Spreadsheet's Blog

Posted Wednesday, May 09, 2012 11:22 AM

A big loss for Wynn

Steve Wynn is not used to losing.

With two 5-star hotel-casinos in Vegas and two more in Macau, he has permanent street cred among the uber-rich in the world. He pretty much gets what he wants, usually with just a knowing nod or a snap of his fingers.

But Wynn is a beaten man today, turning over his king o0n the chess board after voters in Foxboro, Mass., peed all over his plan to put a resort casino across the street from Gillette Stadium. Voters elected two anti-casino selectmen in the town election, and Wynn decided to fold up his tent.

Here in Mass., no one is really sure exactly why the plan (Wynn would lease property owned by Patriots boss Bob Kraft) never got much traction. But Foxboro is a moderately wealthy community with low (4 percent) unemployment, so the promise of jobs didn't resonate as much as it might have. Not even the possibility of $15 million in casino tax money directly to the town was enough to turn the tide.

Wynn has a long history of bullying anyone who doesn't agree with him. Reporters, blackjack dealers, union organizers, business partners ... he doesn't discriminate, and he almost always gets his way.

Not this time.

Posted Thursday, May 03, 2012 10:06 AM

Clemens figures to get a free pass

Roger Clemens figured it would be easier than mowing down the 7-8-9 hitters. He'd schmooze a few senators, testify in Congress that he never took steroids, and eventually stroll into the Hall of Fame with his name cleared.

Instead, he's now looking at a possible prison term after the feds accused him of lying to Congress.

Jon Kyl also lied to Congress, but since he's a sitting senator, no biggie. His punishment is a $122,000-a-year pension and a probable job as a lobbyist for corporations. Nice work if you can get it.

Clemens, meanwhile, is hardly a deep thinker, but you have to wonder what's going through his mind during his perjury trial. The Texas no-apology tough-guy has gotten everything he wants for his entire life, and now this.

The Rocket will probably skate, though. Prosecutors are inept, and all it takes is one star-struck celebrity hound on the jury to make it all go away.

The truth hurts.

Posted Friday, April 13, 2012 09:14 AM

Cantor-run poker area at Palms opens in May

In Las Vegas, Cantor Gaming’s expansion continues unabated.

Cantor recently announced that the under-construction Race & Sports Book at the Palms Hotel-Casino about a mile off the Strip will include a poker area (8 tables) that will be run by (who else?) Cantor. It is expected to open in a few weeks, probably early May.

In addition to expanding Cantor’s already-large profile in Vegas, the move continues a trend in which properties allow third parties to operate certain areas of their facilities. The movement started about a decade ago when many casinos got out of the restaurant business and decided to lease space. Doing something similar with sports books and poker rooms reduces the property’s financial exposure and provides income certainty – important in an shaky, uncertain economic climate.

Cantor deserves credit for striking while the iron is somewhat hot, especially in being near the front of the line in offering online options in Nevada.

During the construction process, Cantor is operating a sports book-only on the main floor near the high roller area.

Posted Thursday, April 05, 2012 10:52 AM

Major paper to take shot at NFL's gambling/ad ties

The NFL is about to take one in the solar plexus.

A source close to the New Jersey gambling scene has told Covers.com that the Philadelphia Inquirer is planning a story that will sharply criticize the NFL on its hypocrisy of allowing teams to accept in-stadium casino gambling advertisements while continuing to oppose sports betting.

The story will be published, said the source, as soon as the Giants and/or Jets confirm that they will be accepting gambling-related advertisements.

The NFL has been widely hammered for years for its stance on sports betting, and it's hardly a secret that the league encourages and benefits from gambling even as it opposes gambling publicly and (occasionally) in the courts.

Guess the NFL figures that the economic benefits of cozying up to casino ad money outweigh the criticism it receives for being hypocritical about the issue.

Posted Thursday, March 22, 2012 11:19 AM

British take advantage of legal Internet gambling

Once again Europe has shown that it is light years ahead of the United States in regulation of Internet gambling.

Plans are in the works in England to change the way wagering is taxed, and if things work out as planned it will help bring more jobs to Great Britain.

