Meetings & Information


Monday, January 31, 2011

Isle of Capri


Iowa Casinos: Ever the Whiners

By whatever description Slot Barns are extremely profitable and fail to pay their fair share of costs and impacts.

A federal report determined that for every $1 in tax revenue, the cost to taxpayers is $3.

Before the ink is dry, the Gambling Industry is prepared to re-negotiate terms and taxes.

The final resolution should be interesting.

Tax hike plan endangers casinos?
The president of Mystique says the governor's plan to boost taxes from 22% to 36% would threaten its survival.

Gov. Terry Branstad has proposed a tax hike for casinos -- a plan he says would return to taxation levels previously agreed upon by casino industry leaders.

In a budget proposal released last week, Branstad recommended a tax hike from 22 to 36 percent for the state's casinos.

Branstad told the TH editorial board Friday that he believes he can garner support among the state's Republican legislators because the 36 percent tax rate was part of the original deal made to allow land-based casinos.

"We're really going back to the original deal we had when I was governor before," he said.

"(The casinos) agreed to that 36 percent rate. Then later on, after I was out of office, it was challenged in the courts."

The challenge won in the Iowa Supreme Court, Branstad said, on the basis of the differing tax rates for riverboats versus land-based casinos.

From there, he said lobbyists were successful in convincing legislators to go with the lower tax rate for all casinos.

Indiana House OKs smoking ban with bars exempted

Indiana House OKs smoking ban with bars exempted

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — The Indiana House on Monday approved a statewide smoking ban that includes exemptions for casinos, bars, clubs and even nursing homes.

The Republican-led House voted 68-31 Monday to approve the bill on the same day that nearly 300 anti-smoking advocates gathered at the Statehouse to urge lawmakers to support the bill.

Mara Candelaria Reardon, D-Munster, said people who work in smoke-filled environments shouldn't have to choose between their job and their health.

"The time has come," she said. "It is 100 percent about workplace safety."

Massachusetts Lottery earns more than Nevada's 256 Casinos

Massachusetts Lottery Revenues:

2008 $913 million
2009 $859 million
2010 $903 million

From this article:
Largest Nev. Casinos Lose $3.4B During Fiscal 2010
Nevada's 256 largest casinos lose $3.4B during fiscal 2010, compared with $6.8B previous year
The Associated Press
By OSKAR GARCIA Associated Press

Nevada's 256 casinos paid $777.6 million in taxes

New Jersey Desperation: Tax Breaks for Revel

Unfinished Revel Casino may get tax break

TRENTON — A state board is planning to vote Tuesday on a tax break for the unfinished $1.2 billion Revel Casino in Atlantic City while Gov. Chris Christie will head to the ocean resort to make an announcement, according to a source familiar with the matter.

The state Economic Development Authority will consider a tax reimbursement for Revel Atlantic City, LLC and Revel Entertainment Group, LLC in a special meeting. The source said the tax reimbursement would be worth more than $50 million.

State leaders believe the tax break is worthwhile because the state is currently not collecting any taxes on an unfinished casino, the source said, and the new work will generate jobs.

Sen. Jennifer Beck, R-Monmouth, said the program will involve the state crediting state revenue to the casino so that proceeds would be used to improve roads, sewer and other public infrastructure associated with the project.
She said it is similar to tax breaks being employed at the site of the former Fort Monmouth Army post.

"The state has taken this methodology because we don't have the money for grants to attract businesses here," Beck said. "We have to come up with new creative ways of attracting businesses."

The Revel, a behemoth in blue glass, has sat unfinished since construction was largely halted in January 2009, in the midst of the financial crisis. The initial plans called for two hotel towers, with 1,900 rooms each, enough casino floor to cover three football fields, and stores, restaurants and other entertainment, covering 500,000 square feet.

The head of Revel Entertainment, Kevin DeSanctis, could not be reached for comment.
Assemblyman John F. Amodeo, R-Atlantic, said he is aware the ownership group is looking for some $200 million in financing for the project. He said crews in the past two months have largely completed rebuilding the boardwalk outside of the Revel, as well as other work on the building.

"If you drive up on the site, the loading docks are concreted in," Amodeo said. "The ramps are completed. If you look at it, it looks 95 percent complete from the outside."

Sen. Jim Whelan, D-Atlantic, said he also supported the tax financing for the casino.
"There's a lot of jobs there in construction, and then permanent jobs," Whelan said. "These are tax dollars you would never see but for the Revel being completed. The reality for Atlantic City is that we've lost 30 percent of market share, and 12,000 jobs. We can't sit here and do the same old same old."

A tax break proposed for the casino last year proved controversial because the project has been owned by Wall Street investment bank Morgan Stanley and because Atlantic City unions contend that a new mega-casino would result in the failure of other casinos in the city.

Sean Maher of said he believes it is likely that weaker casinos would go out of business under the weight of more competition, but the project would be better for Atlantic City in the long run.

"That's important to get this project to finish; Atlantic City needs something to jump start the industry," Maher said. "It would be good in the long run to refresh everything, to shake that run-down image they've been stuck with."

The ownership picture of Revel was unclear at press time, but the group headed by DeSanctis is the entity seeking the tax break. Morgan Stanley, however, still had a seat at the table as recently as last week.

Bloomberg reported last week that Christie had spoken with Morgan Stanley leaders about reviving the project and said it would be a centerpiece of his effort to revive Atlantic City. Morgan Stanley has already written down and taken losses on almost all of its value in the buildings.

DeSanctis told the Press of Atlantic City last week that he wanted to lead a management buyout of Morgan Stanley's stake. According to corporate records, Alan Greenstein and Michael Schaller are both officers in the firm.

Because of new casinos in Pennsylvania, Delaware and New York, gaming in Atlantic City has been falling for years, and it has continued to drop rapidly during and after the financial crisis.

In December, the state reported that casino revenues had fallen another 9.6 percent in 2010 to $3.6 billion.

Catholic schools to ditch casino revenue

Archdiocese 'won't wait forever' for Catholic schools to ditch casinos
Moral stance trumps replacing revenues, archbishop insists
By Andrea Sands, Edmonton Journal

Edmonton Archbishop Richard Smith says he wants to cut off gambling revenues to Catholic schools "as quickly as is feasible," whether or not other funding has been lined up.

Smith said this week he is working with Catholic school trustees to figure out how schools will replace gambling dollars with money from acceptable sources.

"But we still won't be waiting forever for this to happen," Smith said.

"I want to work with the school board on this to come up with a time-line. But if it's a moral issue, which it is, then you can't just have this open-ended until you get replacement dollars. That doesn't work, as a moral stance."

The Archdiocese of Edmonton set a policy last fall against using gambling profits in all Catholic institutions, which includes schools. The policy came into effect Oct. 1, but Smith decided to give schools extra time to comply.

"The gambling institution really causes terrible hardship and pain and suffering for so many," he said. "We're saying, as a Christian church, as a Catholic Church, we ought not to be profiting from activities that hurt other people. So on that basis, I've said 'Let's bring this to an end.' "

Smith said he has heard from lots of parents worried about how the loss of gaming revenues will affect their children's education.

Gaming money, mainly from casinos, is used across Edmonton's school system for hot-lunch programs, equipment and field trips. That money is given to parents' councils whose members volunteer to work at casinos, and the funds are then passed on to schools.

Eighty-six of the Catholic district's 87 schools receive roughly $6 million every 18 months from casinos, not including matching grants.

The Cathol i c school board's annual budget is just under $338.5 million. Casino revenues don't flow into that budget but go directly to individual schools and are supposed to be for extras.

The money is often spent on necessities though, especially at schools with small budgets which rely heavily on the casino money, said Catholic board chairwoman Debbie Engel.

The board has put a "think-tank" group together to come up with solutions to the casino funding problem and intends to lobby the provincial government to change the system.

One strategy will be to find out the total amount of money individual parent councils raise for schools across Alberta, said Engel. The province should just budget that amount for schools and get rid of the casinos as a funding source for schools, she said. "That money is needed in public education and it should come out of general revenues."

The funding model that has parent councils earning casino dollars doesn't make sense, and parent volunteers at casinos are just "window dressing," said Engel. "It's just warm bodies there to fulfil part of the gaming act ... The whole thing is so off. I am so frustrated with it," she said.

"It's not just a Catholic issue."

Both Engel and Smith said school trustees and parents understand the moral reasons to stop relying on gambling profits.

"The question for them is, 'What about the practical side of this. What is it going to mean for my children?' " said Smith. "We've got a lot of smart people around our table and we can work this out. I mean, we all realize that, fundamentally, in our Catholic institutions, whether it's our parishes or our schools, we need to work in a way that's consistent with our identity, with who we are. ... We are a people of social justice. That's the heart of the Gospel. Let's make sure we're living that out consistently across the board."

