Sunday, February 03, 2008

Legalized Gambling Coming To A Bar Near You

The Indiana legislature's appetite for more gambling revenues to spend on their favorite government programs is growing even larger this year. Last year, the legislature expanded slot machines to the state's two horse race tracks, a plan which was supposed to provide enough property tax relief to keep taxpayers at bay. We know how well that plan worked out. If bar owners have their way with the legislature, you will be able to play games of chance with pull tabs and other forms of low stake gambling at any establishment which sells alcohol. Yes, that's the same pull tab cards neighbors near Indianapolis' pea shake houses complain about being littered throughout their neighborhoods.

A major proponent of the legislation, not surprisingly, is the Indiana Licensed Beverage Association, which thinks it's unfair that nonprofit organizations, such as your local Catholic church, can offer games of chance to raise money for their charitable causes but bar owners can't. "We're behind this because we think it's a fairness issue," said Brad Klopfenstein, executive director of the Indiana Licensed Beverage Association. "They created a disparity between the not-for-profits and the for-profits. We want to even that out." Ironically, Klopfenstein has been nominated by council Republican for a seat on the Board of Zoning Appeals despite many potential conflicts of interest when matters come before the Board involving businesses which sell alcohol.

Klopfenstein's group is using the lure of more state revenues as a selling point to lawmakers, which his group claims will raise between $5 and $25 million statewide. He suggests that local bars will be able to make $1,000-$2,000 a month extra from the sale of pull tabs and other games of chance. For a change, I find myself in agreement with House Republican Leader Brian Bosma based on what he told the Star's Dan McFeely. "I feel gaming in this state is the crack cocaine of public policy. We simply can't get enough gaming," said Bosma, who voted against HB 1153. "I'm saying, 'No.' I want off the cocaine. I'm done with it."

The social cost of having so much legalized gambling in Indiana is really taking its toll. Businesses, churches, nonprofit groups and families are all being victimized by problem gamblers who are stealing from their employers and their own families to feed their gambling addictions. If Klopfenstein and his group get their way, who can complain about the neigbhorhood pea shake houses? We'll have legalized gambling on every street corner and neighborhood pub if this legislation becomes law. Maybe that's the real point behind this legislation--to make legal all the illegally-operated gaming establishments in this state.


Anonymous said...

This completely amazes me.

The state passes a law to crack down on illegal cherry masters and pea shake houses last session and the very next session they give these law breakers legal pull tab gambling at every bar, restaurant, and tavern in the state.

This on top of giving every Moose Lodge, VFW, and Knights of Columbus Lodge legal gambling outside of the public view.


Anonymous said...

I say pass a law outlawing gambling in Indiana's Moose Lodges, VFW Halls, Knights of Columbus Lodges, and put more money into hiring folks to enforce the current laws on illegal Cherry masters, Pea Shakes, and Texas holdem houses.

It would give our designated legal Casinos and Racinos a fighting chance of surviving and not expose our children to this vice at every restaurant, club, truck stop, and lodge in the state.

Anonymous said...

Here we go again, the House has passed another expansion of gambling.

This time they want to reward the bars that are being cracked down upon from last session for illegal Cherry Master machines and Pea Shakes with legal pull tabs.

Guess this involves a lot of money in Northeast Indiana based upon Senator Long R-Ft. Waynes policy U-Turn on the illegal gambling crack down and support for pull tab gambling.

Could someone shed some light on the secretive games being played around our state's multi-BILLION dollar gambling industry?

Maybe the Attorney General or a Federal Abscam type sting, or a Investigative Media Report like the one on our politicians behavior surrounding the Build Indiana Fund.

Anonymous said...

Anyone find irony in the proponent of this gaming expansion, Brad Klopfenstein, being a good friend of Abdul Hakim-Shabazz, the guy always raising a stink about the pea shake houses. Abdul gives Klopfenstein free air time on his radio show to promote his agenda all the time.

Anonymous said...

Of course Bill Mays will have them at all his trashy night clubs around Indianapolis, so that his patrons can not only rape and videotape drugged out women they could gamble too!

The peashake house owners will now be given a license for pull tabs....Yes, the racketering peashake house owners who are murders and felones will now be given legal licenses, front headed by Bill Mays himself, just like in the 300 East Carson Tavern Fiasco.

Just try to get a license YOURSELF, you'll be denied.

Anonymous said...

