Meetings & Information


Friday, May 31, 2013

SC man guilty in deaths of wife, gambling partner

SC man guilty in deaths of wife, gambling partner

COLUMBIA — A Richland County jury has convicted a Columbia man accused of killing his wife and business partner.
The jury deliberated for three hours Tuesday before returning a guilty verdict in the trial of Brett Parker.

Prosecutors say Parker killed his wife, Tammy, in April 2012 and tried to frame it on business partner Bryan Capnerhurst. The two men were said to have been involved in an illegal gambling ring.
Parker testified last week that Capnerhurst came into his home and killed his wife, then demanded money from Parker’s safe. Parker says he got a gun from on top of the safe and killed Capnerhurst.

In closing arguments, prosecutors painted Brett Parker as a cold-blooded killer who bet that police wouldn’t be able to unravel the crime scene he staged.

“He bet wrong,” prosecutor Luck Campbell said.

Parker’s lawyers said investigators immediately became transfixed by Parker’s illegal gambling ring and made sure they only cared about evidence that might link him to the crime. He said Richland County deputies panicked after three months passed and people became restless because there were no arrests.

“Because of the pressure and the publicity they had to indict the person they indicted,” defense attorney Dave Fedor said.

Parker’s wife, Tammy, and his business partner Bryan Capnerhurst were found dead in the Parkers’ home in April 2012. Brett Parker told investigators that Capnerhurst came into his house looking for money, killing his wife, then holding him at gunpoint. Parker said he was able to get a loaded gun he kept on top of a safe and shoot Capnerhurst.

Prosecutors said Parker staged much of that scene, shooting his wife before Capnerhurst arrived, then getting a second gun to kill Capnerhurst, putting the weapon used to kill his wife in Capnerhurst’s hand.

To poke holes in Parker’s version, Campbell pointed out in her closing argument that gunshot residue was found in the blinds of Parker’s home, likely ending up there after Parker killed his wife and peeked out to see when Capnerhurst would arrive.

Campbell also pointed out one of several shots that hit Capnerhurst left a golf ball size hole in his arm. A medical examiner testified the wound would have caused Capnerhurst to let go of anything in his hand.

“Their defense is Brett Parker is too stupid to have committed these murders. And ladies and gentlemen for that final defense I agree with one thing — he’s too stupid to get away with it,” Campbell said.

Parker himself testified, denying he killed his wife. Parker’s 14-year-old daughter also testified that she saw her father give Capnerhurst a gun similar to the one found in his hand the day he died.

Prosecutors called several friends of Capnerhurst to testify and say he didn’t like guns and never owned a weapon.


Quincy, MA Embezzlement

The cases of embezzlement exploded in Connecticut after the Tribal Casinos opened.
The article below fails to reveal the purpose for which the embezzled funds were spent, yet this bears watching and should heighten alarm with the Massachusetts support for Predatory Gambling.

Former Patriot Ledger office manager charged with embezzling $280K
By Jack Encarnacao
Posted May 31, 2013

A default warrant has been issued for a former Patriot Ledger office manager charged with embezzling more than a quarter-million dollars from the newspaper’s parent company.

Karen A. Sullivan, 53, of Liberty Street in Braintree, is charged with larceny and embezzlement in a scheme police say occurred between her 2006 hiring and her termination in March.

Police charge that Sullivan habitually took cash and checks from deposit bags that belonged to GateHouse Media, deposited them into her personal account, and manipulated records to cover her theft, according to a report filed in court.

Sullivan was scheduled to be arraigned Wednesday in Quincy District Court, but failed to appear. A default warrant for her arrest was issued at the close of business Wednesday.

She remained in default as of the closing of court Thursday, said David Traub, spokesman for the Norfolk County District Attorney’s Office.

Police began investigating Sullivan in March after an employee at GateHouse Media, The Patriot Ledger’s parent company, reported finding a bank deposit bag that had been tampered with, according to the police report.

Sean Burke, president and group publisher at GateHouse Media New England, said the company is not able to comment on the matter.

Reached on her cellphone Thursday afternoon, Sullivan said she had no knowledge of a court summons or what charges she faces.

She deferred questions to her attorney, Daniel O’Malley, who did not return requests for comment Thursday.

Sullivan managed GateHouse Media’s circulation business office on Crown Colony Drive in Quincy, which collects sale proceeds from the company’s six daily and approximately 100 weekly newspapers.

According to the police report, Sullivan’s job responsibilities included accepting checks and cash and depositing them into GateHouse Media’s account at Bank of America.

After the tampered deposit bag was reported, executives looked back and noted a steady increase in funds Sullivan marked “in transit,” meaning they had yet to be cleared by the bank, according to the police report. The report says the amount of in-transit funds was $28,000 when Sullivan was hired and grew each month, reaching $273,485 in February.

A detailed internal accounting found a $279,364 deficit in GateHouse’s bank account, according to the report, which also says Sullivan appeared to write personal checks to the account in an attempt to mask her alleged theft.

Police obtained a search warrant for Sullivan’s bank accounts. During the period of her employment, police found deposits consistent with her salary in her savings account, about $50,000 annually.

During the same time period, the records show she also deposited a total of $1.19 million into her checking account.

According to the police report, the investigation into Sullivan began when an employee found and reported a torn-open cash deposit bag in Sullivan’s trash can. The bag, the report says, should not have been opened.

