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Gambling "has more of a history of corruption than any other industry," former Illinois Senator Paul Simon testified at the opening meeting of the National Gambling Impact Study Commission in June 1997.

Indeed, Simon's statement has abundant basis in fact. Gambling-related political corruption became so widespread in the 1800s that every state in the union eventually outlawed lotteries and all other forms of gambling. Today, history appears to be repeating itself. The recent wave of gambling expansion in the United States has spawned another epidemic of political corruption.

http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5jN9uIeWzG2z30nUhOqKg3UQojc4QD9IL6GV80?docId=D9IL6GV80 Casino owners, senators charged in Ala bingo probe By PHILLIP RAWLS (AP) � Oct 4, 2010 MONTGOMERY, Ala. - After the governor began raiding the state's electronic bingo halls, casino owners sent lobbyists to the Capitol with orders to make their Vegas-style parlors legal. Part of the plan, federal authorities said Monday, was to offer lawmakers millions of dollars in bribes.

The Justice Department unveiled an indictment accusing the owners of two of Alabama's largest casinos, four state senators and several lobbyists of a scheme to buy and sell votes in the Legislature. One defendant has pleaded guilty to offering a senator $2 million to vote for a bill to keep the bingo machines operating.

Even recent attempts to establish casino gambling here in the Bay State are tainted by corruption.

Lies and fall of a Mashpee Leader
By George Brennan and Stephanie Vosk
Appearing in the Cape Cod Times
May 03, 2009

During the same period, Marshall hired political consultant Stephen Graham, who put together a team of lobbyists and lawyers to push the federal recognition cause politically. That team included associates of disgraced Washington lobbyist Jack Abramoff.

Even after Abramoff admitted in 2006 to fraud, tax evasion and conspiracy to bribe public officials in his representation of tribal clients, Marshall made no apologies for using the powerful firm to keep the tribe's bid for federal recognition and the ultimate prize of a casino on track.

Mashpee Wampanoag Mystery Man Revealed
By George Brennan and Stephanie Vosk
Appearing in the Cape Cod Times
January 18, 2009

When Middleboro and the Mashpee Wampanoag hammered out their casino deal, Graham was in the room with Larry Deitch, a Detroit attorney associated with initial casino investor Herb Strather.

In court documents released last month, Graham is referenced as "Political Consultant A," the person who orchestrated the illegal campaign contributions that are the center of the federal case against Marshall.

In other parts of the country:

Four of Atlantic City's last seven mayors have been found guilty of or pleaded guilty to corruption charges.

Two former West Virginia Senate Presidents were sentenced to prison for taking money from gambling interests. One was charged with soliciting $15,000 from a casino company to help pass a bill that would have allowed casinos in the state. The other was convicted for accepting an illegal $10,000 payment from gambling interests.

Nineteen Arizona legislators and lobbyists were caught on videotape taking money after agreeing to vote for legalized gambling. Six lawmakers eventually accepted plea bargains; another was convicted of conspiracy for taking $25,000 from an undercover agent.

The FBI launched a two-year investigation into the activities of more than a dozen Louisiana legislators suspected of accepting bribes from gambling interests. One former state senator, who chaired the senate committee overseeing gambling matters, has been convicted of racketeering-related charges in the investigation. A representative who sat on a similar committee in the Louisiana House resigned after admitting to using his influence to help two organized-crime-controlled video poker companies in exchange for gifts.

Missouri's House Speaker of 15 years resigned in 1996 in the wake of a federal investigation induced by charges of gambling-related dealings. According to media reports, the ex-speaker demanded that a gambling company direct payments of $16 million toward the ex-speaker's friends and business associates in order to secure a casino license in the state.

In Kentucky, 15 state legislators were eventually convicted or pled guilty to charges stemming from Operation Boptrot, an FBI investigation centering on influence peddling and bribery involving the state's horse racing industry.

