Author Archives: Paul Logan

Leaders Of New Jersey Gambling Ring Receive Five Years In Jail

Leaders Of New Jersey Gambling Ring Receive Five Years In Jail

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A sports gambling operation that brought millions into the pockets of operation leaders was broken up by several state law enforcement agencies in New Jersey a while back. The fallout from that raid continued on Friday.

Two of the leaders of the operation, Andrew Micali of Ventnor and Jack Buscemi Jr. of Mullica Hill, were sentenced on Friday to five years in prison. The pair had both plead guilty back in December.

“It is important for those who want to partake in this type of activity to know that the state of New Jersey is not going to tolerate it,” said observer Louis Ferraro, “I’m glad these people were sentenced and will have to be held responsible for their actions.”

It was all the way back in March of 2006 when the investigation into the illegal sports gambling operation began. Undercover officers were used in the Borgata Hotel Casino poker room, which was the location of the illegal activity.

Once the law enforcement officials gathered enough evidence, they arrested all of the parties that were involved with the operation. It was not just the two main pieces that went down. There was a large network of agents that were also involved.

Six of the people involved received only probation today, but Buscemi Jr. and Micali both were hit with the harshest penalties. The convictions were on different charges. For Buscemi it was second degree conspiracy to commit money laundering. Micali plead guilty to second degree criminal usury.

Lawmakers In Iowa Allowing Smoking In Casinos For Political Reasons

Lawmakers In Iowa Allowing Smoking In Casinos For Political Reasons

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The state of Iowa has what may of their citizens believe is a flawed law in place regarding indoor smoking. The law in question bans smoking in public places, with an exception for casinos in the state.

Opponents of the smoking exception have voiced their concerns to current legislators, but it seems as though those concerns have fallen on deaf ears. The politicians have openly admitted that they would rather deal with the injustices of the smoking law, rather than have to debate the issue again this year.

“If you see any smoking debate, from the Republican side, you’re going to see the whole smoking debate again. We’re going to open the whole thing back up. There are a number of silly provisions (to the smoking ban),” said Kraig Paulsen, the House Minority Leader.

Although they see fault with the current laws, Paulsen and other legislators are choosing to ignore the problems. They have conceded that the exception to the smoking ban was put in place in order to avoid a battle with the gambling industry.

In the world of lobbying in Iowa, the gambling industry is one of the most powerful, with many political connections. Legislators are speaking in ways that would suggest they are being told not to reopen the issue.

“The consensus right now among a majority of members, there are some disagreements, is to let sleeping dogs lie…..most legislators have dealt with that issue last year and are not wanting to reopen that debate,” said House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy.

There are citizens in Iowa that are outraged at the openness with which these legislators are dismissing the smoking issue for political reasons.

“It is not right that our bar owners who pay their taxes are not protected by the smoking laws, but the casinos who bring the state more money are. Is it not the duty of these elected officials to fight for the rights of the people they represent,” said Donna Schuster.

Lawmakers In Alabama Contradictory Laws In State

Lawmakers In Alabama Contradictory Laws In State

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If lawmakers in the state of Alabama cannot come to a unified conclusion as to the legality of electronic gambling machines, then how do they expect people who are running businesses to know whether they are operating the machines legally?

This is the question that is weighing on many people’s minds in Alabama. The governor of the state has set up a task force to stop what he believes are illegal gambling operations, and the attorney general in the state believes the machines are legal in some counties in Alabama.

The opposite viewpoints have apparently created a rift between Attorney general Troy King and Governor Bob Riley. Back in December, Riley set up the Task Force on Illegal Gambling, but he did not appoint King to the task force.

King then dealt Riley a blow when he refused to allow private attorney’s for the task force to represent the state in court. The two are on completely different sides of the electronic gambling machine issue.

The disagreement over the laws has now reached the Alabama court system. Last week, a judge ruled that the state must give over 100 machines back to an establishment that was raided for illegal gambling.

The judge also guaranteed that the establishment could re-open without fear of government intervention. That prompted the governor to increase the amount of money that was being paid to private lawyers that represented the task force.

The additional financing of the private lawyers had many Alabamians puzzled and upset. The state is struggling with their budget, and people are unsure why valuable money is being spent on the attorney’s.

In addition to all of that, there is a proposal being discussed in legislature that would make all of the disagreements, as well as the governor’s task force, irrelevant. The Bill would regulate and tax licensed establishments that operated the electronic gambling machines.

