Meetings & Information


Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Give 'em a Thumbs up!

Thumbs up to those who work to protect their community!

We are standing out Thursday 7:30 am at CVS Saratoga St.

We are standing out at Short Beach Winthrop/ Revere line 7:30 am Friday.

Saturday am 8:30-10am stop and shop wonderland.

The Sinking Gambling Ship!

MGM can't wait to invade Massachusetts - always new markets are required to create new Gambling Addicts to feed the excessive debt created by the Predators....yet....

MGM Resorts International reports $181.2 million third-quarter loss
By Chris Sieroty
Posted: Oct. 31, 2012
Casino operator MGM Resorts International on Wednesday reported its loss for the third quarter widened amid a smaller tax benefit than the year-earlier period, though the gaming company posted improved revenue, led by its business in China.

MGM Resorts reported a tax benefit of $2.6 million for the third quarter, a significant decrease from the previous-year number of $79.7 million.

The Las Vegas-based company lost $181.2 million, or 37 cents per share, compared with a loss of $123.8 million, or 25 cents, for the same period last year.

Revenue rose 1 percent to $2.25 billion from the year-earlier quarter. The company attributed the increase to a 7 percent rise in sales at its Chinese subsidiary, MGM China in Macau.
Of the $2.3 billion, $1.5 billion was generated by MGM Resorts' wholly owned domestic resorts, a decline of 2 percent. Casino revenue, the largest contributor to earnings, was up 4.2 percent.

MGM Resorts' revenues have improved over the last few years, driven by steady growth in Macau and improved figures from its Las Vegas hotels and casinos after a share downturn during the recession.

"Our third-quarter operating results are reflective of a challenging consumer environment, but we had some bright sports with strong results from MGM Grand Las Vegas and The Mirage and record third quarters from MGM China and City Center," said Jim Murren, chairman and CEO of MGM Resorts.
Murren noted that early fourth-quarter "trends are improving at our domestic resorts and forward convention booking pace is showing growth in 2013 and is further accelerating into 2014."

The company fell short of forecasts for the third quarter after beating estimates in the previous two quarters. In the second quarter, MGM Resorts topped estimates by 2 cents, and in the first quarter, it was 7 cents ahead of expectations.

Analysts polled by Yahoo Finance expected earnings equal to a loss of 17 cents a share on revenue of $2.28 billion.

MGM Resorts, which owns a dozen casinos on the Strip and others cross the country, reported revenue at U.S. casinos increased 2 percent. However, room revenue was off by 3 percent as Strip revenue per available room declined 2 percent as the occupancy rate fell to 92 percent from 95 percent.
The company's half-owned CityCenter complex continued to improve its performance. It posted adjusted EBITDA from operations of $59 million, up 18 percent, according to the company's earnings report.
EBITDA is a profitability measure, meaning earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization.

Murren told analysts in a conference call Thursday that CityCenter "continues to show progress," as the company continues to "see an indication of a recovery in Las Vegas."

He said the "MGM Grand had its best quarter in two years, while The Mirage had its best quarter in the last three years."


Caesars salivating to invade Massachusetts continues loss

Dear Mr. Loveman,

You may be a mathematical genius, but how long has it been since Caesars made a profit?
Why should Massachusetts taxpayers bail out Caesars when you can't?

Just wondering!

Caesars suffers $220.6 million quarterly loss, sees positive signs from Las Vegas
Posted: Oct. 31, 2012
Caesars Entertainment Corp. suffered a net loss of $220.6 million in the third quarter, blaming noncash charges of $419 million for the decline compared to a year ago.

During a conference call with investors and analysts Wednesday, Caesars Chairman Gary Loveman said the company's four casinos in Atlantic City that were closed by Hurricane Sandy, could reopen by the weekend.

Company spokesman Gary Thompson told Reuters there was moderate to heavy damage to roofs and upper floors at some of the casinos. He said work crews could repair facilities in time to open when New Jersey lifts its emergency declaration.

Atlantic City is a concern among gaming analysts. The market has suffered considerably since 2008 and any additional business disruption could continue to depress the market.

KDP Investment Advisors gaming analyst Barbara Cappaert said she be adjusting fourth quarter and 2013 estimates as the impact of Hurricane Sandy on Atlantic City emerges.

"Our concern in the near-term is that the economic devastation will have a drag on Atlantic City results by at least 10 percent," Cappaert said. "This will certainly not help gain Caesars the momentum it needs to improve its credit metrics."

During the quarter, Caesars' Atlantic City casinos saw revenues decline $20.2 million or 4.1 percent during the quarter due to lower casino spending from declining visits by customers.

The company, which operates 10 casinos on or near the Strip, said Wednesday net revenues for the quarter than ended Sept. 30, increased less than 1 percent to $2.198 billion. The company credited revenues from its interactive operations, which include social gaming operator Playtika Ltd.

"Generally speaking Caesars' results were in line with our expectations," Cappaert said.
Caesars also said higher revenues from its management contract for the Horseshoe Cleveland helped offset by lower casino revenues in all the company's markets, except for Las Vegas and the Illinois-Indiana region.

"Thanks primarily to growth in our interactive operations and a continued emphasis on expense reductions, we achieved about the same net revenues despite more competitive markets and the challenges posed by the continuing weakness of the U.S. economy," Caesars Entertainment Chairman
Gary Loveman said in a statement.

The company said "sluggish economic conditions" caused customer visitation and spending to decline in several regions. However, Las Vegas saw a nearly 8 percent increase in customer spending per trip.

Caesars expects to close the $610 million sale of its Harrah's St. Louis casino to Penn National Gaming early this month. The proceeds will be used to reinvest into the company's core properties, including the remodeling of the Imperial Palace, which will be renamed The Quad, which is adjacent to the $550 million Linq development on the Strip.

Linq is scheduled to open in phases in the second half of 2013.

Caesars continues to expand into new markets. The company will open the $450 million Horseshoe Cincinnati next spring and is planning to open a casino Baltimore. Both projects are being developed in conjunction with Rock Gaming of Detroit.

"We moved forward with the expansion of our distribution network into growth markets while we continued to invest in our hub markets of Las Vegas and Atlantic City," Loveman said.
Shares of Caesars Entertainment on Wednesday closed down 6 cents, or 1.03 percent, at $5.79 on the Nasdaq Global Select.