SD 339: It's Time!

It's time for an INDEPENDENT COST BENEFIT ANALYSIS and a transparent process.

Senator Stephen M. Brewer (D-Barre) has graciously submitted proposed legislation for an independent cost-benefit analysis of proposed expanded gambling.

Please contact your legislators and ask them to co-sign this proposal to ensure a data-driven discussion of the proposals to expand predatory gambling.

They need to simply call Alicia Bandy at Senator Brewer's office (617) 722-1540 or email her at:
to be listed as a co-signer. DEADLINE FEBRUARY 4, 2011.

SD339, An Act relative to an independent analysis of expanded gaming in the Commonwealth.

Once it is uploaded, we will be able to track it here:

Representative Denise Provost is the lead House co-sponsor and a caucus of Representatives decided that it made more sense to co-sponsor the Senate bill than to file one in the House.

Thanks for all you do.

Beacon Hill: Corruption defined

Watching the unfolding charade on Beacon Hill that defines all that is wrong with Massachusetts politics, this definition seems custom-tailored for House Speaker 'Racino' DeLeo:

The eight common characteristics of good governance include: [1] accountability, [2] participation of all members of society, [3] rule of law, [4] transparency, [5] responsiveness, [6] consensus oriented, [7] equity and [8] inclusiveness, effectiveness and efficiency.

Taken from:
Corruption Is Major Obstacle in Anti-Poverty Fight, Says Church Group
By Ethan ColeChristian Post Reporter
Churches interested in eradicating poverty need to do more to fight corruption, an anti-poverty church network emphasizes in a new paper.

Micah Challenge’s “Open for Service: A Case for Good Governance” paper appeals to Christians to hold the government, businesses as well as the global church to higher standards in the global effort to eradicate poverty. The network of Christian leaders committed to seeing the U.N. Millennium Development Goals fulfilled contends that corruption is left off the table in discussions about poverty even though it is a major roadblock.

“Corruption is like a tower block on a runway. It accounts for over a trillion dollars going missing, and is a massive barricade to the well being of the poorest people in the world,” says Joel Edwards, international director of Micah Challenge. “It’s difficult to define, complex in its treatment and entrenched in business and political systems. No wonder it has gone on underground for so long. Simply, corruption kills people.”

In the paper, released Thursday, church leaders noted that in poor countries, career in government is often seen as the fastest way to gain personal wealth. Leaders in these low-income countries “have sold cheaply the birthrights of whole countries, shipping billions of dollars of wealth into foreign banks.”

But corruption is not limited to the South, the paper says. If higher-income nations could have better governance then it would dramatically affect the well-being of millions of citizens elsewhere in the world.

Micah Challenge leaders conclude that the MDGs cannot be achieved with the continuation of governance failure in both high- and low-income countries.

The eight common characteristics of good governance include: accountability, participation of all members of society, rule of law, transparency, responsiveness, consensus oriented, equity and inclusiveness, effectiveness and efficiency.

“[W]e believe that God clearly has given governments an important role in protecting the oppressed, defending the weak, and ensuring that the poor have access to the means to survive and thrive,” the paper states.

Micah Challenge is a network of religious leaders and development workers in more than 40 countries working in sustainable development and committed to achieving the MDGs by 2015. The parent bodies of Micah Challenge International are the World Evangelical Alliance and the Micah Network.

The new Gilded Age

The unfolding saga of Abramoff's corrupt dealings couldn't have been concocted by a gifted fiction writer, yet here we are, with a front row seat watching Beacon Hill prostitute itself for gilt that's really Fool's Gold.

A close-up look at the new Gilded Age

So here we are. 140 years ago the money that bought Congress was from railroads, iron and steel. Now it's from casinos and sweatshops, health insurance companies, and Wall Street. Thanks to the five Republican appointees on the Supreme Court it's now as unregulated as it was then. Honestly, I didn't think of myself as an innocent political virgin but I didn't grasp until seeing this movie just how bad it was. For the time being, it seems, we're sunk.

Drunks: DeLeo jeopardizes safety of public for Gambling Industry

Drunk drivers make each of us innocent targets.

The driver, Patrick Fay, 24, [Holbrook] has been charged with drunk driving, negligent operation of a motor vehicle, leaving the scene of an accident after causing personal injury, speeding and failure to stay within marked lanes.

Yet, when Beacon Hill crammed ill-conceived legislation through, carefully crafted behind closed door by the Gambling Industry to provide everything their little cold hearts and expensive suits desired, included was 24/7/365 Free Alcohol Service, with no controls.

Public be damned!

The media focused on the smoking ban in a carefully planned sleight of hand.

From CCT:
Underage West Barnstable resident, Tara L. Tobin, 20, arrested for OUI.
Mug Shot

Unable to stop the flood of DUIs originating from the Connecticut casinos, as reported here from the Spectrum Gaming Report: Mohegan Sun and Foxwoods: DUIs Governor M. Jodi Rell proposed to extend alcohol service to 24/7/365 to raise $5 million, until --

Conn. ended push for 24-hour bars at casinos after crash
State had hoped to collect more slot machine profits
A sailor, Daniel E. Musser, 24, is charged with manslaughter and driving under the influence and faces up to 19 years in prison.

By Gregory B. Hladky
Globe Correspondent / March 22, 2009

HARTFORD - Officials looking to help solve Connecticut's multibillion-dollar deficit thought they had found an easy way to raise another $5 million a year: allow casinos to serve alcohol 24 hours a day.

A sailor, Daniel E. Musser, 24, is charged with manslaughter and driving under the influence and faces up to 19 years in prison.


More hours of bar service would mean more gambling, they figured, which would mean the state could collect more slot machine profits.

But the proposal by Governor M. Jodi Rell's administration came to a sudden end at about 3:30 a.m. on March 7, when a car leaving the Mohegan Sun casino turned the wrong way down Interstate 395, headlights off, and slammed into a van full of college students on their way to Logan International Airport. They were scheduled for a flight to Uganda, where they had plans to help out at an orphan age over spring break.

Elizabeth Durante, a 20-year-old pre-med student at Connecticut College in New London, was killed.

The car's driver, Daniel E. Musser, 24, a sailor from the Naval Submarine Base in Groton, was charged with manslaughter and driving under the influence and faces up to 19 years in prison.

The next day, Rell called Durante's death "an unconscionable tragedy" and pulled back her budget proposal to make alcohol available 24 hours at the casinos.

"Even though this accident occurred under the laws as they have been for many years, the governor said it does give one pause to question the wisdom of extending liquor service hours at the casinos," Christopher Cooper, Rell spokesman, said recently. "We don't believe the bill is going to move forward this session."

Chuck Bunnell, chief of staff for the Mohegan Tribal Council, agreed.

"The Tribal Council in general has taken the position that it's time to pause and mourn the loss of this very bright light of humanity," Bunnell said, "that it's not appropriate to have those discussions right now."

Bunnell said the tribe was originally "approached on a bipartisan basis" by lawmakers looking for ways to increase state revenue.

Lori A. Potter, a spokeswoman for the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation, said analysts at the tribe's Foxwoods Resort Casino stand by their prediction that extending casino bar hours would result in an increase in state revenue.

"It is important to note that it would be impossible to find a more heavily regulated serving establishment in the state of Connecticut than the two casinos," Potter said.

Connecticut law requires the casinos' bars to stop serving by 1 a.m. Sunday through Thursday and by 2 a.m. Fridays and Saturdays. One of the arguments originally used in favor of allowing longer serving hours was that their competitors in Atlantic City serve alcohol 24 hours a day.
["The everyone else is doing it" argument that you wouldn't accept from your teenager!]

Legal hours for bars to serve alcohol vary greatly across the United States, according to Steven Schmidt, vice president for public policy at the National Alcohol Beverage Control Association.

In Massachusetts, for example, state law allows service until 11 p.m., but local governing bodies can extend the hours to 2 a.m. In states such as New Jersey and Nevada, Schmidt said, local authorities are allowed to set bar closing hours.

Charles H. Gartman, one of the students with Durante in the van that night, has difficulty understanding why anyone thought round-the-clock liquor at the casinos was a good idea.

"Twenty-four-hour bar service is a little bit ridiculous," Gartman said last week in a phone interview from his New York City home. "You can't trust everyone to drink and drive safely."

Gartman, 19 and a sophomore at Connecticut College, has not yet recovered from injuries he suffered in the crash.

