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Bingo Bill Makes Headway in the Alabama State Senate

Mar 31, 2010
Alabama Bingo

After months of both debate and action with accents of public discontent, a bill regarding the current bingo situation has finally made a bit of headway in the Alabama legislative system. The bill was passed, by the skin of its teeth in the state Senate on Tuesday.

Andalusia State-News: Bingo narrowly passes Senate

Late yesterday, the Alabama Senate passed a bingo bill with a vote of 21-13. The bill was sponsored by Sen. Roger Bedford, D-Russellville, and would allow Alabama residents to decide if they want to tax and regulate electronic bingo in November.

This bill would create a gaming commission and tax gambling in the state by at least 25%. Bedford said that this rate is already 3 times higher than in New Jersey and Nevada, but could be increased.

The 5 members of the gaming commission couldn’t work for gambling interests for 5 years before or after serving on the commission; and gambling interests couldn’t contribute to the campaigns of the elected officials who appoint commission members. The commission would have subpoena power and would be subject to the Alabama Ethics Commission.

If the Legislature and voters approve the bill, lawmakers will have a special session next year and determine more of the details. The measure must also pass the Alabama House of Representatives.

CBS News: Senate Approves Bingo Bill

A once thought dead bingo bill has new life in what the bill’s author calls a shorter, simpler form. In a surprise move on Tuesday, Senate Bill 330 was re-introduced by Senator Roger Bedford. Senate Republicans tried to defeat the measure but failed and it passed with 21 votes to 13.

The bill now needs to be passed in the state House. There are still 3 weeks left in the session, and bingo supporters say they’ll have plenty of time to get it passed so Alabama residents will get the chance to vote on it in November.

The Associated Press: Alabama Senate Passes Electronic Bingo Bill

Alabama voters may get to vote in referendum on whether they want electronic gaming in the state after the senate passed a proposed constitutional amendment on Tuesday night.

The senate mustered 21 votes, just enough to pass the bill, which protects games from raids, at the same time as taxing and regulating them. Before this bill is subjected to referendum, it must be passed in the state’s House of Representatives.

In the meantime, the Alabama Supreme Court has left a judge’s order in place which blocks the Governor’s Anti-Gambling Task Force from raiding VictoryLand in Macon County.

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Malaysia sports betting proposal draws local criticism

Mar 30, 2010
Malaysia Sports

Malaysia’s Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak made an announcement last week that he is considering legalizing sports betting in the country, perhaps even in time for the FIFA World Cup that begins on June 11 in South Africa. The announcement has many frustrated, including his own MPs, who feel that Najib is keeping them out of the loop.

AsiaOne News: Legal sports betting in Malaysia soon?

Sports betting in Malaysia may soon be legalized, perhaps even in time for the Fifa World Cup finals in South Africa that begin on June 11.

A local gambling firm called the Berjaya Group is seeking approval to offer sports internet betting activities in the country.

The group received such permission from the Finance Ministry in October 2004, and even paid RM25 million for a 20-year concession. The prime minister, however, shot down the proposal, saying the government would not legalize football betting in Malaysia.

Malaysians are already betting illegally on sports, and authorities are hopeful that legalizing sports betting would reduce the number of illegal bettors.

“It will likely divert money from illegal football betting. In 2006, it was estimated that the legal gaming is valued at RM850 million ($260 million) every day in Malaysia, with illegal gambling estimated at around the same amount.

This gives the total size of estimated daily gambling in Malaysia at around RM1.7 billion ($520 million).
It will also take some of the gaming market share lost to Singapore with the opening of its first casino recently,” said an industry observer.

Free Malaysia Today: MPs to Najib: Explain bid to legalise sports betting

Malasia MPs feel that Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak has some explaining to do regarding his recent statement that he is “considering” legalizing sports betting in Malaysia.

Pakatan Rakyat leaders have taken him to task over his statement in Hong Kong, with Rasah MP Anthony Loke Siew Fook accusing Najib of being “secretive” about the matter.

“Why is Najib so secretive about this? If it’s indeed true that the government is considering to legalise it, doesn’t he know the social impact it will have on the youth? I challenge him to explain this matter in Parliament,” Rasah MP Anthony Loke Siew Fook said in Parliament last week.

Machang MP Saifuddin Nasution Ismail also questioned the government’s move in considering the matter.

“Is it solely for tax purposes? Don’t they know the social impact behind it? Is this their move to reduce the deficit gap? The ball is now in Najib’s court to answer this,” he said.

The Malay Mail: NGOs shoot down proposal on sports betting

The general consensus among non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in Malaysia is that legalizing sports betting could lead to social problems in the long run.

Datuk N. Marimuthu, president of Consumers Associations (Fomca), has expressed concerns that legalizing sports betting could lower people’s morality.

When asked for a comment about the recent announcement that sports betting may soon be legalized in Malaysia, Marimuthu replied: “Some turn to gambling with the hopes of striking gold. But gambling, in whatever form, is never right.”

“Whatever your religion,” he continued, “gambling falls in the same category as womanising.”

Malaysian Muslim Consumers Association (PPIM) secretary general Datuk Dr Maamor Osman also dislikes the idea of legalizing sports betting in Malaysia.

“What’s the use of labeling Malaysia a Muslim country if we do not portray it as such? Speaking from a multi-racial angle, there is no religion that allows its followers to engage in such activity. It is bad for everyone.”

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Armed Robbers Strike the Grand Casino in Switzerland

Mar 29, 2010
Swiss Robbers

Masked Robbers charged the Grand Casino, located in Basle, Switzerland, just 200 meters from the French border. The bandits made off with hundreds of thousands of franks and escaped across the border. Swiss and French police are working in a joint effort to bring the situation to justice.

BBC News: Switzerland casino is robbed by armed gang

According to prosecutors, masked men stormed a casino near the Swiss border city of Basle, and made off with hundreds of thousands of francs. About 10 raiders showed up in two cars and smashed their way in, brandishing machine-guns and pistols.

The gang spoke French and ordered the 600 guests and employees to the floor while they emptied registers. Reports say they couldn’t get into the strong room despite firing on the door. The gang escaped in their cars, silver Audis with French license plates, headed towards France. Basle lies on the Swiss border, with French territory just 200m from the casino.

According to the Basle prosecutor’s office, no-one was injured though several shots were fired. Managing director Michael Favrod said it was the first robbery at the casino.

The Guardian: Basle’s Grand Royal casino raided by armed gang

French and Swiss police have launched a cross-border manhunt for an armed gang which recently stormed a Swiss Casino and made off with hundreds of thousands of Euros. According to prosecutors, the raid was professionally executed at 4am in the Basle’s Grand Casino by about 10 masked raiders armed with machine guns and pistols.

One man burst through the door with a sledgehammer, and his partners ran inside and ordered guests to the floor while firing into the air. Some of the gang tried to break into the safe room but failed, despite firing bullets into the door.

