New Jersey’s new Casino Control Commission chair, Linda Kassekert, has promised to champion causes for the $4.6 billion gaming industry, but not at the expense of weakening the state’s regulatory structure. Kassekert said the commission stands ready to help casinos respond to likely competition in nearby states: “The commission will do everything it can to ensure that this casino industry can grow and prosper. This commission also will not waiver from ensuring honesty, good character and integrity in the industry.” Among the dignitaries that attended the Nov. 20 swearing-in ceremony were a former governor (Florio) and two former commission chairmen. Gov. James E. McGreevey, who administered her oath of office, praised Kassekert’s leadership and managerial skills. “With Linda Kassekert at the helm of the Casino Control Commission, this administration is one step closer to our goal of making this goal true.
Compulsive Gambler Sues Gaming Corp.
A compulsive gambler filed a $7-million lawsuit against the province of Ontario’s gaming system claiming he went bankrupt partly because the “self-exclusion” orders he signed, which were designed to turn him away from gambling facilities, were largely ineffective. Constantin Digalakis wagered more than $250,000, alleging he was egged on with free limousines, meals and other perks, even after signing an exclusionary order. It is the first and only suit filed by a problem gambler against the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp., Canada’s biggest gaming company, and part of a legal trend that some observers believe could continue. “It’s probably the lawsuits that are going to turn the tide … and make the Qq Online industry and its sponsors take more responsibility. We think this is the next step and there will be a lot more of it,” says Brian Yealland, spokesman for Gambling Watch Ontario. But casinos and the Ontario gaming system say that they bear none of the responsibility for Mr. Digalakis’s plight. The self-exclusion forms he signed state clearly that casinos are not legally obliged to bar anyone, nor are they liable if excluded gamblers manage to get in.
Park Place Eyes Massachusetts Casinos
Park Place Entertainment Corp. of Las Vegas, the nation’s largest casino gambling company, has hired an influential Massachusetts lobbying firm to represent Park Place’s interests as the state considers allowing casino gambling. According to the Boston Herald, Park Place hired ML Strategies, which is run by high-powered Republican consultant Steve Tocco. “We would be remiss, given the nature and size and attraction of the market, if we didn’t actively monitor where the state is going,” says Park Place spokesman Robert Stewart. “This is not an effort to affect the outcome.” Massachusetts Gov.-elect Mitt Romney has said he is open to the possibility of having casino gambling in the state. Such casinos could compete with big established markets in the Northeast in Connecticut and Atlantic City, as well as major casinos planned by Park Place and other companies in New York state.