Alabama Law Enforcement Seizes 1,000 Illegal Gaming Machines
Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange held a news conference on Monday to announce that state law enforcement officials have seen over a thousand gaming machines from casinos operating illegally in Greene County. Strange said the seizures happened after law enforcement agents served search warrants at four unlicensed casinos in Greene County, which is found in the west-central part of the state. Though Tuscaloosa is not in the county, Greene County is part of the Tuscaloosa Metropolitan Statistical Area.
The search warrants were served at Frontier Bingo in Knoxville, Alabama; River’s Edge in Knoxville; Greene Charity in Eutaw, Alabama; and Greenetrack in Eutaw. Attorney General Strange says an investigation was launched several months back, after allegations were made these four locations were operating illegal gambling activities. After several months of investigation, authorities decided a formal search of the properties was required.
Besides the 1,000 gambling machines which are being held as evidence, an undisclosed amount of cash also was confiscated. The money and gaming machines will be subject to forfeiture procedures in Greene County.
South Dakota Lottery Asks for Study of Gambling
The South Dakota Lottery is planning to request a combined financial and social study of gambling on the people of the state. State Representative Scott Craig (R) of Rapid City said he hopes for a “legislative summer study”, which will be conducted by unbiased researchers.
In the past, the South Dakota legislature has killed two bills which were meant to increase video lotteries in the state. At the same time, South Dakota’s politicians killed a bill which presented a plan to wean the state off of lottery gambling revenues.
Lottery Commission Is Asked to Study the Problem
The two bills which involved gambling enhancements faced opposition, because opponents were concerned about gambling addiction. Proponents of a state lottery say it increases state revenues by appealing to discretionary spending and without raising taxes.
When the Lottery Commission meets in early April, it is expected the State Lottery’s Executive Director will ask the commission to study the issue. The Lottery Commission could have an announcement on a formal study in the first week of April.
South Dakota Poverty
South Dakota has perennial troubles with poverty. Of the 11 counties in America with the lowest per capita income per household, South Dakota has 6 of them. These are Buffalo County at $5,213 (#1), Shannon County at $6,286 (#2), Ziebach County at $7,463 (#4), Todd County at $7,714 (#5), Corson County at $8,615 (#7), and Dewey County at $9,251 (#11).
With so much of the state at or below the poverty line, lawmakers and tax collectors face a catch-22 situation. The state is naturally going to face perpetual issues trying to collect revenues, but any form of gaming revenues might attract play from those with little hope for a better job and no financial resources to offset gambling losses. In such a state, problem gambling which hits on the poorest can quickly give the industry a bad reputation.
Klondike Sunset Casino Fined
Klondike Sunset Casino in Henderson, Nevada has been given a warning by state authorities for failing to keep enough cash on hand to pay winnings. When inspectors audited the casino on February 26, 2013, they found that the gaming venue was thousands of dollars short on cash, as mandated by the state.
Over the course of 2013, inspectors made follow-up visits and they found the same problem happened several other times (but not each time). State regulations set a minimum level of money which must be on-hand to cover lost bets. If the cashflow problem at the Klondike Sunset Casino persists in the coming months, the operator could face losing its license.
A formal complaint was filed with the Nevada Gaming Control Board on Monday, March 31. The complaint states that regulators and the management at Klondike Sunset Casino have reached an agreement. If the casino is found to have a short bankroll two or more times in the future, the establishment will lose its gaming license.
Expect to see the management backing Klondike Sunset Casino to get this problem under control. Such licenses are difficult to acquire, because it gives an operation the legal option of offering games with a house edge. Budget troubles must be bad to risk losing a license already, but the Gaming Control Board has sent notice that a failure to maintain a legal amount of cash will be a worst case scenario, so the executive staff must take steps to assure no such thing happens again.
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