The gang sped across the border in 2 silver Audis. The Grand Casino is just 200 meters from the French border. Witnesses said the gang members spoke in French.

The Wall Street Journal: Armed Gang Raids Swiss Casino

A gang of masked men raided a large casino in Basel and stole hundreds of thousands of Swiss francs just 1 week after the Swiss government approved the expansion of gaming.

The 10 men pulled off a daring heist at the Grand Casino of Basel. They pulled up to the casino in a pair of gray Audis bearing French license plates. Once inside, they brandished machine guns and pistols, and ordered the 600 guests and employees to drop to the ground. Investigators said the men spoke French.

Some of the men emptied registers, while others unsuccessfully attempted to break open a safe in the basement by shooting the door. A few guests and casino guards were lightly injured in a scuffle.

The theft happened just a week after the Swiss government gave the green light for regions that don’t currently have casinos to seek a license this spring. At the moment, there are 19 casinos in Switzerland.

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Loto-Québec to pay $50 million to cover gambling therapy costs

Mar 26, 2010
Loto Therapy

In 2001, a class-action suit was filed against Loto-Québec. The suit was filed on behalf of 120,000 Quebecers who were seeking damages, claiming that Video Lottery Terminals operated by the group had led to addiction. An out-of-court settlement has finally been reached, with Loto-Québec agreeing to pay for addiction therapy expenses incurred between 1994 and 2002.

CBC News: Loto-Québec to pay for gamblers’ therapy

A class action suit launched in 2001 against Loto-Québec by addicted gamblers has come to a head. Loto-Québec must now pay for addiction therapy treatments for thousands of compulsive gamblers in the province, after the old suit was settled out of court.

The multimillion-dollar settlement was approved by the multimillion-dollar on Tuesday. Loto-Québec has agreed to pay for gamblers’ addiction therapy expenses incurred between 1994 and 2002, to an average of about $5,000 per claimant. The lawsuit will cost the gambling company estimated $50 million as they pay out to about 120,000 claimants in Quebec.

Sol Boxenbaum, an advocate of responsible gambling, said that the settlement falls short because it doesn’t establish any significant legal precedent that will help control problem gamblers.

“We had established that video lottery terminals had addictive features built right into them. In the settlement, the lawyers agreed that the machine does not cause the addiction. So, in other words, we have thrown away everything that we worked towards establishing,” he said.

Claimants have 18 months to request reimbursement for past therapy expenses.

Montrael Gazette: Settlement for gamblers: Court okays deal with Loto-Québec

Canada’s Quebec Superior Court approved a multimillion-dollar settlement on Tuesday between Loto-Québec and thousands of people with gambling problems. The agreement marks the end of a class-action lawsuit launched in 2001.

An estimated 119,000 pathological gamblers were seeking compensation. Justice Gratien Duchesne ruled the deal, settled out of court, is “just, fair, reasonable, appropriate and in the best interests of the members of the group.”

The agreement will see the Quebec government reimbursing claimants for addiction treatments and other fees to gamblers who underwent therapy between 1994 and 2002. The average reimbursement will be about $5000.

The province has been paying for the treatment for people suffering from compulsive gambling since 2002.

Loto-Québec said it is satisfied with the deal, because it clearly states that the VLT machines did not cause the gamblers’ addiction.

“We were proved right on the most fundamental argument,” said a Loto-Québec spokesman.

Lotto-Quebec: Loto-Québec satisfied with the class action settlement

Loto-Québec is satisfied by Québec Superior Court Justice Gratien Duchesne’s decision to approve the out-of-court settlement of the class action lawsuit that was launched by Québec City lawyer Jean Brochu in regards to video lottery terminals.

During the trial, proof was made that video lottery terminals are not the cause of compulsive gambling. This is a position that Loto-Québec has always defended, and was glad to see the plaintiff recognize the fact in the settlement.

For the sake of fairness, the Government of Québec has agreed to reimburse therapy fees for gamblers who were treated between 1994 and 2002. Claimants have 18 months to send in their receipts and claim reimbursement.

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Football match-fixing scandal leads to mass arrests in Turkey

Mar 25, 2010
Turkish Football

A match-fixing scandal that broke out a few months ago in Germany is still unfolding and has led to the recent arrest of some 46 individuals in Turkey. Among the detained are a number of players and coaches wrapped up in what was an estimated 200 fixed matches in 11 countries.

People’s Daily Online: More than 50 detained on football match-fixing in Turkey

Over 50 people including professional football players, coaches, managers and high-ranking officials, were detained Wednesday on allegations of manipulating football games and match fixing. Police raids were carried out in 8 Turkish provinces.

Detainees were brought to Istanbul for further interrogation. Those in custody are being processed at the Istanbul Financial Crimes Unit. The Turkish Football Association declared that the investigation started with their application to the prosecutor in August 2009.

In its announcement, the federation claimed that 3 different match-fixing dossiers were examined. Match-fixing allegations started in November by organized crime officials in Bochum, Germany. Since then over 200 matches in 11 countries have been investigated including Turkey.

BBC News: Mass arrests in Turkey in football match-fixing probe

Turkish police have arrested 46 people in connection with a Europe-wide football match-fixing scandal which first broke in Germany 4 months ago. The arrests were made in 26 towns and cities across the country. German investigators believe some 200 matches in 11 countries were fixed by players and referees. Estimates indicate that gamblers have made at least €10 million on this.

The charges that suspects might face are unknown, but they are under investigation by the smuggling and organised-crime department of the police.

The German investigation of what is thought to be Europe’s largest match-fixing racket ever has pushed Turkish prosecutors to go after those whom they believe have been rigging league games locally.

NBC Sports: Turkey: 46 people questioned over match-fixing

Turkish police say 46 people were detained for questioning as part of an investigation into alleged match-fixing in football.

Istanbul police chief, Huseyin Capkin, said that suspects were detained in 26 different cities and that operations will continue. Several clubs’ players and officials were detained Wednesday by fraud squads as part of the investigation.

Kamil Dizdar of topflight club Istanbul, Buyuksehir Belediyespor, confirmed that assistant coach Arif Erdem and goalkeeper Kenan Hasagic were being interrogated by investigators.

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Alabama’s Bingo Battle Verging on All-Out War

Mar 24, 2010
Bingo Peace

Alabama state governor Bob Riley has become famous for his Task Force on Illegal Gambling, which he sends around to raid what he calls “illegal” electronic bingo halls. In a surprising move, Attorney General Troy King has just taken control of the task force, insisting that the raids stop until the legal status of the bingo machines is determined by the courts. The state of Alabama has already paid half a million dollars in legal fees supporting the Task Force in the 18 lawsuits that have been filed against it. Task Force Commander John Tyson, says King does not have the authority to take over or stop raids.

Bloomberg Business Week: Alabama AG to take over antigambling task force

Two casinos in the US state of Alabama intend to reopen next week after Attorney General Troy King announced that he is taking over the Governor’s Task Force on Illegal Gambling, King intends to put an end to the ongoing raids of electronic bingo casinos until a final court ruling regarding the legality of machines.

