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Thursday, April 20, 2017

Historic 19 to 1 win in Ways and Means today - but it's not over yet!





In a historic vote, Ways & Means voted lTL 19-1 Thursday on the SB 242 casino bill.
You helped us win today in historic fashion
But it's not over yet.
Thursday afternoon, citing doubts about casino revenue and viability in a crowded New England gambling market, the NH House Ways & Means Committee voted 19-1 to not recommend SB 242's passage.

This strong message from Ways & Means to fellow legislators is the largest margin anyone can remember for an expanding gambling bill, and members of the committee used phrases like, "The casino ship has sailed,"  and questioned the revenue figures of the bill in the face of declines throughout New England.

Thanks to your hard work, we won this battle.  But the war is not over.

May 4th, SB 242 goes before the full House, where it will be debated on the House floor.  To defeat the bill means we must begin writing letters and emails to our representatives, writing letters to editors, and making phone calls.    Celebrate our victory tonight, but keep your pen warmed up and your keyboard ready.  Let's put casinos away for good this time!

Thanks to all for your hard work!

Brian Beihl
Casino Free NH

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Our mailing address is:
Casino Free New Hampshire
2 Eagle Square, Concord, NH, United States
ConcordNH 03301







Casino Free New Hampshire · 2 Eagle Square, Concord, NH, United States · Concord, NH 03301 · USA 



Anti-Casino Forces Rally at State House

Many thanks to those who attended yesterday’s press conference and bill hearing. It was an impressive show of force.

Here’s the news coverage from yesterday:

WMUR (you’ll have to bear with the 15-second ad that precedes this):
Supporters, opponents of expanded gaming ready for vote

We are expecting a House vote on the bill on May 4. Please consider making a call to your state representative (there are a lot of new faces since the last time the House voted on this) and sending a letter to the editor of your local newspaper.

You can find contact information for both on the home page of the Casino Free NH website.
Our mailing address is:
Casino Free New Hampshire
2 Eagle Square, Concord, NH, United States
ConcordNH 03301










Casino Free New Hampshire · 2 Eagle Square, Concord, NH, United States · Concord, NH 03301 · USA 



Monday, April 17, 2017

Reminder: Casino Hearing & Press Conference Tuesday 9 AM




NOSLOTS


Reminder:  Casino Hearing & Press Conference Tuesday 9 AM

Casino Free NH Friends:

Just a quick reminder that the SB 242 casino hearing in Ways & Means is tomorrow, Tuesday, April 18.  We hold our press conference at 9 AM, and if you can stand as a backdrop to our speakers, we'd be grateful.  Meet in the lobby of the Legislative Office Building at 9:00 AM, and the conference kicks off at 9:15.  

After the press conference, the Ways & Means hearing starts at 10 AM, LOB Rooms 202-204.  There are four representatives on the fence, so your testimony and/or presence could make the difference. 

Please sign the sheet in opposition to the bill when you go in  You don't need to speak, but you should check in.  If you can't stay for the hearing, please sign the opposition sheet before you leave.

Thanks for being there for New Hampshire!  

Brian Beihl
Casino Free NH
603-620-8300

Legislative Office Building

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We appreciate your interest in halting the expansion of gambling in New Hampshire.


Our mailing address is:
Casino Free New Hampshire
2 Eagle Square, Concord, NH, United States
Concord, NH 03301
USA