A Senator Lobbying for Predatory Gambling?

Massachusetts voters are historically known for correcting their errors in the next election.
When you vote, please consider the letter to the editor below.

Senator Scott Brown returned from Washington, D.C. - a sitting Senator - to lobby for his buddies at Plainridge.

Is that what we want?  A Senator lobbying for a Slot Barn? For Predatory Gambling?

Here's a great letter to the editor about the connection between Scott Brown and expanded predatory gambling:

October 28, 2012
To the Editor,

When the two anti-casino candidates won the Foxboro selectmen races in May 2012, many thought the casino-in-Foxboro issue had been put to rest, particularly when the Kraft Group issued a press release stating it was "suspending" their efforts. However, "suspending" raised a red flag in my mind that they would be back, particularly if the Suffolk Downs location in East Boston and Revere ran into problems.

An article in the October 18th Foxboro Reporter, stated the Kraft Group submitted to the Planning Board on October 11th a set of "draft zoning clarifications/revisions." The article went on to say that a "resort, conference and/or entertainment facilities" and "resort amenities and personal services for occupants of the facilities" would be allowed in the Route 1 economic development area.

The Foxboro Reporter article also said that several people asked the Kraft Group representative if these proposals would allow for a casino. He would not answer their question.

An article in the October 25th Foxboro Reporter notes that a Foxboro Advisory Committee member wants the Kraft Group to sign a legally binding no-casino pledge in order to resolve the casino issue once and for all: "...All it (Kraft Group) needs to do is enter into an agreement...that is legally binding and that runs with the land, and can be recorded with the Norfolk County Registry of Deeds."

The article said that "a spokesman for the Kraft Group declined to comment Tuesday on the proposal."

You know, there's a saying: Sometimes no answer is an answer.

Given the above, a cautious person would have to believe that whatever casino activity was "suspended," no longer is.

I lived in Norfolk when the Massachusetts Water Resource Authority attempted in the 1990's to locate a Sludge Dump on the boundary line between Norfolk and Walpole. After several years of intense opposition to it, we finally stopped it.

A key factor in our success was having elected officials, both state and federal, being in our corner and going to bat for us.

This raises a very important question about the casino issue and the upcoming U. S. Senate race. Where does Scott Brown stand on having a casino on Route One in Foxboro? We can get a pretty good idea by traveling down Route One just four miles from Patriot Place to the Plainridge Racecourse in Plainville.

On April 26, 2012, at, Jose Martinez, Boston Globe correspondent, said, "The track owners hope to expand their gambling operation to include the first slot-machine parlor in Massachusetts." They have a "$160 million plan to expand the racetrack."

August 9, 2012 was the opening day to submit applications to the Massachusetts Gaming Commission. On August 9, 2012, at, Jim Hand of the Sun Chronicle, posted that "Plainridge Racecourse formally began the process of applying for a slot machine license by submitting a check for $400,000 to the state Gaming Commission." He said the deposit was non-refundable, and "Plainridge wants the only license the state is offering to operate 1,250 slot machines...." Hand's posting on August 16, 2012, notes that the Plainridge Racecourse is in the process of building a 1,000 car parking garage. "The hope is the garage will serve future customers of a racino the track owners want to build if they win the only state license for a slot machine parlor."

How does Scott Brown fit into the above picture?

On July 20, 2010, over two years ago, at, Noah Bierman and Frank Phillips of the Boston Globe staff posted the following: "As a state senator, Brown was a strong advocate for Plainridge Racecourse, whose owner, Gary Piontkowski, has given, with family, $3,250 to Brown's political campaigns since 2003, who attended Brown's swearing-in as a (United States) senator, and who co-owned a horse with Brown's daughter."

"Senator Scott Brown has lobbied both Governor Deval Patrick and Senate President Therese Murray to legalize slot machines at the state's race tracks according to the governor and a legislative official on Beacon Hill....Brown called Murray in April (2010), shortly after the House passed a bill allowing slots at the race tracks, to voice his support and suggested that the Legislature authorize 1,500 slot machines at each track."

Harness Tracks of America's Executive Newsletter of July 31, 2008, noted that Scott Brown's daughter became a partner in ownership of a racing horse in April 2008 with Plainridge Racecourse president Gary Piontkowski. This was raised during a session of the Massachusetts State Senate when it was considering extension of the Massachusetts simulcasting law. The Newsletter stated that Scott Brown "pointed out that he had worked on behalf of Plainridge long before his daughter owned a horse..."

On January 26, 2009, at Michael Gelbwasser of the Sun Chronicle staff posted an article about a public meeting held at the race tack by Plainridge Racecourse President Gary Piontkowski to promote slot machines at race tracks. Gelbwasser wrote that Piontkowski "invited Plainville residents, town and state lawmakers and horsemen to the session."

State Senator Scott Brown attended the session and said: "If you folks are going to continue to support it, then we'll support it in the Legislature." Gelbwasser also wrote, "Plainridge Racecourse President Gary Piontkowski said Sunday he and his partners are ready to fund a $100 to 125 million renovation and expansion of the Route 1 track immediately if state lawmakers allow 1,500 slot machines there." It's interesting that in the above Boston Globe article about Scott Brown discussing slots at race tracks with Governor Patrick and Senate President Murray, that he suggested the same number of slot machines, "1500."

Harness Tracks of America's Executive Newsletter of January 26, 2009, commented on this meeting: "In making his renewed pitch for slots, Gary Piontkowski has the support of two Republican legislators representing Plainridge's district. Rep. Richard Ross of Wrentham and State Senator Scott Brown, both are strong supporters of slots for the track." stated the following on January 20, 2010, the day after Scott Brown won the Special U. S. Senate Election: "Newly elected Republican senator from Massachusetts, Scott Brown, is no stranger to harness racing....As it happens, the a personal friend of Gary Piontkowski, president of Plainridge Racecourse." And on February 1, 2010, stated, "The Brown family is close friends with Plainridge Racecourse owner Gary Piontkowski...."

An article by Ray Poirer in said the following on August 2, 2010: "Piontkowski is known to have a strong backer in recently-elected Sen. Scott Brown."

