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Category Archives: Gambling
The Vault | Louisville: Open City exposed bookie operations; officials turning blind eye to gambling, prostitution – WHAS11.com
Posted: February 22, 2021 at 2:23 pm
LOUISVILLE, Ky. Documentary length programming was nearly unheard of on local TV news before WHAS released a two-hour special focusing on politicians and police receiving money from handbook operators in exchange for not enforcing gambling or prostitution laws.
"You are watching the inside of a Louisville bookie joint. Posing as a regular customer, WHAS reporter Clarence Jones, carried a concealed movie camera into this betting room to photograph its daily operation. This film and much of the film you will see tonight is the results of eight months of intensive undercover investigation- we call it Louisville open city," Bob Morse, a former WHAS11 news director said.
An experienced investigator teamed up with a WHAS reporter to do the digging and very few were aware of the investigation until it hit the air.
"Gamblers, prostitutes and policemen who know Louisville call it an open city that means that gambling and prostitution are allowed to operate openly here with the knowledge of the police, prosecutors and the politicians," Jones explained.
Louisville Open City exposed more than 350 bookie operations and the hidden cameras caught police turning a blind eye to prostitution.
In the days after the two-part special aired, the station received hundreds of phone calls with additional tips, letters arrived after that.
State lawmakers and the Kentucky attorney general asked to see the program's script to investigate the claims of corruption.
Within weeks, the bookies and club owners shown on film breaking the law were arrested and charged and local judges cracked down on enforcing penalties.
Commonwealth's Attorney Tom Wine was in high school when the expose hit the air, but he says he remembers it.
"I was a junior in high school and there was talk at Atherton High School about some of the stuff going on."
He says compared to 1971, much has changed in the way of gambling in Kentucky.
"Back in the '70s if you wanted to have an operation a booking operation you paid for protection," he said. "All of that has changed now. Everything that was illegal is now legal not completely [and] there are still some restrictions but just about everything that you would've arrested somebody for, or tried somebody for is every day commonplace now."
Another noteworthy difference over the decades, accountability. Wine says the work WHAS did on this series was part of a major shift in how journalists started checking those in power.
"Reporters were much more active during that time period than they had been before when they were simply reporting the news it was kind of handed, but now all of the sudden, they were actively involved in doing the undercover operations, so it was a big change back in the '70s," he explained.Half a century later, Wine says the reminder of what went wrong is worthy.
"If you don't look at those stories you aren't going to remember how people took advantage of the situation, how people bribed elected officials allegedly, bribed police officers allegedly, he said. Those type of things cannot be forgotten. We have to remember so that we don't repeat those mistakes."
Make it easy to keep up-to-date with more stories like this. Download the WHAS11 News app now. ForAppleorAndroidusers.
Ukrainian gambling: to be, or not to be, that is (already not) the question – European Gaming Industry News
Posted: at 2:23 pm
Reading Time: 4 minutes
After significant and protracted deliberations, Ukraine finally legalized gambling activities back in 2020. The Law on the governance of the organization and carrying out of gambling activities became effective almost half a year ago. As of the date of writing this article, already 3 licenses have been granted to online casinos for their gambling activities to be performed in the future.
There is still a number of issues and, despite all efforts, the gambling market seems to be standstill except for the mentioned minor movements by local online players obtaining licenses. As of now, it seems that no big international market players are entering the newly born Ukrainian gambling market. So, let`s discuss whether it is all going somewhere and if that somewhere is in the right direction.
Ukrainian gambling market background
To see a broader picture, one should unveil the historical background of the current gambling market legalization in Ukraine. First of all, its worth mentioning that the Ukrainian gambling market has been actually reopened, but not developed from scratch.
The previously operating Ukrainian gambling market was not so much a success story as one might imagine. There were no huge and fancy casinos like in Las Vegas, but rather a market consisting of different establishments, some of them even legal and compliant. They were shut down by decisive moves of the state authorities in 2009 due to the lack of comprehensive regulations and effective control over their execution, which irreversibly led to negative consequences. As a result, the mentioned flaws contributed to the growth of black and grey gambling services markets. Moreover, the lack of strict rules and their enforcement also formed a public opinion that the gambling market was something antisocial and dirty. Ukrainians still remember well those times when slot machine halls literally surrounded public transport stops and were filled with some not exactly wealthy people giving up their last money in pursuit of a snatch.
At that time, Ukrainian authorities decided to use muscles instead of brains and banned all gambling activities instead of introducing reasonable regulation and taking the situation under control. Thus, starting from mid-2009, all gambling operators were forced to leave the wild, but rapidly growing market. However, as one may guess, the Ukrainian gambling ban was not far from the Prohibition in the United States in terms of its results. Ukrainian gambling market simply went undercover, depriving the Ukrainian budget of significant contributions previously made by the industry.
What are the current challenges for the Ukrainian gambling market?
Not so long ago, a logical step was taken by Ukraine and the gambling activities ban was lifted. However, same as in the case with the Ukrainian land market, things are not perfectly smooth and there are still some obstacles in place.
