Atleast 200 Showboat workers protest casino closing

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ATLANTIC CITY – Atleast 200 Showboat workers joined a rally scheduled on Thursday night in order to voice out public concern against the closing of Showboat casino, the Local 54 of the Unite-HERE reported.

The workers told they want owner Caesars Entertainment to sell Showboat to someone who can continue the casino’s operation.

Recently, Caesars Entertainment, parent company of the Showboat Casino hotel announced it will close down the Mardi Gras-themed casino in Atlantic City by August 31.

“While we regret the impact that this decision will have on our Showboat associates, we believe this is a necessary step to help stabilize our business in Atlantic City and support the viability of our remaining operations in the vicinity,” said CEO Gary Loveman.

Loveman called it a difficult decision and described it as “persistant declines in the business levels in the area exacerbated by the high property-tax burden in Atlantic City.”

“Since 2006, revenue in Atlantic City has declined by more than $3 billion and competition in the city has increased. The dynamic in Atlantic City has led us to the difficult but necessary decision to close Showboat,” the CEO explained.

Back in March, about 100 Revel employees gathered on the Atlantic City Boardwalk at New Jersey Avenue and petitioned to save their jobs in case of a sale.

“Everyone says Revel is for sale. What I haven’t heard is what will happen to us,” commented Equality Brown, a maintenance worker.

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8 Asians arrested for illegal sports betting in Vegas

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LAS VEGAS - The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) arrested eight Asians from Hong Kong, China and Malaysia for operating an illegal gambling ring in Las Vegas during the 2014 FIFA World Cup.

Based on the report, the FBI in cooperation with the Nevada Gaming Control busted three Caesar Palace’s suites in Las Vegas during the World Cup 2014 Soccer Finals between Germany and Argentina on Sunday afternoon.

Phua Wei Seng, 50, a Malaysian top gaming junket operator at the Sands Casino in Macau and a high-ranking member of the organized crime group 14k Triad was named in a criminal complaint for illegal gambling operation.

Also arrested were Phua’s son Darren Wai Kit Phua, 22; Seng Chen Yong, 56, and Wai Kin Yong, 22, all of Malaysia; Hui Tang, 44, of China; and Yan Zhang, 40, Yung Keung Fan, 46, and Herman Chun Sang Yeung, 36, all of Hong Kong.

The suspects allegedly take bets over WiFi and DSL lines installed at Caesars Palace through a website called SBOBET.

According to U.S. Attorney Daniel Bogden, the Las Vegas operation started shortly after Phua left the Chinese gambling enclave of Macau, where he had been arrested on June 18 for illegal sports betting on the World Cup.

During the arraignment, a federal judge granted Phua’s request to stay with his son and a Las Vegas doctor until the preliminary hearing on August 14.

The suspects’ lawyer David Chesnoff contested in court that his client cooperated with authorities even though he had the means to leave the country.

“He had access to an aircraft that can fly anywhere in the world. In fact, he stayed here,” Chesnoff stated.

Phua who had an estimated worth of $400 million was required to post $2 million cash bail, put up his $48 million private Gulfstream jet as collateral and wear a GPS monitoring device.

The suspects, if convicted would each face up to two years jail time on unlawful transmission count and five years imprisonment for illegal gambling business count with fines of $250,000.

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Undercover cops nab dealers of illegal gambling machines

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CHICAGO – Police arrested two men who brokered two dozen illegal gambling machines to undercover gambling agents.

The suspects David Gill, 41, of 16020 Blackhawk Drive in Lockport and Raymond Lind, 74, of 2217 W. Berwyn Ave. in Chicago were charged with a felony of unlawful possession of gambling device.

Based on the police report, the two men tried to unload 24 unlicensed gambling machines for a close deal with customers who turned out to be undercover agents from the Illinois Gaming Board.

The law stated that “Every video gaming terminal offered for play shall first be tested and approved pursuant to the rules of the Board, and each video gaming terminal offered in this State for play shall conform to an approved model.”

Furthermore, “every video gaming terminal offered in this State for play must meet minimum standards set by an independent outside testing laboratory approved by the Board.”

Both Gill and Lind landed at the Will County jail under $15,000 bond.

 

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Ohio Cyber Cafes Reopen : New Games New Fun

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Pre-Reveal Sweepstakes

Four arrested for sweepstakes armed robbery in Reidsville

REIDSVILLE, N.C. – four residents of Alamance County were arrested for armed robbery and kidnapping at a sweepstakes parlor in Reidsville last week. Two others remained wanted. The Rockingham County Sheriff’s Office reported the arrests of Martrell Sentorius Jefferies, 24; Jimmy Robert Davis, Jr., 50; Whitney Bonique Lawson, 23; and Antonio Fiorello Johnson, 44. The suspects were all charged – Jefferies with robbery with a dangerous weapon and two counts of second degree kidnapping with $225,000 secured bond in jail; Davis with felonious accessory with $40,000 unsecured bond; Lawson with aiding and abetting an armed robbery and two counts of aiding and abetting second degree kidnapping with $125,000 secured bond; and Johnson with felonious accessory after the fact.

