It's never been so easy to be a degenerate gambler in America: Phillip Morris

I visited a casino sports book during a recent trip to Las Vegas where I seriously considered betting on the Cleveland Browns to make it to Super Bowl LIII (53).

I'm convinced our hometown team is going to shock the NFL world this upcoming season. With the odds then at 66-1 for the Browns to play in the game, a $100 bet would net me $6,600 if the Browns do indeed represent the AFC in the 2019 Super Bowl.

A $100 Brown's wager was within the gambling budget I set before arriving in Sin City. But, when it came time to cough up the money, I couldn't bring myself to place the bet. It didn't feel right. I'm really not sure why (or maybe I am).

I realize I'm part of a nation of fairly degenerate gamblers - some more compulsive than others. We routinely gamble in our supermarkets, gas stations, bars, restaurants, churches, not to mention racetracks and casinos. We now place a bet or purchase lottery tickets with the ease that we purchase a soda or a gallon of gas - and the gambling options are constantly evolving.

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A safe bet

The genie might be out of the bottle when it comes to gambling, but let’s get real about the revenue it’s supposed to generate

Legalized gambling used to consist of a few bingo squares at church and the occasional trip to Las Vegas or Atlantic City. Now, lotteries are huge and include multistate mega games, and you’re never more than a few hours drive from a casino. And that’s to say nothing of what gamblers can find on the internet.

So the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision striking down a federal ban on sports betting would seem to cut away one of the last barriers to popular gambling.

Consider how popular — if not illicit — sports betting already is. Ever put money into a March Madness bracket pool? Bet a little on the Super Bowl?

Now, what many casual gamblers consider practically harmless might look like a windfall to lawmakers inclined to cash in on another potential revenue source.

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Online sports betting will create a new generation of problem gamblers

Internet sports gambling is a massive expansion of gambling. Access to sporting events worldwide 24 hours a day makes gambling just a click away and fuels gambling addiction. Internet sports gambling appeals to young people, who could place bets over their phones or computers, without their families knowing.

Sports gambling advertising is very aggressive. A recent study found that Twitter users under the age of 18 who follow popular sports accounts are being “bombarded” with gambling ads. Studies indicate that youths who view these ads are more likely to gamble.

Nearly 10 percent of high school students are gambling online, and more than 40 percent are gambling in any form, according a study published in Science Daily. A 2016 survey by the NCAA found 24 percent of male student athletes and nearly 5 percent of current NCAA women wagered on sports in the past year. Millennials (25-34 years of age) were responsible for the biggest increase in online gambling last year. Online sports betting will create a new generation of problem gamblers.

Read more of the Letter to the Editor here.

Group Of Gaming Regulators Slam Leagues’ Plan To Get Fees From US Sports Betting

Top gaming officials from four ideologically different states combined forces to push for a set of sports betting priorities.

Leaders from NevadaMichiganMassachusetts and Louisiana issued a statement criticizing integrity fees and advocating “reasonable” tax structures. They also back allowing states and tribes to set their own rules without federal intervention.

As experienced gaming regulators who are part of the U.S. State Gaming Regulators Forum, we would encourage jurisdictions to establish and implement regulatory models that are not only adaptive and successful, but that remain flexible enough to be sturdy, yet encourage innovation.

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'Easy trap to fall into': why video-game loot boxes need regulation

This money-making addition can ‘exploit and manipulate’ players. But the impact on children is the biggest concern 

“Loot boxes are like scratch-off cards: you open one out of curiosity, get a little prize, think ‘darn, maybe next time,’ and then it just turns into a habit,” says Brian. “I got a big prize with my first $20 and thought, ‘Hey, maybe I’ll get something good again,’ and spent another $5 next week, and then $5 more. It’s a disturbingly easy trap to fall into.”