Amazing how much influence John Neal has while in prison. He spread bucket loads of money around to sleazy lawmakers. Too bad they had to wait until he went to jail to take care of his problem.

Anonymous said...

This is a bad idea, and a bad bill. Why, you ask?

1) the whole notion of subsidizing bars and taverns is base-level political pandering and special interests at its worst. Let's get real: bars and taverns are relics of a former time when people drank much more, DUI law was not as strict, people's homes were too small to have home theatre, and cable TV had not yet proliferated to the point that we can watch just about any game at any time for an extra $20 per month. Letting a dying industry bail itself out with gambling is terrible public policy and letting bars and taverns do it rewards a socially questionable industry at that. If we want to subsidize a failing industry with gambling, let's subsidize GM or furniture manufacturing. At least those guys make something.

2) The bill hurts charities. How about that for bad?? The revenue and taxing schemes in this bill are more favorable to bars and taverns than the charity gaming statute is to charities that run gambling. The legislature is telling us that Timmy's Pub is more important to the social fabric of our cities than the VFW. Hey if that's the policy decision they want to make, it's their funeral, right?? Why is this not a bigger problem to the legislators?(secret: it's because the bars and taverns have a more wealthy lobby than the charities and non-profits).

3) An amendment added to the bill before it left the House added a section legalizing internet gambling on horses. Internet gambling has never been legal in Indiana, but somehow the lobbyists conned someone into putting this into the bar and tavern bill. Advance Deposit Wagering is fancy talk for internet horse gambling, and Secondary Pari Mutuel Operator is fancy talk for internet gambling web site. Tell me who does internet horse betting help? Addicted gamblers? Casinos? Bars and taverns? This is a real head-scratcher.

I am sure there are other objectionable things in this bill, but those three are enough for me. Here's hoping the Senate kills it or Gov Daniels vetoes it. Wanna bet on it?

Anonymous said...

"The author of the bill, Rep. Dennis Tyler, D-Muncie, argues it is needed to help many of Indiana's mom-and-pop bars and taverns stay afloat."

"These small-business people, bars and taverns are just good people trying to make a living and keep their people working," Tyler said. "This allows those small businesses to remain competitive in a real tough economic climate."

Wasn't Muncie and northeast Indiana were the excise police closed 25+ bars associated with John Neal's illegal gambling network.

Anonymous said...

The author of the bill, Rep. Dennis Tyler, D-Muncie, argues it is needed to help many of Indiana's mom-and-pop bars and taverns stay afloat.

"These small-business people, bars and taverns are just good people trying to make a living and keep their people working," Tyler said. "This allows those small businesses to remain competitive in a real tough economic climate."

It appears Muncie Rep. Dennis Tyler is friends with former Yorktown John Neal and his gambling network.
John Neal Busted Again on Serious Illegal Gambling Charges

John Neal, a former top Indiana state Teamster's chief, was arrested when cops discovered over $1 million dollars hidden in the wall of his home as part of an inquiry into a suspected gambling operation that he was managing.

His latest arrest comes about 2 years after he was released from federal prison. Back in 2000, Neal pleaded guilty to illegal gambling, tax evasion and money laundering. Despite serving hard time for his crimes, Neal was obviously not rehabilitated during his time behind bars.

The former Teamster's boss now faces felony charges of money laundering, illegal gambling, and corrupt business practices. Authorites confiscated millions of dollars in pure cash, and arrested several associates with whom he had relations and people who supposedly worked for him.

We're awaiting word on when he'll go before a judge and hear the official charges read against him. It has been widely speculated that he will not be granted bail, and that he could face up to 25 years in prison, if convicted.

September 20, 2006
Posted By Terry Goodwin
Staff Editor,

Anonymous said...

John Neal, Yorktown, says he’s in good health and hopes his prison time passes quickly.

Neal is scheduled to be released Nov. 1, 2008, according to the federal Bureau of Prisons.

Anonymous said...

Why not add something everyone wants like Sunday carry out sales to this bill? If the bar and taverns get something from this bill, they should also give up revenue potential from other sales sources.

Anonymous said...

Muncie Rep. Dennis Tyler introduced this bill?

John Neal is scheduled to be released Nov. 1, 2008, according to the federal Bureau of Prisons?

Any connection?