Arrested: Davis, Jefferies, Lawson and Johnson

On May 29, around 7:15 in the morning, two black men entered the shop at Village Business Center and Sweepstakes at 276 N.C. 87 Reidsville and threatened employees with a handgun. After that, they tied up the staff and fled in a white or tan Nissan with undisclosed amount of cash from the sweepstakes parlor. According to Deputy Kevin Suthard, public information officer for the Rockingham County Sheriff’s Office, the local police collaborated with the Burlington Police Department in order to identify those involved in the armed robbery. “Our people have been in Burlington over the past week looking (for the suspects),” Suthard stated. Meanwhile, Percival “P-Diddy” Maurice Burnett, 33, who lived at 500 S. Greensboro St. Lot 44 in Carrboro and Charles Lewis Compton, 37 remained wanted. Police reminded that both Burnett and Compton were armed and dangerous.

Wanted: Burnett  and Compton

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Gambling loopholes keep gaming alive in Florida

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Pre-Reveal-GoldFLORIDA CITY – the city can soon be home to Miami Dade’s poker room as the state’s legislative session failed to close loopholes in gambling law with a comprehensive bill. The patchwork of legislation instead opened more loopholes.

The First District Court of Appeal in Tallahassee ruled that West Flagler Associates, mother company of Magic City Casino was eligible for a summer jai alai permit after West Flagler lawyer John Lockwood discovered 30-year-old loophole in pari-mutuel law. The loophole also allowed West Flagler for a slot machine permit two years from now in Miami Dade County.

When the First District Court of Appeal overruled the Department of Business and Professional Regulation’s decision not to allow a new jai alai fronton in Miami Dade County, the door was opened for more poker rooms and slot machine operation.

Lockwood convinced the court West Flagler should be allowed to operate both poker and slot machines.

“If the Legislature intended to allow a new permit, at most, every other year it could have written the statute to say so. And if it deems it a good policy to have this limitation, it can implement it legislatively; but we cannot interpret the language of the existing statute to achieve this result,” Judge Scott Makar expressed.

The court favoured West Flagler with a unanimous 3-0 ruling from Judge Makar, Judge Brad Thomas and Judge Simone Marstiller.

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National Governors Association sent pro-online gambling letter to Senate

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Pre-Reveal-GoldThe nation’s governors are concerned with legislation introduced in Congress that would ban online Internet gaming and Internet lottery sales because it challenges the federal-state relationship, wrote the National Governors Association dated May 9, 2014.

As casino players continued to fight each other over online poker, the NGA sent a letter to the Senate addressed to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) stating their opposition to the twin bills introduced by Sen. Lindsey (R-S.C.) and Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) that can potentially ban online gambling in the U.S.

Almost two months ago, Graham and Chaffetz intorduced the restoration of America’s Wire Act of 1961 in order to revert the Act so they can ban all internet gambling once again.

“The regulation of gaming is an issue that has historically been addressed by the states. Regardless of whether governors are in favor of offering gaming—through whatever form—within their own states, decisions at the federal level that affect state regulatory authority should not be made unilaterally without state input. A strong, cooperative relationship between the states and federal government is vital to best serve the interests of all citizens,” the NGA stated in the letter signed by Governor Robert Bentley of Alabama as Chair and Governor Earl Ray Tomblin of West Virginia as Vice Chair.

Along with NGA, the Democratic Governors Association also opposed the ban.

On the other hand, both Republican Gov. Rick Perry of Texas and Gov. Nikki Haley of South Carolina supports Graham’s bill.

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Sweepstakes Trial Reveals Contradiction of States Claim

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More Evidence Points Toward Florida Regulators Gave OK To Internet Cafes

Sanford, Fla., October 5, 2013 – The defense team for Kelly Mathis presented evidence last week that confirmed Allied Veteran’s Internet Cafe business was legal. After the State rested unexpectedly on Monday September 30, 2013,

 

Court Heard Defense Evidence That Top Florida Officials Gave OK To Internet Cafes

Judge Kenneth Lester agreed with defense lawyers and dismissed over 50 money laundering counts that had been filed against Mathis. Over 100 counts remain. The defense then started its case on October 2, 2013.