Brian (not his real name), a 25-year-old American Reddit user who responded to a Guardian call-out, is one of millions of players who buy “loot boxes”, lucky-dip boxes that cost real money and yield random virtual rewards. Loot boxes have attracted controversy and comparisons to gambling in recent months, prompting countries including Belgium and the Netherlands to determine that their inclusion in popular games such as Fifa, Overwatch and Final Fantasy: Brave Exvius contravenes local gambling legislation.

Now, politicians and gambling-awareness organisations in the UK are calling for regulation, too.

Once upon a time you would buy a video game for £40 or so, and there would be no option to spend more. Now, however, with a huge number of games on smartphones that are initially free to play, and spiralling development costs on big-budget games, the makers and publishers of video games have had to find other ways to make money.

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Akron man leaves child in hot car while gambling in Stark

Summit County man was jailed after he reportedly left his 5-year-old son locked in a hot car while he went to gamble.

Corian C. Grimes, 31, who lives on Massillon Road in Akron, was arrested by Stark County Sheriff’s deputies at 8 p.m. Friday at the Gold Mine 777 gaming business, 3200 Whipple Ave. NW.

According to Stark County Jail records, Grimes told police he left the child in the car “due to having a gambling problem.”

The jail records show the incident rendered the child in “extreme danger.” Sgt. Mark Maskaluk of the Stark County Sheriff’s Office said Saturday that no injury was reported.

The National Weather Service shows the temperature recorded at the Akron-Canton Airport when deputies were called was 79 degrees.

“On an 80-degree day, the temperature inside of a car can rise 19 degrees in 10 minutes and keep getting hotter with each passing minute,” according to Safe Kids Worldwide, a non-profit focused on child and family safety. Consumer Reports states that “even if it is only 70 degrees outside, a car can quickly heat to more than 120 degrees.”

Grimes was booked into the jail on a felony charge of endangering children.

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Former "Good Morning America" Anchor Details Gambling Addiction

The former weatherman wrote about his secret gambling addiction in his new book, "You Bet Your Life."

Erst while weatherman and Good Morning America host Spencer Christian pulled back the curtain on his struggles with gambling addiction—and his brush with the FBI, a close call that still wasn’t enough to break the habit. 

The long-time TV personality struggled mightily with his costly gambling habit, moving around so much money he attracted the attention of federal agents at one point. 

“Before every gambling trip I’d go to three or four banks where I had accounts and take cash out and then I’d go off and when I’d come back, I’d have all this cash to redeposit, and that fit the pattern of someone covering up drug money or whatever,” the 70-year-old said in a GMAinterview last week

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AGA maps out Ohio gaming figures

The American Gaming Association has released a study regarding the revenue and impact of casino gaming in the US state of Ohio.

The findings debuted during a roundtable discussion at the Miami Valley Gaming racino as part of the association’s “Get to Know Gaming” campaign, which aims to educate local leaders about gambling’s role in 40 states across the country.

The research shows that between Ohio’s 11 commercial gambling sites (four casinos and seven racinos), there are 19,953 jobs provided and $804m in wages, along with $594m in taxes paid out each year. In terms of revenue, the study revealed that the gambling spots have provided $3.6bn in economic activity in Ohio.

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Ohio lawmakers make bids to legalize sports betting

Two weeks after the U.S. Supreme Court brought down the 26-year-old federal wall between states and sports betting, legislation and ballot issues have already been proposed to legalize and regulate a new industry potentially worth billions in Ohio.

But where should Ohioans place those bets on the outcomes and point spreads of football, basketball, and other professional and college games? Who would regulate this newly legal type of gambling, how much would it be taxed, and who would benefit?

One approach would keep it within the walls of where major gambling already takes place — at the Las Vegas-style casinos in Toledo, Cleveland, Columbus, and Cincinnati and seven racetrack slots parlors.

Another plan would spread the wealth across the state to sports bars, restaurants, bowling alleys, and fraternal organizations like the Veterans of Foreign Wars and Elks. It would also allow slot machines in such establishments, the first time they could be played outside a casino or racino.

