FBI arrest 6 Texans for federal gambling violations

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AUSTIN, Texas – A joint investigation by the federal, state and local law enforcement agents on illegal gambling and drug trafficking resulted in the arrest of six east Texans on July 15, announced U.S. Attorney John M. Bales.

The joint task force consisted of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Smith County Sheriff’s Office, U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, and the Texas Racing Commission arrested Omar Bonifacio “Pelon” Bonilla, 32; Renault “Nault Pete” Lansing Kay, 47; Jessica Maria Bonilla, 31; Joel Orlando Bonilla-Loya, 36; Guillermo Rivera-Bonilla, 58; and Sheena Shavette Perry, 31.

The task force executed six arrest warrants and four search warrants in Gladewater, Tyler and Texas. At least $30,000 cash, firearms and methamphetamine were seized from the operation.

The six defendants from Tyler appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge K. Nicole Mitchell on charges of prohibition of illegal gambling businesses, conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine, and conspiracy to money launder. If convicted, the defendants will face life imprisonment.

The case was assigned to Assistant U.S. Attorneys Frank Coan and Richard Moore.

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Man arrested for mischief; strikes $1000 VLT

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FARMINGTON, N.Y. – an Irondequoit was charged for damaging a video lottery terminal worth $1,000 at the Finger Lakes Gaming and Race Track on Saturday.

The Ontario County Sheriffs Office told Michael K. Bridges, 56, of 60 Cashmere hit a video lottery terminal which broke the screen. He was transported to Ontario County and charged with third-degree criminal mischief.

Bridge was due in Farmington Town Court at a later date.

Meanwhile, the Finger Lakes Gaming and Race Track released a statement regarding the stabbing incident on a horse groomer last week.

“The assault that occurred this morning took place within a secured area of the property that is not accessible to the public and is far removed from the race track and gaming floor patron areas. This appears to be a domestic incident between two individuals who assist trainers in caring for horses and are not directly employed by our company. Our thoughts are with the victim and his family at this time and we will continue to actively support the Ontario County Sheriffs Department and New York State Police in their investigation of the incident. Our focus will always be on providing a safe and comfortable entertainment experience for our guests.”

The victim was stabbed multiple times in the back in retaliation of a shooting earlier. He underwent surgery for the non-life threatening wounds.

Deputies were on the look-out for the suspect who also happened to be a staff from the stable.

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NJDGE reports NJ drops 12.4% in online poker revenues

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ATLANTIC CITY – as Nevada experienced a boom because of the 2014 World Series of Poker, the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement reported on Thursday a fall off in NJ’s online poker revenues.

According to DGE, the total online revenue decreased to 8.39%: online poker dropped to 12.4%; and casino games was down by 7.25%. This was the second month NJ gaming declined.

Borgata/Partypoker held 53.05% of the market though it dwindled by 13.27% earning only $1,206,261 compared to $184,636 from April 2014.

WSOP in partnership with 888 had a market share of 45.18% and declined by 10.81% from $124,529 to $1,027,161.

Meanwhile, Ultimate Poker with a market share of 1.77% shaved 18.32% from $40,230 to $9,022.

On the other hand, new account sign ups hiked by 8.9% with an addition of 28, 713 accounts. Since the state launched online poker in November, the state now had a total of 351,136 accounts.

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Ties To Casino Lobbyist Found In Push To Close Internet Cafes

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Internet Sweepstakes cafe owners have long
suspected that the Horseshoe Casino in Cleveland is behind efforts to put them out of business in Ohio, and lawyers for the cafe sector claim they now have evidence.

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The owners and their lawyers point to testament and an email documenting consults between a casino lobbyist and 2 individuals– a district attorney and investigator– included in criminal charges brought on a company that supplies software to the cafes.

Cuyahoga County Assistant Prosecutor James D. May and state detective Robert Boldin witnessed last month in Columbus in support of House Bill 605, which will have properly wiped out the controversial cafes had it been passed prior to the legislative session ending Dec. 31.

