Gambling interests have donated more than $3.4 million to Florida lawmakers, mostly Republicans, since 2012.
Much of this money has come from gaming companies who would like to see full-blown casinos permitted in the state, specifically destination resort casinos in South Florida. Genting, Las Vegas Sands, and several other companies have spent millions on campaign contributions and lobbyists with this goal in mind. Since last year, Genting companies have donated more than $1.1 million to Florida politicians, according to state filings. Sheldon Adelson, whose Las Vegas Sands is the world’s largest casino operator, donated $250,000 to Rick Scott’s campaign in 2012 — that year’s biggest gift.
Despite this largesse, gambling interests have little to show for their investment in the political process.
The Legislature in 2012 rejected a Genting-backed proposal that would have allowed the Kuala Lumpur-based company to build a $3.8 billion casino resort. During the last two legislative sessions, efforts to expand gambling have not got out the gate.
Supposedly it has been the conservative Republicans who have been the obstacle to expanded gaming. However, a new report from the Associated Press suggests it’s not just GOP lawmakers in the way of Genting, Sands, et al. blocking gambling expansion, it’s Governor Rick Scott as well.
Scott’s staff nearly reached a multi-billion dollar deal with the Seminole Indian tribe that would have allowed it to add roulette and craps at its South Florida casinos.
The deal, which was scuttled last spring amid resistance from state legislators, also would have opened the door for the Seminoles to build a casino in the Fort Pierce area and would likely have blocked construction of any Las Vegas-style casinos in Miami for the next seven years.
The documents released by the Scott administration four months after the AP first requested them show that the incumbent governor is open to shifting his stance on gambling. Scott previously has been viewed as quiet supporter of opening major casinos in South Florida.
Lobbyists for these interests say that the AP report is “old news” and that if this deal had been presented to the Legislature, it would have either been amended to allow for destination resorts in South Florida or scuttled altogether.
That assessment may be true. Or it could be revisionist history. Or, as in the case of allowing the Seminoles to build a casino in Fort Pierce, it could be a surprise to most everyone (the powerful Rooney family, which owns the Palm Beach Kennel Club, must have looovvveeeddd the idea of new competition just an hour away).
But what this now-dead deal really looks like is an another attempt by Republican leadership to string along Genting, Sands, and other gambling interests in order to raise money from them during a crucial election cycle. Not that any of these interests would have not contributed to Republican legislative candidates, but I wonder if one of them — knowing then what is known today — would have hedged their bets and broken away from Scott or even for Charlie Crist? Probably not.
What the AP story also makes clear is that how to regulate gaming in Florida will be one of the dominant issues during the 2015 legislative session. Or for however long Republican leaders can string along the well-healed gaming interests.
RI things to know: .... new opposition to Newport gambling.....
NEWPORT GRAND OPPOSITION
A proposal to expand gambling at Newport Grand got some new opposition, as Senate President Teresa Paiva Weed came out against a referendum to allow it. Paiva Weed said she remains concerned that expanded gambling in Massachusetts could hurt Rhode Island, which depends heavily on revenue it receives from the state's gambling parlors. But she said she could not support it after Newport City Council rejected an agreement with the developers who want to revamp Newport Grand and add table games. Voters can still approve the expansion on the Nov. 4 ballot measure.
According to the Massachusetts Gaming Commission’s own projections, $1
billion dollars a year in local spending will be shifted away from existing
businesses to the casinos.
Whether it’s 1,000 Massachusetts businesses each losing $1,000,000 in sales,
or 10,000 Massachusetts businesses each losing $100,000 in sales, no business is
going to absorb that loss without laying off employees. Are you willing to
sacrifice your job so someone else can get a job at a casino? Should your
friends and neighbors have to sacrifice theirs?
On November 4th, Vote YES to Repeal the
Casino Law Vote YES on #3 Vote YES to
STOP the Casino Mess
For the next 20 days, I will be e-mailing a new argument each day
which can be used by Repeal leaders and volunteers in our effort to Stop the
Threaten Our Jobs
to the Massachusetts Gaming Commission's own projections, $1 billion dollars a
year in local spending will be shifted away from existing businesses to the
it's 1,000 Massachusetts businesses each losing $1,000,000 in sales, or 10,000
Massachusetts businesses each losing $100,000 in sales, no business is going
to absorb that loss without laying off employees.Are
you willing to sacrifice your job so someone else can get a job at a
casino?Should your friends and neighbors have to sacrifice
November 4th, Vote YES to Repeal the Casino Law
48 - 45. We're within
striking distance. Today's Boston Globe poll showed us within the margin of
error and our support increasing.
