Meetings & Information


Saturday, January 31, 2015

Casino may not fit anywhere in Nassau County

Casino may not fit anywhere in Nassau County

During a meeting of the Carle Place CivicDuring a meeting of the Carle Place Civic Association on Jan. 21, 2015, people stand in opposition to the proposed building of an OTB gaming parlor at the vacant Fortunoff site in Westbury. Photo Credit: Newsday / Thomas A. Ferrara

Maybe it’s not possible to site a slot parlor in Nassau County.

Saturday morning the Nassau OTB announced that it is folding the cards on its plan to put 1,000 video slot machines at a casino in the old Fortunoff store in Westbury. No site is perfect for gambling, but with its commercial environs, empty 200,000-square foot building and vastly underutilized parking, the site at The Source seemed to be about as good as it’s going to get.

If the shoe won’t fit there, it may not fit anywhere.

Did OTB head Joe Cairo misplay the deal? It now looks like there are two ways to go: keep everything a complete secret until the deal is entirely done, which would be kind of disreputable, or do everything out in the open and face a mountain of opposition from day one. In Westbury, Cairo trod a middle path, letting the public in on the plan once it was well underway, but not a contractually sealed deal.

Grass-roots opposition sprang up fast. Local, county and state officials from both parties followed the public quickly once the blood was in the water. And although Cairo had every law on his side, he had to give.

The OTB is run by an appointed board, and Cairo himself is a leading Republican politico. Once the deal became unpopular enough, he couldn’t close no matter how much law was on his side. The announcement that the OTB was dropping the Fortunoff plan, in fact, came a day after Cairo won a court battle against opponents looking to block the project. It was a hollow victory.
So while Cairo says he’s going back to the drawing board with 18-20 properties he had identified originally, it may be that Nassau County is a place where you simply can’t open a small casino.

The OTB’s Race Palace in Plainview won’t work, Cairo says, because it lacks parking and adequate entrances and exits, is too small and already faces community opposition.

Putting the machines at Belmont is not all right with the New York Racing Association and Genting, the company operating more than 5,000 machines at Aqueduct. Slots at the Nassau Coliseum complex will see vicious opposition from powers-that-be at Hofstra and in the Town of Hempstead. And the old Cerro Wire property? If residents fought a mall for decades, they likely won’t accept a casino.
There are certainly other locations in Nassau, empty buildings and empty parcels. But there likely aren’t any that won’t stir strong community opposition. It’s a dense county that most residents don’t want any denser. It’s a place where people care a lot about property values and “suburban lifestyle.”

The residents of Nassau County have the right to decide they don’t want a casino. Many do want the revenue it will provide in their county, just not the hassle they fear it will bring to their community.

If it can’t be sited, then the county will be deprived of an estimated $20 million per year and 200 jobs, and eventually, the OTB will likely go bankrupt as the popularity of horseracing fades, costing even more jobs and revenue.

If County Executive Edward Mangano and other politicians are going to fight the best sites, they need to be honest about the effects on either tax bills or services, or both. And taxpayers need to be honest with themselves about the cost of fighting new development and revenue sources … of all kinds.

Friday, January 30, 2015

Queens gambling ring busted days ahead of Super Bowl

Queens gambling ring busted days ahead of Super Bowl

Five suspects, including alleged kingpin Christopher Morrissey, of Yonkers, were charged in the operation that collected hundreds of thousands of dollars in bets annually on the big game and other sporting events.

Thursday, January 29, 2015
Doug Menuez/Getty ImagesA Queens gambling ring was busted and its operators charged with taking hundreds of thousands of dollars in bets annually.
A lucrative Queens gambling ring was sacked by investigators just three days before the biggest betting day of the year: the Super Bowl.
Five suspects were charged in a Thursday indictment with collecting hundreds of thousands of dollars in bets annually on pro football, basketball, hockey and baseball, along with college hoops and football.
Two other men were charged in a separate indictment with promoting gambling in Queens.
The indictments “send a clear signal that when it comes to illegal gambling in Queens County, all bets are off,” said Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown.
The charges followed a two-year joint investigation by the organized crime operations of both the NYPD and the district attorney’s offices.
Wiretapped phones, along with surveillance and intelligence information, led to the 34-count indictment, authorities said.
The ring used a website and a toll-free number to keep their operation easily available to interested gamblers, authorities charged.
Though a relatively small operation, the ring was able to “reap huge profits” between February 2013-April 2014, said Brown.
Christopher Morrissey, 42, of Yonkers, was identified as the kingpin of the operation and charged with enterprise corruption, money-laundering, promoting gambling and conspiracy. He faces up to 25 years in prison if convicted.
Arrested along with him were Mitch Fusco, 51, of Yonkers; Louis Cavalli, 56, of Yonkers; Sean Murtagh, 42, of Mount Vernon; and Brian Hull, 37, of the Bronx.
Two Queens men were charged with promoting gambling by taking more than five bets totaling more than $5,000 per day between Nov. 4-14, 2013.