Online gambling companies have set up shop outside GB in order to take advantage of low tax rates elsewhere. But Britain is now putting together plans that would alter the tax policy and make it worthwhile for the companies to do business in England, providing needed jobs. Basically, taxes would be paid at what is called the “point of consumption”, in other words where the bettor is, rather than the point of supply, where the operator is. So a company based offshore would still be required to pay taxes to England, even if its operations are in Malta. And if there is less tax benefit to being in Malta, why not just set up shop in London? And hire British workers.

Obviously, all this is world-class level chess compared to the checkers now being played in the United States, where states are arguing about whether they can legally  sell a lottery ticket online.

Posted Thursday, March 01, 2012 08:51 AM

Presidential election offers slim pickings for online players

With each passing day it becomes more likely that come next January Barack Obama, Mitt Romney or Rick Santorum will be sworn in as the president for the next four years.

None of the above figure to be supportive of online gambling that would lead to legalization of sports betting. A look at the options, from worst to best:

3. Santorum. Ugh. Is he running for president or Pope? He's on record as opposing gambling, though if the longest of long shorts is elected, Sunday night church bingo probably would be safe.

2. Romney. He can't connect with voters and he changes his mind more than he changes his underwear. The best thing you could say about him is that even though he's on record as being against online gambling, with no core principles maybe he can be turned.

1. Obama. Did he order or even know about the DoJ Black Friday/Blue Monday indictments? And did he mandate the Dec. 23 easing of regulations regarding online poker and casino games? Who knows? He's not talking.

That's all, folks.

If you're a one-issue voter, Obama's mixed-message policies appear to be better than what the Republicans have to offer. In this instance, the devil you don't know could be a lot better than the devil(s) you do.

Posted Friday, February 24, 2012 09:38 AM

NBA in Vegas? Here's one candidate

The Las Vegas Bucks. Nice ring to it.

There are some rumblings that the Milwaukee Bucks, seemingly frozen solid in the NBA no-man's land of mediocrity, might move when owner Herb Kohl either gets tired of pumping money into the team or passes on.

The Bucks aren't even winning two games out of five these days and appear a lock for another trip to the lottery. Fans have noticed, and if anyone thinks the Bradley Center will be torn down and replaced by new facility, you probably also think that LeBron James will be called for traveling in the final two minutes of a close game.

If the Bucks do move, it creates an opening for a Las Vegas-based NBA product, long a dream of city planners. The main stumbling block is a place to play, and the city can't seem to get a shovel in the ground as a way to entice a pro team.

Another problem: Many in the city are still creeped out by the fallout from the 2007 NBA All-Star Game in Vegas, when the players' entourages descended on the casinos for a weekend and intimidated some blackjack dealers to the point that they were calling in sick.

Having an NBA team in the city has about the same odds as the Bucks actually winning a title in the next five years, but it would be more than fun.

And since money rules on the Strip, the Bucks wouldn't even have to change their nickname.

Posted Friday, February 17, 2012 10:29 AM

Pros taking heat as Full Tilt players forced to wait

It's getting ugly at Full Tilt, where the new owners of the once-popular online poker site are pointing the fingers at TV pros as the reason mainstream players can't get their money back.

Groupe Bernard Tapie says everything would be fine if only the Mike Matusows and Phil Iveys would just pay back the money they owe the site. The players are responding by giving Tapie the figurative middle finger. Matusow claims that he owes Full Tilt's owners nothing, and says that is the exact amount they can expect to get from him.

Matusow's action's were child's play compared to recent comments from easy-going Canadian player Daniel Negreanu, who in his blog directed some zingers at Full Tilt's former owners, Howard Lederer and Chris Ferguson:

"I don’t think I would have any problem with somebody who had $15,000 of their hard-earned money on your site come up to you and bash you in the nuts with a baseball bat. Seriously, I’ve got no problem with it.”

No comment from Lederer or Ferguson, who have lawyered up and basically gone into hiding since the DoJ boarded up Full Tilt's site last April 15.

Pass the popcorn.

Posted Friday, February 03, 2012 12:44 PM

Iowa moves toward Internet gambling OK. Iowa???