Our hard work is
paying off. Our message is resonating, and it's because of you. Casinos are bad
for communities, bad for small businesses, bad for all of us. Neighbor to
neighbor and friend to friend is how we are spreading the word, and with your
continued support, we're going to win this.
Bethlehem police have charged a woman with stealing more than $16,000 from a casino jewelry shop to fund her gambling addiction. (THE MORNING CALL, BETHLEHEM POLICE)
Of The Morning Call
Bethlehem police said the former manager of a jewelry store at the Sands Casino is charged with stealing more than $16,000 to support her gambling addiction, court records state.
Catherine Rennig, 33, of the 4800 block of MacArthur Road in Whitehall Township is charged with theft by unlawful taking, receiving stolen property and theft by deception. She is in Northampton County Prison under $20,000 bail.
According to court records:
Police say the thefts spanned from July 10 through Aug. 29 at Kay Jewelers, 77 Sands Blvd.
Contakos told police he had interviewed Rennig about the loss of more than $16,400 from the store. Police said Rennig put more than $13,000 in store credits onto her bank's debit card and a credit card.
Police said Rennig also used more than $3,000 in jewelry store gift cards to make a payment on a friend's account and for other purchases.
Rennig said she used the money to fund her addiction to gambling, court records state.
For anyone who doubts that the casino law has *already* created a big new batch of Massachusetts corruption, read this. And for anyone who thinks it'll end there, I've got some swampland in Bridgewater you might be interested in. Just vote YES on Question #3 on November 4th.
This week retiring U.S. Congressman
Frank Wolf presented a statement for the
Congressional Record on behalf of SPG that directly confronted how the
policy of government-sponsored casinos and lotteries is dishonest, harmful and
creates unfairness and inequality of opportunity. We hit it as hard and as
powerfully as we could.
We centered our message on the infamous quote by the IGT slot
designer who openly declared that "slots are for losers" and we shared the
unforgettable story of Scott Stevens, one of the millions of "losers" who
sacrificed everything so government can continue to extract as much money from
citizens as it can through gambling.
We also challenged the members to
remember all of their constituents from coast-to-coast who have bravely and
selflessly fought against this public policy in their state and their
community in recent decades. People
As a longtime member of Congress
well-respected by both sides of the aisle, U.S. Rep. Wolf has been the
nation's leading statesman against the policy of state-sponsored gambling for
more than thirty years. His willingness and leadership to determine the truth
about government-sponsored gambling, sustained and nourished the bottom-up
growth of a national transpartisan citizen movement opposing this dishonest
public policy, ultimately leading to the organization of Stop Predatory
When you have a moment, I invite you to write him and say thank you for
taking on this issue throughout his career and making an impact:
US Rep. Frank Wolf
233 Cannon Building
Washington, DC 20515
Mohegan Sun CEO Mitchell Etess, center, bites his nails as the Massachusetts Gaming Commission debates in Dorchester Tuesday. Wynn Resorts bested Mohegan Sun for the lucrative Boston-area casino license, based largely on the strength of its $1.6 billion project's economic development potential. The Massachusetts Gaming Commission voted 3-to-1 Tuesday to award the license to the Las Vegas casino giant, which wants to turn a heavily polluted, former chemical plant site on the Mystic River waterfront in Everett into a gleaming resort casino. (Jessica Rinaldi / Boston Globe)
BOSTON — Mohegan Sun faces financial peril after losing out to Wynn Resorts in its bid to open a casino in the Boston-area, a Moody's Investor Service analysis warns.
In a note to investors Wednesday, analyst Keith Foley said the loss "heightens our concerns" about the Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority's ability to refinance its debt at an interest rate and terms equal to or better than what it's now paying. He said the Connecticut-based casino company is highly leveraged and could face significant debt repayment just as Wynn's Massachusetts casino opens sometime in 2017.
Foley said Mohegan Sun's long-term financial prospects "would have improved materially" had its proposed $1.1 billion casino at the Suffolk Downs horse racing track, which straddles East Boston and Revere, been chosen for the lone Boston-area casino license. Massachusetts gambling regulators instead went with Wynn's $1.6 billion plan to redevelop the industrial waterfront in Everett.
"At a minimum, we believe this would provide a substantial hedge against potential losses at its Connecticut casino," which generates the bulk of the company's revenue but is suffering as competition expands in the region, he wrote. Foley said there's now greater pressure on Mohegan Sun to succeed in other efforts to diversify its revenue base, such as pursuing a casino license in Philadelphia.
Elsewhere, Foley said he expects the gambling market in Boston to perform significantly better than most other U.S. markets, which would benefit Wynn.