Man Arrested, Businesses Raided In Gambling Probe

MUNCIE, Ind.-- An 18-month investigation resulted in the arrest Monday of a Muncie man accused of being involved in a wide-ranging gambling operation in Delaware and Madison counties, authorities said.

Authorities said they believe John Lewis Neal owned video poker machines that were distributed in the two counties. During raids on Monday morning, investigators seized Neal's residence and 23 businesses that sell alcoholic beverages in the counties and are believed to have connections to Neal, according to a release from the Indiana Alcohol and Tobacco Commission.

Authorities also confiscated alcohol sales permits from the businesses. Investigators also were trying serve arrest warrants charging 52 other people with gambling-related felonies, authorities said.

Neal faces felony charges of professional gambling, promoting professional gambling, money laundering and corrupt business influence. Neal was being held Monday with bond set at $1 million.

Federal authorities arrested Neal in 1999 on suspicion that he engaged in a criminal gambling enterprise. He was sentenced to 42 months in prison after a guilty plea and agreed to stop engaging in illicit business, ATC officials said.

More than 80 law enforcement officers were involved Monday's raids, the ATC said.

The raided businesses will get an opportunity to get their liquor licenses back. ATC officials said additional charges are possible as the investigation moves forward.

Businesses included in the raids:

Muncie Coin, 1521 W. Walnut St. Muncie, IN
Video Services, 1520 S. High St., Muncie, IN
The Curve, 112 S. Park Ave., Alexandria, IN
Happy Times, 114 Harrison St., Alexandria, IN
Monty’s Bar, 28 W. Main St., Alexandria, IN
Big Baby’s, 1929 W 8th St., Anderson, IN
The Caboose, 16 E. 15th St., Anderson, IN
The Getaway, 2332 Columbus Ave., Anderson, IN
Pelletrino’s, 1422 Meridian St., Anderson, IN
Rick’s Corner CafĂ©, 2828 Pendleton Pike, Anderson, IN
The Lamplighter, 2424 Arrow Ave., Anderson, IN
LT’s Hideaway, 2017 W. Eighth St., Anderson, IN
Do-Len-Ski’s Supper Club, 4239 E. County Road 67, Chesterfield, IN
The Spot, 410 E. Main St., Chesterfield, IN
Lonnie’s Bar, 14501 W. Commerce Rd., Daleville, IN
Mississenewa Tavern, 125 W. Harris, Eaton, IN
My Favorite Place, 1900 S. Anderson, Suite 7, Elwood, IN
Gaston Gardens, 106 W. Elm St., Gaston, IN
The Anchor Lounge, 3535 S. Ebright, Muncie, IN
Big John’s Bar, 402 W. Eighth St., Muncie, IN
By Pass Bar and Grill, 3520 S. Meeker Ave., Muncie, IN
Chances R Bar, 3421 S. Walnut, Muncie, IN
The Town Tavern, 102 Main St., Summitville, IN
Stag Bar, 2801 S. Madison, Muncie, IN
Village Inn, 2221 E. Jackson St., Muncie, IN

Anonymous said...

What is wrong with this? If you don't have the money to gamble -don't gamble! I have been in and out of Vegas with the Air Force many times - You play with caution.
This is good. And, it taxes what is already going on anyway and reduces enforcement of illegal gambling.
That means the officers used on busting illegal gambling can focus
on robbers and killers.....


Gary R. Welsh said...

Here's a list of legislators who voted for HB 1153:

Austin Day Kersey Reske
Bardon Dembowski Klinker Richardson
Bartlett Dermody Knollman Robertson
Bell Dodge Lawson, L Saunders
Bischoff Duncan Lutz Simms
Blanton Dvorak Mays Smith, V
Borror Eberhart McClain Stevenson
Brown,C Espich Micon Stilwell
Buell Friend Moses Stutzman
Candelaria Reardon Fry Niezgodski Summers
Cheatham GiaQuinta Orentlicher Tyler
Cherry Goodin Oxley VanDenburgh
Cochran Grubb Pelath VanHaaften
Crawford Gutwein Pflum Mr. Speaker
Crooks Harris, E Pond
Davis Harris, T Porter

Anonymous said...

VanHaaften is a whore for the gaming boys.

Anonymous said...

The idea that bar owners need help is the biggest joke. Bar owners are historically big tax cheats. Most pocket at least half of the cash they bring in and never report it to the IRS.

Gary R. Welsh said...

