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Indiana's gambling cops stay busy???


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  • Indiana's gambling cops stay busy???

    What the??? 40 arrests in 2 years? That is considered busy? By whose standards? The state spends about $62,500 per gambling agent to stop poker games in VFW's. This is the department I want to work for. Little to no work and decent pay. Sweet deal.
    __________________________________________________ ____________________________
    Indiana’s gambling enforcers stay busy
    Special unit hunts bookies, animal fights, charity abuse
    Niki Kelly | The Journal Gazette
    INDIANAPOLIS – You might want to hedge your bets before you call your bookie or get cozy with a professional underground poker game.

    Indiana is one of only a few states to have a special police unit scouring the state for illegal gambling, and they’ve been busy.

    Overall, the gaming control division has investigated cases in several dozen counties and arrested more than 40 people on more than 80 gambling-related criminal charges since July 2009.

    The cases include several animal-fighting rings, multiple sports-bookmaking operations, some charity gaming violations and more.

    Allen County leads the state with 11 gambling-related arrests, including for promoting professional gambling and corrupt business influence.

    “I’m very pleased,” said Ernest Yelton, executive director of the Indiana Gaming Commission. “We have been more active in enforcing the criminal gambling statutes than in the past.”

    That’s because until 2007, that work was essentially left to local police struggling with limited resources. But lawmakers created the division that year to crack down on illegal gambling in exchange for adding thousands of slot machines at the state’s two horse racing tracks.

    So at a time when state funding has been slashed – even for education – the gaming control division of the Indiana Gaming Commission spends about $1 million a year on 16 fully trained law enforcement officers assigned to attacking illegal gambling in all its forms. The money comes from charity gaming fees.

    The group consists of one director and five officers each assigned to the north, south and central regions of the state.

    This division is separate from a larger group of more than 100 officers and investigators assigned to Indiana’s regulated casinos.

    Initially, the focus for the new unit was almost solely on illegal electronic gambling machines often called Cherry Masters.

    According to the division’s 2010 annual report, a total of more than 5,000 of those machines are no longer operating in Indiana. The officers have confiscated thousands, the report said, as well as stopped others from being distributed in the first place.

    “As time has gone on I think we have rid the state of the dreaded Cherry Masters,” Yelton said. “We have branched out since then.”

    Now the group of officers is breaking up high-stakes poker games; dogfighting rings and sports-betting operations.

    For instance, in Allen County last year, a gaming commission investigation led to the arrest of five men for their roles in a longtime poker den. All five have since pleaded guilty and received suspended sentences or probation.

    Yelton made clear that the division isn’t taking down personal poker games in someone’s garage or basement.

    But when the person running the game – aka “the house” – starts taking a cut of every bet, it becomes illegal professional gambling.

    Occasionally the gaming control division gets involved with entities that run charity gaming events. But only if the violations are an abuse of charity gaming law as opposed to innocent mistakes.

    For instance, three people were arrested this year and charged in Kosciusko County for using a VFW Post in Warsaw to run a poker room.

    One man, who was not a member of the post, was allegedly being paid by the VFW to run the operation, including bringing in dealers from Fort Wayne and “raking” 10 percent of each pot of money. These are violations of charity gaming rules.

    According to court records, more than $372,886 was received as gross revenue from the gaming activities, but the VFW post made only about $4,000.

    Two of those involved in the case have pleaded guilty with one awaiting trial on multiple felony charges.

    Kosciusko County Prosecutor Dan Hampton did not return several messages seeking comment.

    The division also assisted in an Ohio case in which three residents there were following jackpot winners back from Indiana’s casinos and robbing them.

    Most of the investigations result from tips to the gaming commission.

    “I think all areas (of the state) have quite a bit of illegal gambling,” Allen County Prosecutor Karen Richards said. “I think you have to have a prosecutor who is willing to look at some of these cases to make a dent.”

    She said that one of her deputy prosecutors is especially adept at analyzing financial data and has worked well with the gaming control division.

    “They give us a heads-up, and we work with them from the beginning. We let them know what we need to make a case. We help them with subpoenas and warrants,” Richards said, conceding these cases slipped through the cracks in the past.

    “Law enforcement is stretched so thin that to do these is tough.”

    David Schwartz, director of the Center for Gaming Research at the University of Nevada Las Vegas, called Indiana’s approach unique – noting that local police have more serious crimes to deal with.

    He said that arrests for illegal gambling have fallen nationwide. In 1980, there were 87,000 arrests for illegal gambling in the U.S. and by 2000 that number had fallen to almost 11,000.

    “The police just can’t get to it,” Schwartz said. “Poker is pretty far down the list.”