He said Boston residents have a "high propensity" to gamble, citing the number of Massachusetts residents who visit Connecticut's Indian casinos. Boston also has the business, entertainment and transportation infrastructure to draw travelers from outside the region and internationally, Foley said.
In a related development, the Massachusetts Gaming Commission, which awarded Wynn a casino license earlier this week, says it will look for ways to keep thoroughbred horse racing in the state now that Suffolk Downs is expected to close, following Mohegan Sun's loss.
The commission, which will take up the issue on Sept. 25, said it will consider every option to preserve the industry. It also plans to help Suffolk Downs workers find other employment and workforce training.
Suffolk Downs' Chief Operating Officer Chip Tuttle, in a statement, dismissed the promises as "empty posturing." New England's lone thoroughbred horse racing track has said the live racing season that ends Sept. 29 will be its last. It will offer simulcast betting until at least November.
"This is one of those cases where the Gaming Commission's actions speak louder than their words," Tuttle said. "The Commission's actions Tuesday made clear how little value they place on these jobs and these people."
After headlines that
read "Panel sees flaws in both plans for Greater
Boston casino," the Massachusetts Gaming Commission unveiled its final
decision ahead of the November election, awarding the Boston area license to
Wynn Resorts in Everett. The decision was but the latest installment in the
ongoing casino mess.
will rally in Sullivan Square today in protest of
the MGC decision and in support of casino repeal. Denied a right to vote and
denied a surrounding community agreement, the neighborhood has become a
touchstone for the larger concerns about Question 3.
Increased rates of
crime, gambling addiction and drunk driving don't stop at city lines. This fall,
all voters across Massachusetts will choose on whether to keep or repeal
the law, banning casinos, slot parlors, and greyhound simulcasting from the
state. Repeal the Casino Deal is organizing forums, debates, and grassroots
canvassing and phone banking throughout the state.
How else are we
spreading the word? Through the Yes on 3 website! Give it a look, and
share it with your friends, family, and neighbors. It'll be an ongoing source
for the latest news and facts about casino repeal.
WHEELING – The wife of a recently deceased man has filed suit against Mountaineer Casino Racetrack & Resort, saying her husband’s gambling addiction caused him to commit suicide.
Stacy Stevens alleges her husband, Scott Stevens, used a gun from his hunting bag to kill himself Aug. 13, 2012, after he drained his family’s savings and 401(k) accounts to feed his gambling habit.
Scott Stevens had become addicted to slot machines and he embezzled more than $7 million from the company where he was CFO and was fired when he confessed to taking the money, according to the complaint filed Aug. 7 in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of West Virginia.
After he was fired, Scott Stevens continued to gamble, visiting Mountaineer Casino in New Cumberland nearly every day for 10 months, the suit states. Over the course of time, Scott Stevens emptied his family’s savings, 401(k) account and his children’s college funds, the complaint says.
On Aug. 13, 2012, Scott Stevens withdrew the last of the family’s 401(k) account and visited the slots. Later that day, at a local park that Stevens helped develop, he called 911 then pulled the trigger of his gun when police arrived, his wife alleges.
“Cases like this, where patrons become addicted to slot machines, embezzle, face imprisonment, and commit suicide, are familiar occurrences to the gambling industry,” the suit states.
In addition to Mountaineer Casino, Stacy Stevens names IGT as a defendant, saying it manufactured the slot machines that her husband used.
Mountaineer Casino breached its duty of care to Scott Stevens by failing to deny him access to its casino when it knew it should have done and by failing to ban him from its casino, according to the complaint.
IGT also is blamed for defective product design. Stacy Stevens says the company defectively designed slot machines that were an interactive force that “eroded players’ capacity to make reasoned decisions” and designed machines that were not safe and that may allow customers to become addicted to them.
In her complaint, Stacy Stevens seeks compensatory damages, plus costs and other relief the court deems just. She also is seeking punitive damages.
James G. Bordas Jr. of Bordas & Bordas in Wheeling is representing her.
The case has been assigned to U.S. District Judge Frederick Stamp.
U.S. District Court for the Northern District of West Virginia case number 5:14-cv-104
They forgot to mention that casino credit is interest free.
Philadelphia Inquire - September 16, 2014 - SugarHouse Casino takes losers to court
SugarHouse Casino in Philadelphia has gone to court in a bid to recoup more than $520,000 from 63 gamblers who have failed to repay markers - casino loans - issued in the last four years.
The action offers a peek into the opaque world of casino credit, an unusual form of commerce in that the money that is lent usually goes right back to the lender in the form of gambling losses. That makes it a transaction fundamentally different than a retailer selling a sofa on credit.