By Emily Senger - Wednesday, May 1, 2013 - 0 Comments
Henry Gribbohm eventually won a prize at a carnival game, but not before spending…
Henry Gribbohm eventually won a prize at a carnival game, but not before spending all of his savings — $2,600 in total — to do it.
Gribbohm went public with his tale of woe, telling Boston news station WBZ-TV that he attended the carnival in Manchester, New Hampshire, where he started playing a game called Tubs of Fun with the hope of winning an Xbox Kinect.
He quickly blew through $300 and then went home to get more money. He lost another $2,300, in an attempt to win his original $300 back. He came away with a giant stuffed banana sporting dread locks and a rastacap.
“It’s not possible that it wasn’t rigged,” Gribbohm, 30, told WBZ-TV. “You just get caught up in the whole ‘I’ve got to win my money back.’”
The next day, Gribbohm complained and got $600 back. Police are investigating to see if the owner of the carnival game committed fraud.
Besides the banana, Gribbohm’s tale of gambling woe has also gained him international notoriety — at least for a couple of days. His story has been picked up by news outlets across the U.S., as well as on tech site Boing Boing and at the U.K.’s Daily Mail.
Here’s the original report that garnered all the attention:
By Scott Feschuk - Monday, April 15, 2013 at 8:00 AM - 0 Comments
Scott Feschuk writes an open letter to his money
An open letter to my Money:
How are you? I miss you so much! You and I parted so abruptly during our recent jaunt to Las Vegas, I feel compelled to apologize for leaving you behind.
Before I get to that, a quick question: have you seen my self-respect? Or my self-control? Or those studded leather chaps I bought from Gucci while super-duper drunk on complimentary margaritas? I left Vegas without those, as well.
I’m still trying to piece together what went wrong, Money. Our trip began with such optimism. Remember how I withdrew you from the bank and counted you over and over? We shared an immediate connection. Together, we were as close as human and inanimate object could be, not including Kanye West and Kim Kardashian.
By James Cowan - Wednesday, February 27, 2013 at 10:02 AM - 0 Comments
The downtrodden look at a casino and see a way out of destitution. It doesn’t matter if the down-on-their-luck sap is an unemployed mechanic or an underpaid waitress or, say, an entire state or municipal government. As politicians confront untenable levels of deficit and debt, many—in New York, in Miami, in Detroit, in Boston—consider slots and card tables a viable financial strategy.
Ontario has lately joined the club: Las Vegas’s big boys are now vying to build a casino in downtown Toronto. MGM dangles the prospect of a $4-billion resort, home to a new Cirque Du Soleil show. Las Vegas Sands Corp. doesn’t offer clowns but will spend $2-billion to revitalize a dowdy convention centre. Caesars wants to build twin hotel towers and has a penchant for mentioning its famous friends (Elton! Shania! Celine!) who might come to visit. All of this razzle-dazzle is meant to fuel visions of Las Vegas North, a tourism destination sucking in cash from around the world to boost the economy and cover the municipal deficit.
By The Canadian Press - Wednesday, February 27, 2013 at 4:25 AM - 0 Comments
TORONTO – Four high-stakes gamblers who lost more than $2 million playing roulette lost…
TORONTO – Four high-stakes gamblers who lost more than $2 million playing roulette lost another round Tuesday in a legal bid to get their money back — and it’s left them on the hook for nearly $200,000 extra.
The four roulette players tried to sue Fallsview Casino and the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario, alleging that the Niagara Falls, Ont., casino’s rule for what should happen in the event of a so-called floating ball was illegal.
The casino’s roulette dealers were allowed to remove a ball if it was either stationary while the wheel was spinning or if it just continued to spin around the wheel for a long time without falling into a numbered pocket.
The gamblers argued that the casino had to get the commission to approve the “floating ball” policy as a rule of play and since they didn’t, all the roulette games there were illegal.
By Aaron Wherry - Friday, November 9, 2012 at 8:21 AM - 0 Comments
“There’s certainly a real effort to defeat the bill,” said Conservative Senator Bob Runciman, who is sponsoring the legislation in the Senate but describes himself as an “unenthusiastic” supporter. “A number of senators in the Conservative caucus are adamantly opposed to the bill.”