An article by Boston Globe correspondent Scott Van Voorhis, at on January 27, 2011, details the ownership of Plainridge Racecourse:

 Nineteen investors have a stake in the track. He lists four of the 19: Stanley Fulton of Las Vegas. "Fulton is the largest single investor in the track, with a 31 percent stake" Alfred Ross, "a businessman based in South Dartmouth, is Plainridge's second largest investor, with a 29.9 percent stake...." Gary "Piontkowski has the third largest stake, with a 7.4 percent share in the track."

"Patrick Carney, head of a Bridgewater-based real estate company, Claremont one of the smaller investors with a 1 percent share." posted the following on July 9, 2010: "Records show the track's owner Gary Piontkowski gave Brown the maximum $500 annual state campaign contribution during his six-year tenure in the Massachusetts Senate, for a total of $2,750 in contributions." shows the following:

Stanley Fulton of Los Vegas, Nevada, donated to Scott Brown $2,400 on December 29, 2009, and $2,400 on January 31, 2011.

Mrs. Becky Fulton of Los Vegas, Nevada, donated $2,600 on April 26, 2012 to Scott Brown.

Alfred S. Ross of South Dartmouth, Massachusetts, donated to Scott Brown $500 on October 31, 2009; $1,500 on January 20, 2010; and $2,400 on February 2, 2011.

 Apparently, $1,400 was returned to him on May 19, 2011.

Mr. Patrick Carney, Claremont Company/Chairman/CEO, Bridgewater, Massachusetts, donated $1,000 on March 29, 2010, to Scott Brown.

 Mr. Patrick Carney, Claremont Companies/Chairman & CEO, Palm Beach, Florida, donated $1,000 on January 20, 2010, and $1,000 on November 28, 2011, to Scott Brown.

Mr. Patrick Carney, Jr., of Boston, Massachusetts, donated $250 on March 29, 2010, to Scott Brown.
Mr. Patrick Carney, Jr. Bridgewater, Massachusetts,--Claremont--donated $250 on June 26, 2012, to Scott Brown.

You might say that if the slots go into Plainville, that decreases the chances of a casino going into Foxboro. Unfortunately, not so.

At, Jim Hand of the Sun Chronicle staff posted the following on December 7, 2011: "Gambling venues just miles apart in Plainville and Foxboro are economically viable because they would attract a different clientele, two industry analysts said Tuesday....The racino at the Plainridge Racecourse would draw mostly local gamblers who just want to play the slot machines....The Wynn casino would be an attraction for gamblers and tourists from throughout the United States."

Like I said, we won the Sludge Dump battle because of the help of federal and state elected officials who went to bat for us.

So anti-casino folks, if you live near Route one--Walpole, Foxboro, Norfolk, Wrentham, Plainville or Mansfield--you need to factor in the casino issue on who to vote for in the U. S. Senate race. Given Scott Brown's long time support for gambling on Route One, if you're going to vote for him, you really should reconsider your vote. If you haven't made up your mind yet, Scott Brown's long time support for gambling on Route One, needs to be seriously considered in making your decision.

I know I'm not going to roll the dice with Scott Brown.

Charles DiPompo

Did gambling woes spark two King of Prussia killings?

Posted: Wed, Oct. 31, 2012

Monica Yant Kinney: Did gambling woes spark two King of Prussia killings?

Rashivar Karnati didn't know. He shared an apartment in San Jose, Calif., with Raghunandan Yandamuri in 2011, but could recall only one time his roommate visited a casino in Reno.

Chendu Tummala had met Yandamuri years earlier in undergraduate school in India. Long after both men moved to the United States, they still hewed to Indian traditions and would never have discussed Yandamuri's gambling problem.

"Asking financial information is not a good thing," Tummala told me. "We didn't even know he had filed for bankruptcy."

Now, Yandamuri's financial woes are being cited as motive for a kidnapping and double homicide that may go down as among the most depraved gambling-related crimes of modern times.

The 26-year-old software engineer is charged with stabbing 61-year-old Satyavathi Venna, and then gagging her 10-month-old granddaughter, Saanvi, and stuffing her into a suitcase that he dumped in a sauna while he awaited a $50,000 ransom payment.

The infant's parents and Yandamuri were neighbors at the Marquis, a King of Prussia apartment complex populated by highly skilled foreign professionals on H-1B visas. In unit C603, Saanvi's parents doted on their new daughter, while in B610, Yandamuri worried about the pending birth of his first child.

After printing missing-child posters himself and attending a vigil for Saanvi, Yandamuri confessed to investigators, he wrote the ransom note threatening to cut the child "into pieces" if he didn't get $50,000 - the exact amount he lost gambling last year.

During that interview, the unlikely killer audaciously asked Montgomery County detectives to say his wife had turned him in. That way, Yandamuri figured, perhaps she could collect the $30,000 reward.

Where gambling is taboo

Up to 20 percent of gaming in Atlantic City has come from Asian players, especially the Chinese. But the Asian Indian community, I'm told, does not share a fondness or tolerance for wagering.

"Gambling is a taboo in India," explained Mallik Budhavarapu, whose Telugu Association of Greater Delaware Valley brings Indian expats together. "We don't have casinos. We don't play poker or slot machines."

Indians fear shaming their families, Budhavarapu said, with fathers warning sons not to sully social standing.

"If anyone would see me drinking alcohol, he would talk badly about my parents," he explained. "If someone gambled, he would be looked down upon. And if someone lost money gambling, he would probably just keep it to himself."

What is oddly common in the last decade in India, Budhavarapu shared, is the kidnapping of children for ransom.

"It happens, but usually from very rich or politically powerful families," he told me. "They don't kidnap neighbors from down the block."

Cruel calculations

Given the expectations, Yandamuri's March bankruptcy filing represented an epic failure. In that 38-page document, he reported a $75,824 income but had no IRA, no car or house, few belongings, and only $175 in savings. The young professional said he spent $1,500 a month in rent and $600 supporting family in India.

He owed $26,268 on nine credit cards, but did not elaborate on the $50,000 gambling loss. Compulsive gamblers often use cash advances to fuel their habit, but it's unclear whether Yandamuri did; his California attorney declined to comment.

The bankruptcy was discharged in July, seemingly freeing Yandamuri from a self-made mess two months after he and his wife had relocated to King of Prussia. Whether he gambled afterward - the Valley Forge Casino beckons toward the Marquis from three miles away - is unknown.