Nevada has its ducks in a row as it moves closer to Internet gambling, but you might be able to make a few bucks if you bet on Iowa to place.



The state that gave religious zealot/family values politician Rick Santorum his only victory in the Republican primary race is working on plans to bring online casino games to flyover country. And with other areas just spinning their wheels (New Jersey) or taking a step back (Washington D.C.), Iowa is plodding along and may have a plan in place this spring.

Chances are it will start with Internet poker, where the president pro-tem of the Senate, Jeff Danielson, is a strong advocate.Danielson points out that the state is bleeding money because thousands of residents are playing outside the state.

Danielson says that gambling revenue would not be used to balance the state budget, which he says is already in pretty good shape. In fact, he even has offered to place the state's take in an account that couldn't be accessed for two or three years.

Prof. Nelson Rose, the leading authority on gambling issues relating to the law, says that Iowa relishes the idea of being first, pointing out the number of casinos in a socially conservative state.

Danielson no doubt will have his hands full, but there is optimism that his state will be among the first to the finish line, helping break a logjam and allowing us to log on without worrying about government intervention.

Posted Friday, December 09, 2011 11:06 AM

Remember Anna Nicole Smith? She's back!!!!

Don't know about you, but there has been a huge void in my life since February 2007, when Anna Nicole Smith mixed the wrong drug cocktail and breathed her last breath at age 39 in a hotel room at a casino in Florida.

Her death was cruel irony, coming just before the big wave of reality shows made a lot of money for the likes of no-talent women like Coco (Ice-T's wife), Snookie and two generations of Kardashians. Smith was equally untalented and was more than willing to sell herself for a buck, but that was all before Jersey Shore et al, and she was forced to suffer the indignity of marrying a rich old man and waiting for him to check out before she could get her hands on serious cash.

Yes, Smith is gone, but her memory will live on -- thanks to the online Golden Palace Casino, which has announced that a new, no-doubt racy Anna Nicole Smith slot machine will soon be available to its customers. Golden Palace regrets that Smith's sexy likeness will not be seen on slots for people playing on Christmas morning, but everything should be good to go by early next year.

GP and Smith were actually somewhat joined at the hip back when Smith was on the right side of the grass. In fact, Smith allowed herself to be painted completely in gold (for her, no biggie, actually) for a Golden Palace promo that was scrapped when she took her 36 Double D's to the great beyond. The mourning period now over, GP figures it's time to roll her out again. It's not certain if Smith's ... [More]

Posted Friday, October 21, 2011 10:50 AM

Positive signs for NJ sports betting vote

In a little over two weeks, New Jersey voters will head to the polls, and if history is any guide most of the incumbents on the ballot will be re-elected. Some will have a tougher time than others, and a few state pols will be looking for work come the morning of Nov. 9, but for the most part, the electorate – mad as it is – will send their reps back to Trenton for another couple of years.


The gambling community will be keeping more than a close eye on the only referendum on the ballot – a question that would put the state on record as favoring a legal challenge to the 1992 Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, which denies New Jersey (and most other states) the right to allow legal and regulated sports wagering.


New Jersey, which nearly two decades ago opted out of sports wagering when it had the chance to opt in, will be the point on the spear if voters indicate they are up for a court battle with the federal government over PASPSA. The court battle would likely take years, but the longest journey starts will a single step, in this case with voters headed to the... [More]

Posted Friday, October 14, 2011 11:39 AM

How about gambling near the House of the Mouse?

Are we ready for blackjack dealers dressed up like Mickey Mouse? Instead of Blazing 7s slot machines, you win if you line up Huey, Dewey and Louie after pulling the lever?

Central Florida, home to Disney World, wants a casino. At least some of the forward-thinking planners do. They’re looking hard at their neighbors to the south, who are laying the groundwork for a gigantic gambling/entertainment/shopping complex on the Miami waterfront, and thinking why not another one, in the Orlando area? Las Vegas is often called Disneyland for adults, so why not merge the two playgrounds? The cross-promotion possibilities are endless. How about a stripper pole in Cinderella’s castle?