The five other passengers also suffered injuries, some minor.

"Both my legs were pretty banged up, and at first I couldn't walk," he said. "I have pretty severe lacerations on my chin."

Nor has he recovered from the loss of Durante, of West Islip, N.Y. Gartman said it was Durante who got him interested in going to Uganda to aid orphaned children. "It was her enthusiasm for helping people," he recalled.

Stephanie Hinman, who was Durante's roommate and one of the students on the Uganda trip, finds it ironic that her friend would die at the hands of an accused drunk driver.

"Neither Liz nor I ever drank," Hinman said from her home in Norfolk, Conn.

"We lived together in the substance-free dorm."

In a 2007 interview with a college publication, Durante said she wanted to become a surgeon and work in Africa with Doctors Without Borders.

For Janice Heggie Margolis, executive director of the Connecticut chapter of Mothers Against Drunk Driving, Durante's death provided tragic evidence of why casino liquor hours should never be expanded.

She said the potential price to society of more fatal crashes is simply too high, no matter how much money might flow to the state. "This is exactly the reason why," Heggie Margolis said.

"You can never put on paper the cost of a life."

Nicole McArdle, 29, of Stoughton was arrested after rear-ending a stopped vehicle about 11:14 p.m. Thursday. She was arrested and charged by police with drunken driving and following another car too closely

A family tragedy, its toll multiplied
Drunken driving charged in woman’s death
In the moments after he allegedly struck Cynthia Ray with his 2010 Chevrolet Silverado, Robert V. Bryant, 50, the chief operating officer of a computer software company, reportedly asked a state trooper, “Did I hit somebody? A pedestrian? I don’t remember doing that.’’ At the time, the resident of Haverhill’s Bradford neighborhood was being given a field sobriety test, which State Police say he failed.

Holbrook woman charged with drunken driving after Randolph hit-and-run
A Holbrook woman allegedly involved in a hit-and-run accident was charged with drunken driving after the driver of the other car followed her and called the police.
Patricia Madden, 51, was arrested Friday evening after a man told police that she struck his vehicle in Randolph then left without stopping.

Raynham man arrested on 5th DUI held without bail
Scott M. Williams of 181 King Philip St., Raynham, was arrested on Sunday, Dec. 5 in the Bob’s Parking Lot on South Street West near Route 44 at around 1 a.m. on charges of drunk driving fifth subsequent offense, negligent driving, driving with a revoked license and refusing to identify himself.

On Saturday, December 11, 2010 at 10:01 p.m., David S. White, 43, of Provincetown, was arrested by Officer Jeremiah Valli on Route 6 in Truro and charged with OUI Liquor, Marked Lane Violation, Speeding and Negligent Operation of a Motor Vehicle.

Route 24 crash victim was drunk, state police say
Guerlein Guerrier, 25, was critically injured in a Dec. 11 crash that also injured two children, ages 8 and 9, who were in the backseat of her 1999 Chevrolet Prizm. The crash happened about 11:13 a.m., bringing traffic to a standstill on Route 24 southbound near Exit 18A.
Guerrier has since been summonsed to court for a host of charges, including drunken driving, child endangerment, drunken driving in a crash that resulted in serious injuries and reckless operation of a motor vehicle, said State Police Sgt. Michael Popovics.

What we know is:

Drunken Driving Fatalities and Accidents Increase: Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun have at least 50% more OUI arrests than any other State Police troop in CT. Drunken driving related fatalities almost doubled in the area during 2009 vs. 2008 because the casino revenue to the state decreased leading to budget cuts in police force.

Before “Happy Hours” were outlawed in Massachusetts in 1984, there were 411 drunken driving related fatalities compared to only 151 in 2008.

Casinos will have Happy Hours 24/7/365!!!

Mass. driver faces 11th alcohol-related charge, police say
Vernon Perry, 52, refused a breath test after he was taken into custody, Seekonk police Captain Craig Mace said yesterday.

Beacon Hill presented legislation crafted by the Industry behind closed doors, carefully excluding opponents.

When police stopped Gayle Drummond’s car, they said she was drunk and without pants, driving with a Dunkin’ Donuts cup full of beer in the cup holder and her 4-month-old baby in the back seat.
The infant was wearing a urine-soaked onesie with no diaper, and bottles of beer and liquor littered the car, police added.
Drummond, 37, of 38 Duncan Drive, Norwell, was arrested and charged with third-offense drunken driving, driving to endanger, child endangerment while driving drunk and having an open container of alcohol in her car.

Senator Rosenberg and others publicly proclaimed "We'll get it right," even though 17 pages of 'errata' were included in the final product.

Chelsea man charged in fatal hit and run
A Chelsea man was arrested last night and charged in the hit-and-run death of another man in that city last month, authorities said.
Luis Gabriel Escalante, 22, was apprehended in Chelsea and is being charged with felony motor vehicle homicide, leaving the scene of an accident causing death, and operating under the influence, according to the office of Suffolk District Attorney Daniel F. Conley. Escalante is scheduled to be arraigned today in Chelsea District Court.

Yarmouth Police arrest intoxicated woman found stumbling down Route 28...Kimberly A. Nicolazzo, 35, of Saugus, MA, was uncooperative and verbally abusive when taken into custody...

It's time to pause, open up the process to a transparent discussion about costs and impacts.

GAVELL, Michael F, 40, 32 Shore Drive, Forestdale; operating with a suspended license for OUI/CDL, January 28 in Barnstable. Pretrial conference scheduled for February 28.

PERRY, Jordan C, 19, 51 John Ewer Rd, Sandwich; operating under the influence, marked lanes violation January 31 in Yarmouth. Pretrial conference scheduled for March 7.

MULLANY, William J; Operating under the influence of liquor, admitted to sufficient facts; unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle, dismissed. Continued for payment until January 26, 2012.

CROCKER, Amy E; Operating under the influence of liquor, marked lanes violation. Admitted to sufficient facts. Continued without a finding, continued for payment until January 27, 2012.

Ignoring the costs

Ottawa Citizen offered a sampling of religious opinions about lotteries [worth reading in their entirety]:

As the religion experts: Are state-run lotteries a good or a bad thing?

Q: Are state-run lotteries a good or a bad thing?

ABDUL RASHID is a member of the Ottawa Muslim community, the Christian-Muslim Dialogue and the Capital Region Interfaith Council.

When the natural desire to increase one’s wealth degenerates into greed, it often leads to a desire to gain most with least effort. Gambling is an attempt to satisfy these deviations from natural traits. Although it has always existed in one form or another, it was always considered an evil practice. The Islamic prohibition of gambling in all forms is absolute (Holy Koran, 5:90).

In recent years, gambling has mushroomed across our society. It is indeed sad that the State, which is the protector of the poor and the weak, has now become an active promoter of this activity. This has opened the doors of disaster to individuals who, through their greed, lose their already meagre means. The evil effects permeate through families and then through the community at large.

There is a very dangerous argument made in favour of lotteries that these provide funds for worthy causes. The argument is in fact anti-social as it assumes that the members of the society are unwilling to support worthy causes and must be enticed into gambling. What a travesty to serve noble causes through ignoble means.

Gambling has now become not only a legalized activity and its promotion by various levels of government has raised it to a form of entertainment and a source of easy and quick income. Its social and economics costs have been pushed under the rug.

Addiction is a disease, irrespective of the nature of addiction. While governments argue that lotteries generate revenue to support social welfare programs, the negative impact of legalized gambling on the poor and the disadvantaged is huge. Many people at the lower end of income ladder consider it a means of quick income fix. The fact is that the addiction has serious consequences for both the addicted individual and his or her family.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Casino gambling

Casino gambling

It seems Florida is considering gambling as a way to boost the local economy. New casinos would mean construction jobs and then hopefully tourist trade, which would mean jobs for maids, maintenance workers, clerks and restaurant workers.

It sounds so good, but the proposal is not well thought out. Has anyone checked with Nevada lately? It has the worst or almost the worst economy in the nation because it heavily relies on gambling as its source of revenue, and when people are not prospering, they don't have funds to gamble away. Cities and states need to look for substantial ways of building the economy through companies that provide a real product or service that the public needs and wants both in good times and in bad. There are no quick fixes. Let's hope Utahns never consider such a shallow resolution.

Darlene Bennett

Salt Lake City

Recovery from gambling addiction is a process

Recovery from gambling addiction is a process

Several Oklahoma organizations teamed up to host a free workshop in Edmond to provide information and resources related to problem gambling. Representatives and people who have had gambling addictions spoke about resources for coping and recovery.


After a 32-hour gambling binge, Jeff Aynes contemplated making the ultimate gamble.