“There’s a lobbying effort by the casinos and a lot of money involved,” said Rick Lertzman, whose Open Ohio organization is preparing language for a constitutional amendment that would need voter approval.

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Is sports gambling in Ohio’s future?

When the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a federal ban on sports betting in most states earlier this month, it opened state-sanctioned bookmaking on sporting events — for a take of the action, of course.

This isn’t your simple office pool wagering seen before March madness or the Super Bowl. It’s gambling on athletic events, from the coin toss to the final score and a variety of things in between.

While we’re wary of the idea — we’re not even enamored of the Ohio lottery accepting credit and debit cards — we know sports betting could raise a sizable chunk of revenue for the state. So be prepared for state legislators to pursue those funds.

If that happens, we urge lawmakers to not restrict sports betting to the four casinos, or even racinos with video lottery terminals and the places that have table games.

We also ask legislators to think twice about allowing a type of gambling that calls for an integrity fee for leagues to validate events on which bets are placed and to police athletes to avert point shaving and other forms of corruption.

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Stark County man gets prison in tax case tied gaming parlors

A Stark County businessman will spend 15 months in federal prison on tax charges related to his video gaming parlors.

Paul G.A. Kasapis, 48, of Canton Township, was sentenced Thursday by U.S. District Court Judge Patricia Gaughan in Cleveland. In addition to the prison term, Kasapis was ordered to pay roughly $533,000 in restitution.

He previously pleaded guilty to single counts of income tax evasion, willful failure to collect and pay employment taxes and two counts of money laundering.

According to the federal charges, Kasapis underreported personal income and failed to pay other required taxes from businesses, including Lucky Fox in Jackson Township and El Dorado City of Gold in Canton Township as well as PK Produce in Cleveland, resulting in a total criminal tax loss of roughly $533,000, according to the office of Justin Herdman, U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Ohio.

Kasapis failed to report more than $1 million in income over the course of seven years, according to the U.S. attorney’s office.

He also had a separate case in Stark County Common Pleas Court where he pleaded guilty to multiple gambling-related charges stemming from the video gaming parlors operated between 2012 and 2015, according to court records. His wife, Debra Kasapis, 52, also pleaded guilty to multiple gambling-related charges in the local case.

Debra Kasapis was not charged in the federal case.

Under the terms of his federal plea agreement, Kasapis will forfeit a residence in Cape Coral, Fla., and a Marriott Vacation Club timeshare account as properties derived from the proceeds of an illegal gambling business, according to federal prosecutors.

The federal case was investigated by the Internal Revenue Service, Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation, the Stark County Sheriff’s Office and Jackson Township police.

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Legal Sports Betting in U.S. could encourage problem gambling

Sports betting is all set for a legal market in the U.S., as concerned agencies look to profit out of a problem gambler’s pocket. A glimpse into UK society might reveal what the future holds.

Who doesn’t like to make a quick buck? Since childhood, we have been placing friendly, innocuous bets with our friends and relatives on the outcome of future events – driven not just by plain arrogance in our predictive capabilities but also by the thrill of winning money over our fellow betters. Most of those bets are lost, re-assuring our young minds about the potential risk involved with gambling. Such sound judgement, though, is often misplaced on a majority of people. As monetary shortage escalates with adulthood, they become problem gamblers; routinely indulging in legal or illegal betting with the promise of a big win right around the corner. In the U.S., as per estimates from the National Council on Problem Gambling (NCPG), they constitute around 3-4% of the adult population.

Gambling on the outcome of sporting events, or sports betting, is a lucrative market that grabs the attention of such gamblers all over the world. Bettors place wagers not only on the outcome of a sporting event, but also on player performances and statistics within the game.