It’s all about the money, of course, and folks in Central Florida are concerned that big-time gambling in Miami-Dade and Broward counties will lure away some of the Orlando area's 30.5 million yearly visitors. If the Miami complex is built, families can bypass Orlando and spen... [More]

Posted Thursday, October 06, 2011 11:44 AM

Online play will help -- not hurt -- land-based casinos

Late to embrace the online gambling phenomena, big-time Vegas casinos have come to the conclusion that betting online will be a good thing – especially for the big-time Vegas casinos. Even if some players will stay at home rather than trek to the casino, the alternative – not having a line in the water when the fish are biting – is uncomfortable for the Wynns, LV Sands and Caesars.

But even as the land-based casino giants finally and somewhat reluctantly embrace at least the concept of allowing people to gamble online, there is still talk that every person wagering while logged on takes away a potential customer who might book a flight to Vegas and settle in at a craps table.

Some gambling experts at the Global Gaming Expo in Las Vegas this week say the concern is overblown, and that online gambling and the full casino experience create tremendous cross-promotion opportunities. In addition, the legalization of online play would probably create an even larger customer base, easing the concern among casino suits that online players would peel away bricks-and-mortar customers because it’s more convenient to play at home.

"It's a matter of retention," said Vahe Baloulian of eGaming Partners Inc. in Los Angeles. "It's also a matter of bringing new clients in by using online gaming."

In many states lottery officials have warned that allowing construction of casinos would either kill or seriously cripple the scratch-ticket cash cow that helps fund local p... [More]

Posted Thursday, September 22, 2011 05:23 PM

Happy birthday, UIGEA -- I've got two words for you

Next month marks the 5-year anniversary of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act, which has been about as welcome in the online betting community as a rattlesnake in your sleeping bag.

It's impossible to understate the chaos that UIGEA has created, from the establishment of hundreds of offshore sites -- many of them unscrupulous -- to Tuesday's indictment of TV poker personalities Howard Lederer and Chris Ferguson at Full Tilt . . . the 2006 law has played a prominent role in all of it.

But UIGEA's most obvious victim has been trust. Most bettors, forced to wager offshore, simply don't know what sites are good and what sites aren't. What sites will pay quickly and what sites sit on money. Had UIGEA never been signed into law by George Bush, the online betting landscape would be much different today. Not to say there would not be problems, but it would not be the 100-car pileup that it has become.

Politicians have mostly tiptoed around efforts to repeal UIGEA, fearful of a conservative movement that now appears on the rise in the United States. There is some momentum toward legalization and regulation, but it's impossible to gauge how strong the tide is toward repeal.

In the meantime, we can just sit, wait and wonder what other sites the U.S. Dept. of Justice is planning to close down. All thanks to a law that passed 5 years ago even though many congressmen didn't even know what they were voting for. 

Happ... [More]

Posted Friday, September 16, 2011 01:17 PM

Online poker effort gets boost in Massachusetts

Out of nowhere, Massachusetts has joined the race to become the first state in the country to offer safe, legal, regulated and taxed online poker. And  if when when it happens, it might be open to anyone -- including out-of-state players.

There is much work to be done, but the effort at least has a champion -- a Republican, no less, who is a former judge.

"We will have actual legislation to vote on," says state Rep. Daniel Winslow, who represents the district in which Sen. Scott Brown lives. "Probably by summer of 2012."

Winslow, an unlikely booster of the right of residents to gamble online, used the debate about casino expansion in Massachusetts to attach an amendment that would have legalized online poker. "We were already talking about gambling," he said in an interview with Covers.com. "Why not talk about online gambling too?"

With the effort to pass enabling legislation for the construction of three major resort-style casinos finally in the red zone, leaders in the Mass. House apparently decided that online discussion might make things harder. So Winslow was persuaded to tap the brakes, and his revised amendment -- calling for a commission that is required to develop online poker legislation by next July -- easily passed.

So Massachusetts is now in the running with Iowa, Florida, New Jersey, California and the federal government to see who will be the first, perhaps of many, to finally allow online poker.

