Meetings & Information


Sunday, September 30, 2012

Mashpee Wampanoags/Genting Hiring: Interesting


Milford is a bad place for a casino

Casino Free Milford, Massachusetts

Clancy: Milford is a bad place for a casino
MetroWest Daily News
Posted Sep 30, 2012

When the Governor signed legislation in 2011 officially legalizing gaming in Massachusetts, it was a shock to most of us, and I, being a native Holliston resident, do not think that Milford, Mass., is a good place for a casino. There are several reasons for this. First, a casino would cause many expensive logistical problems during both construction and operation. The casino will certainly cause extreme traffic jams, even in it’s construction phases, which will in turn back up I-495, because of the off and on ramps right near where the casino would be.

Another logistical problem this casino would pose is the already strained town water supply of Milford, which is stressed as it is, and a resort casino would certainly overload the current system.

More importantly than these immediate physical problems though, is the overall way in which this casino would change Milford, Holliston, and all the surrounding towns as a whole. Casinos, let’s face it, do not bring around the most desirable crowd of people, especially so close to residential zones.

This potentially could result in people abandoning the suburbs around the casino because of the new unsafe environment the casino would surely create. This casino will drastically affect our everyday lives, and there are many people organizing opposition already; there is an online petition with nearly 1,000 signatures in support of banning the casino from Milford Massachusetts.


Read more:

NJ: Sucking $$$ from the poor

Around the globe, betting on sporting events have led to corruption scandals involving match fixing and organized crime.

New Jersey is so poorly managed, has experienced such historic corruption and fiscal mismanagement, they are desperate to suck every $$$ for residents' pockets and betray the public trust. Republican Governor Chris Christie is willing to suck discretionary income from the pockets of the poor before adopting sound fiscal policy.

 This bears watching.

Meadowlands Matters

Gambling Industry Buying Election

From Bill Kearney --

Massachusetts ‘GAMING’ Future

Atlantic City Press - September 29, 2012 - Casino industry makes its presence felt in politics with large contributions to both parties

This year’s presidential race comes as states are considering ways to legalize online wagers, an issue on which the two candidates have taken different stances.

At the same time, political contributions by the casino industry have risen as the industry has grown.

Read more:
Casino industry makes its presence felt in politics with large contributions to both parties
Revel Poker room 109424576.jpg
Posted: Saturday, September 29, 2012 12:05 am | Updated: 8:28 am, Sat Sep 29, 2012.
This year’s presidential race comes as states are considering ways to legalize online wagers, an issue on which the two candidates have taken different stances.

At the same time, political contributions by the casino industry have risen as the industry has grown.
Mitt Romney has said he opposes online wagering, while the Obama administration has taken steps that could ultimately clear the way for Internet betting.

But the industry does not seem to be supporting one candidate over the other, said Joseph S. Weinert, senior vice president of Linwood’s Spectrum Gaming Group.

Democrats have received more political contributions this cycle from the casino industry, according to the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics. Democrats have received $6.4 million from the industry to Republicans’ $5.8 million, according to figures released in early September.
An additional $20.3 million was allocated to political action committees and so-called “Super PACs” that have a greater ability to spend on candidates.

In 1992, the casino industry gave $484,019, according to the center. Of that, 71 percent went to Democrats and 29 percent to Republicans. The center ranked the casino industry 75th most generous out of more than 80 industries.

Twenty years later, the center reported the casino industry has contributed more than $32.5 million, as of early September. Direct contributions still favored Democrats, 52 percent to 48 percent, but the industry’s ranking rose to 15th most generous.

But Weinert said the partisan discrepancy could be because Democrats represent more gambling jurisdictions. Furthermore, Democratic U.S. Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., has been a major proponent of online gaming, Weinert pointed out.

“The bigger context is the economy,” Weinert said, and support would likely hinge on whose economic proposals seem better.

Roger Gros, publisher of Global Gaming Business Magazine, said, “In general the top guys are pretty clear where they are standing,” starting with Sheldon Adelson, chairman and chief executive officer of Las Vegas Sands Corp.

Casino money “never has been that important,” Gros said, “but when you have Sheldon Adelson, who has a billion dollars to spare, it becomes very important.”

Adelson has been a Republican contributor since the 1990s. He started playing an outsized role in the presidential campaign in January, when he and his wife, Miriam, together donated $10 million to Winning Our Future, a super PAC that supported former candidate Newt Gingrich’s campaign for the Republican presidential nomination.

Adelson has since pledged “limitless” support for Republican nominee Mitt Romney and other Republican candidates, telling Forbes magazine that he did so to stop President Barack Obama’s “socialization” of America and to secure closer ties to Israel.

Obama also offended other Las Vegas casino industry officials, Gros said.

Gros pointed to comments Obama made in 2009 when the president said of federal spending, “You can’t go take a trip to Las Vegas or go down to the Super Bowl on the taxpayers’ dime.” At a town-hall meeting the following year, Obama said, “You don’t blow a bunch of cash in Vegas when you’re trying to save for college.”

Gros said Obama “didn’t really apologize for that in a fashion that the industry would have liked to have seen.”

Officials have been quiet in Atlantic City, the nation’s second-largest gaming jurisdiction. Jon Bombardieri, lobbyist and spokesman for the Casino Association of New Jersey, declined to comment, as did association President Tony Rodio, who heads Tropicana Casino and Resort. Other casino executives also declined comment.