The former Ontario cabinet minister said there are several reasons why senators oppose the bill – including personal feelings about gambling and concern about the lack of debate the bill received in the House. But Mr. Runciman suggested there are other factors motivating the resistance. “Some people see this as an opportunity to send a message that we’re alive and well,” he said. “It’s going to be an interesting period of time dealing with this bill.”
By Aaron Wherry - Thursday, November 8, 2012 at 10:00 AM - 0 Comments
“I don’t understand their argument for Ontarians that it’s OK to bet on three games, but not two or one. Why is it OK for Ontarians to go to Vegas and bet on games, but not at Caesars Windsor? If you don’t regulate the issue, it’s organized crime that bettors turn to bet on sporting events.”
… Masse said the league’s argument that gambling could taint the integrity of the game isn’t credible when a number of team owners are already in the gaming industry. Detroit Red Wings owners Mike and Marian Ilitch own the Motor City Casino while Boston Bruins’ owner Jeremy Jacobs also has gaming interests. “I don’t think there’s a lot of merit to this (league’s objections), considering what’s included in some owners income streams,” Masse said. “It’s naïve, because anything that passes through the criminal element, ignoring it is not a solution. Doing the ostrich move, burying your head in the sand, is not beneficial to anyone, including the league’s own product.”
By Aaron Wherry - Thursday, October 25, 2012 at 12:15 PM - 0 Comments
“The legalization of single-event sports betting by any government would increase the chances that persons gambling on games will attempt to influence the outcome of those games,” Paul Beeston, president of the Toronto Blue Jays, told the Senate…
Mr. Beeston said baseball management also fears an erosion of confidence in the game “Losing bettors and fans … may in turn become suspicious of every strikeout or error, and the game’s integrity would be open to question play by play, day after day,” he said. “If large numbers of our fans come to regard baseball only, or even partially, as a gambling vehicle, the very nature of the sport will be altered and harmed.”
By Colby Cosh - Monday, August 13, 2012 at 11:17 AM - 0 Comments
Asia’s casino capital hit a soft patch
Westerners skeptical of official Chinese government statistics are always on the lookout for economic indicators that are hard for even a Communist to fudge. One of them is gambling revenue in Macau, the Chinese-controlled “special administrative region” and Asia’s casino capital. The city’s gaming industry opened to Western investors in 2002 and has experienced mind-bending growth ever since. Revenue increased 42 per cent in 2011 to US$33.5 billion, making the ex-colony five times the size of Las Vegas’s strip.
But Macau’s July figures showed a year-over-year growth of just 1.5 per cent. The Fitch credit rating agency noted that typhoons had affected the Hong Kong-Macau ferry service, but warned of new Asian competitors and possible straitened credit for Chinese junket operators, who extend credit to rich gamblers. The Western casino magnate most at risk from a sluggish Chinese economy is U.S. Republican donor Sheldon Adelson, whose Sands Macao has catapulted his wealth into the stratosphere. Adelson received an apology this week from U.S. Democrats’ Congressional Campaign Committee, who claimed he’d cultivated a “prostitution strategy” at his properties in Macau.
By Richard Warnica - Wednesday, February 29, 2012 at 10:03 AM - 0 Comments
Calvin Ayre, the Canadian founder of the billion-dollar Bodog brand, was indicted in the…
Calvin Ayre, the Canadian founder of the billion-dollar Bodog brand, was indicted in the U.S. on Tuesday for allegedly running a massive Internet gambling operation. Along with three co-accused, Ayre, the son of pig farmers from Saskatchewan, was charged by prosecutors in Maryland. From the Globe:
While the U.S. has passed stiff laws against Internet gambling, a lack of comparable legislation in other jurisdictions has stifled bids to extradite out-of-country suspects to the United States for trial.
In response to the new allegations, Mr. Ayre posted his reaction on his personal website: “I see this as abuse of the U.S. criminal justice system,” he said in a statement. “….It is clear that the online gaming industry is legal under international law.”