For instance, while three online casinos have already paid for and received licenses, they still can`t fully realize and enjoy the rights of an online casino operator. The reason is that the necessary regulations applicable to certification of the equipment to be used in casinos haven`t been adopted yet. Additionally, there is still a certain lack of clarity in terms of taxation of gambling activities. Some say that a specific volume-based tax will be introduced. However, considering that the licensed operators can`t get any revenues in the absence of the regulations to certify their equipment, the issue of taxation seems to be too far to think about.
Apart from that, one should note that this time Ukrainian government decided to seriously take advantage of the gambling market by imposing comparatively high license fees, financial thresholds, and location requirements (for offline casinos). For instance, the license fee is around USD 1.1 million for online casinos (for 5 years) and USD 10 million for offline casinos if based in Kyiv (additional equipment fees will also apply). Moreover, a gambling operator must have a share capital of at least USD 1.1 million and a deposit account or Ukrainian bank guarantee for USD 1.2 million.
As to the location requirements, under the new legislation, casinos can be opened only at 5-star hotels with at least 150 rooms in Kyiv, 4- and 5-star hotels with at least 100 rooms in other regions, out-of-town resorts with a total area of at least 10,000 m2 or special gaming zones within territories to be further defined by the Ukrainian government.
Under the new law, various restrictive regulations of a similar character also apply to betting, slot machine halls, and online poker activities.
Opportunities and additional obligations for Ukrainian gambling operators
It is worth mentioning that there are some opportunities for the new market players. The new law provides that such players may obtain investment licenses. Holders of such licenses will be exempt from license fees for 10 years if they build a new 5-star hotel with at least 200 rooms in Kyiv or 150 rooms in another Ukrainian region.
Ukrainian gambling operators will be also obliged to follow certain gambling standards and policies aimed at preventing gambling addiction. The government plans to launch a state-owned online monitoring system. The system will perform a real-time oversight and control of the Ukrainian gambling industry.
To sum it all up, its an important aspect that different people might make different conclusions as to the above. Pessimists might claim that this time, the gambling market launch in Ukraine has little chance to become interesting for the largest international market players. However, if evaluated by opportunists, entering the Ukrainian gambling market is definitely worth a shot.
High financial thresholds and strict regulations ensure that the market will not slip into putting dirty slot machines centered around metro stations. It is more likely that the Ukrainian gambling industry will at least somehow resemble what one may observe in wealthy locations like Las Vegas. This puts confidence into the minds of potential investors because the government will not be in a position to cut its own leg by banning a well-governed and budget-supporting industry.
The readiness of the local online casino market players to pay for the licenses which can`t be yet used proves the above statement to be true. It also leads to a conclusion that gambling investors should already be on their way to Ukraine in order to be in a time when the market starts to operate and extreme profits flow into the hands of the few pioneers.
This article has been created with the help of Oleksandr Aleksyeyenko (Partner at Marchenko Partners) and Sviatoslav Henyk (Senior Associate at Marchenko Partners)
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Online Gambling and Betting Market 2021-2029 Is Booming Worldwide with Comprehensive Study Explores Huge Revenue Scope in Future KSU | The Sentinel…
Posted: at 2:23 pm
Reports published inMarket Research Incfor the Online Gambling and Betting market are spread out over several pages and provide the latest industry data, market future trends, enabling products and end users to drive revenue growth and profitability. Industry reports list and study key competitors and provide strategic industry analysis of key factors affecting market dynamics. This report begins with an overview of the Online Gambling and Betting market and is available throughout development. It provides a comprehensive analysis of all regional and major player segments that provide insight into current market conditions and future market opportunities along with drivers, trend segments, consumer behavior, price factors and market performance and estimates over the forecast period.
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Key Strategic Manufacturers:* NetEnt AB* GVC Holdings Plc* 888 Holdings Plc* Ladbrokes Coral Group Plc* Fortuna Entertainment Group* Playtech Plc(Market Size & Forecast, Different Demand Market by Region, Main Consumer Profile etc
The report gives a complete insight of this industry consisting the qualitative and quantitative analysis provided for this market industry along with prime development trends, competitive analysis, and vital factors that are predominant in the Online Gambling and Betting Market.
The report also targets local markets and key players who have adopted important strategies for business development. The data in the report is presented in statistical form to help you understand the mechanics. The Online Gambling and Betting market report gathers thorough information from proven research methodologies and dedicated sources in many industries.
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Key Objectives of Online Gambling and Betting Market Report: Study of the annual revenues and market developments of the major players that supply Online Gambling and Betting Analysis of the demand for Online Gambling and Betting by component Assessment of future trends and growth of architecture in the Online Gambling and Betting market Assessment of the Online Gambling and Betting market with respect to the type of application Study of the market trends in various regions and countries, by component, of the Online Gambling and Betting market Study of contracts and developments related to the Online Gambling and Betting market by key players across different regions Finalization of overall market sizes by triangulating the supply-side data, which includes product developments, supply chain, and annual revenues of companies supplying Online Gambling and Betting across the globe.