GateHouse executives confronted Sullivan with their findings March 15. According to the police report, she responded that she did not know where the money was, but told them “it was gone.”
Sullivan was immediately suspended, and terminated a week later.

Read more: Former Patriot Ledger office manager charged with embezzling $280K - Quincy, MA - The Patriot Ledger
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Illinois: More on Exclusion List Than Casino Emploees

Not only does this highlight the cost of Gambling Addiction that is being ignored, it also highlights how grossly overstated the Massachusetts Job Proections are.

According to the Illinois Gaming Board, 9,957 people have put their names on the state’s self-exclusion list.

That outnumbers the 7,828 employees employed by the 10 casinos in Illinois.

2 sides of gambling: Addicted mom attempts suicide, retiree seeks harmless fun

The northwest suburban mother of three always knew what she would do if her secret was found out.
So when that day came, she carried out her plan, calmly standing in line at the pharmacy, filling two bottles with anti-hypertension medication.

She went home and downed both.
A divorce, a lost job, thousands of dollars in debt — and two suicide attempts.
That’s what having a casino near her home meant for the self-described gambling addict.
“It strangles you. It pulverizes you. It’s not harmless and it’s not innocent, when it gets to the point of no return. It is a predatory beast of an addiction,” said Melinda, 50, who asked that her last name not be used.

But Richard Scheibenreif tells a far different story.
Since the Rivers Casino opened in Des Plaines, he has become a regular, carrying a member “preferred” card that gets him free lunch and free valet parking. He enjoys the food, being on a first-name basis with casino workers — and a gambling rush he describes as part of a controlled habit, but not an addiction.
“When the dice get hot, the climax is longer for me than it is having sex with you,” the Bloomingdale retiree says he tells his wife. “She wants to hit me over the head when I say that.”
Scheibenreif and Melinda are two sides of the same coin.
The yin and the yang of gambling as state legislators weigh a massive expansion.
Proponents point to Scheibenreif as their typical target customer, someone with some expendable income out for some fun.
But opponents say Melinda is a snapshot of what Chicago could expect with its own casino.
“That’s the human side of what the politicians call a painless revenue stream,” says Tom Grey, spokesman and field director for the Stop Predatory Gambling Foundation. “The politicians don’t factor her into the equation.”
At issue in Springfield is a casino-expansion bill that would add a city-owned casino in Chicago; four other casinos, and slot machines at racetracks and at two city airports.
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel is working behind the scenes to land a casino, selling it as a way to designate revenues to city schools. Gov. Pat Quinn said he would back the bill with the right oversight and so long as pension reform also is passed.
On Thursday, state Rep. Robert Rita (D-Blue Island), the House bill sponsor, said even with just one day before session ends, there was still time to find consensus.
“We have a lot of time for it to go either way,” Rita said.
Melinda is convinced the thousands in Illinois who suffer from debilitating gambling addictions would grown in number if legislation authorizing a massive expansion of casinos advances in the Illinois Legislature.
Her own addiction was a secret for years, and she said she always knew what she would do if her secret was found out.
So when that day came, she carried out her plan, calmly standing in line at the pharmacy, filling two bottles with anti-hypertension medication.
She went home and downed both.
She once had to drive to Joliet — in a planned, organized trip — if she wanted to play the slots.
When the Riverboat Casino opened in Elgin, just 10 minutes from her home, it became a constant temptation that she could not resist.
“What it did to me, I can’t even begin to tell you. I could not stop it any more than I could stop the tides of the ocean,” she said.
Melinda survived that suicide attempt — and one other. She also survived a divorce, losing a job of 27 years as well as tens of thousands of dollars — once losing $80,000 in three months.
In a nearby suburb, at a different casino, a different scenario plays out.
Twice a week, every week, Scheibenreif spends a few hours at the craps tables in the Rivers Casino in Des Plaines, buying in at about $800. He knows which in-casino restaurant has the best Patty Melt “where they really grill up the onions right” and raves about Hugo’s shrimp cocktail.
On a recent day, casino workers there saw him perusing tables and called out: “Hi Rich!”
After 40 years of playing at various casinos and riverboats, Scheibenreif, 70, insists he has stuck by his guiding mantra: “Don’t spend the grocery money.”
But gambling opponents say the plight of the Melindas outweigh the pleasures of the Scheibenreifs.
According to the Illinois Gaming Board, 9,957 people have put their names on the state’s self-exclusion list. That list is made up of people who want to be arrested for trespassing and stopped from gambling if they’re found in any of the state’s casinos.
That outnumbers the 7,828 employees employed by the 10 casinos in Illinois.
“It is creating more victims than jobs,” says Grey.
Melinda says it’s the slot machines — which make up a greater part of casino gaming — that really suck in the addict. The thought of an expansion makes her want to scream from the rooftops.
“All we’re doing with this expansion is allowing people like me to fail. It’s wrong, just wrong,” she said.
At her worst, she’d leave a dollar in her car before heading into the riverboat so she would have some gas money left after gambling away every last penny she had. She often intended to gamble for just an hour but would easily stay for half the day.
One time, she realized it was 4 p.m. and she hadn’t picked up one of her kids from school. On another occasion — one of her lowest points — she was in the full throes of playing slots when an elderly patron collapsed and there were cries for help.
Melinda, a trained nurse, at first ignored the cries. She didn’t want to turn away from her game. She did administer CPR, but as she did it, she kept looking at the machine where she had been playing.
“I will be right there in a little bit! Nobody touch that machine!” she yelled out as she was trying to save the person.
But Scheibenreif says he has parlayed an enjoyable habit into a source of extra cash.
He describes a “magic drawer” where at the beginning of the year he allows himself so much money. When he wins, he puts the money back into that drawer. In January, it was $8,000, which he took out of a retirement account.
It has grown to $12,000 and took him to Las Vegas, where he visited his daughter, he says.
“It’s my trophy money. I’m still playing with that money,” he says. “You have good days and you have bad days.”