The two casinos, Country Crossing at Dothan and White Hall Entertainment Center in Lowndes County, both closed down a month ago to avoid being raided by the governor’s task force.

The legal battle over electronic bingo in Alabama’s boils down to a simple disagreement. Alabama Governor Bob Riley and Task Force Commander Tyson argue that electronic bingo machines are illegal slot machines, while King insists that the final determination must be made by the court.

King intends to use his authority as Alabama’s top law officer to take control, remove Tyson from power, and secure all evidence collected by the Task Force. King will also put an end to the pre-dawn raids of casinos that the Task Force has been conducting – without search warrants.

Task Force Commander Tyson, who is also a district attorney in Mobile, says King does not have the authority to take over or stop raids.

“If the attorney general gets his way, then the only thing that will be assured is that the illegal slot machines casinos will get to stay open for months and months as the gambling bosses drag out the litigation that the attorney general says he is going to bring,” Tyson said.

Fox News Alabama: Tyson Fires Back at Troy King over Gambling

John Tyson said yesterday that he has no intentions of stepping down from his position as the Commander of Alabama Governor Riley’s anti-gambling task force.

Tyson he argues that the issue is greater than just a battle against illegal gambling, noting that casinos have a tendency to breed corruption.

“I fought corruption because it’s the right thing to do and yeah, I’ve taken some heat for it,” Tyson said. “Governor Riley and I talked about the price of fighting corruption. We both agree, it’s worth the heat.”

Tyson also said he would comply with King’s demands turn over the evidence the Task Force has collected.

When asked if he intends to execute raids on any casinos that dare to re-open in light of King’s announcement, Tyson replied: “The Governor of the state of Alabama as recently as this morning again says ‘John, you’re the commander of the task force on illegal gambling, go get ’em, ‘. I will see to it to see that the laws of the state are enforced. I will not disclose how we might choose to do that.”

Mongomery Advisor: Several lawsuits have been filed against the task force

The state of Alabama has paid $536,115 in legal expenses since December 2008 to support Governor Bob Riley’s Task Force on Illegal Gambling.

The state has also has seized about $1.3 million during raids on electronic bingo parlors. After each of the raids or in to stop anticipated raids, organizations have filed lawsuits against the Task Force, its Commander John Tyson., Governor Riley, and other officials.

According to the Governor’s office, the Task Force is currently involved in 18 lawsuits related to gambling. The court battles involve operators trying to get back gambling machines and monies seized during the raids. Some lawsuits even involve attempts by bingo establishments to file restraining orders against the Task Force to prevent future raids.

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Milwaukee Man to be Charged for Robbing at Least 3 Banks

Mar 23, 2010
Casino Bank Robber

A Milwaukee Man, Roberto Ruiz, has been charged with robbing three banks and stealing a total of $17,000. He may be charged for robbing another four that he apparently admitted to in a criminal complaint. His most recent robbery was executed on Wednesday so that he wouldn’t have to explain to his wife that he lost $3,000 gambling.

Fox 6 Now: Milwaukee man charged with robbing 3 banks of $17,000, allegedly admits to 4 other hold-ups

A Milwaukee man is accused of robbing three banks and making off with about $17,000.
Roberto Ruiz, 35, was charged three felony counts of robbing a financial institution on Saturday. Ruiz’s bail was set at a high $100,000 by the judge.

According to prosecutors has Ruiz robbed at least three banks since last December. The criminal complaint says he admitted to four other robberies since October in which he allegedly took over $13,000.

Ruiz told investigators that he attempted to rob a bank on Wednesday because he had just lost $3,000 at a casino and didn’t want his wife to find out. The complaint also states that he was caught after tellers gave police a description of his getaway vehicle and license plate.

NBC News: Father Suspected In Seven Bank Robberies

St. Patrick’s Day proved unlucky for a suspected bank robber who was caught after robbing the Bank Mutual at 2847 S. Howell Avenue on March 17th. Police now believe the same man is responsible for a total of seven Milwaukee County bank robberies.

Ruiz, a mechanic and father of three, apparently kept his alleged crimes secret from his wife and children. According to recently filed charges, Ruiz told detectives he started stealing in October of 2009. He robbed the U.S. Bank at 4333 S. 27th Street to feed a gambling habit.

This month, Ruiz says he squandered his family’s $3,000 tax refund at Potawatomi Bingo Casino. He told police that he was so embarrassed that he robbed the last bank to avoid telling his wife how he lost the money. He now faces charges with a combined maximum sentence of 120 years.

Police recovered most of the stolen money from the final robbery, but say cash from the other robberies has likely already been lost at the casino.

WTAQ News Talk: Milwaukee Man May Get More Charges For Bank Robberies

Roberto Ruiz of Milwaukee is due back in court in a week for allegedly robbing 3 banks of $17,000. Ruiz, 35, is facing 3 state felony charges. He appeared in court on Sunday where a judge set bail at $100,000.

The 3 alleged robberies occurred since December of 2009. Ruiz told police he robbed one of the banks Wednesday because he didn’t want his wife to figure out that he had lost $3,000 while gambling at a casino.

Tellers spotted Ruiz’s get-away car and gave police a description and license plate number. Prosecutors say he admitted to robbing 4 other banks since last October. At his next court appearance, a judge will decide if there’s enough evidence to order a trial for the 3 latest hold-ups.

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PETA Wants Anti-Gambling Investigation for Mike Tyson Pigeon Racing Show

Mar 22, 2010
Mike Tyson pigeon race

Animal rights group PETA has its feathers fluffed about an upcoming Animal Planet TV show about pigeon racing. The show is to be hosted by boxing champ Mike Tyson, and will follow him as he pits his pet pigeons against professional racing birds. PETA says the show is cruel to animals, and is worried that it will promote illegal gambling.

The Daily Telegraph (Sydney): PETA alleges illegal gambling on Mike Tyson’s pigeon racing TV reality show

Mike Tyson has a new “pigeon racing” reality TV show in the works, but before the show has even gone on the air, it is already under investigation over accusations of illegal gambling.

The retired champion boxer is a life-long pigeon lover. His new show, called Take on Tyson, is scheduled to air on Animal Planet. It is a show about bird racing, and it pits Tyson and his trained birds against the best racing pigeons in New York.

The animal rights group PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) is displeased. They are accusing the show of violating New York gambling laws, because the show stands to profit from animal racing.

The District Attorney in Brooklyn (where the show is filmed) is investigating PETA’s claims. Animal Planet has claimed that there would be no gambling on the show, but a representative for PETA retorted by pointing out that making any money (including Tyson’s salary) off animal racing is clearly illegal.

USA Today: PETA feathers ruffled by Mike Tyson NY pigeon show

An animal welfare group is asking New York City prosecutors to investigate boxing star Mike Tyson’s upcoming reality tv show about pigeon racing.

PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) argues that the show, which has yet to air, is cruel to animals. They also argue that races are likely to involve or promote illegal gambling.

The new show, which is expected to air next year on Animal Planet, will follow Tyson as he competes in pigeon races across New York. The former world heavyweight champion has raised pigeons all his life, but is not experienced racing them.

PETA sent a letter on March 18 to the Brooklyn district attorney’s office requesting that an investigation be opened. Jonah Bruno, district attorney spokesman, says they are looking into the matter.

NY Daily News: PETA fights to put a stop on Mike Tyson’s new Animal Planet reality show featuring pigeon racing

Animal rights activists are upset about boxing champ Mike Tyson’s plans to host a reality TV show about “the intensely competitive and bizarrely fascinating world of pigeon racing.”

PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) wants New York prosecutors to shut down the new Animal Planet show, “Taking on Tyson,” which will show Tyson racing his birds against other New York pigeons. PETA says the show exploits pigeons and glorifies an abusive sport.

The show might also run into trouble with New York’s anti-gambling laws.

“Pigeon racing as an industry involves gambling. That’s why people do it, to make money,” said PETA general counsel Jeffrey Kerr.

PETA thinks it is likely that wagers would be made over the outcome of races featured on the show.

He insisted District Attorney Charles Hynes should probe the Brooklyn-based show and “make sure the production is not allowed to go forward if illegal activity is going to take place.”

Jonah Bruno, a spokesman for the Brooklyn District Attorney’s offer, said that they received PETA’s complaint and are looking into the matter.

Tyson claims to have raised pigeons all his life, but he never raced them competitively before.

“We love these birds,” Tyson said. “It feels good returning to the rooftops of the city where it all started for me.”

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Chelsea’s Owner, Abramovich, Wins Libel Suit: Charities Rejoice

Mar 19, 2010
Roman Abramovich

The owner of Chelsea Football Club, Roman Abramovich, has accepted a public apology in regards to false allegations that he has a severe gambling problem. Gruppo Editoriale L’Espresso, the party at fault, has also agreed to for substantial damages done by way of libel. The money will reportedly go to charity.

The New York Times: Chelsea’s Abramovich Wins Gambling Slur Damages

Russian businessman, Roman Abramovich, owner of London club Chelsea, won a public apology and substantial libel damages Thursday over false claims made in a newspaper that he had a serious gambling problem.

An Italian newspaper, La Repubblica, published an article alleging that Abramovich suffered a heavy poker loss and had been forced to give away a luxury yacht. The article also implied that Abramovich’s long-term partner Dasha Zhukova presented him with an ultimatum that he either give up poker or she would end their relationship. On top of all that it suggested Abramovich had been forced to liquidate assets to cover heavy gambling debts, according to John Kelly, Abramovich’s lawyer.

The newspaper’s publisher, Gruppo Editoriale L’Espresso, has agreed to pay Abramovich “substantial damages” which he intends to donate to charity. The publisher’s lawyer, Sarah Toolan, said it offered its sincere apologies. “The defendant accepts that the allegations are untrue and ought never to have been published,” she said.

The Press Association: Abramovich wins pay-out over gambling claim

Chelsea FC owner Roman Abramovich has accepted a public apology and substantial libel damages at the High Court over false newspaper allegations that he had a serious gambling problem. John Kelly, his solicitor, told a judge that the claims had caused the “internationally well-known” Russian businessman “distress and embarrassment”.

Legal action arose from allegations in the Italian newspaper, La Repubblica, in an article entitled “A black year for Abramovich as he loses a yacht at poker.”Mr. Kelly told Justice Eady that the paper’s publisher, Gruppo Editoriale L’Espresso, had agreed to pay Mr Abramovich “substantial damages”, which will go to charity.

Kelly said: “Regrettably, these allegations were not put to Mr Abramovich or his representatives before publication. If they had been, the defendant would have been advised of the utter falsity of the allegations.”
Sarah Toolan, solicitor for the publisher, said the defendant “offers its sincere apologies to Mr Abramovich for the distress and embarrassment this article has caused”.

The Moscow Times: Abramovich Wins Libel Suit

Chelsea FC owner, Roman Abramovich, has won a public apology as well as libel damages from an Italian publisher over allegations that he is a compulsive gambler.

The publisher, Gruppo Editoriale L’Espresso, agreed to pay “substantial damages” for a story in the paper La Repubblica in May which ran under the title, “A black year for Abramovich as he loses a yacht at poker,” Abramovich’s lawyer John Kelly said Thursday. Kelly said Abramovich would donate the money to charity.

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Chinese Football Ref May Face Death Penalty

Mar 18, 2010
China Football Referee

Lu Jun, one of China’s most beloved referees, was arrested last week along with two other refs under suspicion of match fixing. Depending on the amount of money involved, Lu may face the death penalty for his crimes. Police, however, have not made an official statement about why the arrests were made.

Al Jazeera: China referees arrested over graft

Last week, Chinese police arrested three football referees on suspicion of match-fixing. Among the men detained is Lu Jun, one of China’s leading referees. Lu officiated hundreds matches before retiring in 2005, and earned the nickname the “golden whistle” for his integrity during an earlier match fixing scandal.

Lu’s sentence will depend on the amount of money involved in the betting scandal, but as a public servant, if he is found guilty of taking money, he may face the death penalty.

Wei Di, head of the Chinese Football Association (CFA), said he was “shocked” and “hurt” by the news of Lu’s arrest.

“He is undoubtedly a first-rate referee in terms of working ability, but his morals are a far cry from his ‘golden whistle’ reputation,” he said.

Facing intense pressure from China’s leaders, Wei is cracking down on match-fixing and corruption in Chinese football. He took over for as head of the CFA after his predecessor was arrested as part of an investigation into corruption in the game.

China Daily: Match fixing: 3 referees arrested

Three Chinese soccer referees, including the famous “golden whistle” Lu Jun, have been arrested on suspicion of accepting bribes.

Lu Jun, Zhou Weixin and Huang Junjie have been arrested,” said soccer chief Wei Di. “I was really shocked and hurt when Lu’s name cropped up in the scandal. He is undoubtedly a first-rate referee in terms of working ability, but his morals are a far cry from his ‘golden whistle’ reputation,” Wei said.

Lu was named the “best referee” in the league’s first decade. He was also named “Referee of the Year” twice by the Asian Football Confederation.

“We don’t know what sentences they will get But we can see these referees must have contributed to the problem of match fixing and manipulation,” Wei said, but the punishment for State servants found guilty of accepting bribes of more than 100,000 yuan ($14,705) is a minimum of 10 years up to death, according to Chinese law.

Reuters: China chief ‘hurt’ by match-fixing arrest of ‘golden’ ref

Chinese Football Association (CFA) chief Wei Di was “shocked” and “hurt” by the arrest of World Cup referee Lu Jun last week. Lu was dubbed the “golden whistle” for his integrity during the “black whistles” scandal some eight years ago.