Furthermore, the years considered for the study are as follows:
Historical year 2016-2020
Base year 2020
Forecast period 2021to 2029
Table of Content:
Online Gambling and Betting Market Research ReportChapter 1: Industry OverviewChapter 2: Analysis of Revenue by ClassificationsChapter 3: Analysis of Revenue by Regions and ApplicationsChapter 6: Analysis of Market Revenue Market Status.Chapter 4: Analysis of Industry Key ManufacturersChapter 5: Marketing Trader or Distributor Analysis of Market.Chapter 6: Development Trend of Online Gambling and Betting market
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Billy Reed: When players and gamblers mixed and a reminder that basketball can never relax its vigilance – User-generated content
Posted: at 2:23 pm
I know this comes under the heading of ancient history, but I remain fascinated by the 1951 point-shaving scandal that brought college basketball to its knees. I think it has become a cautionary tale about what might happen when players and gamblers mix, as they did back then in Madison Square Garden in New York city.
My interest mainly had been due to the University of Kentuckys involvement in the scandal. At the time, Coach Adolph Rupps Wildcats were the unquestioned kings of the sport. Their team known as the Fabulous Five won back-to-back NCAA titles in 1948 and 49, and they won again in 51 with a team build around 7-footer Bill Spivey.
In my adult years, two of the UK players accused of taking bribes, Ralph Beard and Dale Barnstable, became close friends. Both were as honorable and trustworthy as anybody Ive ever known. But Ralph let the scandal haunt him and Barney didnt. They eventually had a falling-out over it.
Billy Reed is a member of the U.S. Basketball Writers Hall of Fame, the Kentucky Journalism Hall of Fame, the Kentucky Athletic Hall of Fame and the Transylvania University Hall of Fame. He has been named Kentucky Sports Writer of the Year eight times and has won the Eclipse Award three times. Reed has written about a multitude of sports events for over four decades and is perhaps one of the most knowledgeable writers on the Kentucky Derby. His book Last of a BReed is available on Amazon.
But since we are nearing the end of Black History Month, Im going to focus on Sherman White of the City College of New York and Junius Kellogg of Manhattan, a couple of African-American racial pioneers who were among the best players of their era.
The story actually began in the early 1940s, when Ed Curd, a bookmaker so prominent that he handled the action of New York crime boss Frankie Costello, invented the point spread and the vigorish that went with it.
Up until then, a gamblers only option was to bet on a team to win. Various bookmakers offered odds on the games, and gamblers shopped around for the best possible deal.
But the spread changed gambling forever. The idea was to make a gambling line on each game based on how many points a team should win or lose by. Lets say UK was favored by 10 points over its opponent. It was possible for Big Blue fans to bet that UK would win by less than the spread but still win the game. The vigorish was a 10 per cent surcharge on every bet that went to the bookmaker.
The spread caught on immediately with the mobsters who controlled betting in New York. It was an open invitation for them to recruit key players who would make enough mistakes to assure their team went under the spread, but still won the game. For the players, it was easy money and they wouldnt have to betray their coaches and fans.
In January, 1951, a former teammate approached Kellogg, a 6-foot-8 center, in his dorm room and offered him $1,000 to fix a game against DePaul. Although he could have used the money he worked part-time at a custard shop to supplement his scholarship Kellogg reported the incident to his coach, who reported it to authorities.
It landed in the lap of Frank Hogan, the citys crusading district attorney, and he had Kellogg wear a wire in a subsequent meeting with his former teammate.
On Feb. 18, 1951, Hogan arrested seven men at Penn Station and charged them with fixing games by shaving points. Three of them played on the 1950 City College of New York team that became the first, and still the only, team to win both the NCAA tournament and NIT in the same season.
By the time Hogan was done, a total of 33 players and six college teams: CCNY, Manhattan, Long Island University, New York University, Kentucky, and Bradley of Peoria, IL.
Two days after the initial arrests, Hogan arrestedWhite, who led the nation in scoring in 1950-51 with a 27.7 average, at the Carlton YMCA in Brooklyn. He immediately returned the $5,500 he had received from gamblers but was afraid to spend. He also agreed to miss the
White received much harsher punishment than his white teammates, including Eddie Gard, who had recruited him on behalf of crime boss Salvatore Sallazzo. The whites received only suspended sentences while White did some prison time and was barred for life from the NBA, where he would have been one of the first African-American stars.
White was among the many who believed so.
Kellogg never played in the NBA, either, because he signed with the Harlem Globetrotters upon his graduation from Manhattan. But in 1954, he was in an automobile accident that left him paralyzed.
Today serious basketball historians regard Kellogg as the whistle-blowing hero of the point-shaving scandal, while White is remembered as perhaps its most tragic victim.
Could it happen again?
Well, it did at Boston College in 1962. By and large, however, college basketball is stronger than ever today, the scandals relegated to the cobwebs of history.
Considering todays exorbitant NBA salaries, the best players would be foolish to risk their careers for relative chump change. In addition, gambling on games has been legalized by a few states in need of revenue.
The law-enforcement community monitors the game in search of unusual action on a contest. If a lot more money than usual is bet on a particular game or team, its a red warning flag that triggers an investigation.
Still, the game can never relax its vigilance because there could be players who have no hope of an NBA career, but can make some easy, tax-free money by shaving points.
