Man threatens casino after wife loses $30k

February 27, 2013 3:51 pm

“My wife is at your casino, get her out of there or I am going to come up there with an AK-47 and [expletive] you and that place up.”

So began a telephone call from a man who said his wife had lost $30,000 at the Delaware Park Casino in Wilmington, Del., the News Journal reports. Brandon K. Buchanan, 28, of Wilmington, Del. said he was “fed up” with his wife’s gambling losses. He threatened to use a gun in order to let his wife know he was serious.

Buchanan was charged with first-degree reckless endangering, possession of a firearm during a felony, and possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia, according to police. The incident is an extreme example of what can happen to families when gambling addiction takes hold. Studies show that divorce, suicide, crime and bankruptcy increase in the 50-mile area where a casino locates. (See a report by Baylor University economics professor Earl Grinols on the social costs of gambling here.)

Left unsaid is how casinos attract and keep problem gamblers coming back. It’s a safe bet that Delaware Park treated Buchanan’s wife like a VIP. She was likely offered free play coupons to get and keep her coming back to the casino as well as other perks. The goal is to keep gamblers coming back again and again. The industry term is known as “play to extinction.” (See video of problem gamblers here.)

This is the underside of gambling that lawmakers and casino operators don’t mention when boasting about the tax revenue that comes from casinos. But the sad reality is much of the casino tax revenue comes from problem gamblers. One study found that 60 percent of slots revenue at casinos comes from problem gamblers.

Was Massachusetts casino opponent set up?

November 16, 2011 3:25 pm

The wife of the former House Speaker in Massachusetts who was convicted of bribery says he husband was set up because he opposed legalizing casinos.

Wow. Sounds like something out of a John Grisham novel. Even by the sleazy gambling industry’s standards, that would be Machiavellian.

Deborah DiMasi, wife of former House Speaker Salvatore DiMasi, said she believes her husband is innocent and was targeted by forces who wanted casino gambling legalized in Massachusetts. DiMasi said her husband opposed casinos, in part, because he saw his father succumb to the addiction of gambling and the destructive impact on his family. However, She didn’t provide any hard evidence that her husband was set up.

Sal DiMasi was convicted in June of conspiracy, fraud and extortion after pocketing $65,000 in bribes as part of a complex scheme to secure multimillion dollar contracts for a Canadian software firm. He was sentenced to eight years in prison and is scheduled to begin serving his term on Nov. 30. The allegations by his wife come on the day state lawmakers voted for bill to legalize casinos in Massachusetts.

One of the big fears of legalizing gambling is the corrupting influence it will have on state lawmakers where the past three House Speakers have resigned in disgrace. That’s before the slot machine was plugged in. Just wait until the river of money from gambling starts running through the halls of Beacon Hill. If Ms. DiMasi is correct, then look for the gambling interests in Massachusetts to do whatever it takes to get what they want.