Money clearly remained on the young man's brain. A week before the killings, Yandamuri asked Tummala for $1,000 to fly in his in-laws after his wife gave birth.

Days later, Yandamuri typed the frenetic ransom note targeting Saanvi, a bubbly baby often wearing her own jewelry.

"It's up to you to decide," he threatened, "your 1 yr old daughter or 5 months of your income."

Arrested gambling executive, Michael Colbert, goes to court

Arrested gambling executive goes to court

Published: Oct. 30, 2012

LAS VEGAS, Oct. 30 (UPI) -- Gaming executive Michael Colbert, arrested in an alleged nationwide gambling ring, appeared at a hearing in Las Vegas District Court.
The procedural hearing was brief and his next court appearance is scheduled for Nov. 8.

Colbert, 32, was arrested Wednesday and charged with enterprise corruption, conspiracy to operate illegal gambling and three counts of money laundering, the indictment alleging he arranged for a $100,000 transfer of gambling proceeds from Las Vegas to New York.

Over $2.8 million in cash and casino chips were seized, and 25 people arrested in a law enforcement operation called "World Wide Wagers" by the New York Police Department's Organized Crime Control Bureau, the Las Vegas Sun reported Tuesday.

The investigation, which began in 2011, uncovered a large-scale bookmaking operation, with ties to organized crime, operating in several states as well as off-shore locations, officials said.

Read more:

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

November 1st: Addiction By Design: The Technology of Gambling Machines

The Reflector, November-December 2012
Society on Social Implications of Technology - Thursday, 1 November

Addiction by Design: The Technology of Gambling Machines

Slot machines, revamped by ever more compelling digital and video technology, have unseated traditional table games as the gambling industry's revenue mainstay. Along the way, they have earned such nicknames as '"electronic morphine." Yet even as the machines are legalized by more and more states seeking to cash in on their profits, their inner-workings have never been understood - not have their effects on the gamblers who play them.

Professor Schull, drawing on 15 years of research among game engineers and machine gamblers in Las Vegas, will demonstrate some of the hidden machinations of today's gambling devices and discuss how these design tricks affect the experience of play. As her book shows, contemporary electronic gambling has less to do with the competitive thrill of winning big than with the anonymous rhythm of "time on device." Schull will conclude by discussing the difficulty of regulating addictive technology, with the regulators debating whether addiction to gambling machines stems from the consumer, the product, or the interplay between the two.

Natasha Dow Schull is a cultural anthropologist and associate professor at MIT's Program in Science, Technology, and Society. Her new book, ADDICTION BY DESIGN: Machine Gambling in Las Vegas (Princeton University Press 2012) draws on extended research among compulsive gamblers and slot machine designers to explore the relationship and the experience of addiction.

Professor Schull graduated Summa Cum Laude from UC Berkeley's Department if Anthropology in 1993 and returned to receive her PhD in 2003. Her research has been supported by the National Science Foundation, the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, and the Woodrow Wilson Foundation. Her research and op-eds have been featured in such national media venue as 50 minutes, The Economist, The Washington Post, Capital Gazette, Financial Times, Forbes, Boston Globe, Salon, Chicago Tribune, Chicago Daily Herald, and the Las Vegas Sun.

This meeting is free and open to the public. It will be held 5:30 - 7:15 p.m. on Thursday, November 1, 2012. Refreshments are at 5:30 p.m. and the presentation will begin at 6:00 p.m., both in the Lincoln Laboratory Cafeteria, 244 Wood Street, Lexington, MA. For more information, contact Jim Ernstmeyer, , (781) 929-8114, 0r visit the IEEE website at

Casinos bring jobs, but also crime, bankruptcy, and even suicide

The Gambling Industry only survives by creating NEW Gambling Addicts.

Gambling Addicts have the lowest rate of self-referral and the highest rate of SUICIDE,
the Gambling Industry's DIRTY LITTLE SECRET.

Why would government betray its promise to promote the Common Good by preying on its citizens?

Studies: Casinos bring jobs, but also crime, bankruptcy, and even suicide
Posted by Dylan Matthews on October 30, 2012

(Katherine Frey – The Washington Post)

While the presidential race is taking up much of the oxygen this cycle, many states have important ballot initiatives on the ballot next Tuesday as well.

Maryland is considering a proposal that would allow table games at the state’s five casinos, as well as approve the creation of a sixth in Prince George’s County, near DC. The proposal is touted as a way to fund education — for which the funds it generates will be earmarked — and, ironically, the opposition to it is mainly funded by owners of rival casinos. But economic research concerning casinos suggest that members of communities with casinos should be wary.
Melissa Kearney, an economist at the University of Maryland, released a literature review in 2005 summarizing work on gambling done to date. A study by Maryland’s William Evans and Julie Topoleski that focused on Indian casinos found that they created a significant number of jobs. The ratio of jobs available to adults increased, on average, by 5 percent. This in turn lead to a 2 percent decline in mortality, as residents’ economic conditions improved.
But the casinos also lead to a plethora of social ills, including increased substance abuse, mental illness and suicide, violent crime, auto theft and larceny, and bankruptcy. The latter three all increased by 10 percent in communities that allowed gambling.

Other work backs up the crime finding. The Baylor’s Earl Grinols, University of Georgia’s David Mustard, and the University of Illinois’ Cynthia Dilley found that 8 percent of crime in counties with casinos was attributable to their presence, a crime increase that cost residents, on average, $65 a year.
And the bankruptcy finding has been replicated as well. The St. Louis Fed’s Thomas Garrett and Mark Nichols found that Mississippi riverboat gambling increases bankruptcies not just in Mississippi, but in counties outside the state where many residents gamble in Mississippi. The effect was largest in neighboring states, with the Mississippi casinos responsible with a 0.24 percentage point increase in bankruptcy filings. Interestingly, other casinos — such as Las Vegas, Atlantic City, and so forth — didn’t have statistically significant effects on other areas’ bankruptcy rates.
Unsurprisingly, legalized gambling also exacerbates problems with gambling addictions. The National Gambling Impact Study Commission found that having a casino within 50 miles doubles one’s likelihood to become a problem gambler. That suggests that the new DC-adjacent Maryland casino could create major addiction problems here in the District.
The evidence on casino gambling’s distributional impact is much weaker than that concerning state lotteries, but there is extensive evidence that the latter amounts to a regressive tax, given that lottery ticket purchasers are disproportionately poor. But some evidence — admittedly from industry groups — suggests that casino-goers are richer than the average American, so the story could be quite different than with lotteries.
But as with the liquor industry, much if not most of the gambling industry’s revenue come from addicts. Grinols estimates that 52 percent of revenue at the typical casino comes from problem gamblers, while an Ontario study put the figure at 35 percent and a Louisiana one at 42 percent. So even if gambling takes more money from the middle-class than the poor, it largely takes that money from middle-class people who aren’t exactly rationally willing to spend it.