This is the legacy of Junius Kellogg and Sherman White, who deserve to be remembered during Black History Month.
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WGC – Workday Championship at The Concession Preview and Betting Strategies – The Sports Gambling Podcast
Posted: at 2:23 pm
A star-studded field on a golf course none of them have seen in tournament play before. What could go wrong? The worlds best golfers take on the difficult track for the WGC Workday Championship at The Concessionin Bradenton, FL.
As always, here is your early deep-dive and WGC Workday Championship at The Concession Preview.
Its a WGC with a giant purse on the line. Almost all of the biggest names in golf will make the trip to Bradenton to take on the golf course. Every member of the Top 10 in the Official World Golf Rankings will play this week. They include Dustin Johnson, Jon Rahm, Rory McIlroy, Justin Thomas, and Bryson DeChambeau.
Also in the field are prominent international players who make their season debut in the United States. Among them is Tyrrell Hatton. Hatton is on an absolute tear over the last year. He has won four times in his last 22 starts worldwide and climbed all the way to 5th in the OWGR. There are many qualities to The Concession as Bay Hill, which is a tournament Hatton won last year. Hes certainly a threat to take down another victory.
Others who make their 2021 United States debut this week include Tommy Fleetwood, Shane Lowry, Robert MacIntyre, Justin Rose, and Lee Westwood.
For the full field, click here.
This tournament has been quite nomadic over the last decade. After Donald Trumps insensitive comments about Mexican immigrants, the tournament was moved (in the ultimate troll move) from Trump Doral to Club de Golf Chapultepec in Mexico City. While the tournament drew plenty of spectators and did well to promote youth golf initiatives, I speculate that tournament organizers used COVID as an excuse to move it elsewhere. With the new partnership between the PGA Tour and the European Tour, the tournament may enter a new phase of rotating to different golf courses on each side of the Atlantic for years to come.
For this year, the WGC Workday Championship moves to The Concession Golf Club in Bradenton, FL. The golf course is a co-design from Jack Nicklaus and Tony Jacklin, two pivotal members of the 1969 Ryder Cup. Thats the site of the famous concession, which is where the club gets its name. With the match all square, Jack Nicklaus holed out for par and left Tony Jacklin a tough three-footer to halve the hole and the match. Instead, Nicklaus conceded the putt by saying I dont think you would have missed it, but I wasnt going to give you the chance, either. It is considered one of the greatest acts of sportsmanship. And when Tony Jacklin approached Jack in 2006 to create a golf course to commemorate the moment, the Golden Bear happily obliged.
The pair picked out a wooded wetland southeast of Bradenton, FL. The goal was to create a championship-caliber golf course with the aim of attracting future Ryder Cups and Major Championships. Unfortunately for Jack and Tony, their aim to attract large events up until this point has failed. Both the USGA and the PGA of America have not come close to considering The Concession for one of their major tournaments.
However, Tony and Jacks goal to create a tough, championship-caliber golf course was met:
From the Back Tees, the Concession Golf Club is one of the toughest golf courses in America. It stretches almost 7,500 yards from the tips, has a course rating of 77.6 and a slope of 155. To give you an idea of how tough that is, a scratch golfer gets a shot on the six toughest holes on the golf course against their handicap.
Because this is a new golf course for fans and pros alike, the first question is what other golf courses inspired Jack Nicklaus and Tony Jacklin when they created the place. Most of these answers can be provided in this video from the Concessions opening:
For those who dont want to sit through a 45 minute commercial for the club, here are the highlights:
Par 3s: Jack states in the video that he designs Par 3s based on some of his favorite templates from his favorite golf courses. He cites direct templates from Augusta National, Royal Troon, Riviera Country Club, and other famous golf courses as his favorite Par 3s in the world.
There are a few template Par 3s on the golf course.
Par 4s:Jack states in the video that he wanted to design the Par 4s to promote shaping the ball both ways. While Jack loved to hit fades, he created golf courses that required both left-to-right and right-to-left tee shots and approach shots. Thats evident on almost all of the Par 4s at this weekends Workday Championship.
Like the Par 3s, there are several Par 4s on the golf course that are templates from other places. Here are a few examples:
Par 5s: In the video, Jack notes that he likes variety in his Par 5s. He has always been a fan of reachable Par 5s like the ones Bobby Jones is famous for. But he also likes ones that gives players anxieties and forces them to lay up into uncomfortable areas. Sometimes going for the green in two isnt an option. Instead of providing a safe bailout, Jack designed these Par 5s with landmines in the safe zone. As such, Concession has one Par 5 that is reachable in 2, two Par 5s that are reachable if the wind cooperates, and one Par 5 that is a three-shot hole. These should be some key holes at the Workday Championship.
In addition, Jack utilized a few popular Par 5 templates that he both enjoys and uses at his other golf courses:
While Jack spearheaded most of the architecture, Jacklins mark on the golf course comes from the links features of the golf course. The two moved dirt to create mounds and uneven lies on the fairway, a common feature of traditional links golf courses. In addition, there is some creative undulation and good use of shelving of the greens. There are tightly mowed areas around the green that funnel to collection areas well below the putting surface. And the greenside bunkers are not easy to get up and down out of, especially if short-sided to the pin.