One of three referees arrested, Lu faces punishments that could range from an administrative sanction to the death penalty, depending on the amount of money involved in the scandal.

The others referees detained were retired 45-year-old Guangzhou official Zhou Weixin and Huang Junjie, an active FIFA international referee.

Police have not told CFA chief Wei why the three officials were arrested. Wei took over as chief after his predecessor Nan Yong was arrested during another Chinese football scandal.

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California Man Sentenced to Serve 7 Years for Cheating Casinos

Mar 17, 2010
Guilty Casino

A San Diego resident has finally been nabbed for leading a cheating gambling ring on a very prosperous tour of the US. The group conspired with dealers and ended up winning over $7 million dollars since 2002. The leader, Phuong Quoc Truong, will spend 7 years in prison due to his schemes.

Today Online: ‘False shuffles’ won him $9.8m

A U.S. man who led a card ring that cheated many casinos out of $7 million (C$9.8 million) was sentenced to nearly 6 years in federal prison. Phuong Quoc Truong admitted to leading the ring, that targeted 27 U.S. casinos. The operation began in 2002.

Truong was ordered to pay $5.7 million in restitution, $2.8 million in fines give up 2 homes, property in Vietnam, a 2001 Porsche Carrera, and a Rolex watch. The ring targeted table games and involved “false shuffles” which created groups of unshuffled cards that group members could successfully bet on, knowing the card order in advance.

The ring made their biggest score in 2005; $868,000 in 90 minutes at a table, according to indictments. So far, 37 people have pleaded guilty to participating in the organization.

The Associated Press: Calif. man sentenced for bilking $7M from casinos

A San Diego man who led a card-cheating ring that bilked 27 casinos out of $7 million was sentenced to nearly six years in federal prison on Monday. Phuong Truong admitted to leading the “Tran Organization.” The operation began in 2002.

In federal court, Truong pleaded guilty to racketeering conspiracy in 2008. On Monday he received orders to pay $5.7 million in restitution and forfeit nearly $2.8 million in fines plus several properties and possessions both home and in Vietnam.

According to prosecutors, the organization used hidden transmitters and software to predict the order in which the cards would appear in blackjack games and payed off dealers in other table games.

The Province: Casino scam cashed out

An U.S. man who set up an elaborate conspiracy to cheat U.S. and Canadian casinos of millions of dollars was sentenced to 70 months in prison Monday, according to the Justice Department.

Phuong Quoc Truong will also forfeit nearly $3 million, repay nearly $6 million to several casinos and forfeit assets including several U.S. and Vietnamese properties, a Porsche, a Rolex watch and a diamond-encrusted pendant.

Truong was convicted of having set up a criminal enterprise known as the “Tran Organization,” based in San Diego, which bribed card dealers and supervisors in casinos to help them execute an elaborate cheating scheme.

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European Poker Tour robbed by group of heavily armed bandits

Mar 12, 2010
Germany Poker

As if the European Poker Tour weren’t exciting enough of an event, last week’s was heavily intensified. Knowing that there was a lot of cash at stake, a group of thugs made a successful attempt at armed robbery in the ritzy Grand Hyatt Berlin.

The Star: Bandits play hand in poker tour

German police hunted for 4 bandits who stormed a poker tournament in Berlin and stole about $335,000 in cash in a brazen daylight heist on Monday. The armed men rushed into the European Poker Tour event at the Grand Hyatt Berlin. According to the Berlin police spokesman, Police are analyzing video footage of the crime, dusting for prints and talking to witnesses.

Surveillance footage outside the hotel caught one robber without his mask, but only from behind. At least 2 of the 4 men were armed, one with a machete and one with a revolver, he said.

Rainer Wendt, leader of a German police union, faulted organizers for not hiring enough guards.

The Sydney Morning Herald: Poker heist gang were stupid amateurs: police

An armed gang that staged a brazen heist on a $7 million Berlin poker championship can be regarded as amateurs and will be caught soon, according to the head of the German police. The masked gang of 4 burst into the Grand Hyatt hotel in central Berlin, wielding machetes and handguns and made off with 242,000 euro in cash, while leaving mountains of evidence.

Though there are still “no hot leads” on the robbers, a police spokeswoman said investigators are “confident” that the “relatively large amount of material” they are sifting through will soon result in hard evidence.

After five days, American online poker star Kevin “ImaLuckSac” MacPhee carried off the one million euro top prize. The competition’s total prize pool was 4.7 million euro, according to the European Poker Tour, which organised the event.

BBC News: Robbers raid Berlin hotel poker tournament

Armed robbers have stormed a luxury hotel in central Berlin where a poker tournament was taking place. One report said the gang – armed with assault rifles and hand grenades – made off with the tournament jackpot of $1.1 million. There were injuries due to the ensuing panic but no one was seriously injured.

Four robbers entered from Potsdamer Platz while two others allegedly kept watch, according to Tageszeitung. Images of the chaotic scenes were broadcast by the private n-tv television station. Officials said most of the injuries were caused by panic.

The European Poker Tour (EPT) tournament – resumed about 4 hours after the attack, according to German media sources.

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Lots of activity regarding the gambling industry in Indiana Legislature

Mar 10, 2010
Money Kids

Brick and Mortar gambling has become a hot issue in the state of Indiana and a few different bills are currently in writing or have recently been voted on. Most notable was a proposal to allow floating casinos to move inland, but there’s also been legislation indicating that parents must give gambling profits to their kids.

Fox News: Staying wet: Casinos not allowed to move inland

An amendment in the Indiana House that would have allowed the area’s floating casinos to move inland was defeated, and the issue appears dead. Representatives voted 57-42 Tuesday and shot down the amendment to a broader Senate casino bill. The bill was pulled from further consideration in the House.

The deadline for Senate bills to be amended in the House is Wednesday and the bill could be reconsidered by then, but the bill’s sponsor, Democratic Rep. Bill Crawford has no such intentions for it.

Rep. Crawford was angered that amendments to boost Indiana’s “racinos” won support but not the inland casino language that was aimed primarily at helping riverboats in Gary, Hammond and East Chicago.

WBIC News 93.1 FM: Inland Casino Bill Rejected

Indiana’s House has voted against amending a gaming bill to allow existing riverboat casinos to convert to land-based operations. The gambling industry and individual casinos struggling to compete with growing operations in neighboring states were split by the issue.

Rep. Matt Bell argued that the amendment would protect an established industry in Indiana from outside competition. He said, “It can be an important part of making our properties competitive, so they can attract individual investment into the state.”

Rep. Mike Murphy, on the other hand, countered that casinos are asking for special treatment, saying: “They don’t want to be treated like a business. They want to be treated like a monopoly.” The point that the gambling industry contributes millions of dollars to the state economy while creating thousands of jobs was argued by Rep. Charlie Brown.