<... [More]

Posted Thursday, September 08, 2011 10:25 AM

USA not alone is squabbling about online legalization

Those of us who are bewitched, bothered and bewildered about how United States politicians can't seem to make up their mind about whether legalization of online gambloing is best handled on the state or federal level can take some solace -- Europe seems to be just as fragmented.

On the surface, the European Union seems like a perfect platform for a unified policy with regard to online gambling. The area is not that large, conferences can be arranged with only moderate travel, and for the most part there is not that much divergence in the general belief that people ought to be able to do what they want, when they want and how they want.

Uh, not quite.

EU member nations have talked about a coordinated, leveled-playing-field approach to online betting, but when push comes to shove member nations seem intent on fluffing up their own pillows. At a recent gettogether to coordinate policies regarding licensing and safety issues, reps of member nations nodded their heads when talking about a coordinated approach and then insisted on their right to set their own course regarding taxation, regulation etc.

Not a lot different than what's going on in America, where state and federal legislation can be compared to railroad tracks that never seem to meet.

Posted Wednesday, August 10, 2011 11:58 AM

Did 4-time lottery winner pull to an inside straight?

The emails used to come regularly, and they were brief. Often they would say only something like:

$240 million

It was understood that the Power Ball jackpot was getting high, and it was time to pool resources, buy 25 or 30 tickets, and hopefully cash in.

So I ponied up a buck or two. The idea was that we would hit it, rent a limo for the ride to the lottery office to get photographed in front of that huge check, stop back at work to give our two-week notices, then head to the local upscale steakhouse and party the night away.

We never hit big, of course, and over my protests even small winnings were used to buy even more losing tickets. It was a story played out in thousands of offices across North America.

Eventually I grew tired and decided smaller wins at casinos were better than chasing an unattainable jackpot, so I dropped out of the office pool. Since then I have not paid much attention to lotteries. I look at them kind of like an NBA no-call – if a lot of people want to try to buck ridiculous odds for the high likelihood of allowing a truck driver from Nebraska to get rich beyond his wildest dreams and blowing it in a few years, knock yourself out. I’ll try to grind out a hundred here or there at the blackjack table, and probably have a lot more fun doing it.

But a recent story about a Texas native who had hit it big four times – for total winnings of $25 million – got my attention. Joan Ginther is her name, and she now lives i... [More]

Posted Friday, August 05, 2011 07:36 AM

Steroid Commissioner has problem with poker players

So A-Rod’s in trouble again with baseball commissioner Bud Selig. MLB’s Barney Fife wants Rodriguez to sit down and explain just what’s going on with those high-stakes poker games we told you to avoid just a few years ago. Better have the right answers, too, or else.

Seems baseball got wind of the fact that A-Rod may have ignored Sdelig’s admonition a few years back to put the cards away, and recently was involved in games that included other rich people, expensive cigars, cocaine, lots of gorgeous women and gamblers who asked A-Rod to let a few ground balls go through his legs at opportune.

Actually, that’s not true. Baseball (Selig) is just assuming that there were sexy women and gamblers there. Makes the story better, and turns a harmless habit into an activity that is rocking baseball to its core. [As for the cocaine, shouldn’t be hard to test him.]

Selig and MLB have a curious relationship with gambling. If teams and the league can make money from it, then it’s no problem. Players? Not so much. So Lenny Dykstra can lose money in poker games several decades ago, be forced to eat number two during an apology and promise to never do it again. Yet the Yankees and other teams can enter into working relationships with casinos and bulk up their bottom lines. The wife of Detroit Tigers owner Mike Ilitch owns parts of several casinos nationwide, yet Selig seems OK with that. The Yankees themselves rake in a good penny on Mohegan Sun advertising. The list is e... [More]

Posted Friday, July 29, 2011 05:55 PM

Kid-friendly Atlantic City? What could possibly go wrong?

Atlantic City has decided that in addition to enticing 20- and 30-somethings to come to its casinos by pushing the limits with a generous amount of g-strings and pasties, it also wants to tell vacationers that in many ways it’s also a wonderful family destination if you don’t have the scratch to make it to Disney World.

In addition to the beach, AC likes to point out that it now offers a family-styled luau (Harrah’s), a circus (Resorts) and a dinosaur exhibit (Showboat), among other activities for the G-rated crowd.