He parked his van on the side of a cliff along a winding road between Oklahoma City and Dallas on the morning of Feb. 10, 2006. He prayed it would look like an accident when he drove over the edge so his wife and two daughters could collect life insurance.

Two days earlier, Aynes was headed home from working as a disc jockey at a wedding in Elk City. The weather was bad, so Aynes called his wife and told her he was going to pull over. He didn’t tell her he was about to stop at a casino.

Aynes was a compulsive gambler, but he was getting help. At that point, it had been 90 days since he last gambled.

During the next 32 hours, Aynes visited eight casinos spread from Tulsa to Goldsby. He ignored dozens of calls from friends and family.

Aynes was winning, which made him angry. In his mind, he didn’t deserve to win. He was a loser. So he resolved to keep gambling until he lost. After the winnings were gone, Aynes kept playing until he had lost everything else.

He doesn’t remember how he got from that last casino to the curve in the road where he parked his van. He’s not even sure which casino he left last. Everything was a daze. Somehow, Aynes drove to that spot near the Falls Creek Baptist Conference Center in the Arbuckle Mountains, where he had gone before when he was depressed about gambling losses. This time he was set on driving over the edge.

The road was narrow and winding, which is why Aynes prayed his suicide would look like an accident. God didn’t listen. At least not to Aynes.

Raising awareness
On Saturday, Aynes, 43, discussed this problem and road to recovery during a workshop for people affected by problem gambling. About two dozen people attended the event, held at Henderson Hills Baptist Church in Edmond.
Representatives from local organizations and several people who are coping with gambling problems spoke about overcoming addiction.

Gambling problems affect people of all ages and backgrounds. Many Oklahomans have lost their savings, marriages, jobs and homes.

About 200,000 Oklahomans — close to 5 percent of the population — are considered problem or pathological gamblers. Oklahoma has 111 casinos and ranks third in the nation for number of slot machines with 64,000, said Wiley Harwell, executive director of the Oklahoma Association for Problem and Compulsive Gambling.

Compulsive gamblers often are fueled by the adrenaline rush that comes with hitting a jackpot. It keeps them chasing after their next high. Many lie to their families and hide their finances.

People can seek help in a variety of ways, said Susie Harrigan, a therapist at A Chance to Change.

“There’s more than one way to climb up a mountain,” she said. “Everybody has their own way.”

A Chance to Change is a nonprofit organization based in Oklahoma City that helps people suffering from addictions and behavioral disorders and their family members. Among other services, the organization offers $5 counseling sessions for qualifying individuals.

Harrigan discussed the many stages that problem gamblers and their families go through. They include denial, codependence, anger and guilt.

A gambler’s story
Dorothy Grimes, of Choctaw, knows the stages well. Grimes, 60, gambled for years, but her problems escalated when casinos became big in Oklahoma. Grimes hit a low on her 39th wedding anniversary in September 2006.
Her husband worked nights at Tinker Air Force Base. On the afternoon of their anniversary, Grimes headed to the casino while her husband slept and went to work.

She gambled all night and felt guilty for squandering her family’s hard-earned money. Grimes managed the family’s finances so her husband wouldn’t notice.

Less than two months later, she went back to the casino and won big. Within a two- or three-week period, Grimes had recovered enough money to pay her debts. Instead, she bought a ring and a refrigerator and gambled the rest. Eventually the money ran out.

Grimes sought help. Recovery is an ongoing process, she said. Her husband, children and grandchildren have supported her. Grimes’ husband is at retirement age, but he will keep working for several years because Grimes refinanced their home.

The temptation hasn’t disappeared completely, but Grimes is determined to choose recovery over gambling.

The road to recovery
On the morning of Feb. 10, 2006, Aynes is convinced that God listened to prayers from his family.
Instead of driving over the edge, Aynes noticed the birds chirping and the trees around him.

He thought about his wife and daughters.

Aynes decided to take responsibility for his recovery. Later that night, he went to a support meeting. This time he was ready. He knew he needed to go through the steps for himself, not for others.

Next month, Aynes will celebrate five years in recovery. He gets to be a father to his daughters, ages 11 and 17.

Aynes wishes he could have back the time he lost, but he knows he can’t escape the past. Instead, he focuses on the future and celebrates his victories.

“If my story helps one person, it makes a difference,” he said.

Ending constant ads

As a household, we're generally too busy to watch much television and that infrequency makes the advertising that much more striking.

The constant advertising, whether for the lottery Mega whatever, or our nearby Slot Barns proclaims the route to financial security is gambling and betting.

Much like cigarette and alcohol ads were banned, it should be time for the Gambling Industry to be curtailed as well.

Call to curb constant on-air plugs for TAB betting

Problem gambling activists are calling for curbs on the "very dangerous" trend of television sports commentators spruiking instant sports betting.

Graeme Ramsey, CEO of the Problem Gambling Foundation, said he was very worried by the growing trend for TV commentators, particularly for cricket, to promote TAB odds during play.

Ramsey said it was time for the practice to be regulated and asked if commentators should be made to open up their own TAB accounts to public scrutiny.

"It's important sport remains free, and is seen to remain free, of corruption, so if that means more scrutiny, maybe that is an idea."

Ramsey said forms of betting where the result was near-instant were usually more appealing to problem gamblers.

"With a horse race, you at least have to wait until the end of the race, but now you can see them offering odds on what will happen in the next over – so it is getting increasingly instant and increasingly accessible," he said. "There are real potential dangers in these new forms of betting, and it is certainly a major factor for problem gamblers.

"As a general rule, the shorter the gap, the bigger the problem. It's certainly something we're keeping an eye on."

But the biggest issue with TV commentators promoting gambling was that it "normalised" it, he said.

"You've got to question the motivation of people who are doing that.

"I would like to see it regulated. We've seen a decline in more traditional forms of gambling – like pokies – and we're now seeing a rise in new forms of sports betting, especially instant sports betting, which we need to keep a close eye on: it could become very problematic."

Recent criticism, led by Sunday Star-Times columnist Richard Boock, centred on the first cricket test against Pakistan.

Sky Chief executive John Fellett said suggestions commentators were under instructions or there was some incentive to promote gambling were incorrect.

"I can assure you neither is the case," Fellett said. He said the TAB paid for a pre-match spot where it explained its odds.

Fellett was out of the country when the first test aired. He had viewed some of the coverage but was reluctant to pass judgement until he had seen all of it.

He admitted he had come across a few instances where the commentators made mention of odds related to shifts in momentum in the match, something that cricket lent itself to because of the long nature of the game.

"I'm not crazy about that. But I thought it would be unfair for me to talk to the boys before I get a chance to watch the whole thing in detail just to see whether it was laced with that or I happened to stumble upon the areas where they did it the most," Fellett said. "I have not finished watching the whole match yet but I'm committed to do that.

"There may be some stuff that I'm terribly embarrassed about and I would share in the criticism of it. I think if there was constant reference to betting that would turn everybody off."

NZ Cricket chief executive Justin Vaughan said he had no influence on the repeated mentions of the TAB, saying it was Sky's own commercial arrangement, but was "OK" with it. NZ Cricket collect a small percentage from all bets but Vaughan said that was a "very small" revenue stream.

"I do understand that Sky has been doing more around promoting the TAB," he said. "Really, to a degree, that's their prerogative ...

"But we do want to keep a close eye on it to make sure that the reputation of the game itself is not being in any way lessened or tainted as a consequence."

Vaughan said the TAB was offering "fairly standard areas of betting" and added: "While I'm not a person who bets on sport, I understand a lot of people do and get a lot of enjoyment and perhaps get more engaged with the sport as a consequence of that. That's not a bad thing for cricket."

Among TAB bets available on yesterday's ODI between New Zealand and Pakistan were odds on the highest opening partnership, the total runs from the first over, the score after 10 overs, the team to score the most sixes, the number of run-outs and wides, and the method of the first dismissal.

Cost of Gambling Addiction

Effects of gambling addiction: Australia

What are the social and economic effects of gambling addiction?

In 1998 the National Gambling Impact Study Commission funded a study to determine the overall cost to society posed by problem and pathological gamblers in the United States.

The results showed that approximately $5 billion was lost annually, with an additional $40 billion in lifetime costs for productivity reductions, social services and creditor losses. Studies have concluded that two out of three pathological gamblers commit illegal acts in order to pay gambling-related debts. This places a hardship on our legal systems, prison systems and public assistance programs.


