Meetings & Information


Saturday, January 14, 2017

Wampanoag Council Treasurer Arrested For OUI


Wampanoag Council Treasurer Arrested For OUI

  • 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


The winding road to a Wampanoag casino


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, ...

Pennsylvania's Addiction to Gambling, Sands Bethlehem

... if the casino did act as a good corporate citizen he cannot justify using the limited resources of his office to prosecute petty crimes against the casino, ...

26, Sands Casino officials say they'll wait to see what legislators do. ... limited resources to prosecute pettycrimes in which the casino is the victim, ...

Some casinos decided to pay host fees for 2017 while state lawmakers ... It was a difficult decision that paved the way for the Sands Casino Resort, ...

Saying a professional gambler's technique of gaining an advantage over a casino was “tainted from the beginning,” a federal judge ordered poker pro ...

The state gets 54 percent of slot machine revenue, one of the highest tax ... Centers says Meadows plans several additions to its gambling lineup.

A Baylor University study found that gambling addiction carries hefty social costs, including loss of worker productivity, unemployment costs, ...

The casino tax issue emerged with lawmakers having yet to pass legislation to expand legalized gambling to plug a $100 million revenue hole in the ...

The district attorney's office "expends enormous resources" prosecuting crimes where the SandsCasino is the victim, Morganelli said. The casino i

Sands Casino officials fire back at criticism that it won't pledge a $10 million gambling host fee that other casinos are agreeing to give.

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.
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.
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.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Icahn to surrender Trump Taj Mahal License - Not for Sale

ATLANTIC CITY — Casino gaming might not be returning to the shuttered ... Icahn told the Associated Press that the casino is not for sale right now.

Carl Icahn was not bluffing when he said the Taj would close unless industrial action was halted. The casino was shuttered in the early hours of ...

Billionaire investor Carl Icahn plans to surrender the casino license for his shuttered Trump Taj Mahalcasino and wants to make sure that anyone who ...

ATLANTIC CITY -- Atlantic City's mayor is calling on billionaire investor Carl Icahn to sell the shuttered Trump Taj Mahal casino, saying his struggling ...

New Jersey gambling regulators revealed Tuesday that the casino petitioned the state Division ofGaming Enforcement on Dec. 22 for permission to ...

Mashpee Wampanoag tribe treasurer faces OUI charge

Mashpee Wampanoag tribe treasurer faces OUI charge

The devil in my casino

The devil in my casino

On a recent night, I yielded to temptation and paid a visit to my neighborhood den of sin: the newly opened casino at MGM National Harbor.
From my house in Fort Washington, the road to Hades is four miles. Barring traffic jams, I can be at a slot machine in less than 10 minutes. With my first dollar, I received a cash-out voucher for 50 cents and five free spins. It wasn’t a win, but it didn’t quite feel like a loss, either.
I played on, excited by the unexpected new chances to hit the jackpot.

I had been warned.
Living within 10 miles of a casino more than doubles the rate of problems from excessive gambling, according to researchers at the University of Buffalo.
Baby boomers like me are said to be among the fastest-growing group of problem gamblers.
“Older adults view the casino as a place where they can socialize, escape their loneliness, and escape their grief,” researchers Fayetta Martin, Peter A. Lichtenberg and Thomas N. Templin wrote in a journal for the National Institutes of Health. “Given that their primary choices of games are slot machines, these social needs, however, may not be getting met. . . . It may be worthwhile for church groups to assess the reasons for older adults wanting to go to casinos and helping them to determine how their social needs might be met in alternative ways.”
And then there’s the race factor.
As the National Center for Responsible Gaming has noted, “Gambling and gambling related problems are common among all racial and ethnic groups in the United States, but there is new evidence that African Americans are more likely to experience gambling-related problems than white Americans.”
That’s three strikes. Still, there is something to be said for being mesmerized.
Along with the casino, MGM National Harbor features several luxury retail stores and fancy restaurants the likes of which Prince George’s County, Md., had never seen. At the Sarah Jessica Parker store, for instance, a pair of purple high heels goes for $355. For a county more accustomed to seeing Kmart stores, the high-end goods suggest that there may be something royal about Prince George’s after all.
At the opening of MGM’s Marcus restaurant, chef Marcus Samuelsson cooked up a meal worthy of an establishment in the nation’s most affluent, predominantly black county. The dinner included an “Obama short rib slider” along with “China Afro funk and sweet potato puree, St. Hill Shrimp N Grits with Carolina shrimp, shoe box ham and creamy grits.”
Of course, these offerings also pose potential problems. Gambling is not the only behavior that can lead to addiction. Shopaholism and food addiction can be just as costly.
Nevertheless, the primary attraction at MGM National Harbor is the casino — that 125,000-square-foot cavern of iniquity.
There are more than 3,000 slots and hundreds of card and craps tables.
I took my free spins and came close to winning each time. Barbara Dafoe Whitehead, director of civil society initiatives at the Institute for American Values, has suggested that such titillation is just part of the casino con game.
“One way these computerized pickpockets milk their customers is by generating near misses, whereby the spinning symbols on the machine stop just above or below the winning payline,” she says. “The feeling of having come oh so close to a win prompts further play.”
I had spent a total of $4 during the visit and won five free spins and a 50-cent voucher. But I have since discovered several books and articles on how to beat the slot machine.
As for my maiden voyage to the casino, I confess that the devil made me do it. However, when I learn those winning techniques, Lady Luck could make me do it again.

Luck works both ways for slot winner, alleged heroin dealer, Madison police say

Luck works both ways for slot winner, alleged heroin dealer, Madison police say

Talk about a come down.
A Madison man who just won $1,500 at a Ho-Chunk Gaming slot machine early Wednesday was arrested while sitting at the machine waiting for his winnings, because a bag of heroin found at the front door allegedly fell out of his pants.
Michael Goodman, 32, was tentatively charged with possession of heroin with intent to deliver, Madison police said.
The incident happened at about 12:15 a.m. at the casino at 4002 Evan Acres Road.
“He likely was feeling pretty jubilant about hitting a slot machine jackpot, and was waiting to collect more than $1,500 in winnings, when police arrived and altered the mood by placing him in handcuffs,” police spokesman Joel DeSpain said.
Current Time0:00
Duration Time0:00
Loaded: 0%
Progress: 0%
Earlier in the night, a casino employee found a plastic bag near the front entrance, a bag that looked like it contained drugs.
“It contained a golf ball-sized amount of a cream-colored powdery material, individually packaged in a couple of dozen pea-sized amounts,” DeSpain said. “The officer suspected heroin and testing determined that to be correct.”
Surveillance video at the front entrance showed a man adjusting the legs of his sweatpants, and when he did so, the bag of heroin fell out, but he apparently didn’t realize it, since he kept going into the casino to play.
“Security told police he was seated near some slot machines, waiting to collect his winnings,” DeSpain said. “Ironically, that is where his luck ran out.”