Trying to be all things to all people is a semi-desperate attempt to cast a wider net for entertainment dollars that are increasing being dropped in Pennsylvania rather than Atlantic City. If you don’t want to be titillated, says the AC suits, come anyway. We have people walking around in animal costumes.

Nice try, AC. But it won’t work, any more than Vegas’s effort to make the Strip family-friendly (Excalibur, Treasure Island) did. LV found out that families were coming and bringing their kids, but it was a loss leader because the parents didn’t have time to gamble. That was that.

Besides, kids don’t belong near casinos. They belong at Disney World.

... [More]

Posted Thursday, July 28, 2011 07:39 AM

Haynesworth deal a turnaround for Pats defense

Albert Haynesworth.


ESPN (Adam Shefter) is reporting that he has been dealt to the Patriots.

Now we know what Bill Belichick was doing buried in the bowels of Gillette Stadium during the lockout. He was changing his defense.

The Patriots' stunning theft (5th-round draft choice in 2013) of Haynesworth from the Redskins must mean that New England is switching its defense from a linebacker-oriented 3-4 to a 4-3, with Vince Wilfork and Haynesworth in the middle. Haynesworth made life miserable for Mike Shanahan when he refused to adapt to Washington's 3-4, and there is no other explanation for the trade to New England unless the Pats are now going to the 4-3 as their basic package.

Something had to be done. The linebacking corps, already mediocre, was weakened earlier this week when the only pass-rusher of note, Tully Banta-Cain, was released. With Haynesworth in a suddenly-powerful D-line, linebackers play a lesser role, and Jerrod Mayo, Brandon Spikes, Rob Ninkovich and Jermaine Cunningham now look more than serviceable.

Depending, of course, on whether Haynesworth behaves like a human being and produces anywhere near the way Randy Moss did when he fell in line in his first year in Foxboro. If he does the 11.5 win total on the Pats could be covered by Game 13 or 14.

Things just got a lot more interesting in the AFC East.

Your move, Jets.

... [More]

Posted Thursday, June 30, 2011 10:12 PM

Tax problems for England-based sites on horizon?

Do taxes bug you?

I mean, do you have a problem with the concept of taxes?

Not me.

In fact, I think we get a pretty good deal in the States. Property taxes got a cop at my house within minutes of a break-in several years ago, and the fire dept. and EMTs are ready in case something bad happens. The town plows my road in the winter, then in the spring repairs damage that the plows cause. When my kids were young, each of them got 12 years of good education.

State taxes allow me to take the dog on walks in state parks at no charge. Federal taxes will someday pay for my heath care, and provides for the common defense, even if we invade a few too many countries.

Bottom line: I'm OK with paying taxes, even if it pisses off a lot of my fellow citizens in the lower 48.

But I have problem with some taxes that will probably soon be imposed. In England.

Seems the Brits are a little short on funds, and rather than cut off the royals and make them go out and get jobs like the rest of us, they are hell bent on taking the easy way out and taxing online books.

Online gambling companies such as Ladbrokes and William Hill based in Great Britain have been able to avoid the heavy British tax burden that other companies face by locating their software elsewhere, such as Gibraltar, where taxes are as low as one percent of profits. Nice deal all around, and the lawmakers in England have been OK with it.

Bu... [More]

Posted Thursday, June 30, 2011 06:42 PM

Boom may be lowered on British online companies

Do taxes bug you?

I mean, do you have a problem with the concept of taxes?

Not me.

In fact, I think we get a pretty good deal in the States. Property taxes got a cop at my house within minutes of a break-in several years ago, and the fire dept. and EMTs are ready in case something bad happens. The town plows my road in the winter, then in the spring repairs damage that the plows cause. When my kids were young, each of them got 12 years of good education.

State taxes allow me to take the dog on walks in state parks at no charge. Federal taxes will someday pay for my heath care, and provides for the common defense, even if we invade a few too many countries.

Bottom line: I'm OK with paying taxes, even if it pisses off a lot of my fellow citizens in the lower 48.

But I have problem with some taxes that will probably soon be imposed. In England.