The following consequences of problem gambling all result in economic costs for states, communities and individuals:

* Job loss, unemployment
* Debt, bankruptcy
* Embezzlement, fraud, check forgery
* Eviction, forced home sales
* Crime, arrest, incarceration
* Poor physical and mental health, suicide
* Alcohol and drug abuse

The families of problem gamblers also suffer greatly from physical and psychological abuse; harassment and threats from bill collectors and creditors; increased stress stemming from neglect and divorce; and the extra financial burden placed on them to repay debts.

Sadly, children are negatively affected by gambling addiction in several ways.

* Physical and emotional abandonment is a very real phenomenon.
* Casino kids are left in cars or on the periphery of the gambling action while their parents gamble, or may spend hours with babysitters, thus missing the nurturing they need.
* Children of pathological gamblers are typically abused verbally, mentally and physically by the gambler, and often even more so by the co-dependent spouse.
* Finally, these children are much more likely to develop gambling addiction than their peers.

If you or someone you love is in the grips of GAMBLING ADDICTION please call our professionals at GATS Austrsalia's leading treatment and rehab centre for HELP. 08 8269 3200 (7days)

Excerpted from research: Effects of Problem Gambling. California Council on Problem Gambling (Anaheim, CA); 2006.

Gambling Addiction Growing Illness In Oklahoma

Gambling Addiction Growing Illness In Oklahoma

OKLAHOMA CITY -- Gambling addiction is a sickness experts say often goes untreated. It's also a public health concern that's growing in Oklahoma because the state ranks fifth in the nation for having the most casinos.

Experts say because there is no substance involved in gambling, many often don't see it as an illness, but gambling changes the brain's chemistry in ways drugs do.

"It's almost a numbing effect," said Michelle Jester. "It's like you go in there and that adrenaline rush get started."

It's that rush that made Jester realize she had a problem. Gambling is an addiction she has been fighting for 20 years and it all started with playing Bingo.

"Next thing you know I got slot machines and I'm out there four or five times a week," said Jester.

Jester said she hit rock bottom when she went all in and ended up hurting her family.

"It's horrible, I mean I have two small children and was evicted from a home and moved back with my parents. Getting cars repossessed and you know even sometimes that wasn't enough," Jester said.

"They get in the zone and they get in a trance and they're just locked in and that machine just becomes their best friend," said therapist Susie Harrigan.

Harrigan works as a therapist for the A Chance to Change Foundation, which helps people like Jester with counseling. Harrigan said the need for counselors has grown by 50 percent over the last year.

"There's a lot of devastation, not only personally, but also with family. They have to lie, cheat and steal to feed their gambling addiction," said Harrigan.

"We are really 25, 30 years behind recognizing problem gambling as a legitimate psychological disorder. Although it's listed as so, the public doesn't understand how a behavior can become an addiction," said Wiley Harwell, Executive Director of the Oklahoma Assoc. for Problem and Compulsive Gambling.

The Oklahoma Association for Problem and Compulsive Gambling reports Oklahoma has 110 casinos. People who live close to them are more likely to develop a problem.

"It's amazing is what it is. It's how good, moral church going people in many cases, this takes over their life and they begin to do things they would never think of doing otherwise," said Harwell.

Jester now leads a support group for those who are struggling. She's going to recovery once a month and is no longer taking a gamble on her loved ones lives.

"It almost seems so overwhelming to come out of but there is hope. There is a way out," Jester said.

Those who are concerned about their gambling can call A Chance to Change to make an appointment for a confidential evaluation. Family members are also greatly affected by this illness, and they are also encouraged to participate in counseling. To make an appointment, call (405) 840-9000 or go to the A Chance to Change Foundation's website.

The Oklahoma Association For Problem and Compulsive Gambling also offers help on their website.

....suspicious betting pattern

Worth reading in its entirety --

WPBSA quick to act after suspicious betting pattern during Jimmy Michie match with Marcus Campbell

Snooker could be plunged into a new corruption scandal after bookmakers reported suspicious betting on Friday’s one-frame match between Jimmy Michie and Marcus Campbell at the inaugural World Shoot-out tournament in Blackpool.

By Simon Hart
The sport’s governing body, the World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association, have announced an immediate investigation after being informed of a “unusually high number of bets” being placed on a Campbell victory.

Higgins, the three-time world champion, was filmed by undercover reporters in a Kiev hotel room agreeing to throw frames in exchange for money.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Mississippi lets casinos off cheap

Mississippi study suggests casino-tax hike

Mississippi's gambling industry remains a premier destination, but a study requested by a lawmaker offers ideas - from raising the tax on operators to adding horse or dog racing - for boosting revenue collected by the state.

He [Moak, D-Bogue Chitto] said Mississippi operators pay 12 percent tax - 8 percent state and 4 percent local - on their revenues.

Former casino employee faces theft sentence

Former casino employee faces theft sentence

NIOBRARA, Neb. (KTIV) --- A former employee of a Santee Sioux Tribe owned casino will spend a year in prison for stealing from the casino.

Federal prosecutors say Bianco White, of Niobrara stole over $13,000 from the casino's slot machines while working for the casino.

White was also ordered to pay over $13,000 in restitution to the Ohiya Casino and serve three years supervised released.

Just wondering: Tribal Casinos = A Sovereign Nation that doesn't pay taxes, doesn't pay its fair share to support government. Americans taxpayers it appears paid for the prosecution. Who is paying for the incarceration? American taxpayers again? And who will pay for the 'supervised release' ?

Four Atlantic City Casinos Fined

Four Casinos Heavily Fined in New Jersey

The casinos in New Jersey appear to be having a bad time with casino inspectors and are being heavily fined for having failed to meet the security standards required. So far, four prominent blackjack casinos in Atlantic City have been penalized by New Jersey authorities to the tune of $115,000. Three of the casinos were pulled up for permitting underage gaming, while the fourth was fined on account of a blackjack scam.

Tropicana Casino and Resort

The Tropicana Casino had to cough up a big fine because it did not manage its blackjack tables appropriately and failed to spot a blackjack dealer scam. The dealer had teamed up with a blackjack player and stole $21,500 over a course of 21 weeks. The casino was fined $40,000.

Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino

The reputed Trump Plaza Casino was also subject to fines of $20,000 by New Jersey authorities for allowing a 19 year old to consume alcohol and play blackjack without checking his identification. The teenager ordered many drinks and even used a card counting system.

Trump Taj Mahal Casino Resort

Yet another Trump Casino was fined, when a 20 year old girl was found playing at the Trump Taj Mahal. The player was heavily intoxicated and had been at the blackjack tables for hours. The casino was fined $20,000.

Atlantic City Hilton Casino Resort

This casino had to spill a $15,000 when a 20 year old was spotted at the blackjack tables. Fortunately for Atlantic City Hilton, this player was caught within 45 minutes.

Delegates seek to ban welfare cards at casinos

Much like the legislation crammed through on Beacon Hill, this effort is too little, too late.

Delegates seek to ban welfare cards at casinos
By LIAM FARRELL, Staff Writer

Two Anne Arundel County delegates want to prohibit the use of welfare cards at slot machine casinos, the latest attempt at limiting the social fallout from Maryland's foray into gambling.

The legislation, sponsored by Dels. Nic Kipke, R-Pasadena, and Bob Costa, R-Deale, would prevent the use of Maryland's "Independence" debit cards at ATMs in state casinos.

"Part of the responsibility of the state is to provide a safety-net benefit," Kipke said. "We still have a responsibility to set high standards."

Two of Maryland's five planned casinos have opened, with facilities running in Cecil and Worcester counties.

The largest slots venue is slated for Anne Arundel County, with The Cordish Cos. working on its Arundel Mills mall site in Hanover. Officials broke ground for the casino Thursday, but residents near the mall have filed an appeal challenging the adequacy of plans for local roads.

Maryland already prohibits the direct use of credit and debit cards in slot machines. Check-cashing is banned as well.

Some slots proceeds are earmarked for gambling addiction programs.

Kipke said he became aware of the welfare card issue after reports in California last year that nearly $2 million of taxpayer money had been withdrawn from casinos.

The delegate said the change would cost little or nothing.

"All of the facilities we have are new," Kipke said.

The state Department of Human Resources, which is in charge of welfare benefits, is still reviewing the bill and has not finalized its position, spokeswoman Nancy Lineman said.

Costa acknowledged that welfare recipients could use other ATMs to get cash before heading to a casino. But he said the bill is a way to stop gambling addicts from impulsively using welfare cards if an ATM is readily available near slots.

"It is basically a family protection bill," he said.

A hearing on the bill is scheduled in the House Ways and Means Committee next month.

Into The Muck

It takes a great deal of courage to step forward and publicly describe the personal path to hell created by gambling addiction.