Thursday, January 29, 2015


State gambling regulators grant casinos tax refunds

Updated 3:27 pm, Thursday, January 29, 2015
granted 13 casino-hotels a tax refund worth at least $700,000 total after the properties overpaid Nevada's live entertainment tax.
The Nevada Gaming Commission approved the settlement agreements Thursday with the casino-hotels in The Cosmopolitan, Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino, Paris, Bally's, Caesars Palace, Harrah's Casino Hotel, The Linq Hotel and Casino, Flamingo and Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Harvey's Resort in Lake Tahoe and Harrah's Casino Hotel in Laughlin and Reno.
The exact amount of the refund was not immediately available but commissioners and the Gaming Control Board's chair described it as being worth at least $700,000.
"This is a pretty serious number," said Commissioner Randolph Townsend during Tuesday's meeting. He wanted to ensure the commission gave the Legislature a heads up since the legislative session begins next week and the amount might represent "a little hole in their pocket."
Gov. Brian Sandoval has proposed a $7.3 billion budget that includes tax increases to cover expected shortfalls in gaming and mining tax revenue.
The Gaming Control Board's auditing staff works with casino-hotels to reconcile the amount of taxes owed per the live entertainment tax.
Townsend said after the meeting that the amount certainly doesn't represent "the end of the world" to the budget but it was important that the numbers all align.
He said the tax has become a challenging one for both auditors to track and casino-hotels to know what they need to pay for when defining live entertainment.
Depending on the number of slots a casino has and the maximum number of attendees to a live show, a casino could be exempt from paying or end up paying 5 percent on each admission or 10 percent on tickets, food, beverages and merchandise.
Lawmakers, regulators and casino-hotels have been attempting to clarify what is and isn't exempt from the tax.

News about casinos and lotteries in your community

I only email when we have important news to share so below are some that I've have been saving to put into one email to you:

1) The first ever national documentary investigating America's state lotteries, Out of Luck, will be released in the first half of 2015. If you're someone who first got involved in this issue because of casinos, this film will dramatically advance the entire national debate about government's failed experiment with predatory gambling. Please think about how you might use this film to educate your community and your state, such as sponsor a film screening at your State House, a local theater or your place of worship. You can follow the latest news about the film's forthcoming release on Twitter @OutofLuckMovie.

2) In a sign of where the public policy of predatory gambling is headed in the years to come, this past week two legislators from two different states called for their state lotteries to be phased out.

Accurately describing the funding coming from the lottery as simply “smoke and mirrors,” Oklahoma State Senator AJ Griffin said it’s time to get rid of her state's lottery. Texas State Representative Scott Sanford filed legislation that would criminalize predatory gambling in Texas, including the state lottery's notorious $50 instant scratch ticket.

​3) Our National Victims Advocate Speakers Bureau launched last month. Coordinated by SPG National Victims Advocate Melynda Litchfield, the purpose of the Speakers Bureau is to raise the consciousness of opinion leaders and the general public about the policy of government-sponsored gambling through education, awareness and advocacy in three specific areas: 1) how slot machines cheat and exploit citizens; 2) how this public policy (including lotteries) is dishonest, is financially damaging to citizens and creates unfairness and inequality across the country; and 3) why the time has come to phase out this public policy. Members of the Speakers Bureau are citizens who've been harmed by this policy in some way and they present at meetings and events in their region, calling for major reform on this issue. If you are interested in being considered for the Speakers Bureau, please email

4) .We are in the early stages of organizing the first-ever National Day of Action against predatory gambling. It's being planned for Fall 2015. The event will draw more national attention to the issue but most of all, it sends a message to the media and the political class that the citizen movement against predatory gambling is real and growing. The "action" can be anything individuals or groups want it to be. But no matter what people do for an action, the key part of it is for each of us to take a photograph and post it on a website/social media site that we set up specifically to capture our collective effort. We actively welcome your participation in helping to plan it. Please contact me at my email above to participate.

5) In what was a very high profile fight, last week Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker ultimately rejected a proposed casino in the city of Kenosha. We worked with statewide organizations and SPG members in that state to make the public argument against it. In our letter to Gov. Walker, SPG called casinos "the symbol of anti-reform governors across the United States, Republicans and Democrats alike." Here's our letter and here's the news release about it.

6) For more than 25 years, the casino lobby has told the American people that casinos are the engine to help Native American tribes prosper. Now The Economist, the world's leading international magazine, spotlights how casinos have actually made tribal members poorer. Please share this must-read story with opinion leaders and citizens in your region.