Saturday, January 14, 2017

Wampanoag Council Treasurer Arrested For OUI




REEL WAMPS



Wampanoag Council Treasurer Arrested For OUI

  • By SAM HOUGHTON
  •  
  • Mashpee Wampanoag Tribal Council treasurer Robert T. Hendricks was arrested over the weekend and charged with operating under the influence of liquor.
    On Saturday, December 31, at about 1:30 in the morning, Falmouth Police Department patrolman Joshua Oliver pulled over Mr. Hendricks after noticing his car swerve momentarily into grass on the side of the road, as well as other unusual driving behavior.
    Mr. Hendricks is currently in the final months of his position as treasurer on the council. In 2013, Mr. Hendricks defeated incumbent Mark Harding for the position. The tribal election will be held on Sunday, February 12, for the seats of chairman, vice chairman, secretary, treasurer and one tribal council member.
    Besides the charge of driving under the influence, police charged Mr. Hendricks with negligent operation of a motor vehicle and a marked lanes violation. Falmouth District Court scheduled a pretrial hearing on February 16 during an arraignment on Tuesday.
    In his police report, Officer Oliver noted that Mr. Hendricks, in an SUV, drove about 31 miles per hour in a 40-mph zone before he drove over a fog line and off the roadway, and used a turn-indicator with no road on which to turn. Officer Oliver also stated that while he questioned Mr. Hendricks after he pulled him over, his car began to move forward. After the patrolmen shouted at him several times to control the car, Mr. Hendricks placed the car in park.
    Officer Oliver also stated that Mr. Hendricks refused to cooperate in booking.


Friday, January 6, 2017

The winding road to a Wampanoag casino




ALSO CHECK OUT: Reel Wamps






The winding road to a Wampanoag casino

By 

The Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe rang in 2016 with jubilation as the government officially recorded the tribe's reservation land in the Federal Register, bringing its casino dreams closer to reality.
Going into 2017, the plan to build a casino on 151 acres of tribal sovereign land in East Taunton remains threatened by a lawsuit filed by nearby residents in February. While the 22 neighbors hope to put a stop to the planned $600 million casino - which will feature 300 hotel rooms, 3,000 slot machines, 150 table games and 40 poker tables - there's much more than a gambling venue hanging in the balance for the Wampanoag.
The lawsuit alleges that the federal government broadly interpreted its authority and created "unprecedented" definitions of what constitutes an Indian and a reservation in approving the tribe's application for land in trust, which includes 170 acres in Mashpee, including its headquarters, burial grounds, museum and a tract set aside for future affordable housing.
The tribe has strong spiritual and cultural ties to the land dating back 12,000 years, Tribal Council Chairman Cedric Cromwell wrote in an August court brief, and the Wampanoag have a substantial financial interest at stake - the opportunity presented by the sovereign land will translate into economic development for the entirety of the 2,500-member tribe.
The lawsuit is funded partially by a casino developer who had hoped to build a casino in Brockton, just 20 miles from the Wampanoag's planned First Light project. The battle between the two proposed Southeastern Massachusetts casinos was waged during the first half of 2016. The state Gaming Commission ultimately rejected the Brockton plan they considered underwhelming due to the unpredictable competition of having two casinos in such close proximity to each other.
The casino broke ground in April. While the lawsuit has effectively stopped construction, which was slated to be complete in 2017, work on infrastructure improvements continued.
The tribe's plans hit a roadblock in August when U.S. District Court Judge William Young rejected the way the agency took land into trust for the Mashpee tribe. But in October he opened the door for the Bureau of Indian Affairs to explore another path for sovereign land for the Wampanoag.
The question now is whether the Mashpee tribe was under federal jurisdiction in 1934. While the tribe was federally recognized in 2007, the distinction between jurisdiction and recognition was clarified in a separate August ruling involving the Cowlitz tribe of Washington.
The federal government is set to continue gathering evidence in support of or against that notion from both the tribe and the East Taunton residents through February and potentially securing the tribe's future plans.



The Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe rang in 2016 with jubilation as the government officially recorded thetribe's reservation land in the Federal Register, ...


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State wants to revoke gaming license of Hawaiian Gardens casino after federal money laundering ...





State wants to revoke gaming license of Hawaiian Gardens casino after federal probe


In this file photo, Ron Sarabi, general manager, shows the interior of The Gardens Casino in Hawaiian Gardens. (File.)
In this file photo, Ron Sarabi, general manager, shows the interior of The Gardens Casino in Hawaiian Gardens. (File.) 