Forbes profiled Ayre for a cover story in 2006:
From this tropical oasis [Costa Rica], Ayre has dodged and taunted those enemies, the main one being the U.S. Department of Justice. His Bodog Entertainment Group is in the not very kosher business of Web gambling. It takes bets from 16 million customers, most of them in the U.S. And that appears to violate the law–Title 18, Section 1084 of the U.S. Code–which forbids using telephones or other communication devices “in interstate or foreign commerce” in order to take bets. “Online gambling, whether it is located offshore or not, is illegal when it comes to the United States and its citizens,” says a Justice Department official who works on Internet gambling crimes.
But Bodog has no physical presence in the U.S., Ayre is not an American citizen, and the extraterritorial reach of U.S. law is not clear. Ayre, at any rate, has no assets in the U.S. for the G-men to seize.
Last year the privately held Bodog handled $7.3 billion in online wagers, triple the volume of 2004. Ayre says all this betting gave him sales of $210 million, and that he took 26% of the revenue to the bottom line. What’s his business worth? Two similar ventures that are publicly traded (in Europe) go for well over 18 times trailing earnings. At that multiple, Bodog, along with other assets, gives Ayre a net worth of at least $1 billion.
By Colby Cosh - Tuesday, February 14, 2012 at 3:33 AM - 0 Comments
On Monday, Ontario Finance Minister Dwight Duncan gave the Economic Club a sneak preview of economist Don Drummond’s upcoming report on some ways in which the province might conceivably clamber back into surplus sometime within the 21st century. Duncan noted that the Ontario horseracing industry receives more than $300 million a year in money from the slot machines hosted at Ontario racetracks. “Wow, that’s a huge subsidy,” I hear you saying. Silly reader. No business ever admits to being subsidized! Continue…
By Michael Barclay - Wednesday, March 30, 2011 at 12:23 PM - 0 Comments
A compendium of lawsuits from across the country
British Columbia: A class-action lawsuit was launched against the B.C. government over allegedly improper Breathalyzer tests used after new drinking and driving legislation was introduced last fall. In November, 2,200 roadside Breathalyzers were recalled by the Victoria police chief amid concerns over mis-calibration and faulty readings. The lead plaintiff in the suit had his licence suspended and his car impounded after registering a blood-alcohol level of 0.05, the minimum level for an immediate suspension under the new law.
Saskatchewan: A 24-year-old woman, with the support of the B.C. Civil Liberties Association, is suing Correctional Services Canada, claiming that her four-year stint in solitary confinement is unconstitutional. The Civil Liberties Association says there are no limits or objective criteria for placing prisoners in solitary confinement for long terms. Parole Board documents say she has been repeatedly violent in prison.
Ontario: A cyclist who suffered a brain injury after a race held last April is suing the Hamilton Cycling Club for $20 million in damages. He was travelling 40 km/h when he slammed on the brakes to avoid a cluster of competitors on a sharp turn, causing him to be hurled over the handlebars; he spent 3½ months in hospital. In a race with 200 cyclists, his accident was one of a dozen that day. No statement of defence has been filed, although organizers say the route will be altered for next month’s race.
Nova Scotia: A Halifax gambler who voluntarily signed an agreement banning him from the premises of Casino Nova Scotia is suing the establishment for $61,000 for allegedly allowing him to return repeatedly, even more than once a day, with access to the “high-rollers” area and free alcohol. No defence has been filed by the company that owns the casino, Great Canadian Gaming Corporation, which is facing similar lawsuits in British Columbia.
By macleans.ca - Friday, November 26, 2010 at 11:29 AM - 0 Comments
OLG trying to curb problem gambling
The Ontario Lottery and Gaming Cooperation will install facial biometric cameras at entrances to its slot rooms and casinos in an attempt to prevent people who have self-identified as gambling addicts from gaming. The project will start in early 2011 at the Woodbine racetrack in Toronto, and works by analyzing the faces of patrons and alerting staff when it recognizes problem gamblers. Staff then ask addicts to leave, and call security to issue a trespass notice if they refuse. The system is specifically designed to protect privacy, and has the approval of the province’s information and privacy commissioner.