Land trust rule change may aid tribe

Mashpee tribe finds federal proposal encouraging
By Gerry Tuoti
Posted May 30, 2013

The Mashpee Wampanoag tribe says it is encouraged by a new federal proposal to change procedures for processing land-in trust applications.

The proposed change specifically, according to the Bureau of Indian Affairs, addresses the Supreme Court’s 2012 Patchak decision. That court ruling expanded who has legal standing to challenge American Indian land decisions in court and effectively gave opponents a six-year statute of limitations to file a lawsuit.

“The principal purpose of this proposed rule is to provide greater certainty to tribes in their ability to develop lands acquired in trust for purposes such as housing, schools and economic development,” Assistant Secretary of Indian Affairs Kevin Washburn said in a statement. “For such acquisitions, the proposed rule will create a ‘speak now or forever hold your peace moment’ in the land-into-trust process.”

The Mashpee, who hope to build a tribal casino in Taunton but lack sovereign land, have a land-in-trust application pending with the BIA. The Mashpee insist they are on track to have land taken into trust and build a casino, named “Project First Light.” Many of their opponents, however, say the tribe does not meet the criteria to have its land application approved.

Washburn, who introduced the proposed changes on May 24, described the potential effects.

“If parties do not appeal the decision within the administrative appeal period, tribes will have the peace of mind to begin development without fear that the decision will be later overturned,” he said in a statement.

The rule changes would allow the federal government to take land in trust without a waiting period and place the burden on litigants to demonstrate harm, according to a BIA press release.

“We fully support the Obama administration’s plan to help tribes acquire land without the threat of delays or frivolous lawsuits,” Mashpee Wampanoag Tribal Chairman Cedric Cromwell said in a statement the tribe released Thursday.

“This change, once it is adopted, will speed up our land acquisition process and keep the development of Project First Light in Taunton on a very brisk pace so that we can create thousands of jobs for the southeastern Massachusetts region.”

The proposed rules will be available in the federal register at Public comments may be submitted to the Department of the Interior for 60 days following the proposed rule’s publication.

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Land trust rule change may aid tribe

By George Brennan
May 31, 2013

The Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe hopes a proposed rule change by the federal Bureau of Indian Affairs will speed up the process of land trust applications and limit the threat of lawsuits.

On May 24, Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs Kevin Washburn filed the proposed change with the Federal Register, triggering a 30-day public comment period.

The proposal is in reaction to a U.S. Supreme Court ruling, known as the Patchak decision, which gives opponents to land decisions up to six years to file a lawsuit. Previously, the Bureau of Indian Affairs "self-stayed" its final decisions on taking land into trust to see if legal challenges would be filed.
The rule change requires that opponents exhaust remedies within the Department of the Interior, of which the Bureau of Indian Affairs is a part, before seeking judicial review, Washburn said in a press release.
"The principal purpose of this proposed rule is to provide greater certainty to tribes in their ability to develop lands acquired in trust for purposes such as housing, schools and economic development," he said. "For such acquisitions, the proposed rule will create a 'speak now or forever hold your peace moment' in the land into trust process."
The proposed rule clarifies that Washburn's decision on acquiring lands for Indian gaming is a final decision and allows him to take the land into trust with no waiting period. Because a simple change in ownership status itself is not an act that causes irreparable harm in many cases, it will place the burden on litigants to come forth and demonstrate such harm if they wish to prevent the trust acquisition from occurring, while not affecting the right to judicial review of the basic decision, the Bureau of Indian Affairs press release says.
The Mashpee tribe has applied to have 170 acres in Mashpee and 151 acres in Taunton taken into federal trust as an initial reservation. The land in Taunton would be used to build a $500 million casino.
Uncertainty surrounding that application prompted the Massachusetts Gaming Commission last month to open Southeastern Massachusetts to commercial casino bids, ending the tribe's exclusive rights in the region.
The tribe has said its application is on track to be completed by the end of this year or early in 2014, but opponents have said the hurdles are too great to overcome.
On Thursday, the gaming commission set a timeline to begin accepting applications for the first phase next week and set a deadline of Sept. 30 for them to be filed, spokeswoman Elaine Driscoll said. The first phase requires a $400,000 nonrefundable check, money that will be used to do criminal and financial background checks on the applicants, she said.
In a press release, tribal council Chairman Cedric Cromwell praised the proposed rule change, saying it would "help tribes acquire land without the threat of delays or frivolous lawsuits."
Public comments on the rule change can be made online at

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Ex coke-snorting, gambling-addicted broker.....

Ex coke-snorting, gambling-addicted broker: 'It was the natural environment to unleash my inner beast'

Seth Freedman just can't wait to tell you whether his former life was like that of the monstrous City cliche we all love to hate
lines of cocaine
Seth Freedman fell into a coke habit six months into his brokerage job. Supplying clients with drugs was ‘a wonderful way to bond'. Photograph: Mark Fagelson/Alamy
"These aren't junkies huddles under railway bridges begging for loose change, but their entrapment is no less acute – quitting is as hard for a trader as it is for a heroin fiend"

This is from today's interviewee Seth Freedman, who worked as a broker in the City between 1999 and 2005. His time there inspired a novel called Dead Cat Bounce and the nonfiction account, "Binge trading – the real inside story of cash, cocaine and corruption in the city".