Casinos aren’t even a particularly good source of tax revenue. Kearney notes that a number of studies have found that Indian casinos cannibalize business at nearby restaurants and bars, and in so doing actually reduce state tax revenue.

Like most ballot proposals, Maryland’s question 7 involves tradeoffs, and one could reasonably argue the benefits in terms of jobs created and education funded outweigh the costs in terms of crime, bankruptcy, and problem gambling. But those costs are real and, the evidence suggests, very large.

Gambling Commission meeting canceled

Hurricane Sandy shuts down most of state government in Massachusetts

The Massachusetts Gaming Commission canceled a meeting that was set for today at the Sheraton Framingham Hotel and Conference Center with applicants for casino licenses or potential applicants. Commission members were planning to discuss methods for determining which individuals in companies or which partner companies would need to pass ethics and financial tests during preliminary bidding for licenses.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Citibank And Casino Cash Gone In 60 Seconds And Bad Guys Comped

Citibank And Casino Cash Gone In 60 Seconds And Bad Guys Comped
Bill Singer
Bill Singer, Contributor

To Ara Keshishyan’s credit, he had an idea – illegal as it may have been – and he ran with it. According to a federal Indictment unsealed on October 26, 2012, in the Southern District of California, Keshishyan recruited at least 13 individuals, all of whom were recently arrested in the Los Angeles, CA area, as part of a conspiracy. The rip-off isn’t all that complicated in terms of its goal but the mechanism of getting there was damn clever.

Here’s what the Indictment alleges:

Ara Keshishyan put together a crew and gave each of the participants so-called “seed money,” which they deposited into Citibank checking accounts that each had recently opened. Thereafer, the crew traveled to the following casinos:
  • California: Morongo, Pechanga, San Manuel, Agua Caliente, Chukchansi, and Spa Resort
  • Nevada: Tropicana, Wynn, Bicycle, and Whiskey Pete’s (Las Vegas); and Harrah’s (Laughlin)
After arriving at their targeted casino, the conspirators went to on-premise cash advance kiosks and withdrew multiples of the deposits that they had previously made into the Citibank accounts.

Apparently, Keshishyan had discovered a glitch in Citibank’s security protocol whereby multiple withdrawals made within 60 seconds of each other at the kiosks would result in cash payments from the various cages at the casinos. The deposits and withdrawals were each kept under the federal transaction reporting level of $10,000 so as to conceal detection.

Being the alleged brains of the operation, Keshishyan kept the collected funds and doled out cuts to his conspirators. His take was generally used for gambling. On top of having gamed the Citibank cash advance process, Keshishyan and his crew were often “comped” into the casinos with free rooms based upon the level of their gambling.

NOTE: An indictment merely contains allegations and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

The defendants include: Ara Keshishyan, 29; Ara Harutyunyan, 30; Artur Harutyunyan, 24; Vahe Asatrian, 29; Sarkis Mooshidian, 37; Levon Karamyan, 58; Migran Yamalyan, 30; Seryozha Harutyunyan, 59; Lianna Avetisyan, 24; Ashot Oganisyan, 30; Ovsep Sarfyan, 33; Daniel J. Thomas, 56; Hilda Hakverdyan, 53; and Asatur Asatryan,33. As of October 30, 2012, Levon Karamyan remains a fugitive. All 14 indicted defendants were charged with conspiracies to:
  • commit bank fraud and
  • to illegally structure financial transactions to avoid reporting requirements.,
Each of the conspiracy charges is punishable by up to five years in prison, and a $250,000 fine.
Defendant Keshishyan is additionally charged with 14 counts of bank fraud, each of which is punishable by up to 30 years in prison and a $1,000,000 fine. The indictment also alleges forfeiture in connection with the crimes charged.

Rhode Island's Race to the Bottom

The arguments are the same - straight from the Gambling Industry Playbook.

The tactics are identical - make political contributions.

Schmooze the Rotary and Chambers of Commerce, they'll never question.

Make sure you pretend this will create jobs, even if the estimates are overstated.

Make sure you don't tell them that Table Games are now automated - no employees required.

Never let them know that this isn't the end of Gambling Expansion.

Casinos Pour Millions into Table Games Question
Monday, October 29, 2012
Dan McGowan, GoLocalProv News Editor

Twin River and Newport Grand have now poured more than $4 million into the campaigns to convince Rhode Islanders to vote in favor of bringing table games such as blackjack, craps and roulette to the state’s two casinos on next week’s ballot, according to a review a campaign finance reports.

The majority of the $3,987,711 Twin River has spent has gone toward toward polling, advertising and consulting fees, spending $3,987,711. Twin River’s political action committee (PAC) had contributed $7,700 to more than 20 lawmakers, including every member of House and Senate leadership, since the beginning of the year, but the PAC hasn’t filed a campaign finance report since June.
Meanwhile, Newport Grand’s has spent $379,314, which has Providence public relations firm Duffy and Shanley running its campaign. The slot parlor has spent nearly $130,000 with Warwick-based PriMedia on newspaper and radio ads and at least $80,000 on direct mailings.

The spending is not unprecedented. In 2006, Las Vegas-based Harrah’s Entertainment spent more than $12 million in an attempt to open a casino in West Warwick, but voters overwhelmingly shot down the proposal.

In August, Twin River spokesperson Patti Doyle said the casino’s board chairman John Taylor has attended Rotary and Chamber of Commerce meetings from across the state, talking about the importance of approving the table game question in order to bring jobs to Rhode Island. She said the campaign was working on “building an online community via our website where you can register to volunteer, and via Facebook and Twitter.”