7) The next big predatory gambling expansion that some states are targeting is the new concept of "daily fantasy sports" which is a form of sports gambling geared to young people. It's far different than season long fantasy sports games which you may be familiar with. If you watch sports on TV, you've likely seen ads for FanDuel or Draft Kings. The issue presents a much needed opportunity to significanty elevate the national debate around our government's predatory gambling policy. We were recently on a legislative panel in Las Vegas to discuss its significance for all of us. This USA Today story does a good job of summarizing the discussion.

8) No Casinos Florida which has a strong track record of creating quality, persuasive video about predatory gambling, released its "Gambling Creep" video last week. While it emphasizes the Florida experience, it highlights how once government begins to sponsor gambling, inevitably the state will turn to more and more extreme forms of predatory gambling in a continually growing amount of locations.The narrative rings strong and true in every state. Watch the brief video here.

That's all for now. If you support our mission and work, please become a member of Stop Predatory Gambling today.

Thanks for the work you do. Keep pushing.


Les Bernal
National Director
Stop Predatory Gambling
"End the dishonesty and harm of government-sponsored gambling and the unfairness and inequality it creates."

Stop Predatory Gambling Foundation ι 100 Maryland Avenue NE, Room 310 ι Washington, D.C. 20002 ι (202) 567-6996


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Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Sucking every last $$$$ out.....

Massachusetts ‘GAMING’ Future
For those of you questioning why Gov. Christie would appoint someone from the bankrupt city of Detroit to help bailout Atlantic City casinos, here’s why. There are three casinos in Detroit, the MGM Grand, MotorCity and Greektown Casino. Since their inception back in 2000 they have been doing over a billion dollars annually. Now I don’t know about you, but I can’t imagine anyone wanting to casino gamble in Detroit, so I’m figuring most of the money is coming from those who live there or live nearby. Many say the auto industry going south is what caused the city’s demise, but the billions of dollars lost in the casinos by those who live there must have helped.
The Associated Press - January 22, 2014 - N.J. Gov. Christie appoints emergency managers for Atlantic City
ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. — Trying to dig Atlantic City out of "an enormous hole," New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie on Thursday appointed a corporate turnaround specialist as the city's emergency manager, and tabbed the man who led Detroit through its municipal bankruptcy as his assistant.
Corporate finance consultant Kevin Lavin will have broad but still-unspecified powers over Atlantic City's finances and operations. Kevyn Orr, who helped lead Detroit through a financial crisis, will serve as special counsel to Lavin. Christie issued an executive order appointing the men.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Our casinos must be competitive....Oh?

Harrah's [now Caesars that's going through a convoluted bankruptcy process] determined that



The Gambling Vultures ONLY profit from Gambling Addiction.

The Gambling Vultures ONLY profit by CREATING Gambling Addiction.

Our casinos must be competitive

The Lowell Sun
Updated: 01/27/2015

Fresh off taking her oath of office on Wednesday, Attorney General Maura Healey on Thursday put the state gambling commission on notice that there is a new chief law-enforcement officer in charge now, and she will be taking a close look at the 2011 legislation allowing casino gambling in Massachusetts.   Healey's fresh look is welcome as the slots-only casino in Plainville looks to its June opening, and resort-style casinos in Everett and Springfield move forward. But we oppose measures that make Massachusetts casinos less competitive than gambling halls in neighboring states.   The state's legislation bans ATMs on the casino floor, but federally chartered banks might be able to skirt that provision, putting state-chartered banks at a disadvantage. Changes should be made to level the playing field. But Healey's call for a "standalone" public process for regulating ATMs at casinos, including setting the cash machines a certain distance from the casino floor, might be a bit much.    A temporary ruling by the gaming commission calls for ATMs to be situated at least 15 feet from the casino floor. While stricter limits on casino ATMs might help public officials sleep better at night believing they have placed the cash machines in just the right place to deter their abuse, surely they must know that degenerate gamblers will find their way to an ATM on a casino property no matter how far it is from their favorite slot machine.

Also Thursday, Gaming Commission Chairman Stephen Crosby said casino operators oppose a provision in the law that requires operators to shut down a slot machine once a player wins $600 so an employee can take down the player's name, address and 5 percent of the winnings for a state withholding tax. Most other states have the machines lock at $1,200 in winnings, and Penn National Gaming, holder of the Plainville slots license, told Crosby that difference alone could make 5 percent of its customer base head out of state, resulting in a loss of $6 million in revenue. Considering the state takes nearly half the slots revenue, that's not an insignificant amount of money.   During her testimony Thursday, Healey correctly noted how casinos in Atlantic City, Connecticut and Rhode Island are struggling. The attorney general must know that the biggest reason those markets are struggling is increased competition from other states. While the Bay State debates the issue, casino gaming in the Northeast has expanded to include not only Connecticut but Rhode Island, New York, Maine and Pennsylvania.   Our advice to state officials: Work hard to make sure casino operators in Massachusetts don't have to give gamblers any reason to drive out of state to place their bets.