Under Obama, the Justice Department in 2011 interpreted the Interstate Wire Act of 1961 in a way that was seen as friendly to gambling. That interpretation said the law, which previously barred Internet wagers, applied only to sports betting. Since then, New Jersey and a number of other states have sought to host e-wagers.

In a response to an online petition to license and regulate online poker, Brian Deese, a special assistant to Obama for economic policy, wrote in May that Internet wagering is an issue for the states.

He said the Obama administration was concerned about the potential for fraud, money laundering and underage gambling.

Romney has taken different positions on the topic of gambling throughout his political career.

He is a Mormon, who in following the teachings of the faith, does not gamble. But when Romney unsuccessfully ran for the U.S. Senate in 1994, the Boston Globe reported that he supported a proposed casino, saying it was a decision for the community to make.

Running for governor of Massachusetts in 2002, Romney supported closing a $2 billion state budget hole with a taxpaying casino, the Globe reported.

Once in office, Romney proposed raising $300 million to $800 million with video slot machines, but the state Legislature rejected the proposal. The Globe reported he also called on casino operators in Rhode Island and Connecticut to pay $75 million to keep Massachusetts from developing its own casino, but that never came to pass.

Gambling has not been a major issue in the presidential race, but before the Nevada primary in February, Romney told a Las Vegas television station that he generally opposed online gambling opportunities because “Gaming has a social effect on a lot of people.”

He also told KSNV-TV that he opposed online wagers because there is plenty of gambling access currently and that some states use gambling tax proceeds for public purposes, and online gambling would not improve that.

The Republican Party also formally opposes Internet wagering. In this year’s platform, the party said it supported the prohibition of Internet betting and called for the reversal of the federal Justice Department’s gaming-friendly interpretation of the Interstate Wire Act. Casino industry officials said they saw this as Adelson’s influence.

PA Property Owners Got $1 for every $70 BILLION wagered

From Bill Kearney:

Massachusetts ‘GAMING’ Future

Pocono Record - September 30, 2012 - Gaming tax relief falls short of expectations for struggling homeowners

The next time you pass a casino, say thank you. It just helped you pay for the equivalent of a couple of tires.

Pennsylvania's gaming industry, swept in on the coattails of property tax relief, is doing just that — reducing your school taxes.

Just not by that much.

As you pay your school taxes today, you will have saved from $337 to $447 on your bill, thanks to state taxes on slot machine revenues.

The median tax bill in Stroudsburg Area School District — with no tax increases this year — was $4,187, according to Stroudsburg Area School District Business Manager Don Jennings.

That means gambling gave Stroudsburg district taxpayers an 8 percent savings.

Read more:
Gaming tax relief falls short of expectations for struggling homeowners
Howard Frank
The next time you pass a casino, say thank you. It just helped you pay for the equivalent of a couple of tires.
Pennsylvania's gaming industry, swept in on the coattails of property tax relief, is doing just that — reducing your school taxes.

DIVIDING THE PIE: The math behind sharing gambling revenue

For every dollar wagered in a Pennsylvania slot machine, about $0.92 is paid out as winning and direct promotions.

The remaining $0.08 is called the casino's gross terminal revenues.

There are adjustments that are made to this figure, but it's pretty solid from month to month.

The $0.08 is then taxed at about 55 percent. That gives the state $.04 for every dollar wagered, or 55 percent of the gross terminal revenues.

Of the state's $0.04 in tax revenues, about 62 percent of it, or 2.7 cents, goes toward property taxes.

Most, but not all of, that amount is collected into a statewide fund and is distributed each year to each school district based on a formula that's more complicated than a celebrity divorce.

In 2011-2012, the state fund was about $627 million. Out of that, for instance, Stroudsburg Area School District received $2,656,267. That's about 4/10s of 1 percent of the total state slots tax revenue for property tax relief.

There are 7,973 qualifying property owners in Stroudsburg's school district. That means each property got $333.60 last year.

But they don't get it as a check. It's credited on their tax bill, with the actual bill net of the gaming funds benefit.

So, a review:


of wagersFor every dollar

wagered on slotsWagers at slot machines$23,246,155,687 Gross terminal revenue$1,845,072,433 7.94%$0.08 State tax for property reduction$627,324,627 2.70%$0.03 Stroudsburg's portion$2,659,774 0.01%$0.0001

(one one-hundredth of a penny)Each qualifying property owner$333 0.000001%$0.00000001

(one millionth of a penny)

SASD property owners got $1 for every $70 billion wagered.

SASD property owners got $1 for every $5.5 million in gross terminal revenues.
Just not by that much.
As you pay your school taxes today, you will have saved from $337 to $447 on your bill, thanks to state taxes on slot machine revenues.
The median tax bill in Stroudsburg Area School District — with no tax increases this year — was $4,187, according to Stroudsburg Area School District Business Manager Don Jennings.
That means gambling gave Stroudsburg district taxpayers an 8 percent savings.

'Getting hosed'

The legislation that determined the distribution of gaming funds was called The Taxpayer Relief Act of 2006.
Some call it false advertising.
"I told them, 'You are getting hosed,'" said state Rep. Mario Scavello, R-176, when school boards were first introduced to the legislation in 2004. "The most you're going to get is one year of no tax increases."
While former Gov. Ed Rendell predicted somewhere around a billion dollars in property tax relief a year once all of the casinos where open, that number has proven to be overly optimistic.
Less than two-thirds of that has been generated, with 11 of the state's 14 legislated casinos operating.
Yet the industry has been a tax-revenue-generating machine.
"Pennsylvania casinos generate more tax revenue from casino gaming than any other state, including New Jersey and Nevada," said Richard McGarvey, deputy director of communications for the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board. "A 55 percent tax rate will do that."