Lawmakers Asked To Reject Gambling Contributions In Maryland

Lawmakers Asked To Reject Gambling Contributions In Maryland

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Casino gambling can be a controversial issue in some states. Maryland is bracing for the battle that will rage on between now and November. The battle will be over a referendum on slot machines.

It is common practice in the United States that lobbyist groups give large sums of money to politicians. The hope is that once the politician is in office, the lobbying group will receive what they are battling for.

In Maryland, a slot referendum is on the ballot for November, and one group is trying to make the playing field as even as possible until then.

Political watchdog group Common Cause Maryland, has asked that lawmakers reject any gambling contributions between now and the November election. They are trying to ensure that people are not swayed in their decisions by money.

The group wants people to vote without campaign donations being a factor in the voting. They are not only targeting pro-gambling lawmakers, but also anti-gambling politicians. The group has not taken a stance on the issue yet, but does want it to be a fair fight.

Delegates and Senators will receive a letter from Ryan O’Donnell, the Executive Director of Common Cause Maryland. The letter is asking that they do not accept any money from lobbyists on either side of the controversial issue until after the November vote.

Yahoo Goes After Lottery Spammers In Lawsuit Filed In New York

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Almost everyone has received an e-mail that tell them they have won a large sum of money in a lottery. Many of these e-mails are claiming that they come from Yahoo. The company had had enough of the fake e-mails.

On Tuesday, the company filed a lawsuit against spammers. The suit claims that the spammers are violating the Federal Trademark Act and Can-Spam Act. What is rare about the suit is that it does not name specific defendants.

The suit was filed against ‘Yahoo lottery spammers’. These spammers send out e-mails to unsuspecting victims. The e-mails tell the victims that they are the winners of a lottery. All they have to do is respond to the e-mail with their personal information.

It is simply a scam to get people’s personal information given voluntarily. “The unauthorized use of Yahoo trademarks is misleading, fraudulent, and has actually confused, misled, and deceived the public,” said Senior Vice President for Yahoo Business Strategy, Joe Siino.

Yahoo is not the only company that is dealing with the e-mail fraud. Lottery e-mails are going out to people from all over the world. Several countries have already began cracking down on the illegal e-mails.

Other countries have gone to extensive lengths to warn their citizens of the dangers that exist in responding to these e-mails. Several groups have also been arrested for running the e-mail scams.

Yahoo is hoping the lawsuit helps them protect their customers against this e-mail spam. “Through our continued litigation efforts, our top goal and priority is to further protect Yahoo Mail users and the public from this type of fraudulent activity,” said John Kremer, Vice President of Yahoo Mail.

Las Vegas Sands Corp. Loses $43.3 Million In Judges Ruling

Las Vegas Sands Corp. Loses $43.3 Million In Judges Ruling

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The Las Vegas Sands Corp. learned a tough lesson on Saturday. A Hong Kong man was awarded $43.8 million from a judge for his part in helping the Sands Corp. open their casino in Macau.

The company used the help of Richard Suen to obtain their gambling license in Macau. He helped them gain their license, and once they opened up their casino, they paid Suen nothing.

He received his piece on Saturday, however. The judge ruled that the Sands Corp. would have to pay Suen $43.8 million for his role in helping the company. The company now has two properties in Macau, with plans for ten more.

Attorneys for the Sands Corp. argued that their client did not owe the money because Suen reneged on his end of the deal. They say that he was supposed to help company executives in 200 and 2001, and that he did not follow through.

The judge, while siding with Suen, did not award the money that he was suing for. He had wanted $100 million, but the ruling came down with him only getting a little over forty percent of what he was seeking.

An eight person jury began deliberations in the case on Friday. The ruling came down just twenty four hours later.

Employee Jailed After Stealing Gambling Lottery Tickets

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Lottery gambling tickets are a way for people to make quick cash. The tickets can pay all the way up to $1 million. Most, however, pay off in the range of $5 to $1,000.

The lure of the money sometimes makes employees at locations that sell the tickets envious of winners. By constantly cashing the winning gambling tickets for customers, the employee can see how much can be won.

One employee from a Winn Dixie supermarket was overly enticed by the winning tickets she was cashing. Heather Michelle Wright, 18, of Mulberry, was arrested and charged with stealing $600 worth of lottery tickets from her employer.

Wright took the ‘Gold Rush’ tickets. They sell for $20, and have many winning $500 tickets to go along with other winning denominations. Wright then took the stolen tickets and cashed the winning ones at various convenience stores around town.

Wright was free on $1,000 bail on Friday. She did not reveal how much money she actually won from the tickets, and authorities did not know the amount either.