A legislative summer study on gambling indicated that the state could lose over $100 million in gambling tax revenue if it disregards Ohio casinos, which were authorized by voters in November.

The Assosciated Press: Indiana House Backs Taking Deadbeat Parents’ Winnings

The Indiana House recently passed a bill that would require gambling parents who hit big slot machine jackpots at casinos to give winnings to their children.

The bill was approved unanimously and would withhold gambling winnings from parents who are behind on child support payments. It all makes sense in a state where just 58% of child support payments are collected.

Over 165,000 non-custodial parents owe more than $2,000 for back child support in more than $2 billion of delinquencies. The withholdings would generally kick in on slot machine winnings of $1,200 or more. The bill must return to the Senate for consideration of changes the House made.

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Tiger Woods Shuns $75 Million Paddy Power Sportsbook Sponsorship Deal

Mar 09, 2010
Paddy Tiger

Golfer Tiger Woods, who has been in the limelight in recent months because of a scandal surrounding his personal life, has turned down a lucrative sponsorship offer from Paddy Power, Ireland’s biggest bookmaker. Woods has lost many of his biggest sponsors in recent months. Paddy Power intends to turn around with an even better offer.

New York Times: Woods Turns Down Paddy Power Sponsorship Offer

Golfer Tiger Woods turned down a five year, $75 million sponsorship offer from the Irish online sportsbook Paddy Power. Upon being rejected, Paddy Power announced intentions to an improved offer.

Woods has been losing sponsors lately. The 14-times major champion winner lost his deal with sports drink brand Gatorade last week. Gatorade was the third major corporate sponsor to dump Woods since details of his inappropriate conduct hit the newsstands last year.

The golf star was earning $100 million in endorsement deals annually before taking a break from golf in December. Woods has not said when he intends to return to the sport when he spoke to media last month. He has remained very quiet since the scandal over his private life erupted in December.

During last year’s U.S. PGA Championship, Paddy Power lost 1.5 million euros to bettors who had gambled on Woods after just 36 holes, even though Woods lost to South Korea’s Yang Yong-eun at the end of the event.

Market Watch: Woods turns down $75 million sponsorship offer

Paddy Power, a publicly traded internet sports betting company in Ireland, offered Tiger Woods’ representatives a $75 million sponsorship deal over the next five years.

Woods turned down the offer. The company said it “remains keen” to strike a deal, and intends make an “enhanced” offer to secure the deal.

Woods has lost many of his endorsements in the last few months, including Accenture and Gatorade, ever since he admitted to having multiple affairs.

Procter & Gamble’s Gillette has kept Woods’ contract alive, might not use Woods in any more ads. Nike and Electronic Arts also continue to honor their contracts.

Woods has publically apologized for his recent actions, but has not said when he will begin golfing again.

Paddy Power has a history of spending on its message: Marketing expenses were nearly 29 million euros in 2009, while recorded profits were around 58 million euros.

Business Week: Paddy Power to Raise Woods Offer After Bid Rejected

Paddy Power, Ireland’s biggest sportsbook, intends will increase its sponsorship offer to Tiger Woods after their previous bid of $75 million over five years was rejected by the golfer.

“Paddy Power remains keen to work with Tiger Woods, and will re-engage” said the Dublin-based group. “An enhanced offer will be made.”

“Tiger as a brand is up there with Coca-Cola and Pepsi. It’s something we are quite serious about.” The new offer will be “somewhat more generous,” he said.

Woods, who is a 14-time major-tournament winner, recently lost his sponsorship deals with Accenture Plc and AT&T Inc. These contracts were broken after Woods admitted to being unfaithful to his wife, and announcing that he intended to take indefinite break from playing golf.

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Pennsylvania Casino Fined $100,000 for Underage Gambling

Mar 08, 2010
Underage Gambling

Gambling regulators in Pennsylvania are fining Mount Airy Casino Resort a whopping total of $100,000 on the basis of underage gambling charges. Gamblers between the ages of 17 and 20 have caught at the casino 6 times in the last year, four of which were reported by the casino.

Bloomberg Business Week: Pa. casino fined $100,000 over underage gambling

Pennsylvania gambling regulators fined a Poconos resort casino $100,000 for underage gambling. The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board says gamblers between 17 and 20 years of age were caught playing slots 6 times at Mount Airy last year. In four of those cases the casino didn’t report the violations.

In an agreement with regulators Mount Airy also purchased 8 electronic scanning devices to check gambler driver’s licenses and other ID cards. Mount Airy’s vice president, Matthew Magda, says the casino is working to prevent future incidents and will report them if they occur.

In the last two years regulators have fined Pennsylvania casinos 9 times totaling $332,500 over underage gambling.

Pocono Record: Mount Airy hit with record fine by state

Mount Airy Casino Resort received a record $100,000 fine from the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board for 5 instances of underage gambling at the casino’s slots. Out of 5 instances, 4 were discovered by resort security yet never reported to the gaming board.

The incidents occurred between July and September 2009 when Pennsylvania’s gaming act made it illegal for anyone under 21 to operate slots and barred individuals under 18 from entering the gaming floor.

Eight identification-scanning devices were also bought by Airy to help prevent underage individuals from accessing the floor in the future. During the past 2 years, the board has levied fines 9 times for violation of underage gambling or minors on the gaming floor totaling $332,500.

The Morning Call: Underage gambling violations at Mount Airy result in $100,000 fine

The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board approved a $100,000 fine against Mount Airy Resort Casino for underage gambling violations that occurred in the last year. According to a news release from the Gaming Control Board, 6 gamblers between the ages of 17 and 20 were caught playing slot machines at Mount Airy Resort Casino last year.

Under Pennsylvania gaming laws, it’s illegal for those under 21 to use or operate a slot, and those under 18 are forbidden from the gaming floor. The law has changed and now dictates that no one under 21 years of age can enter the gaming floor.

The Gaming Control Board described the violations that occurred at Mt. Airy: Two 18-year-old males accessed the gaming floor and played slots on July 18; an 18-year-old male played slots on the gaming floor July 29, a 17-year-old male gained access to the gaming floor and played slots on Aug. 19; a 20-year-old female entered the gaming floor, cashed a large bill at the main cashier’s cage and played slots on Sept. 10; and a 20-year-old male played slots and was served alcohol in the bars located within the resort.

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Crooked charity casino turns men into felons

Mar 05, 2010
Casino Charity

Five men in the US state if Indiana face felony charges for operating what they called a charity casino. The proceeds from the games they offered were supposed to go to a local learning center, but instead went into the pockets of the operators and the men they hired to act as dealers.

News Sentinel: 5 face charges in ‘Poker Palace’ probe

The Indiana Gaming Commission has been keeping an eye on the Parnell Poker Palace since it opened back in 2008. After months of investigation, criminal charges have been filed against its owners and organizers who face three gambling-related felony charges, including conspiracy to commit unlawful charity gaming contracting.