Slots highly taxed

That tax rate, which is applied to slots revenues only, is the highest in the nation among states that don't own their own slot machines.
While slots were sold to the state on the basis of property tax reduction, table games were not.
Table games were legalized in 2010, almost overnight in legislative time.
The argument was to close a $200 million budget gap that year. It did just that, thanks to the one-time up-front antes casinos paid as "certificate fees."
All of those funds go into the state's general fund. None goes to property tax relief.

One drop of a trickle

In fact, tax relief is a small drop in the sea of revenues generated by the casinos.
To put it into perspective, the state's casinos generated $31 billion in bets and $2.5 billion in slots revenues in the 2011-12 fiscal year.
Although more than half of slots revenues goes toward state taxes, only 34 percent goes to property tax reduction.

The rest is spread between economic development projects, the casinos' host communities and the horse racing industry, which gets 12 percent of slot revenues.
[Taxpayers are subsidizing a DEAD Industry and there is no indication that attendance has increased. The word SCAM comes to mind when taxpayer $$$$ are spent this way, much as Massachusetts will support Suffolk Downs and Plainridge. Why?]
Much of the economic development money, 5 percent of gaming revenues, has gone to projects in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, like the expansion of Philadelphia's convention center, and a hockey arena and airport debt in Pittsburgh, according to McGarvey.
That leaves about $850 million for the taxpayer relief fund.

Formula is locked

But the fund is diluted further, with payouts to senior rent relief, problem gambling, fire department grants and forest reserves.
After being whittled down, the real property owner fund is closer to last year's $616 million.
The state then divvies up the tax relief funds once a year to school districts with a formula that's more complicated than a celebrity divorce settlement.
The formulas are locked in on historical figures from 2002-05, including the school district's personal income, home market value, millage and taxes.
That prevents funding adjustments based on changes in a community.
By the time casino taxes get to property owners, there isn't much left.

Relief or reduction?

"There has been a misconception that gaming revenue would relieve homeowners of school property taxes, but it was a reduction," McGarvey said.
School districts were initially given an opportunity to opt out of the property relief program if they had philosophical difficulties accepting money from gambling.
"We aren't philosophically opposed to $2.6 million," Stroudsburg's Jennings said.
Monroe County's four school district's ranked among the top 30 of the state's 499 school districts in estimated tax relief distributions to homeowners last year.
Pleasant Valley School District ranked fourth in the state, with $447 per qualifying property.
East Stroudsburg was 11th with $394; Pocono Mountain was 12th with $338; and Stroudsburg came in 29th with $322 per property owner.
The Chester-Upland School District ranked first at $631 per property. The average homeowner in the state received about $191 last year.

Reforms still sought

State Rep. Mike Carroll said that although the program has been somewhat helpful, additional measures are needed to satisfy the law's intended outcome.
"It is long past the time to provide substantial and meaningful school property relief for homesteads and farmsteads in this state by enacting legislation which shifts to a sales and income tax model and away from property taxes."
It's a model supported by Scavello and others, but has lacked the political clout to become a reality.


For a property owner to be eligible for the tax credit, the property must be an owner-occupied, full-time residence. Rentals, vacation homes and commercial properties do not qualify.

Property owners have to apply for a homestead/farmstead exemption. In the four Monroe County school districts, once you've qualified it's not necessary to re-apply.

You can tell if you've received the tax credit by looking at your current tax bill. A box called "less exclusion" appears in the Homestead row of the bill. It's the box that's second from the right. If that box has an amount, you're getting the credit. If it's empty, you're not.

School districts are required by the end of December to notify property owners of the homestead exclusion, and work with the assessor's office to notify people who aren't signed up yet, Stroudsburg Business Manager Don Jennings said.


For every dollar fed into a slot machine, about 90 percent is paid out as winnings. The balance — the net slots revenues — is taxed at a rate of 55 percent, the highest in the nation among states that don't own their own slot machines.

Property tax relief is funded with 34 percent of all net slots revenues. Most, but not all, of these funds actually go to tax relief.

The state then applies a complicated formula based on income, market value, millage and local tax revenue from 2002 to 2005 to divide it up among the state's 499 school districts and Philadelphia. The formula does not take into account changes in the composition of a school district since that time.

It's similar to the "hold harmless" rule that married state tax school allocations to 1990 census figures and guarantees that slow-growing or contracting districts don't lose funding.

It also deprives growing counties like Monroe and Pike from its fair share of the gaming money.

Tim Eller of the Pennsylvania Department of Education said there was a reason for the gaming formula.

"The idea was to prevent potentially large fluctuations in each school district's distribution based on annual changes in the data elements," he said.

State Rep. Rosemary Brown, R-189, called them extremely complex and antiquated.

"We're looking at what those formulas would bring us now and see if it's hurting us," she said. "My guess is it's hurting us."

School districts, in turn, simply divide the pool of money they receive from the state by the number of approved homesteads and farmsteads in the school district. The result is the tax credit that shows up on your bill.

And here's something that may surprise you: Every property owner in a school district gets exactly the same amount of tax credit as their neighbors, regardless of the size of their property or appraised value. That's the way the 2004 law was written.