Although this is short notice for this book signing, the author offers a March 7th event as well.

Author To Sign Book On Gambling Addiction

NEWINGTON — — Newington resident Joe Turbessi will do a book signing for his recently published "Into The Muck: How Poker Changed My Life," at 2 p.m. Saturday
[1-29-11] at the Farmington Borders store, 1600 South East Road.

The book tells the story of his descent into gambling addition while he was a college student.

Turbessi also will speak March 7 at Southern Connecticut State University as part of National Problem Gambling Awareness Week.

Oneida Indian Nation never had immunity

Madison and Oneida counties: Oneida Indian Nation never had immunity

Dispatch Staff Writer

WAMPSVILLE -- Madison and Oneida counties took their first footsteps in a recently-diverted legal path to the Second Circuit Court of Appeals Wednesday after the Supreme Court remanded the case to the lower court.

The counties filed their briefs in the foreclosure case with the court Wednesday, having slightly amended their arguments since their legal opposition - the Oneida Indian Nation - waived its sovereign immunity.

The Second Circuit Court of Appeals has ordered the Nation to submit its responsive brief by Feb. 2 at 5 p.m. The counties will then be allowed to submit a reply brief by Feb. 7 at 5 p.m.

In the counties’ first set of briefs it questions an ordinance enacted by the Nation Nov. 29 waiving its immunity from suit in foreclosure cases. The counties assert that the waiver comes after more than 10 years of litigation in which the Nation has aggressively asserted that recently purchased properties are exempt from tax collection and that its sovereign immunity prevents all attempts by the counties to collect property taxes.

“This dramatic reversal in its litigation position can only be understood as a forced concession on the courthouse steps, wrought by the prospect of unfavorable Supreme Court review,” the brief says.

Conversely, the counties point out that the Nation “asserted tribal sovereign immunity from suit as a core defense to the city of Sherrill’s and the counties’ tax enforcement.”

One of two questioned posed to the Supreme Court by the counties asks whether sovereign immunity bars taxing authorities from foreclosing on property in which taxes are owed.

The counties go on to further argue that the Nation cannot waive a right it does not have. Its assertion ignores the 2005 Sherrill case in which it was made clear that “the tribe has no right to immunity from collection of ad valorem property taxes through foreclosure.”

The brief implores the court to reject the Nation’s waiver. However, waiving immunity from suit does not render the case moot, the county argues. The Nation’s stance in the case has not changed in light the waiver; “it continues to believe it possesses super-sovereign immunity with respect to tax collection but has proported to elect not to assert that immunity with respect to the counties’ tax collection efforts through foreclosure,” the counties’ brief says.

The counties argue if the court does decide the issue of sovereign immunity is moot, then it should find that the waiver applies to foreclosure proceedings and all other related tax collection proceedings.

The second question submitted to the Supreme Court in relation to the disestablishment of the Nation’s reservation has been posed again to the Second Circuit.

According to the counties, “there has not been an Oneida reservation in New York for generations. The Supreme Court recognized the overwhelming non-Indian ownership of, and exclusive state sovereign over, the area in Sherrill.

“The Supreme Court also noted the long history of state sovereign control from the early 1880s and that for the past two centuries New York and its county and municipal units have continuously governed the territory.”

To say the reservation now encompasses 300,000 acres in Central New York - two cities and more than 20 municipalities - “ignores these historical facts and compounds the disruption to state and local government that concerned the Supreme Court in Sherrill.”

To ensure that the Second Circuit’s decision issues a final resolution, the counties are requesting the court also address three other questions:

• “Does the Indian Trade and Intercourse Act bar transfer of title through in rem foreclosure to collect lawfully imposed taxes on OIN-owned fee properties?”

• “Did OIN, a tax protester, receive constitutionally adequate notice of the tax delinquency and foreclosure proceedings and a reasonable opportunity to redeem the property?

• “If this court adheres to the conclusion that the ancient Oneida Reservation is not disestablished or diminished, are the OIN’s fee-owned parcels a reservation within the meaning of New York’s Real Property and Tax Law and Indian Law?”

In conjunction with the counties’ brief, the state of New York filed a brief Wednesday in support of the counties.

“The OIN has implicitly recognized that the claim of sovereign immunity was meritless by abruptly abandoning the claim after strenuously litigating the immunity issue for a decade, including two trips to this court and the Supreme Court,” the state says in its brief.

Alabama jurors: Have your every won or lost gambling?

Jurors: Have your every won or lost gambling?

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) - The casino operators, legislators and lobbyists facing trial April 4 in Alabama's gambling corruption case want the potential jurors to be questioned about their views of gambling, the Legislature and lobbyists.

An attorney for VictoryLand owner Milton McGregor filed the request in federal court Friday on behalf of most of the defendants in the case.

He wants potential jurors to say whether they have ever won or lost at a gambling establishment and whether they won or lost enough to change their lifestyle. He also wants to know if they think the Legislature is honest or dishonest and whether lobbyists help or hurt the political system.

The defendants want the judge to approve the questions so they can use the information when picking a jury for the trial.

Documents posted here:
Defendants in Gambling Corruption Trial Petition Court to Draw Jury Names at Random, Court sets Hearing Date

John S Keppy

MONTGOMERY: Defendants in the U.S. v McGregor trial petitioned the court to allow potential juror names to be drawn on a random basis from names in the entire Middle District of Alabama court instead of just the north district. The petition below is from James Pruitt and is similar to petitions submitted by other defendants.

Judge Myron Thompson has set a hearing date of February 9th, 2011 to hear arguments.

Proposed casino tax increase

My bet: Casino tax will rise, with caveats

Written by

Branstad, in the budget he presented Thursday, plans to cut the corporate income tax roughly in half. He says he'll pay for that by returning the tax on casinos to 36 percent, up from the 22 or 24 percent they pay under current law.

The tactic will help him counter one of the better arguments that Democrats have raised against Branstad's proposed budget cuts for programs like preschool: He's only doing it to pay for business tax cuts. By paying for the tax cut, dollar for dollar, from revenue increases, he can more plausibly deny he's rewarding corporations at the cost of kids.

But Branstad will face some political pushback from members of his own party to the idea of raising a tax - any tax - even for the purpose of cutting another tax. The governor skirts the charge that he's violating his own no-tax-increase promise by saying he's just restoring the gaming tax to the rate casinos originally agreed to pay back in the 1990s.

The gaming lobby is powerful and well-funded. Branstad acknowledged he's going up against an "army" of lobbyists. They won't give up more tax dollars without lots of sweeteners, probably in the form of looser regulation. Branstad says he's willing to talk to them, but he won't jeopardize the state's integrity.

Some conservatives who look coldly at tax increases might make an exception for casinos. Others may be persuaded by the fact that about 40 percent of casino revenue comes from out-of-staters.

Scribe comes clean on his addictions

Scribe comes clean on his addictions

Christchurch rapper Scribe has confessed to drugs, alcohol and gambling addictions, but says he is now clean.

The pressure went on the Christchurch rap star this week as his finances came under the spotlight over his debt to Christchurch pawnbroker Shane Lilley.

After The Press tried to contact him over the past five days he accused the newspaper of harassment, but last night gave an exclusive tell-all interview to TV3.

Lilley took 11 of Scribe's awards as security for a personal loan in October 2008. The pawnbroker held on to the awards for much longer than he was legally required to in the hope the rapper would pay the $5500 debt.

He finally put four of the certificates marking Scribe's platinum sales on Trade Me.

Last night they sold for: platinum, $1725 (Peter, of Paeroa, Waikato); double platinum, $1885 (Peter, Paeroa); triple platinum, $1610 (Greg, of Auckland); four-times platinum, $1609 (Greg, Auckland).

Scribe told TV3 he went to Lilley when he needed money and to prevent his family knowing.

His family had "cut me off from money" to stop him living a lifestyle of drugs, gambling and alcohol.

He said the wild times had led to his girlfriend leaving for Australia with their two children.

That was a wake-up call that encouraged him to give up the lifestyle, and "I got my family back".

"If it wasn't for my family and my kids I would still be caught in that rut ... I'm much wiser, much stronger and I know how to handle things better."

Every day was still a struggle, he said.

He wanted the awards back, but Lilley had asked for $8000 for what was originally a $1000 loan.

Lilley denied that last night, saying he quoted Scribe $5000.

"That was after two years," Lilley said. "He loaned between $200 and $300 on each award and I have 11 of them, so he borrowed about $2400.

"Our interest rate is 20 per cent per month. I think I only put on five or six months [worth of interest], and that was after two years.