Lead defense attorney Mitch Stone began by presenting evidence of Florida’s Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services position that the Internet cafe sweepstakes promotion business model was legal. A training program created in 2007 confirmed exactly what Mathis had later determined after researching the law for his client, Allied Veterans. The defense then presented a series of witnesses who agreed with Mathis.
Retired City of Jacksonville Office of General Counsel supervisor Steve Rohan testified the Internet Cafes managed by the non-profit Allied Veterans of the World, Inc. and Affiliates were operating within state law. He testified Mathis met with him and other city lawyers. Rohan testified he could have rejected Mathis’Pre-Reveal-Gold legal analysis if he had read the law differently. However, he and other lawyers agreed with Mathis. The jury was only permitted to hear part of his testimony due to the court prohibiting evidence of local regulatory ordinances and recent state legislation concerning the Internet cafe sweepstakes game promotion business model.
Former Assistant State Attorney Daniel Leising, who headed up a law enforcement task force concerning the Internet Cafe businesses in Volusia County in 2008, also testified that Mathis met with him and offered information about his client and the law. Leising confirmed he and other lawyers and law enforcement officers could have rejected Mathis’ legal conclusions but didn’t. In the end, no arrests of any Internet cafe owners resulted from that task force investigation implying that the State Attorney’s Office and Volusia County law enforcement officers agreed the Allied Veterans business model was legal.
Current State Attorney Supervisor Karen Foxman also testified that when she was in private practice her firm represented Allied Veterans and she paired with Mathis to meet with three separate prosecutors to discuss the law and facts regarding the Internet cafe sweepstakes promotion. She confirmed that the reason for the meetings was to provide information to prosecutors and law enforcement. Again no arrests resulted implying Mathis’ analysis of the law was accurate.
Additional witnesses for the defense included a current Jacksonville Sheriff’s office sergeant and the compliance officer for the City of Jacksonville who also confirmed that prosecutors, city lawyers, public officials and politicians agreed the Internet cafe sweepstakes game promotion was legal. Again, the testimony they provided to the jury was limited by the court.

The defense ended the week by presenting a computer software expert who ran an independent lab that tested the software used by Allied Veterans four separate times from 2008 to 2011. Nick Farley testified the software was designed to sell internet time and offer a free sweepstakes game promotion to customers. Farley confirmed the screen images that simulated casino style games

WIN-CAFE Offers Simulated Casino-Theme Games

did not make a difference as to how the software worked. Farley also testified that the State has never had an expert test the software and never challenged his findings scientifically. The State also never spoke to him before deciding to arrest 57 people based on allegations the computers were running illegal slot machine software.

Wesley Stayte, a computer software developer, also confirmed this was sweepstakes software and that the images did not mean the computers were running slot machine software. Stayte confirmed that the sweepstakes software would be illegal if used in real Las Vegas style slot machines. He confirmed the software for Allied Veterans was designed to provide predetermined entries from finite pools and not randomly generated outcomes, an important distinction under the law.
Defense attorney Lee Lockett presented witnesses who confirmed Mathis would never break the law. Mathis served as president of the Jacksonville Bar Association

Jacksonville Bar Association

in 2006, just months before taking on Allied Veterans as a client. Such a position is a major achievement reserved for lawyers who are highly respected for their integrity and legal abilities. Mathis was described by witnesses as a law abiding citizen who would never risk his family or professional reputation for any amount of money.

Stone said the evidence presented by the defense is based on the truth and the truth confirms Mathis did nothing illegal. Stone also said the evidence verifies Mathis was practicing law for a client and was not a business owner or partner which also proves that the State should never have charged Mathis.
The case is scheduled to conclude next week.

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Judge Drops Over 50 Charges, Mathis Trial Continues

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SANFORD Florida –  Over 50 money laundering charges were dropped Tuesday against Kelly Mathis, a Jacksonville lawyer who advised a internet sweepstakes cafe chain.jury trial

After Circuit Court Judge Kenneth Lester Jr. dismissed the a third of the charges, attorney Kelly Mathis noted he still faced more than 100 charges and said “I didn’t do anything wrong and we’re going to continue to fight this,”  His defense is scheduled to present its case Wednesday morning.

The case involving a nationwide chain of internet sweepstakes cafes where the state accused Mathis and numerous co-defendants of running an illegal gambling operation under the guise of operating a legal sweepstakes program that rewarded customers who bought internet time and other promoted products like phone and internet time.

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Internet Cafe’s Around State Using New Compliant Game Software

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BanBuster Games Spread One Parlor At A Time 

Two Brunswick County internet sweepstakes companies which were shut down are suing the city and state. On May 22, separate suits were filed by the companies at the Brunswick County Superior Court for Pre-Reveal-Goldseizing their operations without proper review. A refund of fees paid to the towns since 2010 is sought for, when municipalities statewide were allowed to increase the fees charged for operating a sweepstakes business.