Mashpee Wampanoags: No Historical Ties to Taunton

Conn. researcher can swing fates of tribes

James Lynch debunks historical claims of Indians, sometimes testifying in disputes over casino proposals

Casinos spend $26.7M on gaming referendum

Casinos spend $26.7M on gaming referendum

The Cumberland Times-News
Sat Sep 29, 2012

ANNAPOLIS — The debate over expanding gaming in Maryland will ultimately be decided by the people, but to help them pick, casino companies on both sides have now contributed more than $26.7 million to campaigns for and against Question 7.

Question 7, the gaming referendum, would expand gambling in Maryland by extending casino hours, adding tables games and allowing an additional casino to be built at National Harbor in Prince George’s County. The gaming referendum fight has been prominently featured in television ads.

A total of $14.1 million has been contributed to the pro-expansion committee For Maryland Jobs and Schools Inc., most coming from MGM Resorts International, the potential operator of a casino at National Harbor.

A casino at National Harbor could take business away from surrounding casinos, including those owned by Penn National Gaming Inc. So far Penn National has spent has spent $13 million to campaign against expansion.

Penn National owns the Hollywood Casino Perryville in Maryland, but gaming analyst James Karmel said the company is really concerned about the effect gaming expansion in Maryland could have on its Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races in West Virginia.

“The millions they spend on ads could potentially be offset if they win,” Karmel said.

The most recent campaign finance statement from the pro-expansion committee For Maryland Jobs and Schools Inc., released Wednesday, shows MGM has contributed an additional $3 million since a report issued last week. That puts MGM’s total contributions to the pro-gaming expansion campaign since August at $11.4 million.

Some of MGM’s contributions were in-kind, meaning they provided services and then reported the monetary value of those services as contributions.

For Maryland Jobs and Schools Inc. has also received $2.3 million from CBAC Gaming LLC, a group led by Caesars and Rock Gaming that was granted a license to operate video lottery terminals at a location in Baltimore this summer. Peterson Development Companies, the developers of National Harbor, have also contributed $400,000. They’ve spent $13.6 million.

Penn National has contributed $13 million to the committee against expansion, Get the Facts-Vote No on 7. They’ve spent $10.9 million.

 Through its own committee Penn National Gaming Inc. has spent $36,401.

Jared DeMarinis, the director of Candidacy and Campaign Finance for the Maryland State Board of Elections, said both committees have been consistent and accurate in reporting their expenditures. He said they are required to report everything in Maryland.

He said a more detailed report will come out Oct. 12, showing how the money has been spent.

Some observers have noted the irony in seeing casinos spend money on both sides of a gambling debate.

“There’s a touch of hypocrisy quite often in the kind of marketing that’s been done,” said Bill Eadington, director of the Institute for the Study of Gambling and Commercial Gaming at the University of Nevada, Reno.

Gambling addiction saw me steal from my dying nana..

Gambling addiction saw me steal from my dying nana.. but I would sink further still, admits Kevin Twaddle
FORMER SPL football star Kevin Twaddle has opened his heart on the devastating gambling addiction which cost him £1million.
I LOVED my nana, Annie Barker, to bits. I really did.

Her health was failing when I was at Motherwell and I went to see her every single day.

My mum used to say what a great laddie I was because it looked like I was doing so much for my nana.
Kevin Twaddle's nana Annie Barker
Kevin Twaddle's nana Annie Barker, right

She didn’t know I’d had a key cut for a box in my nan’s living room where she kept all her money.

She didn’t know I was stealing her life savings.

I didn’t go into the box and take all the money in one swoop but gradually, over the months, I took out small amounts until there was next to nothing left.

I don’t know how much money I actually stole from her. I would hate to know what the exact figure was. It was a substantial amount and, at a guess, I would say it would have been in excess of £10,000 if I am being totally honest.

What sort of person would do that to their own nana? There are no words that can describe the shame I feel.

I don’t say that for sympathy because, after the way I treated my nana, that is the last thing I should be entitled to.

Football star reveals how he hit rock bottom as he blew £1million on his gambling addiction

Gambling addiction saw me steal from my dying nana.. but I would sink further still, admits Kevin Twaddle

Ex-SPL star Kevin Twaddle: The day I nearly ended it all because of my gambling

The most galling thing is that, if I had just asked my nana for the money, I know she would have happily given it to me but I didn’t want to tell anyone I had a gambling problem.

I watched my nana die and – I have to be honest although I know it might sound cold-hearted and it was – I didn’t even want to go to her funeral.

Not because I didn’t love her or I was unable to cope with the grief but because I had an illness. I was caught up in a gambling frenzy.

To most people who maybe haven’t had a betting addiction, it might sound like a load of rubbish, a cock-and-bull story to try to justify my actions but it wasn’t.

I don’t think any sane individual could defend my actions. But when you are a gambling addict, it consumes you and takes over your life without you even knowing. It is hard to explain.
Kevin Twaddle and his wife, Jac
Kevin Twaddle and his wife, Jac

Gambling becomes all-consuming. It becomes the be-all and end-all. You will go to extreme lengths and measures just so you can put on a bet and satisfy your cravings and impulses. I was that sick, although I didn’t even realise it.

My nana died on November 24, 2003. I didn’t want to grieve. The only place I wanted to be was at the bookies. I even left my nana’s funeral early so I could get to the bookmakers for the first horse race of the day.

I look back on that day with nothing but shame and embarrassment. How could I have done that to somebody I was so close to? There can be no excuses, even though I was in such a bad place with gambling.