Read more:

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Nevada's Poor Public School Performance

Statistics from Nevada are employed frequesntly to exemplify the impacts of a CASINO ECONOMY.

This defines NEVADA:

The states with the worst schools, 2015

By Thomas C. Frohlich and Alexander Kent January 20, 2015


2. Nevada
Overall grade: D
State score: 65.0
Per-pupil spending: $8,141 (5th lowest)
High school graduation rate: 60.0% (the lowest)
Eighth-graders proficient in math or reading: 28.3% (10th lowest)
Less than 34% of children in Nevada had at least one parent with a post-secondary degree, the lowest rate nationwide. Since parents play perhaps the most important role in a child’s chance for success, poor educational attainment rates among adults in Nevada were likely a factor in children’s relatively poor achievements in school. Similarly, early education can set the stage for a child’s entire academic career. Young children in Nevada were among the least likely nationwide to attend preschool or kindergarten. With the lowest high school graduation rate in the country, at 60% in 2012, young adults in Nevada were also far less likely to pursue further education than their peers in most states. While 55.1% of American young adults were enrolled in or had completed a post-secondary degree program, just 40.5% in Nevada were — nearly the lowest rate.

Restaurant Manager steals to feed Gambling Addiction

Second helpings for restaurant manager who continued to steal from Jarrow business after being caught

Martino's, Ellison Street, Jarrow
Martino's, Ellison Street, Jarrow

RESTAURANT bosses in South Tyneside backed a loser when they gave a second chance to a manager who stole nearly £5,000 to cover his gambling debts.
Gazmend Zykaj repaid the owners of Martinos Italian restaurant in Jarrow by stealing more money.
Magistrates in South Tyneside heard Zykaj had been allowed to keep his job despite taking £4,800 from the business, but went on to steal another £1,700 from the till just weeks after the reprieve.
The 38-year-old admitted two counts of theft by an employee.
Zykaj took £4,800 from the restaurant, in Ellison Street, Jarrow, between August 1 and November 14 last year, with the second theft occuring between December 2 and 5.
Magistrates decided the case was so serious that their sentencing powers were not sufficient and committed the case to Newcastle Crown Court.
Glenda Beck, prosecuting, said: “Wendy Donkin is co-owner of the restaurant, along with Colin and Fiona Leng. Zykaj was employed as manager at the restaurant for two years and she considered him a trustworthy man.
“Part of his responsibilities was being in charge of the restaurant’s takings.
“On November 14, Miss Donkin received a text message from the defendant admitting taking the restaurant’s takings.
“He said he was in trouble and needed to pay off debts.
“She discussed the issue with her fellow owners and they allowed him to remain in employment, but removed his manager status.
“It was agreed he could stay in employment, but would have to pay back the money at a rate of £100 per week from his salary.”
However, she said, when another manager at the restaurant was on holiday in December, Zykaj was put back in temporary charge of the takings.
He was told to leave the takings for each day in a designated place – the first aid area.
Mrs Beck added: “On December 4 at 9.30pm, he left the restaurant, leaving only the chef on the site, and returned a short time later saying he had fallen over and needed a bandage.
“He went to the first aid area. The cash was later found to have gone missing.”
The police were informed and Kykaj was arrested. He admitted the total theft of £6,518 from the restaurant.
Mrs Beck added: “He accepted it was a dishonest betrayal of his employers. He said he had a gambling addiction.
“It was a breach of trust. A specific part of his duties was to look after the money taken in by the restaurant. He has abused that position.”
Paul Kennedy, defending, said: “He accepts there was wrongdoing. He had huge gambling debts which led to a breakdown of a relationship and put huge pressures on him.
“He held his hands up at the first available opportunity and made full admissions to the police.
He is now working at a restaurant in Newcastle.”
Keith Suddards, chairman of the magistrates, said sentencing should be carried out at Newcastle Crown Court.
Zykaj, of Deckham Terrace, Gateshead, will appear before the crown court on February 3.
He was granted unconditional bail until then.
Ms Donkin said the restaurant wished to make no comment on the case.