For example, heres a view from the greenside bunker on 10:
Some of Jacks favorite golf courses like St. Andrews, Augusta National, and Royal Melbourne all make good use of these tricky features. Im sure it didnt take much convincing from Tony Jacklin to include these on the golf course.
All in all, this golf course is a stern test. It requires patience, strategy, and mental fortitude tee-to-green. Almost all the players will see this golf course for the first time. The only ones who have seen the course are those who competed in the 2015 NCAA Championships, won by Bryson DeChambeau. But for everyone else, the Workday Championship could be a rude awakening.
There are so many unknowns to this golf course. This is the first time this golf course will be seen on the PGA Tour. Therefore, gamblers cant rely on both past leaderboards or historical strokes gained data to handicap who it would favor. In addition, as described above this golf course is essentially Frankensteins Monster. It borrows from several golf course concepts and templates from around the world. Theres no direct correlation to any one golf course regularly played on the PGA Tour.
Therefore, gamblers should primarily rely on the skillsets needed to get around the many correlated golf courses jammed into this piece of property. In my eye, this golf course encapsulates these five golf courses the most:
Tee-to-green, there are several correlations to the layout at The Concession, Muirfield Village, and PGA National. This isnt surprising given Muirfield Village and PGA National are two Jack Nicklaus designs. Both golf courses are punishing for those who find themselves out of position off the tee. While there is less rough and wider fairways at The Concession, theres equally as much water and nasty fairway bunkers one needs to avoid. And while technically theres no out of bounds, anything lost in the palmetto and pine trees is essentially a penalty stroke. Theres no getting out of jail from these areas.
In addition, all the sand at the club was imported from Ohio. Its the same sand used at Muirfield Village. Thats another direct correlation between the two golf courses.
On and around the greens is where the comparisons to Augusta National, Riviera Country Club, and Royal Melbourne come into play. All four places feature lightning-fast, significantly undulated greens. They all also feature tricky bunker complexes and tightly mowed collection areas where balls funnel to when they roll off the green. Augusta National, Riviera Country Club, and Royal Melbourne are some of the toughest golf courses to get up and down from off the green. I expect the Concession Golf Club to be just as tough.
What firmly links The Concession and the listed correlated golf courses is solid iron play. Theres significant trouble lurking around the greens at The Concession. It also requires pinpoint precision to access certain pin positions on the green. The margin of error on these firm and fast greens is very small. Good control with ones irons is a must this week.
Lastly, its important not to fall into the trap of relying too heavily on historical putting performance on Bermuda greens. While the golf course is wall to wall TifEagle Bermuda, the greens at The Concession are double cut and rolled every day. This takes almost all of the grain out of the greens. That means that they roll more like a poa or bentgrass green than a standard Bermuda green. Players will assess movement and speed based on the undulations of the green rather than the grain theyre putting towards or against.
If anything, consult historical putting stats at Muirfield Village and Riviera Country Club. Those also feature tricky, lightning-fast undulated greens. Thats more of a direct correlation to the types of green the players will face this week at the Workday Championship.
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VIDEO: Casinos could be added to gambling deal, a challenger enters the U.S. Senate race, GOP current civil war and more on Alabama Politics This Week…
Posted: at 2:23 pm
The Department of Defenses inspector general on Friday announced it is probing the Air Forces decision announced last month to make Huntsvilles Redstone Arsenal the permanent headquarters of U.S. Space Command.
Redstone was one of six finalists nationwide for the coveted HQ. Colorados Peterson Air Force Base, Space Commands current temporary headquarters, was one of the other five finalists, along withNew MexicosKirtland Air Force Base, Nebraskas Offutt Air Force Base, Floridas Patrick Air Force Base and Texas Port San Antonio.
Leaders in Colorado have decried the decision, after seemingly assuming all along that the Air Force would ultimately keep the headquarters at Peterson on a permanent basis. Elected officials in Colorado recently began a public lobbying campaign for the President Joe Biden White House to reverse the Air Forces decision.
Now, the DoD inspector generals office is officially investigating whether the decision complied with Air Force and Pentagon policy and whether it was based on proper evaluations of competing locations.
However, Governor Kay Ivey (R-AL) on Monday released a statement welcoming the review.
Alabama welcomes the Inspector Generals review of the decision to name the Redstone Region the preferred location for the permanent headquarters for Space Command, a decision made after a thorough review, and a selection process was conducted, she said.
The Air Force has already outlined, The Department of the Air Force conducted both virtual and on-site visits to assess which of six candidate locations would be best suited to host the U.S. Space Command Headquarters based on factors related to mission, infrastructure capacity, community support and costs to the Department of Defense.
Huntsville compared favorably across more of these factors than any other community, providing a large, qualified workforce, quality schools, superior infrastructure capacity, and low initial and recurring costs, the Air Force continued in a written press release. Additionally, Redstone Arsenal offered a facility to support the headquarters, at no cost, while the permanent facility is being constructed.