May sent Boldin an email the night before they went downstate, identifying casino lobbyist Leah Pappas Porner as their “contact” for a Senate committee hearing.

According to the transcript from a court hearing in the criminal case (see the full transcript in the document viewer below), Boldin testified that he sent Porner an advance copy of remarks he planned to make before the Senate committee. He also testified that Porner was present when he prepped for the committee meeting with his superiors from the Ohio Department of Public Safety.

Washington, D.C., defense lawyers handling the criminal case filed a motion Monday in Common Pleas Court, asking Judge Deena Calabrese to remove May from the proceedings. Attorney Mark Schamel declined to comment, but the court filing says the email is evidence that May is “aligned with the casino.”

Cafe owners believe casinos are out to stifle competition, though they deny that their operations involve gambling.

Besides contact with casino representatives, lawyers are upset that May and Boldin traveled to Columbus in the midst of a two-day hearing on defense motions. The trip delayed the proceedings until the afternoon of the second day and came while Bodin stillwas under oath.

May cannot discuss the case, said Maria Russo, spokeswoman for Prosecutor Timothy J. McGinty. In a statement released late Monday, McGinty discounted the complaints made by lawyers for the owners of the software company, New Jersey-based VS2 Worldwide Communications.

“Take a minute to think about what they are doing,” McGinty said. “The purveyors of these gambling dens want to punish the prosecutor who testified with the Attorney General’s Office before the Legislature that their totally unregulated mini casinos, using rigged video slots to bilk little old ladies out of their pensions and pin money, are absolutely wrong and illegal under Ohio law.”

Porner, a Columbus-based attorney for Calfee Halter & Griswold, could not be reached for comment. Jennifer Kulczycki, a spokeswoman for Rock Ohio Caesars, the casino owners, said she did not know enough about the allegations to comment.

“Leah is a lobbyist for us,” Kulczycki said. “She was involved in our support of the bill, but I can’t comment on ‘He said, she said.’ ”

Joe Andrews, a spokesman for the<a href=”http://www.publicsafety.ohio.gov/”> Ohio Department of Public Safety</a>, said May asked Boldin to testify at the Senate Committee meeting. Andrews said he had no indication that Boldin or other department officials acted improperly.

Owners of up to 800 Internet cafes deny they are illegal gambling operations. They say their businesses consist of selling phone or Internet time. The cafes also providecomputers for patrons to play slots-like games, and cafe owners offer cash as prizes.

But Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine and other critics say the storefront businesses’ computer terminals run illegal games of chance and should be strictly regulated, if not shut down. House Bill 605 would have likely accomplished the latter by forbidding the cafes to award cash to sweepstakes players and capping the value of other prizes at $10.

Schamel and other lawyers in the criminal case have claimed selective prosecution. They have asked Calabrese to make former Prosecutor Bill Mason, in office when the case was filed, testify and explain why he did not go after businesses offering other types of sweepstakes contests.

Mason ordered Internet or sweepstakes cafes across the county to shut down or face possible criminal charges. Cafes obtained a temporary restraining order from Judge Nancy Margaret Russo, and a trial is pending.

Lawyer Daniel Gourash, who represents several cafes in the case, has asked for copies of all communication between the prosecutor’s office and casino representatives. Russo ordered the prosecutor’s office to respond by the middle of last week, but Gourash said he had not received a response as of Monday.

“We want to get to the bottom of it,” he said of the reported contact between May, Boldin and Porner. “It’s highly unusual.”

 

http://legaltexassweepstakes.com

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President: Hest Technologies Prepares Strong and Active Defense As It Proceeds to Function

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Chris Canard, president of sweepstakes videogame supplier Hest Technologies, has posted a declaration on the business web site’s legal page, replying to a number of raids and apprehensions by state and federal authorities on Aug. 17.

Canard pointed out 3 execs were detained, not four as stated by Vending Times in addition to local papers.