PA Gambling Addict embezzles $9 MILLION

Ex-Drilling Boss Who Stole to Play $100 Slots Gets 8 Years

Compulsive Gambling - A soul-sapping addiction

Compulsive Gambling - A soul-sapping addiction

By Mira Brody January 23, 2015 12:00 am
“Can’t cope no more, I’ve had enough.”
“I really need help trusting the addict in my life.”
“Today I am not going to gamble and have a stress free day hope you can all do the same.”
“On day one again and feeling ashamed.”
“Can’t sleep been thinking about the money I lost yesterday, and the things that I could of done differently.”
“Watching the news and commercials for all three casinos in ugly devastating Detroit. I'm still sick and absolutely terrified. Last thing I want to see.”
These are just a handful of the comments posted by those who are members of the Facebook page “Gambler’s Addiction Support Site.” Fran Russell, the page administrator who created the site just over a year ago, gets nearly 25 new members a week for a current total of 777 members. They are students, parents, teenagers and middle-aged people who have spent years building their lives only to gamble it away. They are both active gamblers and gamblers in recovery, as well as family members seeking advice on how to cope with an addict in their life.
Time and time again the community is told there are no significant impacts brought on by the massive Graton Resort & Casino that opened Nov 5, 2014, on the outskirts of Rohnert Park. Graton joined the gambling landscape long occupied by River Rock Casino in Geyserville, the Casino 101 card room in Petaluma or the casino in Hopland.
Unfortunately, there’s a reason gambling addition is referred to as the silent addiction. The impacts of casinos don’t reverberate and often only affect those in immediate contact with an addict. When someone is addicted to a substance, it is usually visible by deteriorating heath or by their actions. The substance is a physical object. Gambling however, is usually marked by things that are not present: the person, missing for hours at a time; the money they spend; the estranged family members; and the bills that aren’t paid.
“They’re painting this beautiful picture of the casino because it makes money,” Russell says. “I haven’t seen any nonprofit groups come out of this. They’re supposed to benefit domestic violence, education. Nothing!”
One member hasn’t been to the dentist in five years. Another has overdrawn her account by the thousands. Others have lost the trust of their significant others or custody of their children. Some are even on the verge of suicide. Some have already committed suicide. Among the messages of desperation and depression however, are also comments of hope, encouragement and the sharing of resources that have been proven to help. The community, which is made up of those affected by a difficult disease, is resoundingly compassionate and often truly wants to seek and give help.
Tired of fighting a city that was so set on building a casino a stone’s throw from city limits, Russell was inspired to start the online support group from an experience years ago when she fostered two young boys who were displaced by their parent’s incessant addiction. Their infant brother had died of hypothermia in the back of the parent’s car; the kids had been waiting for them in the parking lot to return from gambling.
“How do you tell a 4-year-old it is not their fault, that it’s mommy and daddy’s?” she says of tying to comfort the two boys, grief-stricken over the death of their brother. The children were eventually returned to their parents, and she has no idea of their current whereabouts.
Problem gambling is defined as continuing to gamble despite negative impacts, and the brain activity experienced in a compulsive gambler is identical to that of a cocaine addict. According to a 2012 California study, 65.4 percent of all gambling is preformed in Indian casinos, and the majority of problem gamblers are between the ages of 25-35. The average debt per person is $19,272, and of those who reported, the state total is about $30 million of gambling-related debt.
For most in the community, seeing a billboard or commercial about the Graton Casino does nothing but provide either moot information or a vague musing about what they might do later or that weekend. For those suffering from a gambling addiction, however, it can be a trigger, one that can erase mountainous amounts of hard work and rehabilitation.
“Membership has gone up since the casino has opened, but it’s not as significant as we thought,” said Denny, the current chairmen of Rohnert Park’s Gambler’s Anonyms meetings at St John’s Methodist Church. “They will sooner or later when they reach their bottom, but the problem is that the bottom sometimes isn’t until very low. If they want to get cured, they will. You have to come in with the idea of wanting to stop.”
Gambler’s Anonymous is a 12-step program offered to those seeking help for their addiction. Denny notes that it is easy for people to pick up a pamphlet and toss it out, so he encourages anyone who has the intent on recovery to come to a meeting, held every Monday at 7:30 p.m. Although it is a closed meeting, first-timers who have accepted their addiction and are motivated toward recovery are accepted.
“To be truthful, I don’t see any disturbing parts of the casino,” he adds, noting that it sometimes takes years for people to seek help or even recognize that they have a problem. “I think there’s going to be more eventually but not right now.”
The numerous highway billboards and commercials paint a picture of Las Vegas extravagance when entering a casino, and the interior of Graton is quite impressive. The real picture of addiction, however, is a bit more gruesome. Slot machine players, for example, are fearful of leaving a slot they’ve been playing for a while, sometimes more than 24 hours. Many choose to wear diapers, refusing to use the building’s facilities.
Addicts have the option of participating in self exclusion, where they voluntarily ban themselves from a chosen casino. It requires some paperwork and is often proved ineffective. Ideally, the self-excluded person will be recognized and removed from the building. If they gamble and win, their winnings are supposed to be handed over to an account that will benefit non-profit addiction programs. An employee at Graton, who wished to remain anonymous, admitted this practice is rarely enforced.
“In order for people to join this group, you have to push that button,” Russell says of her Facebook page. She does moderate the conversations, keeping them civil and upholding certain regulations.
Members, for example, are not allowed to mention dollar amounts lost or won. There’s also a large amount of spam that needs to be filtered out as many businesses that feed off of people with gambling addictions will try and usher members to play online poker or apply for phony debt relief.
If members reach out to Russell, even if they are halfway across the country, she finds a counselor or meeting in their area to help. There is help, not only on Russell’s Facebook support group, but also at local Gambler’s Anonymous meetings. Another resource for information and advice for those affected by gambling is
As with any addiction, gambling is often uncontrollable and regularly ruins lives. The consequences of a business are not always shown in annual statistics but rather in the stories of those suffering quietly. The Graton Casino may have put Rohnert Park “on the map” but it has also may be the cause of many individuals straying from their own path.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Lottery Addiction