Yes, I know. For a hack in need of page views nothing works better than a portrait of bankers as coke-snorting gambling addicts. I have discovered as much on this blog, and so have publishers. Witness the slew of books with titles like: Gross Misconduct: my year of excess in the City; City boy: beer and loathing in the Square Mile; City girl: the devil wears pinstripes.

The interviews on this blog strongly suggest that the idea of finance as one big nightclub-slash-casino is wildly skewed, just like I have found little support for the belief that investment banks are rife with psychopaths. Which doesn't mean there aren't any coke-snorting gambling addicts in finance. For six years, Seth Freedman was one of them.

I met Seth for a long interview – and he will come in on the thread below to respond to your comments and questions. So everything you always wanted to know about coke, gambling and finance but were too angry to ask ... below is your chance. Seth can't wait.

Most traders in brokerages act as middlemen between traders in banks, pension funds, hedge funds and so on, executing their orders and taking a commission. In Freedman's case, "We did a hybrid job. Sometimes we were middlemen for banks wanting to trade, other times it was dealing for private clients who gave orders to buy from the market, or left me a fund and gave me discretion over how to trade."

Brokerages do not risk their own money, never required bailouts and enjoy no implicit government subsidies. Paradoxically, they seem the most degenerated places in finance. Freedman writes about how the environment changed him: "The market felt like the most natural of environments in which to unleash my inner beast." And: "Your personality begins to be moulded around the macho image you portray during trading sessions."

Freedman describes the bullying where "the weak are preyed upon by those seeking to establish themselves as alpha males". He mentions in passing how his gay colleagues were never given clients who liked "whoring" – brokers take out traders for "client entertainment" in the hope of winning and keeping their business. And Freedman scoffs at the charity activities put on by brokerages: "they serve only to legitimise hypocrisy. Everybody knows it's the interns doing the work."

Trading is about confidence, he says, and in that sense brokers and traders are like journalists and writers: all must have confidence in themselves. "Look at me and you, how cocky are we to tell people: 'come see me, on my pedestal'."

The kind of trading Freedman did, involved taking bets on the direction of prices on the market and that constituted, effectively, gambling. But it was socially acceptable gambling and for him this "unlocked the door of addiction". How could he resist, with his addictive personality, when it was legal and even brought enormous status?

Making money from a trade brings instant gratification, he remembers, but also the immediate craving for an even stronger high.

He had been smoking pot since he was 13. "I skipped a grade when I was six years old and always got high grades without having to do any work. I suppose being stoned just filled the void."
He fell into a coke habit six months into his brokerage job. Supplying clients with drugs is a wonderful way to bond, and with a cold eye Freedman analyses the initiation rituals at the firm: your colleagues "will judge you far more on your performance on a night out than they will on your first day's trading".

"This idea that people trade on coke is nonsense," he emphasises. "You can't trade on coke, you become far too nervous and your confidence just goes". But after-hours was a different story. You get a sense of the addict's isolation when Freedman talks about gambling as a means of "artificially inducing a feeling that other people have naturally".

He has thought a lot about Freud's suggestion that some gamblers love to lose. "I know that feeling. Beating yourself up after losing money in the market. What it comes from, I think, is the gratifying idea of 'at least I took part'. And more strongly, 'at least I am strong enough to take this'. This then leads to the idea 'I am also strong enough to come back from this loss', meaning you double down and often increase your losses even further."

Tied up with the addiction is the competitiveness of trading, and the validation that comes from knowing "I'm better than him," as he puts it. He stresses it's all about the competition, not the prize – a claim echoed by most interviewees on this blog. Elsewhere he writes: "I trade to prove a point, to prove myself, to prove I'm right and the next man's wrong."

This is what he loves about chess. "There's no gambling there, it's just my brain versus your brain. When I beat someone at chess a feeling of calm comes over me: I did it." He recounts how the thrill of a win at an early game of internet chess can keep him going for hours afterwards.

Freedman also noticed in himself a "lust to trade, to feel connected to a bigger picture". He remembers waking up every two hours wanting to check prices in the Asian markets that had already opened.

In his novel he writes: 'I never walk alone, my BlackBerry's always by my side … during dinner, in the theatre, at an exhibition, on a walk to the park. Even in bed. Especially in bed, because that's when I need to know most. Before I shut my eyes, I need to check one last time, snatch one last glimpse, grab one for the road. Where did the market shut, where will it open tomorrow?'

You lose touch with reality if you're trading in the market day in, day out, he says, and he is convinced things would be very different if for every, say, £5 million trade a broker had to hand over a stack of bills worth that amount – physically count it out and hand it over.

This is what makes online gambling so dangerous, he adds. "In the old days at least you had to walk to a bookie, take your money out, wait for the result … Now it's a click. Compare it to the difference between online pornography and a porn magazine."

Gamblers can't be alone with their thoughts, Freedman thinks, and they remind of him of the ultra-orthodox Jews he saw on the bus in Jerusalem: endlessly, obsessively saying prayers. "Take God out of the equation and these people are simply mad."