Customer service representatives such as Wright deal with lottery tickets all day long while on duty. Stores such as Winn Dixie do large volume amounts of lottery ticket sales, and once in a while, the service representatives try and steal some of the tickets.

Lack Of Problem Gambling Program At Center Of Arkansas Lottery Bill

Lack Of Problem Gambling Program At Center Of Arkansas Lottery Bill

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The state of Arkansas has been receiving money from gambling avenues for quite some time now. Although they have taken the tax money from these gambling establishments, they have done nothing to ensure problem gamblers have a place to go for treatment.

In November, voters approved a state run lottery. Previously, Arkansas had been one of the few states that did not have a state lottery. They did, however, have other forms of gambling such as pari-mutuel and electronic machine betting.

While the new Bill is being drafted to deal with the lottery, House Speaker Robbie Wills claims that money will be used from the lottery to finance problem gambling treatment.

“We have a provision in here that will take a portion of the unclaimed prize money…and we will direct that to the Department of Health to contribute to the programs they have to treat compulsive gambling disorders,’ said Wills.

The only problem with that is there are no such programs within the Department of Health in the state. “That may be where the Bill is going in the future, but we don’t have those programs set up now,” Health Department Spokeswoman Ann Wright told The Morning News of Arkansas.

While the state claims that there are counselors who are trained to deal with gambling addiction, others believe that problem gambling is an addiction that needs individual attention.

“Of course counselors can de4al with any form of addiction, but that does not mean that they understand the specific problems related to gambling addiction. For the House Speaker to not know that no specific problem gambling programs exist in a state that has legally allowed gambling, it is shocking,” said observer William Narbendie.

The Bill would call for a minimum of $200,000 going to help problem gambling, but with no programs in sight, many are left to wonder where that money will, or has, gone.

The Department of Health has acknowledged that they have received funds for problem gambling. They have used that money to fund addiction treatment in local community health centers. It still does not answer the question of why there is no specific treatment programs for problem gamblers.

Programs are available to Arkansas but have not yet been tapped as resources. The National Council on Problem Gambling has affiliate groups in many states, but as of now none of them are in Arkansas.

“It is important that if these lawmakers are going to continue to create a Bill that involves expanded gambling, then they need to first do their homework. The House Speaker and anyone else involved in this process need to explore how they can set up help for potential problem gambling situations before they expand gambling in the state through a lottery,” said Narbendie.

Labor Union and Governor Patrick Team For Casinos in Massachusetts

Labor Union and Governor Patrick Team For Casinos in Massachusetts

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Governor Deval Patrick of Massachusetts has received criticism for putting casino revenue money in the budget that ends in 2009. One group has sided with the Governor on the issue.

The Massachusetts AFL-CIO, a powerful local labor union has joined forces with the Governor. They are trying to get legislators to vote on a proposal from Patrick.

“Most people in this commonwealth are aware of the fact that we are a very politically able organization,” said Robert Haynes, the President of the labor union.

The union is joining the fight because of the potential impact that casino gambling could have on the state. It is projected that between 20,000 and 30,000 permanent jobs could be brought to the area from casino expansion. That does not even count the temporary jobs that would be created for the building of the casinos.

“We have over the years been rather successful in electing candidates to office…that share our values and principles, …we are going to use our political strength and our political programs in the legislative process now,” said Haynes.

The majority of their efforts will go towards getting lawmakers to take a vote on the Patrick proposal

Antigua and Barbuda Hoping For Better WTO Result This Time

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The first arbitration hearing held was a disappointment for Antigua and Barbuda. They were seeking $3.4 billion from the United States in a remote gaming dispute. They received an award of only $21 million.

An arbitrator only awarded them that money based on the idea that they were only to be compensated for horse racing, and not all online gaming.

They feel more confident this time around. They have filed a second notice last month. They believe that the outcome of the first arbitration will not affect how the second one will end up.

“It is pretty much the opinion of WTO experts and other country delegations that limiting the damages to horse racing was completely wrong and the experts I have spoken to believe that that ruling will not be followed because it is so completely wrong,” said Attorney for Antigua and Barbuda, Mark Mendel, in an interview with the Antigua Sun.

The United States has made no effort to pay the compensation, and that is if they are intending to pay at all. Mendel believes the U.S. is just drawing out the process. “The reality is that they are just using the process as much as they can to try to extend things out and make things more difficult on us, as they are entitled to do, but we just have to be prepared for that and soldier on,” said Mendel.

The process for the second arbitration could take a while. It could end up being another six months before the new arbitration ruling comes down.