Three Hilton Hotels executives - one a board member - resigned in the wake of an investigation regarding the corporation's attempts to obtain a riverboat license in Kansas City, Missouri. Hilton allegedly paid $250,000 to a business headed by the former chairman of the Kansas City Port Authority, whose approval Hilton needed to lease city property for the casino. The former chairman later cast the deciding vote awarding Hilton the lease.

Seventeen South Carolina lawmakers were convicted of or pled guilty to charges related to a federal sting operation labeled "Operation Lost Trust." The investigation centered around allegations that legislators accepted gambling money in exchange for pro-gambling votes on horse racing legislation.

In 1997, the former chairman of the Indiana House Ways and Means Committee was indicted on charges of bribery, perjury and filing false finance reports. The charges stemmed from allegations that the former chairman took bribes from the lead engineering firm in a riverboat casino project in the state.

Another form of corruption related to the gambling industry is it's capacity to erode democracy - to deny citizens their voice in government and control over their own quality of life.

Dr. Robert Goodman (author of "The Luck Business" ) referred to this phenomenon at a June 2009 hearing on expanded gambling before the legislative Committee on Economic Development and Emerging Technologies, describing how more money was spent lobbying for slots and casinos in Pennsylvania than on anything else in it's history.

Incredibly, in Pennsylvania, the law which legalized casinos and slot machines - in excess of 60,000 of them in fact - more than in all of New Jersey - was passed in the middle of the night on July 4, 2004, without public input, public hearings or any meaningful research by the state.

In Philadelphia, the 'cradle of liberty', casino interests hand-in-hand with the Pennsylvania gaming board sued the Philadelphia City Council to kick a gambling referendum off the ballot.

But, we hardly need to look to other States to witness the measures gambling interests are willing to go to to steamroll John Q. Public. In 2007, following their Federal recognition, one of the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe's first acts was to announce their intention of building the world's biggest casino in the town of Middleboro, touching off the casino debate in Massachusetts.

On a June evening in 2007, an 83 year old Mashpee Wampanoag tribal elder waited at a microphone for over 20 minutes in a stifling hot meeting room at the Middleboro Town Hall, while the Board of Selectmen overtly ignored her.

Her only purpose in approaching the Board? To inform them that the town would benefit from a background check into the town's prospective business partner, Tribal Chairman Glenn Marshall, with whom they were negotiating for a casino at that time.

And her advice would ultimately have proved extremely valuable - had they bothered to take it. A month later the entire Board would sign a multi-million dollar agreement with a man who would turn out to be a pathological lair and convicted rapist, and who would later be convicted for filing false tax forms, unlawfully collecting social security disability payments, making illegal campaign contributions and embezzling $400,000 from his own tribe.

Later that summer, the Chairwoman of the Board of Selectmen subsequently banned all public discussion about the issue of a casino or sovereign nation.

A massive, outdoor town meeting was rushed before impacts could be financially assessed, and over the objections of the Town's own Finance Committee, and with almost no debate. The only public forums featured Glenn Marshall, gaming lawyers and the ubiquitous casino-booster, Prof. Clyde Barrows.

At this meeting the town voted to approve an agreement with the Mashpee Wampanoag for a casino, while in another article on the ballot, the town also voted "by an overwhelming show of hands" that they didn't want a casino.

How did this situation come about? Aside from being promised a windfall from a casino - despite a threadbare analysis of the costs, Middleboro residents repeatedly heard from Marshall, selectmen and gaming lawyers that if they didn't get an agreement, the Tribe could build a casino anyway, and the town would get nothing - which actually wasn't true. The Mashpee Wampanoag had no existing reservation in Middleboro and the host community's approval was necessary to get land there taken into trust.

After the town meeting vote, as selectmen announced they were drafting a required letter of support to the Secretary of the Department of the Interior, a resident stepped forward to ask if the results of second vote would be included. The selectmen unanimously decided this key information was "irrelevant".


Language in the agreement itself even required that the town fully and actively support the casino project in virtually every conceivable way - though, as you can see on this video, a selectman who had been part of the negotiations attempted to convince people that it said something quite different.