It had taken over my life and was at the centre of everything I did. Thinking back, I am just relieved I went to the funeral because I wouldn’t have been able to live with myself if I hadn’t gone and probably, back then, it would have been touch and go.

I should have been the first person there because my nana did so much for me and was one of the most caring and loving people I ever met.

I think, at the end, my nana knew about my gambling although, like everybody else, she didn’t know the full extent of it.

I did some horrible things to her but I do genuinely miss her terribly and I do think about her every day.

I just wish she was still here to see me today. I just hope that, if she is looking down on me, maybe she can be proud of the person I am now.

I am very different to the one who waved her farewell from this world.

By then, I had numerous people coming to my parents’ door looking for money, from sheriff officers to some really unscrupulous characters.

The phone was going 24/7, with people looking to threaten me.

My mum and dad didn’t know half the stuff that was going on because most nights I would put their phone on silent to stop it ringing.

The last thing I wanted to do was have them answering the phone and knowing what I had got myself embroiled in.

I was stealing from my mum too. I tore her to pieces with my gambling and what I did to her.

I had my mum over a barrel. She would never tell my dad what I had done because I would blackmail her emotionally. I would say things like: “If you tell dad, I will never speak to you again.” I was out of control.

To be fair to my mum, she didn’t tell my dad until near the end, when I was at the height of my troubles and when things were really bad.

Money was going missing from her bank account left, right and centre and, at that point, it was obvious to everybody that I needed help. Everybody but me.

Kevin Twaddle’s autobiography Life On The Line sells for £11.99 but we can offer Sunday Mail readers copies at the exclusive price of £10 including postage and packaging.
All you have to do is call Black and White Publishing from tomorrow between 10am and 5pm, Monday to Friday, and quote “Kevin Twaddle Book Offer”. Offer ends on Friday, November 16, 2012. Please allow 12 days for delivery.

Maryland: $13 MILLION spent and the answer is NO!

Poll finds support for same-sex marriage, but not gambling

Maryland referendum questions fill November's ballot

Gambling expansion

The casino-backed committees on the two sides of the gambling debate have each spent at least $13 million to persuade Maryland voters, but The Sun poll shows that opponents may be getting more bang for their buck.

According to the poll, 53 percent of Maryland voters oppose Question 7, which would permit table games at Maryland casinos and allow a new gambling palace in Prince George's County, while 38 percent would vote yes.

Meanwhile, those against the gambling measure have opened up a huge gap in voter enthusiasm, with 43 percent of opponents saying their views are strongly held. On the other side, only 24 percent say they are strong in their support.

The results are especially challenging for gambling supporters, led by MGM Resorts International and Caesars Entertainment, because the pool of voters describing themselves as undecided is shallow, 8 percent.

Opposition to the expansion cuts across party lines — even though the measure that will appear on the Nov. 6 ballot is the work of a Democratic governor and General Assembly. Republicans are rejecting the measure by 67 percent to 26 percent. But Democrats, too, are opposed, 46 percent to 44 percent. Independents and third-party supporters say they will vote no, 56 percent to 36 percent.

The Democratic rejection of the gambling measure is largely driven by negative numbers in the party stronghold of Montgomery County, where 54 percent of voters plan to vote no and only 34 percent yes.

The margin could be an indication that the proponents' arguments that the proceeds from expanded gambling would benefit education are not convincing voters. Opponents, led by Penn National Gaming, have pushed the theme that there are no guarantees that the money will remain in the schools.

Some voters support gambling philosophically but don't like the manner in which Gov. Martin O'Malley and General Assembly leaders got the measure on the ballot. They include James H. Thomas Jr., a 61-year-old UPS retiree from Dundalk, who plans to vote no.

"O'Malley handled this behind closed doors," Thomas said. "It was put off to a special session. There are tax deductions for whoever runs these gambling conglomerates. I really don't like that."

In Prince George's County, which is expected to gain an important new revenue stream if the measure passes, voters are giving Question 7 only tepid support — 52 percent yes to 42 percent no.

Raabe said that if support doesn't pick up in Prince George's, the measure is likely doomed statewide.

"They should be for it by 30 points," Raabe said. "Even Prince Georgians are pretty lukewarm about it."

The measure does have strong supporters in the county, including Myra Henderson of Hyattsville. Like a 56 percent to 32 percent majority of African-Americans, the 62-year-old retired Social Security Administration employee says she will vote yes, partly because she likes to gamble and would enjoy a casino at National Harbor — the most likely location if the voters approve.

"It would be closer to home," she said. "Why go to Atlantic City or wherever, when you could go right here?"

The modest margin of support in Prince George's is more than offset by heavy opposition in Baltimore. City voters currently oppose the measure, 57 percent to 34 percent, despite Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake's support.,0,4686517.story?page=2

September 29, 2012

Poll: Voters support Dream Act, close on gay marriage, slightly opposed to gaming expansion

 The contest to allow a sixth casino in Maryland and table games in all of them is close, with 45 percent of Maryland voters supporting the expansion, 46 percent opposed and 9 percent undecided. African-Americans again are the swing vote, with only 31 percent favoring the idea, and 64 percent opposed, compared to 51 percent of Democrats as a whole in favor of the proposition.

This divergence on the issue between white and black Democrats, Gonzales said, “could present an obstacle on Election Day for supporters of expanded gaming in Maryland.”
 The contest to allow a sixth casino in Maryland and table games in all of them is close, with 45 percent of Maryland voters supporting the expansion, 46 percent opposed and 9 percent undecided. African-Americans again are the swing vote, with only 31 percent favoring the idea, and 64 percent opposed, compared to 51 percent of Democrats as a whole in favor of the proposition.