“The education campaign isn't just about the paid media,” Doyle said at the time. “We've spent the summer months employing a street team of college students to be visible with education materials at a host of community events throughout the state.”

Campaigns Promise Hundreds of Jobs

The two ballot referendums (questions 1 and 2) will need to be supported by the majority of voters statewide as well as the town of Lincoln (for Twin River) and Newport (for Newport Grand) in November. It is possible for only one of the referendums to earn support.

Both campaigns have touted the benefits of voting in favor of table games, with Twin River claiming it will create 650 new jobs while preserving 900 jobs. Newport Grand says voting to expand to table games will preserve 200 jobs and create 50 more while protecting the $30 million the casino contributes in taxes to the state annually.  

But with Massachusetts committed to building three resort-style casinos and a slot parlor over the next decade, supporters of full-fledged gaming say the state could face economic peril if the referendum fails.

Gambling related revenue is the state’s third-largest source of income, at more than $300 million each year and Twin River has provided the state with over $2.5 billion since 1992. A report issued earlier this year by the Rhode Island Public Expenditure Council (RIPEC) suggested that table games would benefit Rhode Island, but it also noted that the state will not be able to depend on gambling income as much once the casinos are built in the Bay State.

“The advent of casino gaming in the commonwealth of Massachusetts – under any scenario – will likely negatively impact both revenues for the casino operators in Rhode Island, and the state of Rhode Island itself,” the RIPEC report stated. “While it appears that the opening of casinos in Massachusetts may occur later than originally anticipated, they will open in the next few years, and that Twin River, Newport Grand and the state will all see revenues decline. Allowing Twin River and Newport Grand to operate table games will offset some of these projected revenue losses; however, it is also clear that the state can no longer rely on gaming revenues to support the same share of government services once casinos open in Massachusetts.”

Opponents Line Up

Still, not everyone is convinced table games are the answer for Rhode Island. In Lincoln, District 17 State Senate candidate John Cullen, a Democrat, is urging voters to oppose the plan, claiming the town may now receive acut from table games.

“What's good about zero percent for Lincoln,” Cullen wrote in an op-ed earlier this year. “The bankers and the [General Assembly have a seat at the table games, while Lincoln and Newport get thrown under the table! This time Lincoln's no casino vote will get us a seat at the table!”

Cullen is joined by former Lincoln Town Council President Dean Lees Jr. in opposition to the proposal. Both men argue that the town will not benefit from table games.

“It is important for Lincoln’s voters not to be intimidated,” Lees Jr. said earlier this year. “For years, state and local officials have said that we may lose revenue to other states and that we need to compete. With Foxwoods facing an over 2.3 billion dollar deficit, Mohegan Sun laying off 346 employees and Vegas Casinos in the red, these only show me that gambling is not the answer to compete with other states, nor to put false hopes on increasing our revenues to manage our ever-failing economy.”

State loses risky bet on casino compact

Just one opinion below - one might also speculate that this issue will have numerous twists and turns caused by Do-It-Yourself guessing by the Commonwealth Braniacs.

OUR OPINION: State loses risky bet on casino compact

The Patriot Ledger
Posted Oct 26, 2012
Based upon the number of significant concerns the federal government had with the compact between the commonwealth and the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe, it looks like either no one in Massachusetts did their homework on Indian gambling law, or state and tribal officials simply expected the federal government to permit an extraordinary number of exceptions to the law.

Massachusetts and the city of Taunton were dealt a significant setback last week when the federal Bureau of Indian Affairs rejected the compact between the state and the tribe that would have begun the federal approval process for a tribal casino in Taunton.

Based upon the reasoning in the 18-page letter to Gov. Deval Patrick from the Bureau of Indian Affairs rejecting the compact, the denial should have been an expected outcome since the compact went well beyond the scope of gambling and the intent of the Indian gambling law. It offered an unprecedented amount of control and revenue to the commonwealth, while offering the tribe a single, but unnecessary, “meaningful” concession: the right to exclusivity in Gaming Region C.

The Interior Department indicated in its rejection that the state’s cut should have a ceiling of 6.5 percent of revenue-sharing, , well below the pact’s lucrative 21.5 percent share to the state. The Bureau of Indian Affairs said the revenue-sharing agreement and other stipulations in the compact are “undermining the central premise of IGRA (Indian Gaming Rights Act) that gaming should primarily benefit tribes.”

But that’s just the beginning of the federal bureau’s concerns. The commonwealth and the tribe also muddied the legal waters, according to the decision, by using the compact process to “address a host of other issues” that go well beyond the limited scope of gambling, which is the singular issue the compact and the bureau’s approval were to address. “Congress expressly sought to prevent states from using gaming compacts to leverage power over sovereign tribes about matters unrelated to gaming,” the decision said. “This is especially important because a tribe may be strongly tempted to agree to such terms for political expediency to obtain the state’s agreement.”

While the tribe and the state plan to renegotiate the compact and have been encouraged to do so by the Bureau of Indian Affairs, it’s troubling that it even came down to this when the clock is ticking and many other layers of regulatory steps follow the compact approval. Gov. Deval Patrick blasted the bureau’s decision as an “outdated” approach that “does not adequately take into account our unique circumstances here in Massachusetts.”

Based upon the number of significant concerns the federal government had with the compact between the commonwealth and the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe, it looks like either no one in Massachusetts did their homework on Indian gambling law, or state and tribal officials simply expected the federal government to permit an extraordinary number of exceptions to the law.
Massachusetts and the city of Taunton were dealt a significant setback last week when the federal Bureau of Indian Affairs rejected the compact between the state and the tribe that would have begun the federal approval process for a tribal casino in Taunton.

Based upon the reasoning in the 18-page letter to Gov. Deval Patrick from the Bureau of Indian Affairs rejecting the compact, the denial should have been an expected outcome since the compact went well beyond the scope of gambling and the intent of the Indian gambling law. It offered an unprecedented amount of control and revenue to the commonwealth, while offering the tribe a single, but unnecessary, “meaningful” concession: the right to exclusivity in Gaming Region C.

