Latest News
1/11/09 TO 1/17/09

A gambling expansion 'perfect storm'

FL - The Florida Legislature concludes this week its special session called to balance the state budget, wisely rejecting new gambling revenue as a means of closing the 2008-2009 budget deficit. As pro-family leaders warned in a news conference last month, there is a "perfect storm" brewing in Tallahassee that may radically change Florida's mostly family-friendly environment to a state that has taken a dramatic plunge into big-time gambling as a crutch to balance the budget. Dennis Baxley, executive director of Christian Coalition and former state representative, said that gambling expansion "pours resources down a black hole," never delivering on the economic development promises of its proponents. Money spent on gambling is "dollars that will not be spent to pay the rent, purchase a vehicle, pay child support, meet family health care needs, or feed a family," Baxley said. He [Dunn, FL Family Policy Council] noted the Florida Council on Compulsive Gambling reported in 2002 that the Sunshine State has a higher percentage of problem and pathological gamblers, .08 percent, than the rest of the nation, .04 percent, and Florida's "at risk population" is nearly twice the national average. / By JAMES A. SMITH SR. / January 15, 2009

Adult arcades attract customers, controversy

FL - A steady stream of retired people walked into the doors of the newly opened Pirate's Gold Arcade to play slot-like machines, eat a free lunch and meet new people. They are "adult amusement facilities" and contain machines that look like slot machines, but are started and stopped by the player, making them games of skill, according to state laws and definitions. Real slot machines are stopped randomly by the machine itself. In addition, state officials said customers can't be charged to play in the arcade. And no cash payoffs are given. Instead, customers receive Visa gift cards or gift cards for such places as Olive Garden, Publix and Wal-Mart. In 2007, Rockledge tightened its ordinance to prevent arcades from opening too close to schools. And Melbourne and Titusville have tried to outlaw them altogether as illegal gambling halls. In 2004, Cape Canaveral officials banned the facilities, stating that slot machines can lead to gambling addictions, and "increases in crime, debt, suicide and other negative effects" in the community. / FLORIDA TODAY / BY KIMBERLY C. MOORE / January 13, 2009

City aide allegedly stole $76K in order to gamble

FL - Pointing to a ''gambling problem,'' police said North Miami's purchasing director illegally withdrew more than $76,000 from an employee emergency trust fund. She gambled at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino near Hollywood, authorities said. / Miami Herald / BY DAVID OVALLE / 01.17.09

Clothing Store Fronts Illegal Gambling Operation In Naples

FL - The Brooklyn Consignment Boutique was raided by authorities in Naples, Florida after police found that the clothing store was a front for an illegal gambling operation. Arrests were made in the case involving lottery tickets. / By Tom Jones / January 11, 2009

Clothing Store Fronts Illegal Gambling Operation In Naples

FL - During the sting operation police had found hundreds of lottery tickets that were given to customers participating in the illegal operation. The receipts equalled over four thousand dollars. / By Tom Jones / January 11, 2009

Florida has long bet big on gambling

FL - One drawback to gambling as a tax generator is that dollars spent here diminish what gets spent elsewhere. In its heyday, parimutuel gambling provided almost 20 percent of state revenues. But the lottery, Indian gaming and out-of-state casinos killed it. The cost of regulating horse and dog tracks now eats up most of the tax money gained. Lottery sales dwindle as casino gambling expands. / Times / By Stephen Nohlgren / Jan 11, 2009

Fort Pierce Billiards Room Raided For Illegal Poker Gambling

FL - The St. Lucie County Sheriff's Office raided the pool hall for what they claim to be an illegal gambling operation. They found evidence that an illegal poker gambling operation was taking place. / By Larry Rutherford / January 17, 2009

Judge rejects deal to let priest go home

FL - The priests are accused of systematically looting the Delray Beach parish collection plate to finance a lifestyle of heavy drinking, romantic affairs with women and gambling. Given the profound embarrassment of having two Bishops chased out of town by sexual scandals involving young men, Bishop Keith Simons in 1998 and Bishop Anthony O'Connell in 2002, the Diocese of Palm Beach County was trying to restore its image when the Skehan- Guinan scandal broke. / by: Tim Malloy / 1/14/09

Priest accused of theft may seek deal

FL - Allegedly stealing thousands of dollars in church money... Skehan... Spent money on lavish trips, gambling and girlfriends. / UPI / Jan. 15

State May Aim At Vendors

FL - TALLAHASSEE - Some lawmakers want the state to crack down on businesses they say are acting as "co-conspirators" with the Seminole Indians to offer blackjack and other casino-style games. State law prohibits Class-III slot machines and "banked" card games, including those operated by the Seminole tribe, according to attorney Jon Glogau, tribal gaming expert who works for Attorney General Bill McCollum. But federal law prohibits the state from enforcing its gaming law on tribal land, Glogau told the House's committee on tribal gaming Tuesday. The Seminoles are offering the games per a compact that Crist negotiated in late 2007, / By CATHERINE DOLINSKI / January 14, 2009