 

Bans on sweepstakes gambling took effect in December and the suits are part of the larger legal battles and backlash sweeping the state. District Attorneys Ben David and Jon David were prompted by the ban to send a joint letter in January to law enforcement confirming that they would prosecute violations related to sweepstakes laws. Together the two represent New Hanover, Pender, Brunswick, Columbus and Bladen counties.

The plaintiffs in the cases – Internet Café and Sweepstakes in Leland and Calabash, were shut down by a crackdown on their operations. The same registered agent is listed by State records for the two sweepstakes parlors.

The towns and the county’s sheriffs and the district attorney’s officers did not properly inspect the operations to see if they were in compliance with state law (known as PreReveal or BanBuster Games”), the suits allege. They were not given due process despite reaching out to the enforcement agencies, the complaints state, and neither did they violate the rules under the new laws.

The suit says, “The defendants have refused to conduct a review … in order to determine compliance with applicable law because they hope instead to intimidate.”

A complaint that the privilege license fees, yearly charges based on the number of machines at a store, were upped to oppressive and unconstitutional levels, was also listed in the suit.

Both stores are seeking for refunds, the Calabash store is looking for a refund of $76,900 while the Leland store is seeking a refund of $43,850 over the course of two years.

“…. collection of unlawful privilege license fees was an abuse of (the towns’) discretion,” it reads.

An attorney with Morrisville-based Morningstar Law Group, Keith Anthony, could not comment on the lawsuits, he said.

Anthony said “Our clients have not authorized us to answer any questions directly.”

According to Libby Carlisle, assistant to Jon David, the defendants in the two cases are being represented by the N.C. Attorney General’s office. She said that the state filed a motion on July 5 to get the cases dismissed.

A spokeswoman for the attorney general’s office, Noelle Talley, said that in the region the department is also handling another case in Elizabeth City.

Talley said that “We believe the law and the ruling are clear, and we’re vigorously defending their enforcement.”

Meanwhile in New Hanover Country and Pender Country, Samantha Dooies, assistant to Ben David, said she is not aware of any lawsuits involving her office.

Enforcement will continue, she said.

Dooies also said that “The District Attorney’s Office continues to enforce the laws concerning sweepstakes throughout the district and encourages business owners needing guidance about the laws to seek legal counsel.”

Anthony represents several other clients elsewhere in the state.

“There are currently, including these two, six of them that we have filed statewide,” he said.

There have been some criminal cases in which rulings favored the former sweepstakes owners while the civil cases are pending, Anthony said. A Jackson County convenience store manager was found not guilty on a misdemeanor charge on Tuesday, by a District Court Judge, for operating a sweepstakes machines at his store, according to a news release from his attorney.

There have also been recent acquittals for two defendants in District Court cases both in Catawba and Macon counties and an unresolved lawsuit in Macon Country which seeks an injunction declaring that specific machines do not violate the North Carolina statute.

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How The Internet Cafe Ban Outlawed Your Smartphone

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In a rush to monopolize the gambling industry within the State of Florida, along with a steady push from Indian tribe casino lobbyist, Florida and HB-155 may have accidentally

HB-155 OUTLAWS SMARTPHONES

banned every computer and smartphone in the state. How could such an event take place ? It comes from a very poor worded house bill 155 and a money hungry legislation.

The purpose of the ban, in some people’s opinion, had 3 objectives, 1) kill Internet cafes that allowed playing games like bingo and other slots-type games. 2) kill competition for the current casinos and 3) begin the process of establishing a video lottery terminal (VLT) program for the state to help their budget woes. Over a thousand of those Internet cafes were forced to shut down in Florida after the bill went into effect in April but it looks like Florida may have overlooked a few major details within the text of the bill whilst killing 15000 Internet cafe jobs.

Consuelo Zapata, an owner of one of those Internet cafes that got shut down is fighting back and has discovered that in the process of shutting down Internet cafes, Florida might have just banned all computers and smartphones altogether.

As with any law, the key is the wording of what was banned, or the definition of what Is being regulated (much like a speed limit sign).

The ban defines illegal slot machines as any “system or network of devices” that may be used in a game of chance.

Obviously “any system or network of devices” is a pretty broad definition which means it can be applied to “any number of devices”, according to Miami law firm Kluger, Kaplan, Silverman, Katzen & Levine. Zapata is now suing the state in hopes that the court calls the Internet cafe ban unconstitutional.

However, law experts from around the country have their eyes on this case because it may have a variety of outcomes depending on which way it unfolds.

The hypothetical that a Florida law may ban the very technology that every law enforcement officer, judge and legislator have clipped on their belt or tucked in their purse is confusing to say the least. According to a variety of polls, anywhere from 58-63% of Floridians use smartphones and close to 90% of people across the state have some sort of Internet access.

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