Parnell Poker Palace is legally licensed as a nonprofit gambling operation. They offer games like blackjack, poker, dice games and roulette, and have always claimed to donate all their proceeds to the local White’s School of the Arts, a nonprofit group that helps troubled inner-city kids.

The establishment grossed $100,000 every month, but it was recently learned that deposits meant for the charity were actually being placed into a personal bank account. Quick action was taken to put a stop to the operation.

Journal Gazette: 5 men face felonies in charity-run casino hall

In the US state of Indiana, five men face multiple felony charges for operating a now-defunct charity gambling casino.

The case revolves around Ralph White, 54, who runs White’s School of the Arts Community Development Programs. It is a non-profit organization that offers 24-hour day care and educational programs for around 90 children in the town of Fort Wayne. White is also listed as an operator of Parnell Poker Palace and Casino, which offered poker, craps, roulette and blackjack three days a week from noon to 3 a.m.

While Parnell Poker Palace was legally licensed, it is now clear that its operation broke several laws. White and his partners hired dealers and pit bosses and paid them cash, which is against state laws since the casino was listed as a charity organization. They also enlisted “investors” to help finance the gambling den, and then split the revenue between themselves and White’s School of the Arts. According to state officials, however, White’s School of the Arts never filed a charity gaming report.

As it turns out, Poker Palace proceeds were deposited into White’s personal bank account, even though the money was supposedly being donated to White’s School of the Arts.

The Indiana Gaming Commission investigated the case.

Indiana News Center: Criminal Case Filed Against Former Parnell Poker Palace

Three men in Fort Wayne, Indiana, face criminal charges related to a charity gambling center that state officials say operated outside the law.

The building that is now home to a bar called Rick O’Shay’s used to house the Parnell Poker Palace.

The gambling center was run by Larry York, Charles Keller, George Kotsopoulos, Ed Miers and Ralph White. All are now being accused of illegally profiting from poker, blackjack, and other gambling activities at facility.

Court papers detail their crimes. Dealers and pit bosses were hired as volunteers, but were in fact being paid thousands of dollars under the table.

Larry Rollins of the Indiana Gaming Commission said, “When people then decide that they can profit for themselves by conducting charity events, that’s when it really crosses the line.”

The men face several felony charges including promotion of professional gambling, unlawful charity gaming contracting and corrupt business influence.

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Troop Leader Steals Girl Scout Cookies to Gamble

Mar 04, 2010
Girl Scout

A former Girl Scouts troop leader from Minnesota has been charged for stealing the money that little girls worked hard to earn in the annual cookie sale. In total, Joleen Marie Hopkins admitted to stealing a total of $5,000 dollars in order to gamble among other things. Records, however, indicate that she stole upwards of $8,214.22.

Minneapolis – St. Paul Star Tribune: Charges: Ex-Girl Scout leader’s hand in cookie jar

A Mendota Heights woman, Joleen M. Hopkins, was charged with stealing about $8,200 from local Girl Scouts while she was a Scout leader. She was charged in Dakota County with 2 felony counts of theft by swindle and 4 counts of theft (one felony, one gross misdemeanor and two misdemeanors).

Hopkins wrote checks on Scout bank accounts in 2008 and 2009 and spent money at casinos, restaurants, grocery stores and gas stations. Nearly $4,000 was stolen from the Mendota Heights troop’s cookie sales. Hopkins 3 daughters belong to the troop from which she stole.

The chapter now requires criminal background checks on volunteers, which was not the case when Hopkins became leader. Last week in Washington County, someone entered the garage of a Lakeland home and made off with 407 boxes of cookies. No arrests have been made.

Fox News: Girl Scouts Troop Leader Admits Stealing Cookie Money

A former Girls Scouts troop leader from Mendota Heights, Minnesota; Joleen Marie Hopkins, was charged for swindling money from the troop’s annual cookie sale to pay bills, gamble and buy sports equipment.

Hopkins was charged with 2 felony counts of theft-by-swindle and 4 counts of theft, including 1 felony theft charge. The charges stem from the alleged theft of proceeds from Girl Scouts cookie sales in March 2009.

Hopkins’ husband was the troop cookie manager. The Hopkins were responsible for collecting cash from troop cookie sales and depositing the cash and checks into a troop bank account. Chapter documents show the troop collected $8,515.50 in 2009 cookie sales. A total of $1,459.80 should’ve been deposited into the troop checking account and $7,055.70 should have been deposited to the chapter account. Records show $781.20 was deposited into the troop account and $6,271 was deposited into the chapter account.

Of the $6,271 deposited to the chapter account, Hopkins wrote 6 personal and business checks totaling $2,150.50, which were returned unpaid to the chapter as “unable to locate account.” The police traced those checks to accounts that were closed in 2006 and 2007 due to large dollar overdrafts made by Hopkins.

Hopkins eventually depleted the account to a balance of $15. Investigation revealed that Hopkins had spent more than $3,000 at casinos, auto part stores, restaurants, gas stations, grocery stores and businesses in Wisconsin.

ABC News: Troop leader accused of stealing scouts’ dough

A Twin Cities Girl Scout leader was charged with theft for allegedly stealing thousands in proceeds from her troop’s cookie sales. Joleen Hopkins, 54, of Mendota Heights, took over $8,000 between 2008 and 2009.

The criminal complaint states that Hopkins’ husband was the cookie manager for her girl scout troop. He has not been charged. Hopkins was charged with six theft charges, including three felonies. Hopkins, who also used the name Joleen Tillman, pleaded guilty in 2009 to stealing food stamps back in 2007.

She was sentenced to two years probation and ordered to pay more than $700 in restitution.

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The US state of Iowa wants to legalize online poker

Mar 03, 2010
Poker Bill

US gambling laws do not allow betting across state borders, so Iowa lawmakers have hit on a brilliant idea – allow online gambling, but keep it local. In a new plan that is still being drafted, players would make deposits and manage their accounts at land-based casinos in Iowa, but would be able to gamble online. Naturally, the plan is drawing a lot of criticism.

KWQC News: Iowa May Legalize Online Gambling

Iowa lawmakers are looking to making legal online gambling a reality. While 50,000 Iowans already gamble online, the sites they play at are not licensed in the United States. Some say making online gambling legal would bring some extra revenue to the state.

State Representative Doug Struyk says, “Here’s an opportunity for $11.5 million a year for an activity that’s already going on in the state where Iowans have exposed themselves to significant risks.”

The plan is complex, and it needs to be to get around federal legislation. Players first enter a land-based casino in Iowa to make a deposit, then access online account from a computer in Iowa to play poker. Players would collect winnings back at the land-based casino. All the money would remain in the state.

Some worry that legalizing online gambling could be problematic for people who already have a gambling problem.

“I do know somebody who has developed an online gambling problem, doesn’t need to leave the house to go to the casino. It’s so easy to just click, click, click and then there’s a problem,” said Ellie Bonis.

If all goes as planned, the system could go online as early as next year.