Up until recently, sports betting in the U.S. was illegal in all states, except Nevada; with Americans spending an estimated $150 billion each year on illegal wagers. In May 2018, the Supreme Court struck down a federal law that prohibited states to gamble on the result of sporting events – opening the door for states to pass legislation that could regulate and eventually tax legal sports betting.

The decision has met with tremendous approval among state officials, major professional sports leagues, and the gambling industry – all of whom seek to reap a profit from the business. While the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) states that “the ruling would create an open, transparent and responsible market for sports betting”, they also hope to earn around $500 million annually in ‘integrity fee’ – a percentage of revenue paid by betting agencies to supposedly ‘curb down corruption’ in sports league.

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PA Lottery Introduces PA iLottery Interactive Online Games

Are you ready for the next wave of lottery games?

The Pennsylvania Lottery has launched PA iLottery, interactive games
played online on a computer, tablet or mobile device that offer chances to win up to $250,000.

“PA iLottery games are a fun, new way to play and win from home or while on the go,” said
Lottery Executive Director Drew Svitko in a prepared release. 

According to Svitko, “iLottery is a big part of our effort to meet our players
where they already are while generating new funds to benefit older Pennsylvanians.”

Online PA iLottery games do not include draw games, Fast Play games or Scratch-Offs sold at
Pennsylvania Lottery retailers.

The all-new iLottery games include: Big Money SLINGO®, Bigfoot, Cash Buster Towers, Cash
in the Lamp, Crossword Cash, Foxin' Wins, Monster Wins, Robin Hood, Super Cash Buster,
Super Gems, and Volcano Eruption. Prizes and chances of winning vary by game and play cost
starts at as little as one cent.

Players can try out demo versions of the interactive games for free at pailottery.com.
Players can play iLottery games for money after signing up for an account and adding a
payment method such as a debit card or linked bank account. Credit cards are not accepted.
Prizes are automatically paid back to the player’s account.
New account holders are required to securely submit proof of identity and age. Players must be
18 or older.
 
To play PA iLottery games on a mobile device or tablet, install the PA Lottery Official App. Apple users can download the app from the Apple App Store. For Android users, visit
palottery.com/android or text APP to 54187 to receive a special Android download link. Google
Play does not offer the PA Lottery Official App.

Read more here.

What do you think about the legalization of sports wagering? Talk it Out

If sports gambling was legalized in Ohio, would you spend your money betting on the Cavaliers, Indians or Browns?

The Supreme Court struck down a federal law Monday which prohibited sports gambling. That means allowing wagering on sports is up to the states.

Ohio doesn't currently have any rules on the books about sports gambling, unlike states like Pennsylvania and West Virginia. 

Operators of Ohio's four casinos in Cleveland, Cincinnati, Columbus and Toledo said they would welcome the opportunity to add sports wagering, reported cleveland.com's Rich Exner and Andrew Tobias.

There's no rush -- if it's even on the way. The governor's office released a statement that indicated expanding gambling isn't a priority. ESPN marked Ohio as a state where legalization may be delayed.

Wondering about how sports gambling works? Check out this comprehensive report from cleveland.com's Marc Bona where he answers all the questions you might have about the ruling.

Though the ruling could expand the casino business in Ohio, it might not amount to as many new tax dollars as you might think. Rich Exner breaks down just how much Ohio could get from it.

Continue reading here.

DeWine: Sports betting is coming, so let’s get in front of ballot issue

Republican gubernatorial candidate Mike DeWine believes sports betting is coming to Ohio and counsels the General Assembly to get out in front of a potential ballot issue.

“I’m not a fan of gambling, but sports gaming is clearly coming to Ohio,” Attorney General DeWine told The Dispatch on Tuesday. “We need to do it the right way and not let any special interests go the ballot and determine how it’s going to be regulated and where the money is going to go.”

A story in The Columbus Dispatch on Monday accurately quoted a DeWine campaign spokesman as saying the candidate opposed the expansion of gambling, including sports betting, following a U.S. Supreme Court ruing that held states could authorize sports gaming. However, campaign manager Dave Luketic, said Tuesday evening he approved the information given to The Dispatch without checking with DeWine, who then called to clarify his position.