    Rep. David Wolkins, R-Winona Lake, voted against the gambling expansion/crackdown in 2007. He finds the special division a bit hypocritical since the state authorizes and taxes an array of gambling.

    “We are a major gambling state. Why are we messing around with someone’s poker game?” he said. “I think there’s probably better places to put that money than the harm being caused by these. We are protecting our turf, I guess.”

    Yelton defended against that notion, saying some games are rigged against the players.

    And he said it’s often more about the related crimes to the gambling, including illegal firearm possession, drugs and money laundering.

    “Gambling is illegal. Period,” he said

  • #2
    The state pays absolutely nothing for this division of the gaming agent division. All funding, supplies, training and salaries are paid for by the Indiana casinos. That is part of their licensing agreement is that they (the casino) are billed for everything related to the gaming agents and gaming control agents.


    • #3
      Originally posted by chicubs View Post
      The state pays absolutely nothing for this division of the gaming agent division. All funding, supplies, training and salaries are paid for by the Indiana casinos. That is part of their licensing agreement is that they (the casino) are billed for everything related to the gaming agents and gaming control agents.
      In that case if I was a casino owner I would want my money back.


      • #4
        Lol, unfortunately for them, it's part of the state gambling statutes that they HAVE to pay for us.


        • #5
          Considering the limited number of agents, the geography that has to be covered and the length of time that some of these investigation can take, I have no problem with the numbers. In addition, nothing is mentioned about how much forfeited money or property went to the state as a result of this enforcement.


          • #6
            Isn't the op the guy who has a hard on for several agencies?
            For the cops out there: You are an adult. If you want to write someone, write them. If you don't want to write someone, then don't write them.

            "Jeff, you are the best cop on this board"-Anonymous Post


            • #7
              In view of the fact that this agency supports all of their own operations and develops their own cases and doesnt draw any funding from state coffers I would say that aint a bad set of stats for 16 cops. Investigations, even misdemeanor investigations are time consuming and they are nothing like patrol arrests which are driven by calls for service or the off chance that they on view the offense.
              You cant arrest me...I know my Commandments!!


              • #8
                40 arrests in 2 years? Still a lot more than some officers who can average of three to four in a year. Is $45K-$50K/year considered "decent pay?" All depends on the type of department you work for.


                • #9
                  The state pays absolutely nothing for this division of the gaming agent division.

                  So at a time when state funding has been slashed – even for education – the gaming control division of the Indiana Gaming Commission spends about $1 million a year on 16 fully trained law enforcement officers assigned to attacking illegal gambling in all its forms. The money comes from charity gaming fees.
                  Last edited by Cardinal; 09-09-2011, 06:40 PM.


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Cardinal View Post
                    Are you referring to "the state pays ABSOLUTELY NOTHING" perhaps the state my pay for a little bit of something maybe a pen brought from a state police post when a troop retired and became a gaming control officer or investigator?

                    Statute appears pretty clear as to where the funding for the 16 gaming control officers comes from. In fact I would say there is a surplus of funds since there is mention as to where it is dedicated and does not go to the state general fund. Am I missing something, could you please expand upon your one word response.

                    There are also statewide less than a handful of civilian investigators that handle regulatory investigations.

                    Gaming enforcement in this conservative state where unlawful gambling is looked upon like littering is a thankless and tough job.... Although it would be a great retirement position!

                    IC 4-32.2-7-2
                    Sec. 2. As used in this chapter, "fund" means the charity gaming enforcement fund established by section 3 of this chapter.
                    As added by P.L.91-2006, SEC.3.

                    IC 4-32.2-7-3
                    Charity gaming enforcement fund established
                    Sec. 3. The charity gaming enforcement fund is established. The commission shall administer the fund.
                    As added by P.L.91-2006, SEC.3.

                    IC 4-32.2-7-4
                    Fees, penalties, and taxes deposited in charity gaming enforcement fund
                    Sec. 4. The fund consists of the following:
                    (1) License fees collected under IC 4-32.2-6.
                    (2) Civil penalties collected under IC 4-32.2-8.
                    (3) Charity gaming card excise taxes received under IC 4-32.2-10.
                    As added by P.L.91-2006, SEC.3.

                    IC 4-32.2-7-5
                    Investment of fund
                    Sec. 5. Money in the fund does not revert to the state general fund at the end of a state fiscal year. The treasurer of state shall invest the money in the fund not currently needed to meet the obligations of the fund in the same manner as other public funds may be invested.
                    As added by P.L.91-2006, SEC.3.

                    IC 4-32.2-7-6
                    Annual appropriation
                    Sec. 6. There is appropriated annually to the commission from the fund an amount sufficient to cover the costs incurred by the commission for the purposes specified in this article, IC 4-33-19, and IC 4-33-20.
                    As added by P.L.91-2006, SEC.3. Amended by P.L.227-2007, SEC.39.