Affirming this reality, Ivey on Monday added, Our state was chosen based on merit, and an independent review of a decision of this magnitude will confirm this. We remain confident that just as the Air Force discovered, Huntsvilles Redstone Region will provide our warfighters with the greatest space capability at the best value to the taxpayers.
Space Command was approved by Congress in 2018, and then-President Donald Trump subsequently directed its elevation as the 11th functional Unified Combatant Command.
It is estimated that housing Space Command HQ could bring approximately 1,500 direct jobs to the Huntsville area, as well as further solidifying the Rocket Citys status as Americas preeminent hub for aerospace and defense. The headquarters will only further add to the synergy of private sector and governmental expertise in those critical sectors, which attracts further investment and growth, including from suppliers and subcontractors.
Huntsvilles pitch focused on North Alabamas existing prowess in defense work, workforce, military friendliness and low cost of living, among other factors.
The Air Force anticipates making its decision final in spring 2023, pending the results from the required environmental impact analysis which is normally considered a formality at the end of these types of federal basing competitions.
It is expected to take six years for the Space Command HQ to be relocated to Redstone from the temporary Colorado setup.
Alabama has played an integral role throughout the history of our nations defense and civil space programs, Ivey concluded. Deep Space Exploration is part of our DNA in Alabama, from building the rockets to first take man to the moon, to producing the Atlas V rocket that took the Perseverance Rover to Mars just last week! Alabama is winning on every page when it comes to furthering our nations space exploration and defense and we are a natural fit for the permanent headquarters of U.S. Space Command.
Importantly, the Air Forces decision is also being backed by current Pentagon leadership, even after the change in presidential administrations.
This includes Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, a spokesperson said on Monday.
Secretary Austin has communicated to Air Force leaders that he supports their decision-making process about the preferred location of Space Command headquarters, Pentagon press secretary John Kirby stated.
RELATED: Why Alabamas Rocket City is the right choice for U.S. Space Command HQ
Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn
Posted: February 20, 2021 at 11:48 pm
Cam Adair was so deep into his video gaming addiction, he says it almost killed him.
"I was young. I probably played like 16 hours a day, all day, every day. I dropped out of high school twice, I pretended to have jobs and deceived my family. I got to a point where I wrote a suicide note. And it was kind of that night when I realized I needed to make a change."
Today, after years of counseling, Adair is alive and well and the founder of Game Quitters.
Alex Kearns, a 20-year-old customer of the trading app Robinhood wasn't so lucky. He took his life last summer after believing he had racked up a loss of $730,000 on Robinhood.
His parents lay the blame squarely on the investing company, pointing out Kearns tried multiple times to get help on a customer service line, to no avail. Kearns' family has since filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Robinhood.
At a House Financial Services Committee hearing Thursday, Robinhood's CEO, Vlad Tenev, said, "The passing of Mr. Kearns was deeply troubling to me and to the entire company, and we have vowed to take a series of steps, very aggressive steps to make our options product safer for our customers."
Lawmakers are asking tough questions about the fairness of the platforms and the allure of the apps
"Is retail individual retail participation in the marketplace gambling?" asked U.S. Rep. Bill Huizenga, R-Mich., at the hearing Thursday.
The resounding answer from those with a vested interest in avoiding gambling's bad rap and burdensome, costly regulation was a resounding "No."
Tenev disputed the gamification of Robinhood saying, "We know that investing is serious, and we're investing in all of the educational tools and customer support to help people on their investing journey."
"I believe the vast majority of retail participation are people saving to meet their dreams," said Ken Griffin, CEO of hedge fund Citadel.
"Investors are able to participate in the market just as insitations are able to participate," said Reddit trader Keith Gill, who was pushing GameStop's potential as the stock soared from $18 around New Year's Day to more $480 later in January.
But experts in gambling addiction categorically disagree. "Investing whether it's on the stock market through, you know hedge funds, doing derivatives or whatever, is that this is actually a form of gambling," said Mark Griffiths, a behavioral addiction professor at Nottingham Trent University in the U.K.
And investing is beginning to look and sound more and more like gambling and video gaming. For instance, video game Space Shooters gives away free treasures. Sports gambling platform FanDuel offers free bet insurance and Robinhood gives away free stock.
"When I watch, for instance, a video game player and somebody playing a slot machine, behaviorally and psychologically, that they're acting in almost entirely the same way. The only difference is that the video game players are using points to keep score, whereas gamblers, you know, using the kind of how much they've won and lost as a way of keeping score," Griffiths said.
He has studied addictive behaviors for years and works as a consultant to companies like Entain, a U.K.-based gaming company that co-owns BetMGM with MGM Resorts. Entain is launching a comprehensive initiative to address problem video gaming and esports.
Entain and other casinos like MGM and Caesars are recognized within the industry for the leadership on problem gambling. But gaming regulators require companies to shoulder responsibility to varying degrees for initiatives against problem gambling.
"The gambling industry has realized that problem gamblers are not good for your long-term business, because they have a short shelf life," said Griffiths.
The betting companies see that it boosts the bottom line in the long run, but it may also forestall costly regulation.
In the U.K., regulators now require gambling companies to use the data they collect on their players to identify markers of harm, like significant changes in betting behavior. Informed user consent technology gives specific feedback to help players make decisions that are more advantageous to them.