Local lottery fans average $31 per year



Danny Reese owns the Hit N Run 1 Stop, which led Cherokee County in lottery ticket sales with $176,719 during state fiscal year 2014.

Posted: Wednesday, January 21, 2015

by Sean Rowley

While Cherokee County is most assuredly home to more than a few gambling addicts, it seems most of them aren’t pouring money into the lottery.

A comparison of Cherokee County to other counties around Oklahoma indicated local gamblers spend less on the lottery than in other counties of similar size or income levels.

While there is research on gambling addiction, virtually none exists on lottery addiction. Most media reports about lottery addiction focus on particular addicts with horror stories.
They may include someone’s spending hundreds of dollars at a time and ending up in jail on embezzlement charges, but one story highlighted a woman who claimed lottery addiction because she always spent $20 a week.
What little research does exist on lottery addiction suggests low income and less education are more likely to produce a lottery player. Age is also a factor; older people are less likely to play.
Cherokee County has one of the state’s highest poverty rates. It is one of only eight Oklahoma counties with at least 24 percent of its population living below the federal poverty income threshold.

Others are Adair, LeFlore, McCurtain, Pushmataha, Okfuskee, Greer and Harmon.

When comparing data, the Daily Press could not identify a correlation between poverty rates and lottery play in Oklahoma. Correlations between population and lottery spending were also elusive.

Lottery ticket sales totaled $1,308,110 in Tahlequah during Oklahoma fiscal 2014. The Hit N Run 1 Stop had the most sales, with $176,719. The Fuel Mart in Park Hill sold another $170,231, the second most in the county. Tahlequah’s second-leading seller was Reasor’s, with $130,607. Cherokee County, with a population of 48,000, accumulated $1,478,341 in lottery sales. Annual lottery spending per capita was about $32.

Danny Reese, owner of Hit N Run, was neither aware nor surprised that his store led the county in lottery ticket sales.

“I definitely believe [lottery sales] are good for business,” Reese said. “A person may come in to buy a ticket, and decide to buy something else, like a pop. A lot of customers come here planning to buy other items, along with their lottery ticket.”

Reese did not agree with suggestions that low-income people spend more on the lottery, and said his customers are conscious of the odds.

“I’m not saying I’ve never seen someone buy a ticket who maybe shouldn’t,” he said. “But almost all the lottery customers spend small amounts. When the jackpot gets high, someone may come in with $50 or $100, but they are part of a pool with four or five people who have agreed to split if they win.”

Speculating on why his store sold the county’s most lottery tickets, Reese suggested the convenience store format was a draw, and that his is “a great location,” on the southwest corner of Muskogee Avenue and Fourth Street.

Sales in Adair County amounted to just over $1 million. LeFlore County, with about the same population as Cherokee, sold nearly $2 million in tickets. With about 60 percent of Cherokee County’s population, McCurtain County had just over $1 million.

Pushmataha County, with a population of about 11,000, sold $693,000 in lottery tickets. Okfuskee County lottery sales totaled $278,683, with a population of 12,000. With a population of 6,000, Greer County sales amounted to $520,000. With a population of less than 3,000, sales in Harmon County were more than $250,000.

Estimated annual per capita spending in Adair County was $45, $33 in McCurtain County, $40 in LeFlore County, $63 in Pushmataha County, $23 in Okfuskee County, $87 in Greer County, and $83 in Harmon County.

Texas County, with a population of 22,000, had sales of nearly $2.5 million. Guymon, the county seat, population 12,000, had $1,281,201 in lottery sales. Dizzy B’s Corner Mart in Guymon led all stores with sales of $642,483. OnCue Express No. 28 in Enid was second, with $583,704. Enid is the county seat of Garfield County.