A grand reopening for The Gardens Casino — to show off the fruits of a $90 million renovation — could take place later this month, but state gambling regulators want to revoke the licenses that allow the casino’s principals to operate.
An accusation, dated Oct. 17, outlines California Bureau of Gambling Control officials’ contention that the casino and key figures there, including Chief Executive David Moskowitz, should be denied gambling licenses.
State officials allege that casino operators failed to disclose to California officials that the operators failed to comply with a federal anti-money laundering law, which in their view, would justify revoking the licenses that allow the venue and its trustees to operate. The Gardens Casino has already admitted to deficiencies in its ability to obey the federal law, according to state and federal officials.
“In view of that nondisclosure and admitted violations of federal and state laws, respondents continued licensure undermines the public trust that licensed gambling does not endanger the public health, safety and welfare,” the accusation reads.
A hearing to decide the casino’s fate has yet to be scheduled. In the meantime, Gardens Casino can remain open with a provisional license, said California Gambling Control Commission spokesman Eric Petosky. That license is valid through Nov. 30, 2018.
Gardens Casino personnel were not available to comment Wednesday. A woman in the casino’s legal department said comment from the casino’s general counsel may be available today.
The casino is a major employer and source of revenue to Hawaiian Gardens’ city government.
FEDERAL PENALTY
The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, or FinCEN, is part of the Treasury Department and announced its issuance of a $2.8 million fine against Gardens Casino this past July. That fine followed Internal Revenue Service examinations and casino management’s admission of failures to abide by the Bank Secrecy Act that resulted, in the government’s words, in making the casino “susceptible to money laundering and terrorist financing activity.”
The Bank Secrecy Act is a 1970 law requiring business to keep records that enable law enforcement officials investigating money laundering to track illegal transactions. For example, the law mandates that businesses report single or related cash transactions whenever $10,000 changes hands.
FinCEN reported that Gardens Casino was in violation of this law over a period extending from September 2009 through July of last year. Gardens Casino’s managers did not implement controls needed to follow federal law despite a 2011 IRS examination and a 2013 consultant’s review that brought problems to light.
Those problems included casino personnel’s failures to keep track of exactly who was involved in cash transactions there, according to FinCEN. In one case, a woman known only as “Michelle” was referred to in 15 suspicious activity reports and five currency transaction reports, but casino personnel had no records of her actual identity.
The same “Michelle” and others believed to be her agents were able to continue activities at Gardens Casino even though she did not identify herself to casino employees on at least three separate occasions. According to FinCEN, casino managers told the IRS they did not think they had to prevent Michelle or others who refuse to provide identification from transacting business there and that doing so may result in customers switching to other Southern California casinos.
“Michelle” wasn’t the only the only case of someone doing business at Gardens Casino without sufficient records being kept.
Eighty percent of suspicious activity reports filed between Jan. 1, 2013, and Sept. 18, 2014, from Gardens Casino referred to at least one unknown subject being involved in transactions. What’s more, 347 cash transactions involving unknown parties between Oct. 1, 2013, and Dec. 31, 2013, were for amounts between $9,000 and $10,000, which FinCEN observed are just short of the level that triggers mandatory reporting.
The FinCEN’s consent agreement with Gardens Casino reports that casino operators admitted to those and other violations described within the document. In addition to the fine, the agreement also required the casino provide a risk assessment report to the government and to hire an external auditor.
STATE PROCEEDINGS
Gardens Casino’s license renewal request went before the California Gambling Control Commission during a mid-November meeting. Petosky, the commission’s spokesman, said commissioners issued the provisional license pending further proceedings.
The allegations against Gardens Casino are set to go before an administrative law judge at some point in the future, Petosky said. A provisional license allows Gardens Casino to stay open through Nov. 30, 2018, depending upon when the licensing issue can be resolved.
Gardens Casino has nearly completed a $90 million renovation that involved the construction of an entirely new casino building. Gov. Jerry Brown visited the casino in December 2013 to help casino owners celebrate the beginning of their project.
At the time of the governor’s appearance, casino operators expected to spend $45 million on the project. The amount doubled over the course of renovations, which involved construction of a large kitchen, VIP area and gaming space large enough to accommodate 5,000 to 7,000 customers.