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Keeping ct casinos strong is vitalAll but three states--Hawaii, Utah and Tennessee--now sanction legalized wagering, and many allow it in various forms--video poker, slot machines, horse racing, off-track betting, card rooms and lotteries.
Las Vegas-style casinos now operate throughout much of the heartland.
But in a few states--mainly conservative strongholds such as Iowa and Missouri, where researchers and others say gambling problems are worsening--a backlash is emerging.
Outmanned and underfunded critics compare the tactics of Gambling Inc.
The impact, they say, includes family upheaval, bankruptcies, crime, suicides and more.
Louis businessman who this fall led a losing fight against riverboat gambling in Missouri.
With unprecedented cooperation, Las Vegas power brokers established a beachhead three years ago in Washington, D.
Pei-designed tower between the White House and the Keeping ct casinos strong is vital />They enlisted a shrewd general, a former chairman of the Republican National Party, 59-year-old attorney Frank J.
His keeping ct casinos strong is vital neutralize threats to industry growth or, at the very least, protect its vast golden turf.
Advertisement Like a man playing multidimensional chess, Fahrenkopf orchestrates his mandate on many planes.
He tracks legislation and monitors developments on every front of the gambling war.
He serves as the voice of the industry in dealing with the media.
He reaches into academia, channeling large sums of money to university professors and private consultants whose studies reflect favorably on gambling.
Positioning the industry click the following article a responsible corporate citizen, keeping ct casinos strong is vital has prodded casino executives to sponsor and serve on nonprofit councils designed to aid compulsive gamblers--a trend lauded by some but dismissed by others as a way to compromise the opposition.
Terrence Lanni of MGM Grand.
Patriotic touches accent his elegant office suite: the flag, a chunk of the Berlin Wall, signed photos of Ronald Reagan, George Bush and Richard Nixon.
Dozens of once-languishing towns, he says, are booming again because of casinos.
But Fahrenkopf also is savvy enough to know that the issue of pathological gambling, though affecting a small percentage of the population, could leave the industry vulnerable to charges of reckless exploitation.
So when the American Gaming Assn.
Instead, the gambling industry would acknowledge the keeping ct casinos strong is vital and demonstrate concern.
Through lucrative grants, it has developed its own body of data and undermined studies critical of the industry, triggering a war of white papers.
That is a sad state.
Sometimes, according to those who have operated independently of the industry, those chips land like bricks.
William Thompson of the University of Nevada at Las Vegas says he has felt the weight.
The nonprofit organization--financed by casino interests--immediately became the largest source of gambling research money in the country.
Last year, Fahrenkopf himself commissioned research to discredit a damaging study by UC San Diego sociologist David Phillips, who concluded that suicide rates are higher in Las Vegas than in comparable cities without casinos.
The bottom line, he says, is that the industry has succeeded in muddying the research waters.
Released last year, the report estimated that 1% of the adult population are keeping ct casinos strong is vital compulsive gamblers.
Four percent of the population, he concluded, show some symptoms of problem gambling.
Some studies of that issue show sharp spikes in the numbers of habitual gamblers and associated problems.
People do adjust to these things.
But he also says he has come to think highly of the casino executives bankrolling his work.
The panel is scheduled to report its findings next June.
Industry executives, check this out, had a different vision, concerned that such a powerful panel could create image problems and, worse, recommend new restrictions.
At the same time, casinos poured millions of dollars into the political coffers of Democrats and Republicans alike.
The blitz paid off, and the public lost an opportunity for an independent exploration of an issue of growing social importance.
The idea of a neutral panel was dashed.
Commission seats were opened to vested interests from both sides.
President Clinton, outgoing House Speaker Newt Gingrich and Rep.
Gingrich, in fact, chose MGM Grand Chairman Lanni, a board member of the American Gaming Assn.
Although the commission was given authority to subpoena documents, it was blocked from forcing casino executives to testify.
The infighting reached a crescendo in recent months after the commission administered a preliminary survey outside two Las Vegas casinos.
When the stunningly high number was made public, the industry howled, arguing that the study used such a broad definition of problem gambling that too many respondents were labeled as such.
His action was seen by some as an attempt to discredit the panel and distract its staff in the preparation of a final report.
He says he was prompted solely by reports of unlawful closed-door meetings, high staff turnover and questionable expenditures.
Republican Congressman Wolf, co-sponsor of the commission bill, says he was motivated not by questions of morality but by stories of misery.
Older, retired people are losing their life savings.
The addiction level of young people is just astronomical.
The suicides, the heartbreak.
Allegations of political corruption and undue legislative influence also are surfacing.
Terry Branstad of Iowa, where casinos have wild rose casino emmetsburg in a state that once raided church bingo games.
In Indiana, former House Ways and Means Chairman Sam Turpin was indicted on felony bribery and perjury charges for his involvement with a riverboat casino contractor.