'What you're seeing from both investing to gambling to gaming are these industries really trying to learn from each other," said Adair. "One of the biggest ways that they've done that is by increasing accessibility, making it easy to engage in their products and easy to spend money."
For Adair who travels the world to talk to students and parents about the dangers of addictive behaviors, education is crucial. "I think we need to pay a lot more attention to this."
Disclosure: CNBC parent Comcast and NBC Sports are investors in FanDuel.
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Posted: at 11:48 pm
Over the course of the last 30-plus years, there have been a lot of gambling bills roll through the Alabama Legislature. Very few of those bills had a prayer of passing. Exactly zero bills that would expand gaming statewide, legalize casino gaming and/or implement a lottery have passed.
One of the many failed attempts came last year when the Poarch Band of Creek Indians offered the state a billion-dollar deal, promising to pony up $1 billion in payments to Alabama initially, and then make annual payments, for a plan that would have essentially given the tribe a monopoly and shut down all other venues immediately.
A billion dollars we thought that was a pretty fair deal, offering a billion dollars, said Wind Creek Gaming vice president of development and governmental relations Arthur Mothershed, with a chuckle. It didnt get any traction in the Legislature.
Mothershed and Wind Creek CEO Jay Dorris, along with David Johnston, the longtime attorney for VictoryLand and the Birmingham Race Course, joined the Alabama Politics This Week podcast to discuss in depth the states latest attempt at gambling legislation.
The primary reason the Poarch Creeks proposal failed last year was that it received significant pushback from lawmakers who represented areas of the state where current dog tracks, which are operating electronic bingo machines and other forms of gaming, are currently supplying tax dollars and jobs to very poor communities. Combine their resistance with the lawmakers who flatly oppose gambling regardless a dwindling but still potent number and the odds of passing gaming legislation, particularly through Alabamas House of Representatives, becomes nearly impossible.
So, tribal leaders and the track owners tried something that theyve never tried before: compromise.
Starting a little more than a year ago, the informal chats began. Just friendly banter, tossing around ideas, seeing what might work, making suggestions and changes. Slowly, a grand idea began to take shape.
The tribe could get full gaming at all three locations and a new location in the northeastern part of the state, plus theyd still maintain control of the Mobile Greyhound Park, which also would be allowed to operate a full casino. The tracks VictoryLand, the Birmingham Race Course and GreeneTrack would also get to operate full casinos.
What weve been trying wasnt working, Dorris said. At some point, it just made sense to start over and try something different. (The tracks) were trying things, we were trying things, and nothing was getting through the Legislature.
Mothershed added: (The lawmakers) said to sit down and talk to the other operators and thats what we did. We worked this out something we can live with, something they can live with. Its not a big fight amongst all of us. Weve worked things out.
The result of the compromise, of course, was at least the skeleton of the bill that was introduced in the state senate two weeks ago by Sen. Del Marsh, R-Anniston. In addition to the full gaming at the eight locations mentioned previously, there will also be sports wagering at all sites and a statewide lottery.
We feel like its an excellent bill that is, quite frankly, hard to criticize, said Johnston, who has represented VictoryLand since it opened in 1983. Sen. Marshs bill treats everyone fairly, and thats all weve ever asked.
Not everyone is in agreement. Late last week attack ads started popping up in various media outlets and lobbyists started emailing talking points out to reporters to criticize the bill. Most of that effort was paid for by small electronic bingo operators in Greene County and out-of-state parties.
In prior gambling expansion efforts, casino owners in Mississippi dumped huge amounts of money into Alabama to stop legislation. It worked each time.
This time, though, feels different to Johnston.
I just think the people of this state are tired of seeing their tax dollars head off to other states and theyve wised up about this, Johnston said. I think peoples mindset on this issue are greatly different than what they were in the past, and Id predict better than 70 percent would vote for this legislation if we put it on a ballot.
To underscore that theory, the attack ads arent going after the moral or ethical issues related to gambling. Instead, those attacks claim that the McGregor family, which owns a majority stake in VictoryLand and the Birmingham Race Course, plans to sell out to the Poarch Creeks after the deal is done, giving the tribe a gaming monopoly in the state.
That doesnt make any sense, because the tribe already has a monopoly in the state, Johnston said. Milton McGregor owned VictoryLand since 1983 and the Birmingham Race Course since 1992, and before he passed away he had groomed his son-in-law Lewis Benefield to take over, and hes done just an outstanding job. The McGregors could have sold out many times over the years. They had the offers to do so. They never have and thats not the mindset now.
You can listen to more of these interviews at the Alabama Politics This Week website or by subscribing to the podcast at Apple Podcasts, Google Play, Stitcher, Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts.
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Posted: at 11:48 pm
Posted: Feb 19, 2021 / 04:08 PM EST / Updated: Feb 20, 2021 / 09:29 AM EST
FLORENCE, S.C. (WBTW) Five men pleaded guilty on Friday to running an illegal gambling operation in Florence County.
The five men are among nine people named in a federalindictmentthat details their alleged involvement in an illegal gambling business that generated around $2,000 in a single day.