The Hest chief stated the business’s main offices and manufacturing affairs here were explored; computers, data and other assets were confiscated and bank accounts have been frozen.

The defendants have constructed a solid legal defense group and Hest personnel are “working diligently” to carry out business undisturbed, Canard said.

Hest proceeds to take the stance that sweepstakes games are lawful, Canard included. He accentuated that the legal actions against his business are limited exclusively to Texas. “Business and nonprofit organizations in other states with business relationships with Hest should feel comfortable in continuing to offer this entertainment option to clients,” Canard stated.

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Sweepstakes games sometimes confused with gambling devices

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By Ciara O’Rourke | Monday, June 4, 2012, 04:48 PM

SAN MARCOS — Authorities raided four Lockhart businesses on Friday and issued misdemeanor citations to more than 100 people and seized 160 computers that police said were used for gambling.

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An investigation by the Lockhart Police Department and the Caldwell County District Attorney’s Office leading up to the raid lasted about two months, Police Chief Michael Lummus said, during which time officers played the slot-machine style games under cover.

Lummus said the businesses — Lucky Sweeps, Hometown Sweepstakes, Trails of Texas and KB Foundations of Texas Sweepstakes — were in violation of state gambling laws, in part because the businesses profited from the games.

“What makes the poker game at your home … legal is the house doesn’t take a cut,” Lummus said. “In this particular instance, the establishment — or the house, as they say — got a certain percentage.”

An affidavit for the search warrant was unavailable Monday, and Caldwell County District Attorney Richard Hicks could not be reached for comment.

When officers raided the businesses around 11 p.m. on Friday, they issued class C misdemeanor citations to anyone playing the games, Lummus said.

Charges against those running the businesses are forthcoming, he said.

Lummus said authorities also seized more than $5,000.

Computerized gambling has started to pop up in Lockhart in the last year or so, Lummus said, replacing the eight-liner gaming machines officers have seized in Lockhart in past raids.

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http://www.statesman.com/blogs/content/shared-gen/blogs/austin/blotter/entries/2012/06/04/police_raid_four_lockhart_gami.html?cxntfid=blogs_the_blotter

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Games seized may not have been breaking State gambling code

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Games seized may not have been breaking State gambling code

This is the result of a two month long invFive tickets and 60 seized gambling machines.estigation by Bryan police, the Brazos County Sheriff’s Department and county attorney investigators.

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Brazos County Attorney, Rodney Anderson, said, “If you’re gonna play the machine with the intent that it’s going to pay out something of value, then it becomes gambling and gambling’s illegal.”

Testing your luck with the Texas State Lottery is legal and so is playing Bingo, but that’s because they are regulated by the state.
The machines, confiscated from seven different convenience stores, are unregulated.

“It doesn’t say who can be in there playing the machines, it doesn’t say hours, it doesn’t say what the machines have to pay out in the way of odds or anything like that,” Anderson said.

If you play games like this, just for the fun of it, that’s fine.
Where you can get into trouble is if you pay money expecting to win something of value in return.

Anderson said, “We hear of some of these machines, they may pay out in gift cards…We’ve heard of machines that give out phone cards.”

The people caught playing the gambling machines were ticketed and may have to pay a fine up to $500.

“They’re doing it for a reason and that’s to try to win something of value,” said Anderson.

The stores won’t be closed down, but more charges may follow.

These were seven stores raided yesterday.
The Big Gas Truck Stop, Finish Line Chevron, Tigerland Shell, Pete’s Corner Store, A&A Quick Stop, Lucky 13 Stop and Joe’s Food Mart.

The county attorney says those responsible for the convenience stores and machines may be facing charges that could result in a fine up to $4,000 and a year in jail.

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http://internetsweepstakesforum.com/showthread.php?4696-Seven-Convenience-Stores-Raided-for-Suspected-Illegal-Gambling

http://www.kbtx.com/news/headlines/T…3.html?ref=813

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