the social costs of a Casino.

Refer to the study for more information on the effects of a casino upon society.

We need a new vote on the Casino. If the County Government is going to be party to the funds derived from the casino, then the vote on whether to bring in a casino needs to be county wide.

Don't wait for the Cape Girardeau City Council. They will use stalling tactics to delay a vote. Mayor, and Tower Club member, Harry Reddinger, has already made his position known. He favors a gambling den in Cape.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Gambling industry hides the truth about crime

Gambling industry hides the truth about crime

Here are some facts to keep in mind as the state Legislature considers expanded gambling in New Hamsphire:

1. Within five years after the opening of the Foxwoods Resort Casino, the annual number of calls to the Ledyard, Conn., Police Department jumped from 4,000 to 16,700.

2. The state of Wisconsin experiences an average of 5,300 additional major crimes a year due to the presence of casinos in that state. Some 17,100 arrests for less serious crimes each year are due to the existence of casino gambling.

3. A U.S. News & World Report analysis found crime rates in casino communities to be 84 percent higher than the national average. Crime rates nationally dropped by 2 percent in 1994, but the 31 localities that introduced casinos in 1993 saw an increase in crime of 7.7 percent the following year.

4. The number of police calls in Black Hawk, Colo., increased from 25 a year before casinos to between 15,000 and 20,000 annually after their introduction.

5. A city can expect its crime rate to increase by about 8 percent after four or five years of introducing casinos.

6. Nevada ranked first in crime rates among the 50 states in both 1995 and 1996, based on an analysis of FBI Uniform Crime Report statistics. The violent crime rate in Nevada increased by close to 40 percent from 1991 to 1996, a period in which the national violent crime rate dropped by approximately 10 percent.

Peggy Shaw


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