Tyrone Eaddy, Kenneth Moore, George Dollard, Cliff Cantey and Leroy Barbouradmitted in federal court that they unlawfully and knowingly did conduct, finance, manage, supervise, direct, and own an illegal gambling business.
The penalty under their plea deal is a fine of $250,000, imprisonment of not more than five years, supervised release of not more than three years, a small special assessment and restitution to any victims identified by the court.
Among the four others indicted in the operation are ex- Florence County Lt. Mark Fuleihan and ex-Florence deputyTimothy Keefe. They both filed for a continuance along with Sheryl Kirby and Dale Smith, who also were indicted.
Aside from this indictment, Fuleihan also faces federal obstruction charges and an ethics bribery charge. The former Lieutenant was fired from the Florence County Sheriffs Office on April 2, the same day as his arrest.
According to the criminal complaint, Fuleihan had three illegal gambling machines in his garage in 2015 and also took an illegal gambling machine from the Florence County Sheriffs Office (FCSO) evidence building and delivered it to a co-conspirator, according to the criminal complaint.
The complaint states on several occasions, Fuleihan would seize illegal gambling machines from this source and give them to a co-conspirator.
The source said at one point, Fuleihan seized machines from him/her in Lake City, and then a couple of weeks later the source saw the same machines in a location in Johnsonville, being operated by the co-conspirator.
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Posted: at 11:48 pm
The 2021 legislative session has begun. It will be a monumental and difficult session. Due to COVID restrictions, the logistics of just meeting will be a task. House members will be spread out all over the Statehouse to adhere to distancing requirements. It is still uncertain as to how the Press and lobbyists accommodations will be handled.
A new virtual voting console system has been installed to allow for House members to vote since all will not be on the House floor. There are a myriad of issues that have to be addressed. Last years session was abbreviated and adjourned before the halfway point due to the pandemic outbreak. Therefore, it has been almost a year since the legislature has met.
There are hundreds of local bills that have to be addressed for cities and counties. Alabamas archaic constitution does not allow for home rule. All power rests with the legislature. Therefore, local governments have to come with hat-in-hand to the legislature to make vital decisions.
The paramount issues will be reapportionment, gambling and prisons.
The major issue facing the legislature is the Tar Baby known as the prison problem. The governor and legislature have been grappling with the prison problem for several years. Given the legislative absence, Governor Ivey has made executive decisions that some legislators are not totally enthralled with, especially regarding prisons.
The Governor thought they were on course to addressing the states overcrowded, understaffed, and violent state prisons. However, the U.S. Department of Justice sued the state in the U.S. District Court in Birmingham in December. The suit alleges that Alabama violates the constitutional rights of prisoners by failure to protect them from assaults and abuse from other inmates, excessive force by correctional officers, and failure to provide safe and sanitary conditions.
This litigation is not unique to Alabama. The Justice Department has made a practice of overshadowing state prisons. Other states have been sued over similar situations. Overcrowding seems to be the over-riding culprit. Federal Courts have ordered states to reduce their prison populations because of overcrowding. California was given this mandate.
Alabama prisons hold more than 15,000 prisoners in facilities designed for fewer than 10,000. Governor Ivey has proposed building three mens prisons and replacing many of the 13 current prisons. She faces contention and opposition from legislators on this issue. She now will have another Big Brother looking over her shoulder, the U.S. Justice Department and the federal courts.
Governor Iveys response to the federal suit is that it is premature and the state has been striving to resolve the crisis. Indeed, the Legislature and the Alabama Department of Corrections has stepped up recruiting of correctional officers and increased pay and bonuses to address the staff shortage. It has cracked down on contraband with a program called Restore Order, which uses predawn raids by law enforcement officers to search for weapons, drugs, cell phones and other prohibited items.
Gov. Ivey said the new prisons will have better security and better technology and will allow for more education and rehabilitation programs. The new prisons will also allow for modern surveillance cameras and convex mirrors that can detect violence problems.
Hopefully, the Governor and Legislature will address the omnipresent issue of gambling. Alabama has grappled with gaming for decades. Most of the concentration has focused on whether or not to have a state lottery. While we sat idly by and twiddled our thumbs, every other state in America except the Mormon state of Utah has created a lottery and more. Every state around us, Tennessee, Georgia, Florida, and Mississippi have lotteries. Mississippi funds their entire government to a large degree by every form of gambling imaginable.
In the face of honesty and fairness, the legislature should clarify and rectify the wrong done to the gaming centers at Macon and Greene counties. The citizens of these two Black Belt counties legally and rightfully voted for a Constitutional Amendment to allow them to have gambling and electronic bingo. It is a flagrant disregard of the Constitution for their facilities to be thwarted in their efforts to proceed with their rights and ability to supplement their countys needs.
The legislature will need to remove the stranglehold and monopoly that the Indian Gambling Syndicate has on our state in order to proceed with allowing people to vote on gaming.
See you next week.
Steve Flowers is Alabamas leading political columnist. His weekly column appears in over 60 Alabama newspapers. He served 16 years in the legislature. Steve may be reached at steveflowers.us.
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