“This is something the legislature should take action on,” DeWine said. “If they don’t, the special interests are going to put it on the ballot and it’s going to be done the right way.” He declined to identify “special interests,” but Ohio casino operators are interested in adding sports betting.

DeWine’s gubernatorial opponent, Democrat Richard Cordray, would consider supporting legislation to legalize sports betting in Ohio to ensure proper regulation and “generate revenue to invest in our communities.”

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Prospect of Ohio sports wagering opens 'floodgates' with interest, Ohio Lottery director says

The Ohio Lottery Commission has the authority to offer sports wagering, but it's too soon to say whether it will do so, the lottery's director told board members during the commission's monthly meeting on Monday.

"That's our first blush look at it," Dennis Berg said in addressing the board.

However, Berg noted that the Gov. John Kasich is currently not looking to expand gambling, and whether Ohio moves forward with sports wagering as part of the lottery may not be decided until the next administration.

Kasich is in his final year as governor.

Read the rest of the article here.

Q&A: Sports wagering in Ohio casinos, racinos and elsewhere

The Supreme Court cleared up one big sports-gambling question on Monday, ruling that any state can now permit wagering on college and pro sports. But the decision created a lot of other questions.

We've been answering many of those over the last few days at cleveland.com/casino. Here's a recap to help you catch up on what you might have missed.

1. Why did the Supreme Court get involved?

The federal Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 barred state-authorized sports gambling, with some exceptions. As a result, Nevada has been the only state where a person can wager in person on the results of a single game.

New Jersey wanted a piece of the gambling pie and went to court. Over objections from the NCAA, NBA, NFL, NHL and Major League Baseball, the court on Monday sided with New Jersey.

This gave every state the go-ahead to legalize betting on sports.

Read more about the court case at this link.

2. When can I legally start placing sports bets in Ohio?

No one knows for sure. In fact, you might never be able to do so. But the door is now open.

Officially, the Ohio Lottery and Casino Control commissions are deferring for guidance to the governor and other state lawmakers, where reaction has been mixed.

An "informal" opinion from the Ohio Attorney General's Office says the legislature can authorize such gambling.

Some people believe the Ohio Constitution must be amended. Others believe, based on the language in the 2009 amendment to the state constitution that allowed four casinos, that Ohio must permit sports betting once it begins in neighboring states.

Bottom line, state lawmakers have the ability to accelerate, or stall, Ohio's move toward sports betting.

This link details more the politics involved.

3. How about other states?

Pennsylvania and West Virginia in the last several months passed laws to begin sports betting.

They took this action in advance of a ruling in the Supreme Court case, because Pennsylvania and West Virginia wanted to get started quickly should the ruling come down as it did.

West Virginia aims to begin wagering before the upcoming football season. Pennsylvania might not be far behind, but the timetable is less certain. Details are being worked out in both states, and casinos will have to pay fees to get started.

Michigan already has fairly wide-ranging language in state law for the Detroit casinos, so sports wagering there might be able to move forward without new legislation, a spokeswoman said.

Nothing is in the works yet for Indiana.

More about the situation in the neighboring states can be at this link.

4. How much tax money could sports wagering bring in?

Not much, if Nevada is any indication.

Currently, Nevada is the only state where in-person bets may be placed on college and pro sports. Sports books accounted for just 2.2 percent of casino gambling revenue in the state last year, according to the Nevada Gaming Control Board.

This amounted to $248.8 million in winnings for the casinos (money kept after paying off sports wagers). Nevada taxed that at a rate of 6.75 percent, bringing in under $20 million in taxes.

Based on Ohio's gambling tax rate of 33 percent and the amount of wagering now done at Ohio's casinos and racinos, Ohio would raise about $15 million a year on casino taxes and/or lottery proceeds by adding sports wagering.