Interestingly, after crashing out of the City, Freedman joined the Israeli army, only to abandon that a few years later and return to London. He sees parallels between the initiation rites for frontline brokers and soldiers. "Both recruit people at 18 and brainwash them, selling them the dream 'you'll survive, you'll be OK'." He continues: "There is something very attractive and nice about being a clone. Finance is like the army, everyone wearing the same thing, believing the same things."

Freedman's Dead Cat Bounce is written as an interior monologue and puts you right into the brain of an addict like himself. That stream of consciousness taps a rich vein. He wrote large parts of the book in the same way he would trade, Freedman says, blocking out the world with loud music on his headphones and just work that computer keyboard. The most intriguing bit I found this passage: "I don't wanna be left alone to think – wanna be left alone to drink, to snort, to bet, to spiral out of control and back into insanity's loving arms. Want madness to tuck me under its wing, want lunacy to draw me in close to its bosom and let me nestle there forever ... "

Loving arms, tucking under a wing, drawing close to a bosom and forever nestling – Many passages in Freedman's books suggest a drive towards oblivion and self-obliteration. But if I were a hippie psychologist, I'd say that in that final passage we have a child desperate for some place of safety.

Read on

This banking blog features interviews with more than 80 insiders across the world of finance. Here is a guide to help you find your way. For insiders there is this index of interviewees ranked by activity. Are you by any chance working in human resources in a bank, or trading government bonds? Please help this blog. Anonymity guaranteed.

This so-called compliance officer at a brokerage has to make sure brokers follow the rules. It's not easy: "Sometimes a broker will rise, hold up a magazine with a photo of a beautiful woman and shout: "'Shag? Marry? Kill?'"

This broker gives a good summary of how it works in more detail: "I am one of those shouting and wildly gesticulating guys on a trading floor with two phones pressed to his head."


Worst Gambling Addictions

The U.S. is creeping steadily toward legalizing sports betting ignoring a public dialogue about Match Fixing, Organized Crime and much else, pretending 'it won't happen here.'

Just as with the forthcoming internet gambling happens.

We are not immune nor are we different.

The Top 10 Players With the Worst Gambling Addictions in English Football History

Sam Sank26 - May - 2013

Gambling is becoming a serious problem for professional footballers. Young players with too much money are to throwing their money away betting on football, horse racing and other sports.

Yet, this is not a new phenomenon in English football, so here are the top ten gambling footballers...

Slot Barn in Raynham Despite Lower Job Projections, Ignoring Costs


Selectmen support slot parlor despite lower jobs projection

Slots parlor is too risky for Worcester

Slots parlor is too risky for Worcester

By Edward L. Glaeser | Globe Columnist
May 30, 2013

How much would a slots parlor have to pay you to open in your backyard? Worcester is debating that question, as Chicago-based casino operator Neil Bluhm seeks to operate in the city’s Green Island neighborhood. There is good and bad in gaming, but putting Massachusetts’ only dedicated slots parlor into a vulnerable area of Worcester — a city that hopes to emulate Seattle, but is at risk of being Buffalo — seems as dangerous as drawing to an inside straight.

I’m enough of a libertarian to believe in allowing people to gamble, but we must also acknowledge and plan for the downside of that freedom. When gamblers jeopardize their life savings, or blow through funds that should be spent on their children or elderly parents, then losing at the tables becomes more than a private matter. Heads they win; tails, public programs bear the costs of impoverishment. Call me a paternalist, but we should steer gambling away from poor communities — not concentrate it in places like Green Island, where the median household income is about $25,000.

Yet the very poverty that makes such a neighborhood vulnerable to slots-related risks also makes it more attractive to casino developers. Poorer areas have cheap land, such as Worcester’s Wyman-Gordon industrial site, which has been vacant for years and is full of environmental hazards. Poorer places are more likely to be swayed by the promise of a few casino jobs and a modest payment to their local governments. The presence of a large low-income population within walking distance may even provide the casino with a core customer base.

For its part, Worcester should be very wary about embracing a slots parlor. One extensive study of Native American casinos by economists William Evans and Julie Topoleski found that employment rose in communities after casinos opened, but the bulk of jobs went to outsiders. And compared with full-scale casinos, slots parlors are capital intensive, not labor intensive — which is to say, they depend far more on machines than on human workers. An operator that needs workers with skills tailored to specialized machines seems unlikely to hire from the local neighborhood.

Moreover, the work of Evans and others finds considerable downsides to gambling. Bankruptcies and property crimes, such as auto theft, rise after a casino opens. Another study documents that alcohol-related auto fatalities increase in counties where casinos open. Unsurprisingly, several studies find that new casinos increase the prevalence of problem gambling.
The city should recognize that urban success is made by long slow investments.
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These problems, which some communities might view as manageable, are more worrisome in Worcester, a former hub of industrial innovation that perpetually teeters on the brink between information-age success and rust belt failure. After losing one-fifth of its population between 1950 and 1980, Worcester has experienced a modest renaissance since then, adding population and economic activity because of immigrants and universities — two pillars of modern urban growth.

Human capital is the bedrock of urban growth, and Worcester’s rich endowment of colleges means that 30 percent of the city’s adults have at least a college degree. Worcester is a gateway city, providing opportunity to the foreign born who are priced out of Boston, and one-fifth of its population today was born outside of the United States.

The future of Worcester depends on attracting the skilled and ambitious, with a pleasant, inexpensive city that is close to Boston’s economic dynamo. How does a slots parlor contribute to that goal?

