Gambling commissioner busted for DUI

May 21, 2012 11:57 am

A gambling commissioner in Iowa was arrested for drunk driving after police observed his car swerving on the highway in De Moines.

Jeff Lamberti, a former Republican Senate Leader who is vice chairman of the state’s gambling commission, first told police he was texting while driving. Then he said he had two beers. Later he said he had four beers, then said he had six beers.

Police found a large bottle of nearly empty Jack Daniels inside a cloth bag that also contained a piece of clothing and several condoms, according to the police report. Lamberti later said he made a stupid mistake and would take responsibility for his actions.

Lamberti’s troubles with the law is just the latest controversy dogging a state gambling commissioner. In Massachusetts, the governor’s pick for the fledgling gambling commission there was accused of child sex abuse. New York’s racing association is ensared in a controversey surrounding overcharging bettors millions of dollars.

In Pennsylvania, the gambling commission has been a rotating group of insiders who cycle off the board only to go represent the casino firms they regulated. Former Gov. Ed Rendell’s first pick to head the gambling board stepped down after it was disclosed that he testified on behalf of a boxing promoter with alleged mob ties.

The legal troubles of commission members and insider politics underscores how the agencies charged with regulating gambling are often part of the problem, nit part of the solution.

Albany greases the gambling skids

March 27, 2012 1:25 pm

New York voters are more than a year away from getting a chance to decide if the state should legalize commercial casinos, but lawmakers are moving forward with a plan to overhaul the gambling commission.

Nothing like putting the cart before the horse.

Never mind the state’s Constitution prohibits gambling. Never mind the General Assembly voted to change the Constitution late at night with little public debate about the downsides of gambling, let alone an independent cost-benefit analysis of allowing more casinos. Never mind the General Assembly must take a second vote to change the Constitution. Never mind that voters must then approve the Constitutional change, even though the public has no idea where the casinos will be located or any other details for that matter. Never mind the entire process is taking place in secret behind closed doors in Albany. And never mind that the proposed gambling board doesn’t measure up to similar boards in other casino states like New Jersey or Nevada.

Details, details. Lawmakers are obviously confident they will wire, er, work out all the issues. But first things first: overhaul the gambling commission in order to grease the skids for all the changes by consolidating most of the power in the hands of Gov. Cuomo. That way the commission will be in position to ram through all the changes to a public policy designed to strip wealth from citizens, while making it appear like there was the pretense of a process.