"He's obviously had some problems and he's fessed up to them. Good luck to him in the future. I just wish he had called and saw me during the week. He's obviously in Christchurch."

Scribe had last been in touch in about May last year. He was happy to take the $5000 he was owed, plus auction expenses.

"Anything over the $5000 I'll give back to him, and the rest of the awards that I have. He's welcome to have them back," Lilley said.

Ad Feedback Scribe fans will hope the latest interview will help him kickstart a career that has been in doldrums.

Music industry figures say his bid to raise money through a pawnbroker is a "very bad look" for a musician who promised much when he burst from obscurity in 2003 with his double-sided single, Not Many and Stand Up.

Scribe was a naive 24-year-old when he went from rags to riches almost overnight with his story-telling rap songs. He has often talked and written songs about his struggle with fame and success, but not his battle with drugs and gambling.

Many people were aware he enjoyed, until recently, a flutter on the gaming machines at the Christchurch Casino and The Wave Sports Bar in New Brighton, but only family and insiders knew of his addiction problems.

His debut album, Crusader, was released in October 2003 and reached platinum sales five times (about 85,000 sales) in New Zealand and 100,000 in Australia.

Big hits have been elusive since about 2004, and his 2007 album, Rhyme Book, received mixed reviews and fell far short of the success of Crusader.

He split from his record company, Dirty Records, about 18 months ago and is working towards his third album, Therapy.

Music industry sources said he was still a music celebrity but no longer a "bankable star".

The years 2007 and 2008 appear to have been particularly difficult for the shy rapper of Samoan stock who grew up in Phillipstown, Christchurch.

In 2007, a Christchurch finance company put a caveat on the house in New Brighton that his family trust bought in late 2005. The Press understands the debt was about $7000 and was paid by other parties after threats were made to go public about the debt. The caveat was removed four months after being registered.

The trustees of the family trust are Scribe, his manager, Theresa Patterson, and Auckland accountant John Burns.

A family live in the house but said they were Scribe's tenants.

Patterson has a close business relationship with Scribe, whose real name is Jeshua - the Aramaic name for Jesus - Ioane Luafutu. She is a director and shareholder of his two companies, Scribe Music and Scribe Touring.

In the past few years Scribe has been doing gigs in New Zealand and Australia and put out a few singles, usually in collaboration with other rap artists.

He has performed at benefit concerts for tsunami victims in Samoa and for those affected by the Canterbury earthquake.

He is short-tempered with critics and has resented accusations about an incident at a Christmas party after the 2004 Tui Awards when an Auckland student radio announcer, Phil Armstrong, was beaten by another rapper over a comment taken the wrong way. Armstrong needed dental reconstruction.

Scribe told the Sunday Star-Times in 2007: "People said I did it but it was actually [the rapper] and I pulled him off the guy. I tried to break it up."

Witnesses say Scribe could have done more to stop the violence.

In 2008, Scribe started a petty Twitter feud with Real Groove Magazine (since folded) editor Duncan Grieve in which he reacted to a less-than-flattering Grieve review of a Scribe/P-Money demo with the lines: "Duncan Grieve is going to get a good old-fashioned hiding" and "Grieve-ous bodily harm Samoan-style".

In August last year he tweeted a message about a near-death experience with a drink-driver in Auckland. "Few beers last nite, bacardis, Moet Chardon, QF shots unlimited, hit 2 clubs, got on the mic, had a car crash punched a guy in the face."

Lilley said he still had Scribe's award for best male artist at the 2008 Pacific Music Awards to sell.

He said Scribe's extended family had approached him to buy the certificates since the news about the Trade Me auction, but he had told them to get Scribe to contact him.

- The Press

Gambling Addict to prison

Woman in medical fraud sentenced to jail

VICTORIA, British Columbia, Jan. 28 (UPI) -- A woman convicted of faking life-threatening illnesses to fund her gambling addiction has been sentenced to three years in a Canadian prison.

Tina Sammons of Victoria, British Columbia, pleaded guilty in November to four counts of fraud for using faked medical conditions to defraud friends and relatives of more than $350,000, the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. reported Friday.

Sammons, 37, allegedly got in-laws and friends to contribute money by claiming her healthcare costs weren't being covered because she was an American citizen.

Prosecutors say the West Virginia native claimed she had cancer, needed a kidney transplant, required three heart surgeries and was undergoing a number of medical therapies.

Most of the money Sammons gained through her fraudulent activities went to support a gambling addiction, prosecutors said.

Sammons was arrested after her brother-in-law hired a private detective to expose the 18-month-long fraud.

In sentencing her to prison, Judge Adrian Brooks ruled Sammons must serve time to demonstrate how seriously society views such fraud.

Sammon's brother-in-law said despite her treatment of the family, they would heal.

"We're very strong," Marc Robichaud said. "We all love each other very much, even though there was some division. We will continue to support each other and no, she can't destroy us."

Friday, January 28, 2011

Detectives Probe Lottery Licensing

Kenya: Detectives Probe Lottery Licensing

Nairobi — The lotteries that have been promising millions in prize money in SMS competitions are being investigated.

Detectives from the Kenya Anti-Corruption Commission have launched a probe into the activities of the Betting Control and Licensing Board following complaints over the lotteries and casinos.

The detectives, who have been visiting the board's Charity Sweepstake House offices on Mama Ngina Street in Nairobi since last week, have carted away stacks of documents for forensic auditing and interrogated several officials over suspected unprocedural licensing of casinos and lotteries.

The detectives have also requested minutes of all board meetings since 2008 to verify if the licenses awarded to various casinos and lottery games were part of the agenda at these meetings.

Double Murder Trial Begins for Gambling Addict

Ernest Scherer Murder Trial to be Featured on CBS “48 Hours Mystery”

Court testimony from the Ernest Scherer III murder trial reveals that the poker player joked in a letter to a friend that the double homicide of his father and mother might end up profiled on CBS’ “48 Hours Mystery”. That letter was read to jurors by prosecutor Michael Nieto's during opening arguments in the trial a few weeks ago.

Scherer III is on trial for the brutal March 2008 murder of his parents, Ernest Scherer Jr., 60, and Charlene Abendroth, 57, in their Castlewood, California home. Prosecutors claim the murder scene was concocted to look like a home invasion.

It appears as if Scherer III’s prediction might be coming true. A staffer for the CBS news magazine has recently been in attendance during the trial. It is not immediately known what plans the program has as to if or when it will air a segment about the case.

Prosecutors contend that Scherer III owed substantial gambling debts and bludgeoned the couple in order to obtain a $1.5 million inheritance. The elder Scherer had previously refused a loan to Ernie. Court testimony from Scherer III’s sister last week described heated arguments over the years with the defendant and his mother, a strict Mormon, regarding his gambling addiction.

The Alameda County Sheriff’s Department initially reached out to in order to assist in bringing national media attention to the case. Knowing that Scherer III had traveled across country to attend poker tournaments, law enforcement hoped friends and other acquaintances of Scherer III would come forward. At the time, the younger Scherer was considered a lead suspect in the case and believed to be attending the World Series of Poker in Las Vegas.

The trial is expected to go through March.

Gambling Addict steals from dementia patient

No jail for carer who stole from her patient

A CARER who stole thousands of pounds from the resident of a home where she worked blamed a gambling addiction for her crimes.

Nichola Readman emptied the victim’s bank account of more than £10,000 during a four-month thieving spell, Teesside Crown Court was told.

Mother-of-three Readman had worked at Grove Lodge in Grove Hill, Middlesbrough, for one month before she started stealing.

She was the primary carer for the resident – a man in his late-40s with mild dementia – and part of her role was to help him with his finances.

But the court heard how the crooked 39-year-old stole his bank card, hid it in her car and regularly used it to withdraw large sums of money.

Readman stopped stealing only when a cashpoint machine failed to return the card, and after her boss began to suspect foul play in April.

Care home manager Beverley Grimes contacted the resident’s bank after seeing a statement from his account and noticing the withdrawals.

Bank officials – who have since refunded the missing money – suggested Ms Grimes inform the police, and Readman was arrested.

Yesterday, she was spared a prison sentence after a judge heard she had never been in trouble and immediately confessed to police.

Readman, of Westray, Marton, Middlesbrough, admitted 12 charges of fraud and asked for a further 30 offences to be taken into consideration.

Brian Russell, in mitigation, told the court: “It is the evils of gambling that overcame her and that’s why she took this money.”

The court heard that since Readman was dismissed from the home, she has landed a full-time job and is tackling her addiction.

Judge Michael Taylor described the offences as a persistent breach of trust and a pattern which led to a total of £10,952 being taken.