Rising traffic and crime levels could just as easily make the city less appealing to families and businesses looking for a more affordable, relaxed place.

Massachusetts entered into gambling to raise casino-related revenues that were otherwise going to Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun, just as Singapore built a massive casino complex to steer some money away from Macau. But savvy Singapore imposed an $80 tax on any of its own residents who wanted to enter the casino, because the city-state was so worried about gambling’s social costs. Shouldn’t Worcester be at least as frightened as prosperous Singapore?

Theoretically, a slots parlor operator could make the city an offer it can’t reasonably refuse. If the slots parlor offers, say, $100 million per year, Worcester should take the deal. That’s enough cash to make noticeable improvements to schools and public safety — and balance off the social costs of gambling. But if, as seems likely, the proposed payment is far smaller, Worcester should walk away. The city should recognize that urban success is made by long, slow investments in education and entrepreneurship, not the shiny spin of a slot machine.

Edward L. Glaeser, a Harvard economist, is director of the Rappaport Institute for Greater Boston.

[A review of employment indicates Slot Barns employ 1 person for every 3-4 Slot Machines, not considering weekends and 24/7 shifts. Each Slot Machine permanently removes + 1 job from the local economy.]

Ohio: Failing to Live Up to Expectations

Just like Ohio, Massachusetts has overstated revenue projections.

May 29, 2013

Toledo casino marking one year as state's revenue continues to lag estimates

Web coordinator- Business First
Thursday marks one year since Hollywood Casino Toledo opened, and tax revenues from gambling operations across the state have failed to live up to expectations in that span, the Toledo Blade reports.

The city of Toledo received $2.9 million in tax revenue from the state's casinos last year, falling short of the $3.4 million expectation. So far this year, it has brought in $1.4 million and estimates call for $4.95 million by year's end, according to the Blade.

Monthly revenue at Penn National Gaming Inc.'s (NASDAQ:PENN) Toledo casino has spanned from a $20.4 million pull in June 2012, its first full month, to a low of $13.6 million in November.
Hollywood Casino Toledo launched its outdoor summer concert series Friday.

Morning Call is compiled from news reports originated by other media organizations and Columbus Business First staff.

Plainridge's Baffling Raffle: Still No Answer?

Meetings listed below.
Will the Gam[bl]ing Commission ask about the Plainridge Baffling Raffle?
Since you have recently taken on the task of overseeing the Massachusetts horse-racing industry, as well as your statutory responsibilities “establishing the financial stability and integrity of gaming licensees, as well as the integrity of their sources of financing”, I would like to express my concerns about Plainridge Racecourse and a yearly “charitable” raffle offered by them since 1999, ostensibly to benefit non-profits, both locally and out-of-state. My concerns are the following:
1. Below is a photograph of the ticket for this year’s raffle, sold by the participating non-profits (I don’t know if tickets were available from Plainridge directly). There is nothing on the reverse of the ticket. No other organization’s name or information appears except that of Plainridge Racecourse.
2. Plainville Racecourse does not hold a raffle permit with the town of Plainville (nor could it, if I understand Mass. General Laws: CHAPTER 271, Section 7A). When I asked our town clerk, Ellen Robertson, if Plainridge had a raffle permit in Plainville, she said that they did not, and told me that they would not qualify for one, in any case.
3. Upon inquiring about the legality of the raffle, I was told that the raffle was held under the raffle permits of the beneficiary non-profits. Again, as I understand the Massachusetts General Laws, this is not legal. Moreover, more than one article I’ve read about the raffle says that it was “conducted by Plainridge”.
In any case, at least one of the those non-profits, the Plainville Athletic League (PAL), did not hold a raffle permit from 2009 until April 23rd, 2012, but participated in the so-called Plainridge Raffle during those years anyway (as well as holding several others). They did not hold a permit when they charged for and distributed the raffle tickets to PAL participants this year. They only applied for and received a permit after they were questioned by Plainville residents about the legality of the raffle.
Other beneficiaries of the raffle are not even registered non-profits within Massachusetts:
4. I first learned of the raffle when parents of PAL participants called to tell me that their children’s PAL registration packets had ten raffle tickets (above) stapled to each packet.
Under the "Fees" section of the PAL website, it reads: "Registration fees for 2012 include the ability to play, playing shirts and $10 in Plainridge raffle tickets."
This is what board member and fundraising coordinator of PAL, Bryan Weddleton, wrote on the NoPlainvilleRacino Facebook page about the raffle:
“I am also a board member at the PAL, the fund raising coordinator. The plainridge [sic] raffle is a fundraiser were [sic] the $10 in tickets is rolled into the registration fees. It is then up to the parents to either sell the tickets to get the money back or put their name on the tickets. Plainridge sees nothing of the money, it all goes to the PAL were [sic] the board allocates the funds towards the facility and upgrades to help make the 400 kids of the PAL have a better baseball/softball experience. Please email me directly with any further questions. My email can be found on the PAL website.
When some parents said they did not want to participate in what amounted to mandatory gambling, and asked for their $10 back, saying they would write a check, free and clear, for an extra $10 for their children, PAL refused to refund their money or buy back the tickets.
Two of the fathers who called me were quite distraught because they are each recovering gambling addicts. Imagine how they felt when raffle tickets for wagers on a horse race came into their homes, unsolicited and without their permission.
5. The language about "wagers" is particularly troubling. If Plainridge can't take wagers outside their four walls, how is it that they can sell or “redeem” chances on wagers?
6. There is absolutely nothing on the tickets (or in the instructions from PAL) that indicates a minimum age to "play"; instructions about who is allowed to peddle, promote, or sell the tickets; how old one must be to “play” and/or wager; to what purposes the money goes; what organizations benefit from the raffle; who makes the wagers; who decides on what horses to wager; how the “wagers” are made and with what money, etc. What you see on the ticket is the only information provided.
7. Because the raffle laws in Massachusetts seem pretty clear cut, it seems to me that Plainridge is in violation of the law. I called the Massachusetts Attorney General’s office in April to ask for clarification about the law, and, based on what little information I had at the time, they started an investigation. As far as I know, that investigation is ongoing. The investigator at the AG’s office with whom I spoke is Dan Ferullo.
8. At the Plainville Board of Selectmen’s meeting on April 22nd, the response of Chair Andrea Soucy to hearing about the Attorney General’s investigation was to invite Steve O’Toole (General Manager of Plainridge) to speak about how wonderful the raffle is and about “all that Plainridge has done for Plainville.”
In light of this violation of Open Meeting Law (neither Mr. O’Toole nor the subject of the raffle was on the agenda), as well as other cases of preferential treatment given to Plainridge by the Board of Selectmen (lobbying in Boston in 2010 for slot parlors to be added to the gambling bill without asking Plainville voters what we wanted, for instance:, I don’t see how the residents of Plainville can trust the selectmen to work in an objective, unbiased way toward negotiating a deal with Plainridge for slots.
9. During at least one of the raffles, a horse owned by one of the owners of Plainridge Racecourse was running in the race (the Kentucky Derby) on which these “charitable wagers” were being made.
10. Finally, while it might be true that Plainridge sees nothing of the raffle money, directly, they are currently in a PR battle for the hearts and minds (and votes!) of the people of Plainville, so I believe they do receive considerable "benefit" from the raffles in the form of goodwill. Plainridge even had a table at the opening day of PAL, with information about harness racing, gambling, and the slot barn that they’re poised to propose. Is that appropriate material to have around children, at a children’s event? With gambling addiction on the rise for teens, having Plainridge as a “guest” at the PAL opening day — even to have Plainridge as a sponsor of a children’s team — seems dangerously close to recruitment of new gamblers. Would PAL allow an alcohol or tobacco company to sponsor a team and to peddle their wares at an event for children?
I would not necessarily expect PAL to know about all the intricacies and nuances of the raffle laws; but Plainridge has plenty of legal expertise at its disposal. (As a matter of fact, they had their attorneys write a cease and desist letter and threaten a private citizen with a lawsuit for having started an anti-racino Facebook page on which a stranger had posted something that Plainridge disliked.) I hope Plainridge did not lead PAL or other non-profits into a situation where they have endangered their non-profit status.
I hope you will take this issue seriously, as I believe the laws regarding raffles are a serious matter, intended to be adhered to and enforced, especially when we are dealing with a pari-mutuel gambling establishment that’s looking to expand its facility and entice citizens to "play to extinction" in their slot barn.