This divergence on the issue between white and black Democrats, Gonzales said, “could present an obstacle on Election Day for supporters of expanded gaming in Maryland.”

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Massachusetts resident returned to Sands Bethlehem, Jailed

Man banned from casino returns after court hearing

AP / September 27, 2012

BETHLEHEM, Pa. (AP) — Police say a man banned from a Pennsylvania casino doubled down on a bad bet when he left a hearing for a defiant trespassing charge and headed straight to the same casino.

Forty-seven-year-old Chun Zhu is being held at Northampton County Prison following his arrest Wednesday at the Sands Casino Resort in Bethlehem.
State police say Zhu, of Quincy, Mass., had been banned from the casino in July then was charged with defiant trespass after he visited it again on Sept. 4.

It was immediately after a hearing on that charge that investigators say he returned yet again with casino security on his tail.

Ignoring the Truth

Mohegan Sun casino layoffs in Connecticut get mixed reaction in Palmer

Published: Friday, September 28, 2012

Mohegan Sun Layoffs 2012.jpg

Associated Press file | Jessica Hill

The Mohegan Sun casino is seen earlier this year in Uncasville, Conn. The casino is laying off more than 300 employees and replacing its CEO, the Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority's chief executive said Thursday.

PALMER News that Mohegan Sun casino laid off more than 300 employees and replaced its chief executive officer doesn't worry some proponents of the Connecticut-based company's plan to build a resort casino here.

But others are questioning whether or not Mohegan, which has long wanted to build a casino off Thorndike Street (Route 32), has the financial means to make the project happen, and if this is a sign that the market already is saturated with too many casinos.

Town Council President Philip J. Hebert said he was called personally by Paul I. Brody, Mohegan's vice president of development, about the layoffs.

Hebert said he's not sure what to think of the news, but wondered if there are already too many casinos for any of them to be prosperous.

"Has the industry become too saturated?" Hebert questioned.

Brody said the Connecticut casino is facing competition from the new Resorts World Casino at the Aqueduct racetrack in New York City, but he said what is happening in Connecticut has no impact, and no relevance, on the company's plans for Palmer.

"It's really a very different set of circumstances," Brody said.

The downsizing will help match the volume of business in Connecticut, he said.

Stephen Norton, a gaming consultant from Illinois and a director of the company leasing land in Palmer to the Mohegan Sun, also said the layoffs are separate from the company's casino plans for Palmer.

"That's good management -- bringing employment in line with supply and demand," Norton said of the layoffs. [Since Mr. Norton has had his share of bankruptcies, he should know.]

Mohegan is one of several casino operators competing for the sole Western Massachusetts casino license. Under the state gaming law approved in November 2011, three casino licenses and one slot parlor license will be awarded. The state gaming Commission, which is overseeing the process, has announced a draft master schedule that calls for granting a license for a casino or a slots parlor by February 2014.

"I think they are still viable, assuming they find the right financial partner," At-large Town Councilor Paul E. Burns said.

Brody said they are still working on identifying a financial partner.

Both Norton and Iris L. Cardin, co-chair of Quaboag Valley Against Casinos, said they are concerned that Mohegan has yet to announce a financial partner for Palmer.

Cardin said "it's looking bad" for Mohegan.

"They need to just cut and run and leave us alone," Cardin said.

Burns, a casino proponent, said it would show Mohegan's commitment and truly show evidence of its viability if the $400,000 gaming application fee was paid. One competitor for the Western Massachusetts license - MGM Resorts International, which has a proposal for Springfield's south end - has paid the fee.

Brody said they still plan to pay the fee when the application is submitted, which may be as soon as December.

Town Manager Charles T. Blanchard said Mohegan has indicated its commitment to the town, and its desire to expand to the Massachusetts market. Blanchard said studies are ongoing to evaluate a casino's impacts on traffic the town. This week, consultants interviewed department heads about fiscal issues.

Wonder if they made available the Citizens' Casino Study Report indicating the cost to host Mohegan Sun would be $18 MILLION to $39 MILLION annually, not including the $50 MILLION to bring water from the Quabbin.

Said District 4 Town Councilor Donald Blais Jr. about Mohegan, "I'm not too worried . . . I think they'll be alright."

Jennifer L. Baruffaldi, a spokeswoman for the pro-casino group, Citizens for Jobs & Growth in Palmer, said she remains positive about the Palmer project. She said Mohegan has the same struggles as other casino operators.  [Ms. Baruffaldi is a very pleasant person lacking education in financial reporting. Because Mohegan Sun's debt is publicly traded, their SEC filings are available online for review.]

Edward S. Harrison, chairman of the Western Massachusetts Casino Task Force, a neutral group, questioned if bringing casinos to Massachusetts makes sense if the casino industry is having difficulty.

"Is it really going to be profitable?" Harrison said.

Harrison asked what will happen if the casinos are built, then the companies resort to layoffs.

Mitchell G. Etess, the chief executive of the Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority, told The Day of New London that the layoffs affect workers in nearly every department and job level. About 8,000 employees remain. Etess blamed the layoffs on the weak economy and competition from the New York City casino.

“You have to put this in the context of the amazing decline in business we’ve experienced,” Etess told The Day.

James Ferrerra III, Springfield City Council president, said the layoffs do not surprise him.
"Casino companies are not immune to the economic climate out there," Ferrerra said.