Texas and Garfield counties have moderate poverty rates of 12-14 percent. Per-capita lottery spending in Texas County is $114 per year, and $107 in Guymon. In Garfield County, it is $88 per year. Sales are $100 per capita, per year in Enid.

If population and poverty are not accurate indicators of lottery spending, other factors may be in play. Cherokee County gamblers may be less inclined to play the lottery due to proximity to casinos. Some sales may be transitory, purchased by people visiting, or crossing state borders.

Dr. Kenny Paris, chair of the Department of Psychology and Counseling at Northeastern State University, said an unequivocal finding of gambling research is that cases of addiction increase with availability.

“If there are more opportunities to gamble, then more problems with gambling behavior follow closely behind,” Paris said. “They really go hand-in-hand. Like any addiction, it knows no boundaries. It can affect rich, poor, black, white – anybody. But research does suggest that those with less education and less available funds are more likely to engage in gambling.”
However, Paris noted there is less data on lottery addiction, and said he sees it less frequently than addictions to online gambling sites, sports betting, and gaming.
“I don’t hear of nearly as many people struggling with lottery addiction,” he said. “It could be less prevalent because there isn’t that immediate gratification often associated with other forms of gambling. You buy a ticket on Monday or Tuesday and wait until Wednesday or Saturday for the drawing.”
Oklahoma voters approved the lottery a decade ago and the first scratch tickets were sold in late 2005. More than a half-billion dollars have been generated for state education.
While a $70 million annual windfall helps schools, it is not the panacea touted by supporters at the turn of the century, and income is less than half what was projected.
The Oklahoma lottery still has enemies, especially among Republicans, who now control both houses of the legislature. Detractors say the income doesn’t justify the problems.

Supporters say $70 million a year is justification, and that the lottery operates under numerous operational and advertising restrictions. They say the minimum profit regulation demanding 35 percent go to education reduces chances to win. It also reduces payouts, and hence, sales.

Eight states have reported sales and income increases that easily exceeded their reductions in mandatory profit.

‘Stop the FOBTs’ campaign

£82m blown on betting in Inverclyde

Published: 21 Jan 2015 11:00
A STAGGERING £82 million was frittered away by people in Inverclyde on betting shop roulette machines in just a year, the Tele can reveal.
Adrian Parkinson, from the Campaign for Fairer Gambling.
Alarming figures from the Campaign for Fairer Gambling group show the astonishing amount of cash gambled on fixed odds betting terminals (FOBTs) in the space of just 12 months.

Worryingly, the sum is around £5m higher than this time last year.

Back then, the amount gambled by locals on FOBTs was estimated to be £77m.

The latest figures are based on information from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) and the Gambling Commission and they cover the period up to September 2014.

Data from the pressure group, which runs the ‘Stop the FOBTs’ campaign, also highlighted a rise in the number of betting licences in Inverclyde — up by one to a total of 20.

They estimate there are now 74 FOBTs across the district, an increase of five from last year.

It all comes despite a high-profile campaign — backed by politicians and various groups — calling for greater restrictions on FOBTs.

Campaigners have expressed disappointment at the sky-high figures and claim that bookmakers are exploiting deprived areas.

Adrian Parkinson, from the Campaign for Fairer Gambling, told the Tele: “Again we are seeing continued growth in FOBT losses in Inverclyde and across the most deprived boroughs in Scotland.

“Despite being ranked the second most deprived borough in Scotland, Inverclyde appears to be very attractive to the betting industry, who have opened yet another shop in the last 12 months.

“The bookmakers claim they don’t target deprived areas.

“The evidence however speaks for itself.”

The group says over £15m was inserted into FOBTs by punters in Inverclyde, who lost nearly £3m.

Currently £100 can be bet per spin every 20 seconds on FOBTs, dubbed the ‘crack cocaine of gambling’.

Gambling is a matter currently reserved to the UK parliament but the Smith Commission, set up in the wake of the independence referendum to decide on additional powers for Scotland, called for the Scottish Parliament to have the power to ‘prevent the proliferation’ of FOBTs.

Mr Parkinson says that an urgent clampdown is required on the machines.

He told the Telegraph: “Fixed odds terminals have not earned the title ‘crack cocaine of gambling’ without reason.

“Recently published research showed that a third of those who play the machines regularly are experiencing problematic gambling.

“In Inverclyde, our analysis estimates there are 2,751 regular FOBT players which according to this research implies that over 900 of them could be in the depths of FOBT-driven gambling addiction.

“That’s 900 people with families and colleagues potentially impacted by the devastation that gambling addiction brings with it.