Quad-City Times: Lawmaker: Iowa could be first to allow online gambling

An Iowa lawmaker said last week that the state could become the first in the US to allow online gambling. According to Representative Doug Struyk, around 50,000 people in Iowa already participate in online gaming, but it’s not exactly legitimate.

Struyk is part of a working group trying to work out a new system that would keep money in the state, instead of sending it offshore.

“People in our state lose thousands of dollars on this,” Struyk said.

The system would regulate online gambling through the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission, and would place caps on wagers to help control problem gambling. Players would have to create and manage accounts at land-based casinos, but could place bets over the internet from home.

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy has doubts. “There never has been a state that has done it,” she says. “Allowing every home in the state to be licensed as a casino to gamble at home seems to me to be a fairly heavy lift.”

A proposal is currently being drafted, and Struyk gives it a one-in-four chance of passing this year.

Des Moines Register: Legislators consider online poker

Iowa may become be the first state in the nation to allow legal online poker. A plan is being drafted that allow people to deposit between $50 and $500 into a special account at one of Iowa’s land-based casinos. That account could then be used to play poker on the internet.

Federal gambling laws prohibit gambling between states, so the system would simply restrict the system to players in Iowa.

Online poker could provide $11.5 million a year in revenue into the state’s treasury, according to preliminary projections.

State Representative Mary Mascher is not convinced. “There are a lot of things in Iowa that are illegal, but it doesn’t mean we should legalize it,” she said, citing speeding as an example.

Advocates of the idea call it “account deposit wagering” instead of online gambling. Whatever it’s called, the chances of the plan being put into action are slim.

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Idaho Police Raid Senior Center to Break Up Poker Game

Mar 02, 2010
Senior Poker Game

After years of weekly games, seniors at Idaho’s Twin Falls Senior Center were shocked to have their popular poker games broken up. The seniors thought that they were legal because they donated up to $500 to the senior center every month.

The Magic Valley Times-News: Law takes dim view of gambling at senior center

Above the average criminal age, a group of Twin Falls seniors saw little mercy for having played Poker. According to some of the elder poker enthusiasts, the weekly games made them happy and shouldn’t be illegal.

Police, on the other hand, say nothing permits Idahoans to gamble at any age. Authorities went to the Twin Falls Senior Center earlier this month and explained that the weekly poker games there were illegal and must come to an end.

Five of the seniors claim that about 20 seniors played at the center for more than 5 years despite failing vision, fading memory and limited mobility. They gave an estimated $400 to $500 to the center per month. Each player put in $20 to play, and the pot was split among the top chip holders. Many of the seniors said they didn’t know what they were doing was illegal.

Authorities got involved at the senior center after receiving an anonymous tip about the weekly games. The seniors don’t know who called police, though they’d like to.

State Legislature recently passed a bill to the governor which would give authorities discretion over which gambling reports to investigate and prosecute. Gambling is a misdemeanor. A top local authority believes that this incident, among others is “at best, a waste of law enforcement resources.”

The Idaho Press: No bluff: Police break up senior center poker game

Retirees had no chance when pitted against police at the Twin Falls Senior Center earlier this month when their long-running poker game was broken up due to an anonymous tip. Roughly 20 seniors play at the center since over 5 years ago but police say the law doesn’t permit gambling at any age. Police gave the seniors a warning and didn’t make any arrests.

Residents paid in $20 to play and split the pot among the top chip holders. They donated up to $500 to the senior center each month. Because the money was given to the center, “we thought we were legal,” said 73-year-old Ora Deahl.

The seniors said they don’t know who tipped off police, but they’d like to find out. They would also like a little slack when it comes to enforcing state gambling laws.
They might get just that.

Lawmakers sent a bill to Idaho Gov. Butch Otter last week that would give authorities discretion to not investigate or prosecute all gambling reports.

Fox TV Idaho: No bluff: Police break up senior center poker game

The odds were stacked against pensioners at the Twin Falls Senior Center this month when police officers arrived to break up a long-running poker game after getting an anonymous tip.

About 20 seniors had played at the center for more than five years but police say nothing in Idaho law permits gambling at any age.

Residents paid in $20 to play and the pot was split among the top chip holders. Seventy-3-year-old Ora Deahl says she thought it was legal because the players donated up to $500 to the senior center each month.

Eighty-year-old Doris Williams says they’ve been playing the legal way without money since the police visit but it isn’t as much fun.

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“Tweet but don’t gamble” says US Department of Defense

Mar 01, 2010
Army Social Media

The US Defense Department has officially allowed the use of social networking sites by military personnel on government computers. The computers cannot, however, be used to access prohibited content, including pornography and internet gambling websites. The announcement was made on Friday via Twitter and Facebook.

CNN: U.S. military OKs use of online social media

U.S. military personnel are finally allowed to tweet, but online blackjack is still off-limits.

The Pentagon’s new policy on military personnel using online social media was finally unveiled Friday. The new rules remove blocks on sites like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube from all nonclassified government computers. These and other social networking sites can now be used as long as long as activity does not compromise national security.

The Pentagon announced the new policy via Facebook and Twitter.

The new policy also denies military personnel access to all websites promoting gambling, pornography or hate crimes. These cannot be accessed on nonclassified government computers for any reason.

According to David M. Wennergren, deputy assistant secretary of defense for information management and technology, the new policy “not only promotes information sharing across organizational boundaries and with mission partners, but also enables deployed troops to maintain contact with their loved ones at home.”

BBC News: Twitter and Facebook access for US troops

US troops are now allowed to use social networking websites such as Facebook and Twitter following a statement by the Department of Defense. The benefits of using social media, they say, now outweigh the security risks involved.

Now several sites previously blocked by the Pentagon – including YouTube – will be unblocked. Operators reserve the right to re-institute the blocks temporarily if the need arises to safeguard missions or save bandwidth.

US Defence Secretary Robert Gates says social networking can help the Pentagon interact with US military employees.

“We need to take advantage of these capabilities that are out there – this Web 2.0 phenomena,” said David Wennergren, deputy assistant secretary of defence for information technology.

“There are two imperatives. One is the ability to share information. The other is about security – we need to be good at both,” he said.

US Department of Defense: DOD Releases Policy for Responsible and Effective Use of Internet-Based Capabilities

On Friday, the United States Department of Defense (DoD) released a statement outlining the “safe and effective use” of the internet by military personnel using official equipment. The statement covers the use of social networking services and other interactive internet applications.

Use of social networking sites has become an important tool for communicating across the DoD and with the general public. Establishing a DoD-wide policy will allow for full integration of these tools and capabilities.

According to the memorandum, only the DoD non-classified network will be effected. Commanders will continue to defend against malicious activity and must deny access to prohibited content (includeing gambling and pornography), and must take immediate to safeguard missions.

“This directive recognizes the importance of balancing appropriate security measures while maximizing the capabilities afforded by 21st Century Internet tools,” said Deputy Secretary of Defense William J. Lynn III.

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