The parents of a 1-year-old and a 10-year-old were charged with child endangerment in Connecticut after police say they left their children alone in a car while they gambled at the Foxwoods Resort Casino for about an hour. Police said the couple's children were turned over to the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families. Almost every land-based casino reports a handful of similar incidents every year in which parents, grandparents or other caregivers, leave children in vehicles unattended while they gamble. Most gambling jurisdictions in Canada and the U.S. require surveillance cameras be installed in casino parking garages and entrances to monitor this type of activity.
More than 100 people who claim they developed a gambling habit after taking drugs used to treat Parkinson’s disease have filed a class action lawsuit in Australia against Pfizer and Aspen Pharmacare. The claimants allege they lost hundreds of thousands of dollars and suffered family breakdowns because of compulsive gambling behaviour caused by the drugs. The drugs implicated are Cabaser, sold by Pfizer, and Permax, sold by Aspen. The class action suit claims Pfizer and Aspen failed to warn of increased risk of compulsive disorders. In 2008, a jury in Minnesota awarded US$8.2 million to a man who became a compulsive gambler after using Mirapex, a drug sold by Boehringer Ingelheim, to treat Parkinson’s disease.
Terrance Watanabe, the Omaha businessman who ran the Oriental Trading Company for many years, is in court defending criminal charges over a US$14.75 million gambling debt Harrah's alleges he owes them. In one year, Watanabe spent US$204 million gambling at the Rio and Caesars Palace - both Harrah's properties in Las Vegas. Watanabe paid back at least US$112 million. By all accounts, he likely holds the world's record for the largest sum of money ever gambled and lost in a commercial casino in a year.
Ontario Superior Court Justice Maurice Cullity ruled against certification of a $3.5 billion class action lawsuit against the Ontario Lottery & Gaming Corporation this week that had been filed on behalf of a class of Ontario problem gamblers. The litigation alleged that the OLGC failed in its duty to prevent persons who had signed self-exclusion forms from continuing to gamble in Ontario. The Court heard that the OLGC has paid out an average of $167,000 per case to settle nine lawsuits with problem gamblers. Counsel for the class intends to appeal the ruling.
It's National Problem Gambling Awareness Week in the US. The NPGAA is a campaign by the US National Council on Problem Gambling to educate the public about problem gambling. We don't have a similar awareness campaign on a national level in Canada although we have similar gambling addiction problems but on a much smaller scale. Of all the stories I've read about NPGAA over the past few days, Michael Burke's post here called "Allen Iverson Should Accept This Crisis as a Gift" is the best.
Thomas Koch, a Milwaukee lawyer, has admitted stealing US$2.4 million from a client over a five year period to gamble, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports. He was a regular customer at the Potawatomi Bingo Casino, whose website surprisingly spells "paysbig.com." Koch is no longer practicing law and is seeking treatment at a gambling addiction centre. If convicted, Koch faces a ten year prison sentence.
28-year-old UK football player Matthew Etherington admitted he lost about US$2 million gambling before he gave it up. He was asked by family members to seek help for his addiction last year and disclosed that he had attended Gambling Anonymous meetings in Birmingham. You can read more here.
In Britain today, 23-year-old Bryan Benjafield pleaded guilty in Dorchester Crown Court to stealing more than $2 million from his employer to gamble over the Internet. Benjafield's employer, Charminster Limited, was forced into administration as a result of the theft. The court will consider sentencing in a few weeks time.
According to the Glasgow Daily Record, banker Graham Price is expected to be sentenced today for allegedly stealing more than $21 million from the local Halifax Bank in Swansea Wales and from elderly investors to gamble over the Internet. He was caught when auditors found an IOU he had written in the Bank's safe for £7 million.