The Interior Department indicated in its rejection that the state’s cut should have a ceiling of 6.5 percent of revenue-sharing, , well below the pact’s lucrative 21.5 percent share to the state. The Bureau of Indian Affairs said the revenue-sharing agreement and other stipulations in the compact are “undermining the central premise of IGRA (Indian Gaming Rights Act) that gaming should primarily benefit tribes.”

But that’s just the beginning of the federal bureau’s concerns. The commonwealth and the tribe also muddied the legal waters, according to the decision, by using the compact process to “address a host of other issues” that go well beyond the limited scope of gambling, which is the singular issue the compact and the bureau’s approval were to address. “Congress expressly sought to prevent states from using gaming compacts to leverage power over sovereign tribes about matters unrelated to gaming,” the decision said. “This is especially important because a tribe may be strongly tempted to agree to such terms for political expediency to obtain the state’s agreement.”

While the tribe and the state plan to renegotiate the compact and have been encouraged to do so by the Bureau of Indian Affairs, it’s troubling that it even came down to this when the clock is ticking and many other layers of regulatory steps follow the compact approval. Gov. Deval Patrick blasted the bureau’s decision as an “outdated” approach that “does not adequately take into account our unique circumstances here in Massachusetts.”

But the law is the law, and particularly given the complexity of this process that could delay or derail the casino plan altogether, this is not the time for experimentation.
The tribe and state now have a responsibility to fully understand the intent of the gaming law and negotiate a deal that is more likely to gain the crucial support of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, while not sacrificing the interests of the city and the state. That may not even be possible.
Tribal Chairman Cedric Cromwell said the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe “has the inevitable right to conduct gaming in our ancestral homeland.” However, it may prove to be a very long road to get there. State officials – including legislators – who must approve a new compact before it goes to the Bureau of Indian Affairs should seriously consider whether there is any hope of creating a deal with the tribe that could meet the conflicting interests of the federal government, the state, the city and surrounding region and the tribe.

Given the wide scope of the federal bureau’s concerns and its strict adherence to the law, it appears that the Massachusetts gambling legislation’s intent to exclusively offer a casino license to an Indian tribe may be fatally flawed under the existing approval framework.

Toronto: Ignoring Costs!

Check out the report on Health and Social Impacts...abysmal. Worse that it is accepted as satisfactory.
Health and Social Impacts
The Medical Officer of Health (MOH) has prepared a technical report on the public health impacts of gambling and of expanded access to gaming venues. The key findings are summarized herein. The MOH's report concludes that increasing access to gambling through any means (including a casino) is associated with an increase in the prevalence of problem gambling which presently affects 0.2% of the population. Consequently, a casino located anywhere in the GTA will likely increase health risks for Toronto residents and nearby communities.
The OLG contributes approximately $40 million annually – 2 percent of its annual slot revenues – to the provincial government's programs to fund the treatment, research, prevention and public awareness of problem gambling. The corporation additionally spent $12.9 million in 2011/12 on internal responsible gambling initiatives including staff training and self-exclusion programs. OLG works with other provincial agencies including CAMH to develop staff training, and the Ontario Problem Gambling Research Centre to conduct research.
Financial Impact
The City Manager will engage an external firm to develop and conduct public and stakeholder consultation using a variety of methods. The consultation process will be funded from the 2012 approved budget and no new funds are required for this purpose.
As stated in this report, the consultant's analysis has outlined the significant economic and financial benefits to the City of operating a casino in Toronto. Over and above construction jobs (ranging from 3,600 to 8,500), an integrated entertainment complex could create an estimated 4,400 to 7,300 net new jobs. The project could generate net GDP in the range of $640 million and additional estimated annual property taxes of up to $27 million. Revenue from the sale or lease of City owned land could contribute additional value to the City of up to $250 million for capital purposes.
Most importantly, the hosting fee could provide substantial annual revenue to the City. Estimates range from $32 million to $168 million annually depending on the type of casino complex and negotiated fee formula with OLG.

Maryland's Food Fight

Prince George’s County is ground zero in well-funded battle over gaming

Las Vegas Sands' Money Laundering Probe May End In Settlement

Las Vegas Sands' Money Laundering Probe May End In Settlement: Report

Las Vegas Sands Money Laundering

NEW YORK -- Federal officials and Las Vegas Sands Corp. are having talks aimed at settling a probe into whether the casino operator failed to report millions of dollars of potentially laundered money transferred to its casinos by two gamblers, according to a published report.

Representatives for the Justice Department and the company held settlement talks as recently as last Thursday, but have yet to reach an agreement, the Wall Street Journal reported Sunday, citing unidentified people familiar with the case.

Prosecutors could compel the company to pay $100 million or more in penalties, as well as file criminal charges against at least one Sands executive, according to the Journal's report.

Calls to the Las Vegas Sands and the Justice Department were not immediately returned on Monday.

The company told the Journal earlier this year that it has done nothing wrong and was cooperating with investigators.

According to the newspaper, the Justice Department's investigation centers on whether Las Vegas Sands broke federal law by failing to report money transfers by Chinese-born Mexican businessman Zhenil Ye Gon and Ausaf Umar Siddiqui, a former executive at Fry's Electronics Inc.

Ye Gon transferred about $85 million to casinos owned by Las Vegas Sands in the middle of the last decade. He lost more than $125 million at Vegas casinos, according to an affidavit cited by the Journal in a report earlier this year.

Federal prosecutors reportedly say Ye Gon's use of Mexican exchange houses should have been a warning sign of suspicious activity to Sands employees.

In July 2007, Ye Gon was indicted in the U.S. on charges of trafficking the illegal stimulant methamphetamine. The drug charges were dismissed in 2009.
Prosecutors are reportedly investigating more than $100 million in transactions through the casinos by Siddiqui, who was arrested in 2009 for accepting illegal kickbacks. He pleaded guilty to the charges and is serving a six-year prison sentence.

Las Vegas Sands Corp. owns the Venetian and Palazzo resorts in Las Vegas, as well as similar resorts in Singapore and Macau. Macau is a former Portuguese colony near Hong Kong.

The biggest bingo parlor in history!

From: Stop the Casino 101 Coalition
The biggest bingo parlor in history!

The Biggest, Most Expensive Bingo Parlor in U.S. History!
Compact lawsuit moves forward after first hearing!

Let me make one thing perfectly clear: our first lawsuit against Governor Brown's illegal gambling compact is going forward full-steam ahead.