You can access all the reports from Cummings Associates here:

These constitute the findings of the Plainville gambling consultant about the addition of a slots casino at Plainridge.


PUBLIC MEETING: Plainridge Gaming Facility Proposal:

The meeting is being held to launch a process to evaluate and mitigate the impacts of the proposed Plainridge Gaming Facility Proposal on the potential surrounding communities.

TIME: 7:00 p.m.

Sponsored by:
Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC)
Southeastern Regional Planing and Economic Development District (SRPEDD)
Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC)

Read the full NOTICE OF PUBLIC MEETING here:



Plainville Planning Board hearing on slots at Plainridge
MONDAY, JUNE 17th at 7:00p.m. at the Plainville Senior Center, 9 School Street, Plainville, MA.
All matters pertaining to the applicant's amendment to the Special Permit and Change of Use will be covered at that hearing, including traffic, impact on abutter's, general welfare of the public, etc (read below).

At that time, the public is welcome to bring up any questions or concerns regarding what "the Planning Board shall consider," included in §500-41 of the Plainville By-Laws:

(2) Review criteria. In making a decision on an application for a special permit in the CI District, the Planning Board shall consider the following:
(a) The purpose of the Commercial Interchange District.
(b) Health, safety and general welfare of the public.
(c) Conservation and preservation of the natural environment.
(d) Impacts on abutting properties and neighborhoods.
(e) Proper drainage of the site.
(f) Safe access to and from the development.
(g) Capacity of the existing traffic network to accommodate projected increases.
(h) Adequacy of proposed water, sewer, fire protection and public safety provisions.
(i) Impacts on water resources, including wetlands, streams, water bodies, groundwater and floodplains.
(j) Visual and aesthetic quality.
(k) Impacts on municipal services and fiscal capacity.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Crosby: Marching to his own drummer?

Gam[bl]ing Commission Chairman Stephen Crosby: "Just going to do our thing"
Mashpee area still in play for anyone. The commission later this week plans to announce its schedule for accepting commercial casino bids in southeastern Massachusetts

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

2 Great Events from Springfield!

Let's join our friends in Springfield --

Our website is in good shape and we’re asking people to sign onto our email list via the website. Our focus is on Springfield with this one, and we are campaigning to get a NO vote on July 16.

Please forward this along as you see fit so we can build the list.