Etess told The Day of New London that Jeffrey Hartmann will be replaced by Bobby Soper, chief executive officer of Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs in Wilkes-Barre, Pa. Hartman, a Mohegan Sun executive since 1996, was the casino’s chief executive officer since 2011.

Staff writer Dan Ring contributed to this report.

Palmer Casino Backers React to Mohegan Layoffs

Crime Ring Prosecuted for Cheating 29 Casinos

Co-Founder of Casino-Cheating Criminal Enterprise Sentenced to 36 Months in Prison for Targeting Casinos Across the United States

U.S. Department of Justice September 28, 2012
  • Office of Public Affairs (202) 514-2007/TDD (202) 514-1888

WASHINGTON—Van Thu Tran was sentenced today in San Diego to 36 months in prison for her role in a scheme to cheat casinos across the country out of millions of dollars, announced Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and U.S. Attorney Laura E. Duffy for the Southern District of California.

In addition to her prison sentence, Van Thu Tran, 47, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge John A. Houston in the Southern District of California to three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $5,753,416 in restitution, payable to several casinos. The court ordered the forfeiture of her interests in various assets, including jewelry and bank accounts.

Van Thu Tran entered her guilty plea in San Diego on January 14, 2011.

In her plea agreement, Van Thu Tran admitted that in approximately August 2002, she, along with co-conspirators Phuong Quoc Truong, Tai Khiem Tran, and others, created a criminal enterprise defined as the Tran Organization, based in San Diego and elsewhere, for the purpose of participating in gambling cheats at casinos across the United States. In her plea agreement, Van Thu Tran also admitted that she and her co-conspirators unlawfully obtained up to $7 million during card cheats.

The investigation of the Tran Organization led to the filing of three separate indictments in 2007, 2008, and 2009. A three-count indictment was returned in San Diego on May 22, 2007, and unsealed on May 24, 2007, which charged Van Thu Tran and 13 others each with one count of conspiracy to participate in the affairs of a racketeering enterprise; one count of conspiracy to commit several offenses against the United States, including conspiracy to steal money and other property from Indian tribal casinos; and one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering. The indictment also charged five separate individuals each with one count of conspiracy to commit several offenses against the United States, including conspiracy to steal money and other property from Indian tribal casinos; and one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering.

According to court documents, the defendants and others executed a “false shuffle” cheating scheme at casinos in the United States and Canada during blackjack and mini-baccarat games. Court documents also show that members of the criminal organization bribed casino card dealers and supervisors to perform false shuffles during card games, thereby creating “slugs,” or groups of unshuffled cards. Court documents also show that, after tracking the order of cards dealt in a card game, a member of the organization would signal to the card dealer to perform a “false shuffle,” and members of the group would then bet on the known order of cards when the slug appeared on the table. By doing so, members of the conspiracy repeatedly won thousands of dollars during card games, including winning several hundred thousand dollars on one occasion.

Court documents also show that the members of the organization used sophisticated mechanisms for tracking the order of cards during games, including hidden transmitter devices and specially created software that would predict the order in which cards would reappear during blackjack games.

To date, 42 defendants have pleaded guilty to charges relating to the casino-cheating conspiracy: Van Thu Tran, Phuong Quoc Truong, Tai Khiem Tran, Anh Phuong Tran, Phat Ngoc Tran, Martin Lee Aronson, Liem Thanh Lam, George Michael Lee, Tien Duc Vu, Son Hong Johnson, Barry Wellford, John Tran, Willy Tran, Tuan Mong Le, Duc Cong Nguyen, Han Truong Nguyen, Roderick Vang Thor, Sisouvanh Mounlasy, Navin Nith, Renee Cuc Quang, Ui Suk Weller, Phally Ly, Khunsela Prom, Hop Nguyen, Hogan Ho, Darrell Saicocie, Bryan Arce, Qua Le, Outtama Keovongsa, Leap Kong, Thang Viet Huynh, Don Man Duong, Dan Thich, Jimmy Ha, Eric Isbell, Brandon Pete Landry, James Root, Jesus Rodriguez, Jason Cavin, Nedra Fay Landry, Connie Holmes, and Geraldo Montaz. These defendants admitted to targeting, with the aid of co-conspirators, a combined total of approximately 29 casinos in the United States and Canada during the course of the conspiracy:

1) Beau Rivage Casino in Biloxi, Mississippi;

2) Casino Rama, in Orillia, Ontario, Canada;

3) Foxwoods Resort Casino in Ledyard, Connecticut;

4) Gold Strike Casino in Tunica, Mississippi;

5) Horseshoe Casino in Bossier City, Louisiana;

6) Horseshoe Casino and Hotel in Tunica, Mississippi;

7) Isle of Capri Casino in Westlake, Louisiana;

8) Majestic Star Casino in Gary, Indiana;

9) Mohegan Sun Resort Casino in Uncasville, Connecticut;

10) Palace Station Casino in Las Vegas;

11) Resorts East Chicago Hotel and Casino in East Chicago, Indiana;

12) Sycuan Casino in El Cajon, California;

13) Cache Creek Indian Bingo and Casino in Brooks, California;

14) Emerald Queen Casino in Tacoma, Washington;

15) Imperial Palace Casino in Biloxi;

16) Argosy Casino in Baton Rouge, Louisiana;

17) Trump 29 Casino in Coachella, California;

18) Isle of Capri Casino in Bossier City;

19) Agua Caliente Casino in Rancho Mirage, California;

20) Spa Resort Casino in Palm Springs, California;

21) Pechanga Resort and Casino in Temecula, California;

22) L’Auberge du Lac Casino in Lake Charles, Louisiana;

23) Nooksack River Casino in Deming, Washington;

24) Barona Valley Ranch Casino and Resort in Lakeside, California;

25) Caesars Indiana Hotel and Casino in Elizabeth, Indiana;

26) Monte Carlo Resort and Casino in Las Vegas;

27) Harrah’s Casino in Lake Charles;

28) Golden Moon Casino in Choctaw, Mississippi; and

29) Viejas Casino in Alpine, California.