Our lawsuit passed its first milestone with its first hearing on October 12, and we're moving forward with our Complaint intact!

We are challenging the validity of the Graton Rancheria compact, specifically, that under California law, the state legislature MUST cede sovereignty over the land to the federal government.

Until then, it isn't Indian land, and is still governed by State law, and state law does not allow casino-style gambling except on Indian land. Get it?

No Compact means no casino-style gambling.

When we win this lawsuit, Station Casinos and Graton Rancheria will be left with the biggest, most expensive bingo parlor in U.S. history!

But it all takes money, honey! So give right now, and be as generous as you can. If you really want to stop the casino, you have to be willing to cough up come cash.

County's "Wimpy" Deal with the Casino
WImpy by fourpanelhero on

The County's deal with Graton Rancheria reminds me of Wimpy who would say to Popeye, "I will gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today".
The fatal flaw in any agreement for payments from Graton Rancheria is that they don't have to pay if they don't make enough money, and there is no independent auditing mechanism to check the figures.
As was made clear in the hearings in Sacramento in May, Graton doesn't have to allow anyone on its property to audit the books, state officials included.
And "wimpy" certainly describes the County's casino policy. Had the County fought vigorously and asked for Senator Feinstein's help at any point along the way, as Contra Costa County did in its battle against the San Pablo casino, it could have stopped the casino dead.
Fortunately, Stop the Casino 101 Coalition has stepped in to intervene when the County would not.
Help us do what the county lacked the guts to do! We'll fight in court for you!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Casino mogul Sheldon Adelson has pledged $100 million

Casino mogul Sheldon Adelson has pledged $100 million to help Mitt Romney's campaign while his company is under investigation. Don't let our politics be seduced by the dark side.

Penn National's History of Buying Opposition

October 27, 2012

Casino opponent Penn National has fought against ballot issues before

ANNAPOLIS — Four years ago in Ohio, Penn National Gaming Inc. outspent its opposition by more than $12 million in a successful effort to kill a ballot issue that would have allowed for the building of the state’s first casino.

Why would a casino company spend millions to stop a casino? Penn National owns a casino just over the border in Indiana that could have lost business if the project near Wilmington, Ohio, had gone forward.

This year, Penn National has already contributed $29.1 million to kill Question 7, which would expand gambling in Maryland and allow for a Prince George’s County casino, a likely competitor to the company’s Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races in West Virginia.

According to the results of a recent Washington Post poll, the campaign is having an effect. While Marylanders appear to be almost evenly divided on the ballot question, confidence that casinos will generate more money for schools, a key claim of proponents, is low, with 21 percent saying they were “not so confident” and 34 percent saying they were “not confident.”

If passed, the referendum would legalize table games, let casinos operate 24/7 and allow a sixth location in Prince George’s County.

Proponents have also spent millions, with MGM Resorts International taking the money lead over Penn National this week.

“Both sides are playing a poker game,” said Bill Eadington, director of the Institute for the Study of Gambling and Commercial Gaming at the University of Nevada, Reno.

In the Ohio case, Issue 6 provided for one casino — the state’s first. Through the No On 6 Committee, Penn National put $38 million against the measure. On the other side, the committee My Ohio Now received $25.7 million from Lakes Entertainment Inc., the company hoping to build the casino.

The measure was defeated, with 62 percent of voters against it.

A year later, Penn National did support another ballot issue in Ohio that allowed four locations to be built, giving the company a chance to open its own casinos. Proponents of that referendum received more than four times what opponents raised. The measure passed 53 percent to 47 percent.

Eadington said the driving factor behind the measure passing was the effect the economic recession had, balancing out the benefits of a casino with the social negatives.

In Maryland, Eadington said MGM Resorts International, the company hoping to build a casino at National Harbor in Prince George’s County, is a much stronger company than Lakes Entertainment. So far, MGM has contributed $29.5 million of the $35.7 million total given to For Maryland Jobs and Schools, which supports gambling expansion.

“Where Penn might have overwhelmed Lakes, MGM has gone toe to toe,” Eadington said.

Penn National is the sole contributor to Get the Facts — Vote No On 7, according to a ballot issue report released Oct. 12. A new ballot issue report covering contributions and expenditures up to Oct. 21 is due Friday.

Capital News Service was unable to reach officials at Penn National for comment.

The Peterson Companies, developers of National Harbor, have donated a combined $2.2 million between For Maryland Jobs & Schools and another committee supporting expansion, Maryland First NOW — Vote Yes on 7.

Looking at the amount of money contributed so far, for every person in Maryland, companies have spent more than $11. In Ohio, about $5.55 was spent per person on the first referendum.

“They’re basically pushing money onto the table in hopes they will be successful,” Eadington said.

The committees’ spending is more than the two past gubernatorial elections combined.

“To see that amount of money in the state of Maryland is unprecedented,” said Todd Eberly, a political science professor at St. Mary’s College.

The majority of that money has gone toward television, online and radio advertisements, according to a report covering contributions and expenditures through Oct. 7. Up to that point, the two sides had spent about $16 million, or about 90 percent of their expenditures on media.

When will politicians stop....

In Massachusetts, the propaganda has largely been driven by the construction unions.

Do the union leaders truly believe this delusion? Are they so blinded they have failed to consider the communities that have been destroyed? Examples and studies abound.  

The unions transported union members from Atlantic City to proselytize while the Beacon Hill Bobble Heads nodded agreement.

Only one Senator asked the starting wage. Senator Sue Tucker, bless her!

The Bobble Heads nodded agreement without question, without challenge.

From Gambling Hurts:

When will politicians stop being hood-winked OR stop trying to hood-wink the people by the gambling industry ballshit that gambling is in any way good for the economy or job creation. Gambling transfers wealth out of countries into offshore tax havens benefiting a few mega rich and sponsors of the mega rich. In return it destroys lives, and communities with proliferation of gambling and its associated ills. The few minimum wage jobs the gambling industry create do not offset the damage to local business by the loss of wealth to these faceless corporations nor the loss of taxation by the cash transfers out of local economy. In addition there is significant additional negative consequences to gamblers and families of the drop out and marginalization of addicts in society. The gambling industry talk crap, gambling proliferation is mostly negative.