By Chris Sorensen - Thursday, July 22, 2010 at 3:40 PM - 0 Comments
How a small Toronto firm teamed up with Virgin to launch an online, video-game gambling industry
Virgin Gaming’s Toronto headquarters is filled with summer students, clad in shorts, T-shirts and flip-flops. They have been hired to test video games for the fledgling online service, which essentially allows gamers to bet money on the outcomes of popular console games like FIFA, Madden NFL and Halo, with Virgin Gaming taking a percentage of each jackpot. “Is this a dream job or what, guys?” bellows a beaming Zack Zeldin, 26, the company’s vice-president of gaming operations. He is met with a bunch of sheepish looks. “Look at those grins,” he says.
The truth is that the entire operation feels a bit like a dream come true for the people involved (although perhaps not for parents worried about the bank accounts of their college-aged sons and daughters). Virgin Gaming’s predecessor, Toronto-based World Gaming, had just 40,000 users and was still in a testing phase when a fortuitous personal connection—one of the company’s early investors, Rob Segal, now CEO, had previously helped launch the Virgin Mobile brand in Canada—placed it on the radar of Sir Richard Branson’s people.
By Aaron Wherry - Tuesday, February 9, 2010 at 5:41 PM - 28 Comments
Joe Comartin advocates for sports gambling.
Windsor-Tecumseh MP Joe Comartin last spring introduced a parliamentary motion to delete one paragraph from the Criminal Code which bans sports wagering — as was done a few years ago with dice games. ”We have been working with the Canadian Gaming Association and the CAW to get the government to move on this, but they haven’t, and we’re not sure why,” Comartin said. “It’s kind of frustrating.”
Comartin said Ontario casinos are facing a perfect storm, with increased competition and tighter passport rules and that sports wagering could provide a much-needed edge. ”We are worried,” Comartin said. ”At some point, we expect some state in the U.S. will follow Nevada’s example. Probably one of the states in the midwest will allow it. Then they will all come on board, to remain competitive.”
By Scott Feschuk - Wednesday, February 3, 2010 at 9:40 AM - 5 Comments
SCOTT FESCHUK: Welcome to my interactive Super Bowl Over-Under Challenge. (And yes, there are prizes.)
For football fans, the two-week break before the Super Bowl is a grim, unholy fortnight—a soulless thing from the depths of hell, bereft of light and hope. Think of it as a 14-day Matthew McConaughey movie. Sure, the time off gives us a chance to reflect, to recuperate, possibly even to shower. But that’s small comfort to those of us left without an excuse to avoid antiquing on Sunday afternoon.
Happily, this year’s may be worth the ordeal. There’s real excitement in the air. We’re going to see a fierce battle—and not just one in which the elderly halftime act, the Who, fights players for possession of the sideline oxygen.
There’s only one way to make the NFL championship even more enjoyable: betting. I’m talking about rash, excessive wagering unsullied by reason or moderation. The Super Bowl isn’t just a football game—it’s also the Super Bowl of gambling, a chance to bet real money on every facet of the proceedings, up to and including the number of times Brett Favre will pop up to retire during the game.
By Michael Friscolanti - Thursday, March 5, 2009 at 9:00 AM - 0 Comments
Should gamblers be allowed to use a tech toy to beat the house?
Travis Yates is suddenly the stuff of Las Vegas legend (even though he’s never stepped foot in Sin City, and probably never should). Back in October, the Australian Web designer invented a cloak-and-dagger iPhone application that allows blackjack players to secretly count cards using their thumbs instead of their brains. Card counting, of course, is the cardinal sin of casinos, and now every joint on the strip is keeping an eye out for iCheaters.
Yates, though, has already hit the jackpot—in free advertising. Before his “app”—known simply as “A Blackjack Card Counter”—made headlines around the world, it was selling a mere 10 copies a week on the iTunes store. Not anymore. During one five-day span in February, it tallied more than 4,000 downloads, including 140 in Canada. “I’ve unwittingly unleashed an army of card counters on the casinos,” he jokes.