Note two events:
June 13 Rally at Court Square in Springfield at 4:00 PM

June 26 Speaker event:

Speakers to Discuss Casinos in Western Mass.

You are invited to Christ Church Cathedral. 37 Chestnut St., Springfield on June 26 at 7 PM to hear Connecticut author and former Congressman Bob Steele speak regarding Connecticut’s experience with casino gambling. Mr. Steele will talk about the factual background to his new book, The Curse: Big-Time Gambling’s Seduction of a Small New England Town. The Curse is a novel set against the explosion of casino gambling that hit southeastern Connecticut during the 1990s, when two Indian tribes built the world’s two biggest casinos in the southeastern corner of the state.

Also speaking will be former Attorney General Scott Harshbarger, along with the Rt. Rev. Doug Fisher, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of W. Mass. Free admission. Open to the public.


Steve Abdow

Steven P. Abdow
Finance and Administration Officer
Episcopal Diocese of Western Massachusetts
37 Chestnut Street, Springfield, MA 01103
413-737-4786 office
413-746-9873 fax

Chumminess???? Yup!

This sleaziness has already invaded Massachusetts.

Massachusetts ‘GAMING’ Future

The Baltimore Sun - May 25, 2013 - Baltimore mayor officiates at lobbyist wedding in Vegas

Guests included heavy hitters in Maryland politics
One thing that happened in Vegas last week certainly won't stay in Vegas: The lobbyists Lisa Harris Jones and Sean Malone were married there before about 100 well-wishers, who included some of Maryland's top government officials — including the wedding officiant, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake.

Malone, a one-time top aide to Gov. Martin O'Malley, and Jones, perennially among the state's highest-earning lobbyists, joined professional forces five years ago and on Tuesday were married in Las Vegas by Rawlings-Blake. The mayor was attending an annual retail convention there.

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"When we got engaged, we said, 'Let's do it in Vegas.' A lot of our friends were going to be out there anyway," Jones said Friday of scheduling her wedding to coincide with an annual convention attended by public officials and the retailers they would like to lure to their locales.

Indeed, among the officials who attended both the Jones-Malone nuptials and the Global Retail Real Estate Convention sponsored by the International Council of Shopping Centers were Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown, multiple state legislators and a host of State House and City Hall staff members.

While the public officials were in Las Vegas on the taxpayers' dime, several said they considered the time they spent at the wedding, held at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel, part of the off-hours that occur during any business trip.

"When anyone travels on business, and that is the main purpose of the trip, there's no belief that at some point during the trip that you don't have free time," Rawlings-Blake said. "Every convention that I've been on, there's been conference time, as well as down time. I think this down time was a little higher-profile than others, but you know, people can use their down time without it being a misappropriation of taxpayer funds."

The newlyweds' firm, Harris Jones & Malone, is among the busiest lobbying groups in Baltimore and Annapolis, with clients that include unions, gambling companies, contractors, Baltimore Gas & Electric, marriage equality groups, Wal-Mart and other companies.

Malone said Gov. Martin O'Malley and his wife District Court Judge Katie Curran O'Malley "of course" were invited but declined due to, respectively, a Democratic Governors Association event and a full docket.

That the guest list for lobbyists' wedding would include many of the public officials that they regularly seek to influence is an outgrowth of the "chumminess" that develops in government hallways, political observers said.

"It's a kind of clan," said Matthew Crenson, a Johns Hopkins University political scientist professor emeritus. "They get together and talk shop and trade rumors."

"Lobbyists, when the legislature is in session, take them out to dinner and lunch all the time," he added.

Among those attending the wedding, according to the Afro newspaper, which first reported on the nuptials on Wednesday, were Maryland Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr., Sens. Catherine Pugh and Joan Carter Conway, Del. Dereck Davis and the acting deputy secretary of transportation, Leif Dormsjo.

"This just shows how close the relationship is between lobbyists and government officials," said Melanie Sloan, executive director of the watchdog group, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington.

Sloan said that can pose a problem if lobbyists ultimately have an undue influence on how, for example, legislation is crafted. But, she added, "it doesn't seem like anyone was wasting taxpayer dollars" if the officials were already in Las Vegas for the convention.

Brown said he attended the wedding after a couple of days of meetings and before heading to the airport Tuesday evening to return to Maryland. Brown said he has known both Jones and Malone, an aide to O'Malley since his days as a councilman then mayor, for years.

"I think that friendships are not mutually exclusive from your professional pursuits," said Brown, who recently announced his campaign to succeed the term-limited O'Malley. "You see that in so many different professions."

Brown said he didn't see a problem with mixing a little bit of pleasure with the business he was conducting in Las Vegas.

"It's no different than when county officials go to Ocean City for [the Maryland Association of Counties conference], and go to the beach in the afternoon between the conference meetings and seminars."

It is a second marriage for both Malone and Jones, who live in Ruxton, and they have three sons between them. Jones was formerly married to Pless Jones of P&J Contracting, which does much demolition work for the city.

Their lobby firm has close ties to city and state officials. Associate Caitlin McDonough, for example, is Senate President Miller's former legislative director.
Malone and Jones said that despite their marriage, Jones, as the founder of the lobbying firm, would remain the majority partner.

"I tried to negotiate" a bigger share, Malone, 46, said with a laugh.

No can do, Jones, 45, said. "It's just a separation of church and state."

Sun reporter Justin Fenton contributed to this article.