This, of course, is just an estimate based on Nevada. But it offers a clue that the money at stake likely would not be huge. For a comparison, Ohio's annual state budget is roughly $35 billion.

More on this topic at this link.

5. Could Ohio offer sports wagering outside the casinos?

Yes, according to at least one proposal being floated.

A backer of previous ballot efforts for expansion of casino gambling in Ohio said he might begin a new petition drive aimed at offering sports wagering at small bars and restaurants across the state. Rick Lertzman said he would like to see a proposal on the ballot as early as November 2019.

To view the article online click here.

A Video Game ‘Loot Box’ Offers Coveted Rewards, but Is It Gambling?

In the 1980s, arcade games chugged quarters as players tried to reach new levels. Today, many video games let players at home spend a dollar — or much more — to open digital “loot boxes” that offer features like new character outfits and powerful weapons.

Finding the rarest items in these boxes can be expensive for players and lucrative for game publishers because the contents are randomly generated.

That has legislators in several states concerned that the boxes constitute gambling and should be regulated like lottery tickets and slot machines.

A bill introduced in Minnesota on Monday would prohibit the sale of video games with loot boxes to people younger than 18 and require a stern warning: “This game contains a gambling-like mechanism that may promote the development of a gaming disorder that increases the risk of harmful mental or physical health effects, and may expose the user to significant financial risk.”

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PETE ROSE DENIES GAMBLING DEBT ... Reveals Serious Heart Condition

Pete Rose admits he is more than a MILLION DOLLARS in debt -- but the baseball legend is adamant it has nothing to do with a high stakes gambling problem. 

The 77-year-old also claims he has a heart condition and has undergone 3 procedures in the last 5 years. 

It's all part of the new docs Rose filed in his nasty divorce war with his estranged wife, Carol Rose ... who recently claimed Pete still makes $100,000 per month, yet still owes massive gambling debts

"I have NO gambling debts," Rose writes in the new court filing obtained by TMZ Sports

Pete also claims the $100k number is just wrong ... he only makes $54k per month and sends $20k to Carol as part of his monthly support obligation. 

As for his IRS debt, Rose says he owes Uncle Sam more than $1,000,000 -- but notes he's been paying $20k per month to make things right. 

Pete says he's been trying to officially end his marriage to Carol since 2008, but Carol keeps dragging things out.

Rose notes that he proposed to his girlfriend in 2009 and wants to wrap up the divorce, so he can marry his fiancee already.

To read the article, click here.

A video game ‘loot box’ offers coveted rewards, but is it gambling?

In the 1980s, arcade games chugged quarters as players tried to reach new levels. Today, many video games let players at home spend a dollar — or much more — to open digital “loot boxes” that offer features like new character outfits and powerful weapons.

Finding the rarest items in these boxes can be expensive for players and lucrative for game publishers because the contents are randomly generated.

That has legislators in several states concerned that the boxes constitute gambling and should be regulated like lottery tickets and slot machines.

A bill introduced in Minnesota on Monday would prohibit the sale of video games with loot boxes to people younger than 18 and require a stern warning: “This game contains a gambling-like mechanism that may promote the development of a gaming disorder that increases the risk of harmful mental or physical health effects, and may expose the user to significant financial risk.”

Politicians in California, Hawaii, Indiana and Washington state have also targeted loot boxes, which state Rep. Chris Lee of Hawaii said “are specifically designed to exploit and manipulate the addictive nature of human psychology.”

Most of those bills have stalled, though, sparing for now a substantial revenue stream for the video game industry, which is eager to counter rising production costs.

Activision Blizzard, whose portfolio includes popular games like “Candy Crush,” “Call of Duty” and “Hearthstone,” generated $4 billion in 2017 from in-game transactions, more than half its total revenue. That amount includes both loot boxes, whose specific contents aren’t revealed until after they’re bought, and traditional purchases.

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