Two other defendants, Ha Thuy Giang and Tammie Huynh, pleaded guilty to tax offenses stemming from the investigation, and Khai Hong Tran admitted to the offenses alleged in a 2007 U.S.
indictment when he pleaded guilty to casino-cheating offenses in Canada.

On December 15, 2010, defendant Mike Waseleski, a former casino card dealer, was found guilty by a federal jury in San Diego for his role in the Tran Organization’s cheating scheme to steal approximately $1.5 million from Resorts East Chicago Casino.

The case is being investigated by the FBI’s San Diego Field Office; the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation; the San Diego Sheriff’s Department; and the California Department of Justice’s Bureau of Gambling Control. The investigation has received assistance from federal, state, tribal, and foreign authorities, including: the Ontario Provincial Police; the National Indian Gaming Commission; the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of California; the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Washington; FBI Resident Agencies in Gulfport (Mississippi), Tacoma (Washington), and Toledo (Ohio); the Indiana State Police; the Rumsey Rancheria Tribal Gaming Agency; the Sycuan Gaming Commission; the Barona Gaming Commission; the Mississippi Gaming Commission; and the Washington State Gambling Commission.

The case is being prosecuted in San Diego by Criminal Division Organized Crime and Gang Section Trial Attorneys Joseph K. Wheatley and Robert S. Tully.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Foxwoods' Malaysian backers compete with themselves

Foxwoods' Malaysian backers compete with themselves
By David CollinsPublication: The Day
Published 09/26/2012
Standing inside the cavernous slot machine hall of the new Resorts World Casino at the Aqueduct race track in Queens, N.Y., I thought I could easily have been inside either one of Connecticut's casinos.

You don't have to be someone who doesn't care much for casino culture to note that they are all pretty much alike.

The colors might be a little different, and the carpet is newer and fresher in Queens, but I didn't notice much to distinguish it from Foxwoods or Mohegan Sun.

It's true the Connecticut casinos are built out as resorts, with hotel rooms, full restaurants, theaters, golf and even swimming. They are also real casinos, with table games, while Resorts World still only has electronic table games, with fake dealers on television screens.

But this summer, the New York casino trucked right by both Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun in its monthly slot machine win. It's on the New York subway system, less than a half hour from midtown Manhattan. Never mind that two-lane stretch of Route 2, or taking a ferry from Orient Point, Long Island, to New London, to board a bus.

Resorts World is already hosting hundreds of thousands of visitors every month.

I paid a visit to the New York City casino in part because it is the beginning of the giant new wave of competition that is about to wash over the Connecticut casinos.

I was also curious since the developers of the clever racino at Aqueduct are none other than the Malaysian investors who bankrolled the Foxwoods startup.

Indeed, the Malaysian family that put up the initial $58 million to build Foxwoods is still collecting on that bet, at terms that would make a New York loan shark blush. They will continue to collect 9.9 percent of gross Foxwoods revenue each year, a lot of money, through 2016.

By 2016, of course, the Malaysian lion may really be roaring in New York.

The Malaysians have proposed building a $4 billion convention center at Aqueduct and likely will compete for one of the New York casino licenses expected to be created when the state finishes amending its constitution.

It is interesting to see how much the development of Resorts World has unfolded in a way so similar to Foxwoods. The New York casino is even run by a former Foxwoods president, Michael Speller, clearly the Malaysians' U.S. gambling guy on the ground.

Genting, the Malaysian conglomerate that lent the Mashantucket Pequots money to open Foxwoods, has also pulled a lot of the same political levers in New York that the tribe did here.
The Mashantuckets became one of the biggest political donors in the country at the time Foxwoods began growing. Genting is now giving liberally to New York politicians, including $2.4 million to a lobbying group that supports New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

The growth pattern is the same, too.

The development of the big slot hall with more than 4,000 machines was fast tracked as soon as approval was in hand. There is also a food court, an all-you-can-eat buffet and a giant bar.

An overhead heated corridor that will connect the casino with the A train subway station is under construction. Until then, you can take a quick shuttle bus ride from the subway to the casino's front door.

The next phase of development is slated to occur on the giant parking lots that surround the racetrack and connect with the big highway system around New York City.

The one thing that Resorts World has that the Connecticut casinos don't is a working racetrack. A few windows at the side of the gaming floor (Foxwoods was once known as the first casino with windows) look out at the big track.

The transition from the racetrack, where players, mostly older men, line up across the linoleum floor to place bets at cashier cage windows, is stark, when you walk into the casino area, with its plush carpeting and blinking slot machines with jackpot bells ringing and overhead lights changing color.

It won't be long, I suppose, before the casino at Resorts World completely consumes the old Aqueduct racetrack.

Let's hope Foxwoods doesn't seem like a quaint memory then, too.

This is the opinion of David Collins.