Seems the Brits are a little short on funds, and rather than cut off the royals and make them go out and get jobs like the rest of us, they are hell bent on taking the easy way out and taxing online books.

Online gambling companies such as Ladbrokes and William Hill based in Great Britain have been able to avoid the heavy British tax burden that other companies face by locating their software elsewhere, such as Gibraltar, where taxes are as low as one percent of profits. Nice deal all around, and the lawmakers in England have been OK with it.

Bu... [More]

Posted Monday, June 06, 2011 03:19 PM

Anti-casino group plays the organized crime card

The original members of the Chicago Crime Commission, an organization born to combat crime in the Roaring '20s when the police couldn't and/or wouldn't, are all dead now. But at least they went to their graves knowing they helped take down Al Capone and the mob which basically ran the city for a decade or more.

After that big splash, it figured that there would be a letdown, and while the CCC exists to this day, the members have had to be satisfied with ratting out an occasional street gang and running their annual golf tournament (June 20, if you're interested).

But now the crime busters have a new signature issue, devoting their PR machine toward warning the citizens of northern Illinois that organized crime will re-emerge from under the concrete and poison the lives of the city's millions of residents if the government allows them to play nickel slots at a proposed new casino.

The crime fighters don't seem to have much of a problem with the state's nine riverboat casinos, which have yet to shown any signs of a mob takeover. But if a bricks-and-mortar casino gets the approval of the governor and is built in downtown Chicago, then apparently it's just a matter of time before someone Tony Spilatro does to Chicago what Spilatro himself did to Vegas in the 1970s and '80s.

"Pure and simple, [if a casino is built] law enforcement can expect the entrance of the Crime Syndicate," says J.R. Davis, the CCC chairman. "Federal... [More]

Posted Friday, June 03, 2011 09:27 AM

Labor issues dampen Resorts' rebranding

Workers rights, sexism, age discrimination and a whole bunch of other isms are conflicting with the rights of an employer to run a business as he or she feels it should be run as the rebranding of the Resorts Hotel/Casino in Atlantic City takes an expected turn.

Nine drink servers were fired recently when the new bosses at Resorts said that they weren't sexy enough to fit the properity's new hip business model. The fired servers, some of whom have worked at Resorts for decades, say that they were humiliated when they were forced to wear ill-fitting outfits when they re-applied for their jobs under the new ownership, and that their only crime was their inability to create a time machine that would make them 25 years younger.

Resorts obviously sees things differently. Owner Dennis Gomes is trying to return the proprerty to profitiability in a tough economy, and says that the servers who were let go were unfortunate collateral damage. Nothing personal, Gomes says, but if we don't change things around quickly, there will be no jobs here for anyone.

The firing no doubt strikes a chord with many older workers who have lost jobs or been denied promotions, and the drink servers at the Rio in Vegas who lost their jobs several years ago when schleppers were also required to dance periodically can certainly identify.

Was Resorts' action morally right? Probably not.

Was it legally allowable? That's an entirely different question, and t... [More]

Posted Friday, May 27, 2011 09:37 AM

Can Medicare issue help online gambling?

We’re all depressed about the poker indictments and the aftershock shutdown of a few other sites earlier this week, but are you ready for a little good news?

Maybe very little good news, but these days you take your victories when you can if the U.S. government has a hair across its backside and is coming after you.

If you’re at all plugged in to the political scene, you know that there was a special election in western New York a few days ago to fill the seat abandoned by Republican Chris Lee after Lee decided to send shirtless photo of himself to a woman he met on Craigslist in hopes of . . . well, we all know why.

Anyway, the special election to replace Lee was supposed to be a lock for Republicans, who outnumber Democrats by 30,000 registered voters. Only it wasn’t, because Republicans have scared the pants off senior citizens by voting for a House budget that would basically end Medicare as we know it. Anyone with elderly parents knows that life after 70 is about staying as healthy as possible through the Golden Years, and all the backpedaling in the world couldn’t save the GOP candidate, who lost to the underdog Democrat by 4 percentage points.

Gambling? Oh yeah.

Well, the result got giddy Democrats to thinking that they actually have a chance to rid... [More]

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