Readman was given a ninemonth prison sentence, suspended for two years, with two years of Probation Service supervision.

Warning her she faced jail if she offended again, the judge told her: “You will never have such a chance again in the future.”

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Gambling strains relationships

Gambling strains relationships

Some people have resorted to money spending games as their hobby, so I am really concerned about gambling. Gambling really destroys budgets.

I boarded a bus last year during festive season to my home village and I met a really disturbed man. He told me how he had spent almost all of his money in the gaming machine trying to get rich quickly as it was advertised. Unfortunately he became a victim.

Usually gamblers gamble because they want to become more social able (to overcome shyness), bored or to solve money problems.

Gambling can strain your relationships; interfere with responsibilities at home and work, and lead to financial catastrophe. It may even lead you to do things you never thought possible, like stealing money to gamble or taking money meant for your children.

You may think you can’t stop, but problem (pathological) gambling and gambling addiction are treatable. Gamblers can have a problem, however, without being totally out of control. Problem gambling is any gambling behaviour that disrupts your life.

If you’re preoccupied with gambling, spending more and more time and money on it, chasing losses, or gambling despite serious consequences, you have a gambling problem. There are many ways that one can resort to, to prevent gambling, unpleasant feelings such as stress, depression, loneliness, fear, and anxiety can trigger compulsive gambling or make it worse.

After a stressful day at work or after an argument with your spouse or co-worker, an evening at the track or the casino can seem like a fun, exciting way to unwind. But there are healthier and far less expensive ways to keep unpleasant feelings in check. These may include exercising, meditating, using sensory relaxation strategies, and practicing simple breathing exercises.

Overcoming a gambling addiction or problem is never easy; every gambler is unique and so needs a recovery program tailored specifically to him or her.

What works for one gambler won’t necessarily work for you. The biggest step in treatment is realizing you have a problem with gambling. It takes tremendous strength and courage to own up to this, especially if you have lost a lot of money and strained or broken relationships along the way. Don’t despair, and don’t try to go it alone.

Many others have been in your shoes and have been able to break the habit. Batswana let’s break the habit and resort to good ways of spending time,



California: Gambling Addiction costs $1 billion

California Develops Treatment Program for Problem Gamblers

According to a recent Daily Bulletin report, the UCLA Gambling Studies Program and the California Office of Problem Gambling have partnered for a new treatment program for problem gamblers.

There is a significant need for such a program in California as nearly one in 25 Californians already deals with a gambling addiction. The financial toll of such high rates is estimated to be at nearly $1 billion each year.

My survival from gambling addiction

It takes an amazing amount of courage to post a story about growing up with Gambling Addiction, especially one with such a sad outcome.

Gambling Addiction has the lowest rate of self-referral and the highest rate of suicide, the ultimate cost of a Predatory Industry.

This is the consequence of what Governor Rendell so easily dismissed.

My survival from gambling addiction

Two weeks ago, Casino-Free Philly conducted an informal survey of casino-goers and the general public to find out how many were aware of the existence of the “self-exclusion list,” and how to get on it. Almost no one surveyed knew about the list.

An individual can place themselves on the self-exclusion list by notifying the PA Gaming Control Board that they wish to be banned from casinos. It’s important for those who know they are addicted to gambling to have the self-exclusion option, so that when they get the urge to walk into a casino they are prevented from acting on it.

Having lost my college fund and subsequently my father to a gambling-related suicide, I’m proud to be a part of Casino-Free’s demands that real support be provided to those who seek it.

Any casino patron should be able to immediately place themselves on the self-exclusion list, and be given information about gambling addiction services. That anything less is being tolerated by the city and state demonstrates why our community must continue to fight to protect ourselves from the effects of predatory gambling.

Join us at our next SugarHouse
action by signing up to be a part
of the Casino Town Watch

Incredibly, a person can only be placed on the self-exclusion list by traveling in person to the PA Gaming Control Board office in Harrisburg, despite the fact that the PGCB has an office inside of SugarHouse, and every casino in Pennsylvania.

I personally went inside SugarHouse and talked to casino workers about the exclusion list and the training they receive to work in the casino.

Casino employees are trained to get people to sign up for a SugarHouse rewards card, so that SugarHouse can track gambling patterns and target those who gamble the most with more incentives to gamble.

Casino employees are not trained to identify problem gamblers and cut them off, or trained to offer them information on gambling addiction or the self-exclusion list.

In comparison, every bartender is legally required to stop serving customers who are obviously intoxicated. At SugarHouse, meanwhile, you can be intoxicated with gambling 24 hours a day, without anyone doing a thing but encouraging you to stay even longer.

When Casino-Free Philly members visited SugarHouse, casino management said they would not share their policies with the public. Moreover, they refused offers by our members to post the PGCB’s own “signs of gambling addiction” posters in the casino.

Clearly, SugarHouse does not have and never has had any intention of addressing problem gambling. As we know, they receive a significant portion of their revenue from gambling addicts, and do everything they can to prey on those who are hooked and move new gamblers into a habitual pattern.

•Register for the Casino Town Watch
to help us keep SugarHouse accountable.

Casino-Free Philadelphia is calling on the city of Philadelphia and the state of Pennsylvania to demand from SugarHouse the resources our communities need to protect themselves from gambling addiction.

Every casino, including SugarHouse, should have information and knowledgeable personnel available for gamblers, friends and family to ask for help, inquire about gambling addiction services, and be placed on the self-exclusion list.

I was not aware that my father had been a gambling addict my entire life until after he committed suicide last year. You may have friends and family who are also struggling with gambling and you wouldn’t even know it.

Casino-Free Philadelphia continues to fight this fight by leading town watches, keeping the issue in the media and offering a public voice for an issue that many are too ashamed to talk about even among family members.

•Joining a Casino Town Watch
is one way to learn more and help

Register today for an upcoming Casino Town Watch.

I hope you’ll stay involved in Casino-Free Philadelphia’s campaigns, as we continue to demand city and state officials not shirk their duty to the safety of their citizens in the presence of a predatory casino industry.

Thank you.

Liz, on behalf of Casino-Free Philly

Keith Gillespie open about gambling past

Keith Gillespie open about gambling past [video available]

On the surface, the life of a footballer seems perfect.

Pop in for training, run about for a couple of hours then head home again, with the afternoon free for whatever takes your fancy.

However for former Northern Ireland international Keith Gillespie, that free time became his own worst enemy.

The 35-year-old struggled with a gambling addiction that cost him thousands of pounds, money he earned as one of the most high-profile footballers from his homeland.

"It was well documented at the time with the gambling," Gillespie told BBC Late Kick Off.

"Everybody says it's a mug's game, and obviously I've lost quite a lot of money over the years, but it does take that to happen to make you realise that it's not good for you.

"A lot of that back then was due to being naive, being young and a little bit of boredom.

"Most players can control it and stay away from it, but I wasn't one of those who was able to do that."

When the Larne-born wideman signed for Manchester United as an apprentice in 1991, comparisons were made with another talented compatriot in the shape of the late George Best.

Gillespie's buccaneering wing-play was reminiscent of the 'Belfast Boy', but his spell at Old Trafford was ended by a switch to Newcastle United as part of Andy Cole's £7m move to Old Trafford in January 1995.

On the field at Newcastle, the signing proved an instant success.

The winger combined with France international David Ginola to supply ammunition for frontmen Peter Beardsley and Les Ferdinand, with 17 appearances for the Magpies between January and the end of the 1994-95 season, and continued to establish himself as a first-choice the following season.

Yet off the park he was less able to settle.

"Living in a hotel for five months, finish training, half 12, I'm home back at the hotel, and all of a sudden I got involved in gambling," Gillespie continued.

"It's difficult for players, there's more money in the game than there ever has been, and it's important that players find something to do in the afternoons to pass the time when you are that young.

"There's only so much that clubs can do for you, you're your own person, I got involved in gambling and that's my problem.

"I wouldn't have blamed the clubs I was at, it's in your make-up and your personality, and it did pass the time but it didn't go too well."

At 35, Gillespie ended his last playing stint at Darlington in December, his ninth English club in 20 years as a professional footballer, but made just three appearances for the Quakers before his release.

"I went to train at Darlington and the manager expressed an interest in signing me, so I sort of felt I was getting close to getting match-fit," Gillespie added.

"With games getting called off I wasn't able to get up to my match fitness, but I've still got the hunger to play.

"I'm 35 now but I'm more or less the same weight as I was when I started playing football, I'm fortunate it's not an issue.

"I still feel young, still feel fit, and want to get back playing, so we'll see how it goes."

Gillespie has made 479 career appearances in English competitions and earned 86 caps for his country.