“FOBTs have now become the most lucrative gaming product on UK high streets and that is driven by their addictive characteristics — amusement arcades are now converting to betting shops in a bid to get their hands on FOBTs. There are eight adult gaming arcades in Inverclyde and one of those is owned by a company that has already converted an arcade in Newcastle into a betting shop — Luxury Leisure in West Blackhall Street.

“If the transfer of powers over FOBTs to Holyrood does not provide the Scottish Government with the power to cut the stakes then Scotland and Inverclyde will be powerless to curb the further proliferation of these high addictive machines.

“Our campaign continues until FOBT stakes are brought in line with all other gaming machines and the stakes are cut from £100 per spin to £2.”


Mohegan Sun joins lawsuit against Massachusetts gaming authority

Clark Schultz, SA News Editor

  • Mohegan Sun will join a lawsuit against Massachusetts state regulators over the granting of a license to Wynn Resorts (WYNN +2.5%) for a casino near Boston.
  • The suit alleges Wynn received preferential treatment during the process.
  • The Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority says it's the first time it has taken legal action over a license.
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Monday, January 19, 2015

Lawsuit: Casinos cuffed player, confiscated his chips

Lawsuit: Casinos cuffed player, confiscated his chips

By Mark Gruetze Sunday, Jan. 18, 2015

Ross Miller knows his way around casinos. He's gambled throughout the country and, by his account, has evolved into a skilled card counter and advantage player.
That has forced him to learn his way around the court system, as well.
Miller, 28, of Howell, N.J., filed lawsuits this month in Atlantic City and Las Vegas alleging that security guards illegally detained him and confiscated his chips at Caesars Entertainment casinos.
Gary Thompson, Caesars' director of corporate communications, says the company does not comment on pending litigation.
Although card-counting is legal, casino executives keep an eye out for counters and other advantage players who find ways to tip the odds in their favor.
While declining to talk in detail about his lawsuits, Miller tells Player's Advantage that counting cards at blackjack is one facet of his casino approach.
“Card counting is not the kind of activity that will make you millions of dollars like in the movie,” he says. “As you learn more about it, you start to learn other tricks, different advantage-play techniques. 
I consider myself to have a well-stocked tool belt when I walk into a casino. I can generally find a way to profit on some game in one way or another.”
Advantage players follow the rules but exploit casino offers or practices. For example, blackjack player Don Johnson — an inspiration to Miller and other advantage players — negotiated rebates that minimized his losses and gave him the advantage when playing $100,000 a hand. Johnson netted millions of dollars in one five-month spree. 
Poker legend Phil Ivey won millions at baccarat in New Jersey and London with a technique called edge-sorting, in which a confederate talked the dealer into rotating 8s and 9s — the best starting cards in the game — opposite from other cards in the deck. Because of design flaws on the card backs, Ivey could tell whether a powerful card would be dealt first, giving him an advantage on how to bet. Although Ivey never touched the cards and casino executives agreed to all his conditions, a British judge ruled that Ivey cheated. Ivey maintains the casino was lax in protecting the game.
“I wouldn't want to draw attention to all the ways you can beat casinos,” says Miller, who considers himself a professional gambler but also operates a website selling high-intensity automotive headlights. “A lot of casinos are just naïve.”
Promotions such as free bets and free slot play are valuable to players.
“If a casino mails you a free bet, you're not going to lose,” Miller says. “It definitely something you can take advantage of.”
Gambling mathematician and game consultant Eliot Jacobson, whose website focuses on beatable casino games and promotions, writes that card-counting is a weak form of advantage play compared with poorly conceived promotions. For example, he says a casino offered a “Catch 22” promotion that paid $22 when a blackjack player busted with a total of 22. Betting only $3 a hand, he says, he made $800 to $1,000 per night by trying to get 22 instead of beating the dealer.
Miller's New Jersey lawsuit, in which he represents himself, says casino security staffers harassed him “for being a better gambler than the casino.” The complaint says Caesars tried to intimidate him and keep him from gambling in its casinos. It says he was handcuffed and detained on May 24, 2013, at Caesar's Atlantic City; June 20, 2013, at Planet Hollywood in Las Vegas; July 11, 2013, in Harrah's Atlantic City; and Nov. 8, 2013, at Showboat Casino in Atlantic City. The lawsuit says Planet Hollywood kept $4,975 in chips that he was attempting to cash when arrested and that Harrah's kept $750 in chips.
In some cases, Miller was forcibly removed from the blackjack table, the lawsuit says. Twice, the complaint says, casino staffers took his driver's license even after they had verified he was old enough to gamble legally.
“Privacy and anonymity ... are essential to professional gamblers,” the lawsuit says.
In the Las Vegas case, Miller is represented by renowned gambling lawyer Robert Nersesian.
Mark Gruetze is administrative editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7838 or

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