He now awaits trial.
In Louisiana, former Gov.
Edwin Edwards also faces trial in an alleged scheme to extort millions of dollars from riverboat casino applicants.
Also implicated in the case is sports mogul Eddie DeBartolo Jr.
Griffin, indicted on unrelated charges stemming from a wide-ranging federal investigation, is now in prison for bribery and mail fraud.
Even when no laws are broken, the amount of money casino operators are willing to dangle for a foothold in promising markets is stunning.
Although voters at first keeping ct casinos strong is vital the machines, Helms says the industry pooled millions of dollars and gathered signatures to put the issue back on keeping ct casinos strong is vital ballot.
One million mailers went out.
Field workers called 700,000 households.
About 50 influential church leaders in St.
The casinos portrayed the men as right-wing fanatics.
The slots went in, bringing millions upon millions of new dollars to the casinos.
Even if top casino executives were unaware of wrongdoing, Grey says, someone working toward their financial benefit unquestionably tried to neutralize opposition by discrediting him and Andrews with lies about extremist ties.
This fundamentally altered the original concept of riverboat gambling: to keep it contained to waterways.
Under the new law, the industry was able to construct sprawling boat-shaped casinos that would go down like the Lusitania if forced to float without artificial supports.
The lavish palaces meet the letter of the law only by virtue of pumps and spigots that surround them with water from the nearby river.
Station is one of the largest gambling halls and entertainment complexes in the world.
But the effort was handily defeated by the free-spending industry.
Today, roughly 80 riverboats--some real, some not--form a ragged line down the Mississippi and Missouri rivers, reaping enormous revenues.
Although Las Vegas and Atlantic City, N.
The once-reluctant casino bosses are now leading the charge into new regions, often playing one territory against another.
Gaming interests in Detroit, for example, obtained hard-fought approval for three casinos by arguing that the city was losing revenues to Windsor, Canada, which offers casino gambling just across the international border.
As legalized wagering spreads throughout the nation, another concern among industry critics--especially in light of the government scandals--is crime.
Huge amounts of cash tempt not only policymakers, but thieves, swindlers and organized syndicates long associated with casinos.
To some extent, ever-tightening regulations in recent years have cleaned up the most obvious involvement of underworld figures.
Known gangsters no longer occupy boardrooms, and the stocks of major casinos are now traded on Wall Street, regulators say.
Fuentes says he is often asked about the prospects of new casinos attracting Mafia attention.
They set up kickback schemes, extortion schemes, sweetheart contract schemes.
They have to attack from the side and underneath and from within--and they do that.
Eighteen members of the Marcelo, Gambino and Genovese crime families were convicted of the scheme in 1995.
Last year, the FBI busted a money-laundering operation at a casino on the Rincon reservation near San Diego, Fuentes says.
It did not mention that upon leaving that office, he became a registered lobbyist for Caesars, Circus Circus and Hilton.
Millions of Names in Databases The gambling industry, like any business big or small, worries about its next dollar--or, in this case, its next billion.
So to keep the money flowing, industry executives are relying more than ever on marketing and technology, using vast databases, shrewdly tailored promotions and high-tech slot machines to boost their drawing power.
Virtually every major casino now records information about its customers in electronic rosters running to millions of names--data that can be filtered for any number of marketing purposes: to lure golfers to weekend getaways, to woo gamblers fond of vacationing in the winter dead months, to promote a certain restaurant--such as Benihana at the Las Vegas Hilton--to lovers of Japanese food.
At the same time, the club applications add to the personal data culled from hotel registrations.
They have tried to remove their names from databases, only to keep receiving enticements.
Still, he kept receiving invitaions to blackjack tournaments, roulette tournaments, slot tournaments.
He was offered a free golf trip to Pebble Beach.
But people like Tommy are mostly left on lists by accident, he says.
Slot machines, for example, are becoming faster, more fun and therefore more dangerous to people prone to gambling problems.
Some now feature film clips, animated graphics and games within games.
Rosenthal, who source the California Counsel on Problem Gambling.
Sunday: Compulsive gambling is one of our most overlooked and troubling problems--a crisis, some would say.
Millions of gambling junkies are suffering financial and familial ruin, costing society in the process.
Today: With billions of dollars at stake, the gambling industry is determined not to duplicate the blunders of Big Tobacco in battling critics.
To that end, Gambling Inc.
TUESDAY: Although compulsive gambling has been recognized as an illness, there is virtually no place for sufferers to seek help.
Government funding for treatment is almost nonexistent, as continue reading specialized recovery centers--except in downtown Indianapolis, where a new program is showing promise.
Winning BIG At Foxwoods!! (Gambling Vlog #29)
Casino Industry Fights an Emerging Backlash - Los Angeles Times Keeping ct casinos strong is vital
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