                    • #11
                      The original statement was that the State pays NOTHING. Well, the State does pay SOMETHING. The State pays approximately a million dollars a year.


                      • #12
                        On a side note, it does seem to be a pretty big waste of money to spend a million dollars a year for approximately 20 gambling arrests per year? Not debating the need for enforcement of these laws but there has to be a more efficient way of doing this.


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Cardinal View Post
                          The original statement was that the State pays NOTHING. Well, the State does pay SOMETHING. The State pays approximately a million dollars a year.
                          Ok, tit for tat, the state pays about a million all of which is paid by the gaming industry..... All of which is either voluntarily paid or as the result of fees and fines. Your right the state pays for gaming enforcement, although the state is just the middle man.


                          • #14
                            Some of it is from charity gaming card taxes


                            • #15
                              Job well done!


                              Published: September 15, 2011 3:00 a.m.
                              5 charged in bingo scheme
                              $1 million in payments went to ‘volunteers’
                              Archie Ingersoll | The Journal Gazette
                              FORT WAYNE – Five people were charged Wednesday in a scheme that authorities say involved about $1 million in illegal payments to purported volunteers who ran charitable bingo games at American Legion Post 330 in New Haven.

                              Investigators with the Indiana Gaming Commission believe that within the last five years between $988,000 and $1,040,000 was paid to managers and workers who ran the post’s bingo games, according to Allen Superior Court documents.

                              The post’s gaming license, which allowed the group to host charitable bingo events three nights a week, expired July 31 and has not been renewed, court records said.

                              The five people accused of skimming money that was intended, in part, to go toward charitable causes are all from New Haven.

                              Lana Brooks, 55, who allegedly managed the bingo games, is charged with corrupt business influence, theft, professional gambling and unlawful charity gaming contracting. Her husband and post trustee, Kenneth Brooks, 64, faces charges of aiding theft and aiding unlawful charity gaming contracting.

                              Steven H. Bouse, 60, another alleged bingo manager, faces the same charges as Lana Brooks.

                              James E. Schultz, 68, the post’s current finance officer, faces the same charges as Kenneth Brooks.

                              John Gahan, 67, who was the post’s finance officer off and on from 2006 through June 2010, is charged with aiding corrupt business influence, aiding theft, professional gambling and aiding unlawful charity gaming contracting.

                              According to court records, Gahan told investigators that the post’s finance committee would meet at 7 a.m. every Monday. At those meetings, $1,000 in cash was put in two white envelopes to be delivered to Bouse and Lana Brooks, Gahan told the investigators.

                              A 71-year-old woman, who has not been charged, would take the envelopes from the post’s offices to Richards restaurant in New Haven, where they would be given to Bouse and Lana Brooks or her husband.

                              During a stakeout on April 18, state agents witnessed one of these deliveries. The 71-year-old courier passed the envelopes to the restaurant cashier who placed them in her apron and handed one of them to Kenneth Brooks as he sat at a corner table, court records said.

                              On April 25, an agent also reported seeing Kenneth Brooks leave the restaurant with two white envelopes. On June 13, agents sat at a table next to Kenneth and Lana Brooks and saw the elderly courier give Lana Brooks a white envelope. Lana Brooks then gave the envelope to her husband, telling him “take this and do not lose it.”

                              On June 27, investigators with a search warrant seized two white envelopes from the courier in the Richards parking lot. The envelopes both contained $1,000; “Lana Brooks” was written on one, and “Steve Bouse” was written on the other, court records said.

                              During an interview with gaming officers, Lana Brooks admitted she was paid “to run Bingo” and that receiving payments to do so was illegal. She told them that Schultz had authorized the payments to her and Bouse and that Gahan had established the system of weekly $1,000 payments.

                              According to court records, Gahan told investigators that everyone on the post board knew about the payments to Lana Brooks, Bouse and the gaming night workers. He reported that $3,800 to $4,000 was paid weekly to the gaming workers and managers.

                              Gahan told investigators Bouse and Lana Brooks were at first paid 25 percent of the net proceeds from bingo, but in 2008, their compensation was lowered to $1,000 per week. He said there would be no record of this decision because a tape recorder used to tape post board meetings was turned off when charity gaming was discussed.

                              Schultz, the post’s current finance officer, told investigators that he knew Lana Brooks and Bouse were paid to manage the post’s bingo games. Vernon Criswell, who’s been the post commander since November 2010, told investigators he was unaware of the illegal payments to bingo managers and workers.

                              On Wednesday, the post’s attorney, Randy Fisher, told The Journal Gazette that the post remains open but there has been no charity gaming since July.

                              [email protected]


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