Interesting observation anon. 5:35. I was at a CLE course on buying and selling businesses one time when a speaker told a story about representing a client in buying a bar. The sales numbers for the business didn't look too good, but the buyer told his attorney he wasn't worried about it because bar owners pocket half of what they make and report the other half. The story drew a good laugh.

Anonymous said...

It is not the state's job, Mr. Klopfenstein, to level any private sector playing fields.

If pull tabs keep a bar from going under, the bar is run by morons.

Isn't it amazing how Libertarians have selective "government control" hot buttons?

Coin laundries and bars: both notorious cash cows. Self-serve car washes used to be, but the Mike's of the world have dried them up.

Anonymous said...

anonymous 5:54

It not the state's job to maintain an unlevel playing field, either. Every corner already has legalized gambling via the state lottery. Asking the government to make something legal that they previously made illegal seems fair to me.

Anonymous said...

From the Advance Indiana header:

" ...and no special privileges or immunities shall be granted to any class of citizens which are not granted on the same terms to all citizens."

Anonymous said...

Isn't it strange that the legislature claims to not have time to debate the marrige amendment, legislator ethics, etc., but they seem to have plenty of time to work on gambling.

Anonymous said...

7:33, your definition of unlevel or unfair is hilarious.

The lottery has been around since, I believe, 1990. If bars want to sell lottery tickets, I'd be all for that.

But opening up a new field to them is not leveling the playing field. It's pandering. And it's bad public policy.

There's nothing unlevel about the playing field as far as the lottery goes. And retailers get to participate in winnings. Letting abrs sell lottery tickets seems like a good idea to me. Fair, too.

The Lottery does have fairly stringent initial, and ongoing, security-check requirements for retailers. Maybe a large percentage of bar owners don't want that extra layer of scrutiny.

Anonymous said...

Who in the hell nominated Brad Klopfenstein for the Board of Zoning Appeals? I'm contacting my council member. This is bullshit.

Gary R. Welsh said...

Lincoln Plowman is sponsoring the resolution nominating Klopfenstein. Lincoln works vice for IMPD. Go figure.

Jeff Cox said...

"The social cost of having so much legalized gambling in Indiana is really taking its toll. Businesses, churches, nonprofit groups and families are all being victimized by problem gamblers who are stealing from their employers and their own families to feed their gambling addictions."

I'm sorry, AI, but I don't see why if some people might become addicted to something that it should be banned for the vast majority who won't.

Anonymous said...

To follow Klopfenstein's logic on the "fairness issue", they created a disparity between liquor license holders and non-holders, so next they'll need to even it out to allow "non-profits" that don't have a liquor license to have gambling.

Klopfenstein on the BZA? That's rich. But, no, I can't really imagine any zoning issue coming up with bars or liquor stores.

Anonymous said...

Have to side with Mr. Bosma on this one and his predecessor, former Speaker J.R. Dailey who was dead set against gambling and all of the social costs it imposed, as well as criminal costs to society. I imagine Mr. Tyler is well acquainted with Mr. Neal as John spread a lot of money around Democrat politicians.

Anonymous said...

Anon 7:41, the legislature shouldn't have time to work on a marriage amendment because it's a ridiculous notion. If you don't like gays getting married, don't marry a gay person. It doesn't impact you otherwise. Gambling, however, does impact all of us via taxes. Also, if it's culture you're worried about, dregs produced by gambling could be far more destructive to the state than the gays you so fear.

Gary R. Welsh said...

procynic, ask John Gregg about his former law partner and the social damage of addicted gamblers. He helped himself out to client monies before trying to burn himself up his own car to avoid responsibility for the mess he had got himself into. The more forms of legalized gambling we allow and the more convenient we make it for people to gamble, the more people who are going to take up the bad habit. As I see it, these things run in cycles. In an earlier period in our country, there was all kinds of legalized gambling. As it began taking its toll on society, there were movements to ban it altogether. A number of states, including Indiana, actually adopted constitutional prohibitions. We seem to go to extremes rather than find a happy medium.

Anonymous said...

The culprit, in part, is the Protestant cult of government expressed in zoning laws that treat taverns as evil places. Perhaps the new urbanization trend will result in a living experience for people that includes a neighborhood bar that is walked to on the way home from work where a pint or two will be consumed with neighbors prior to the dinner hour at home with the family.

Gary R. Welsh said...

It seems Mr. Brad Klopfenstein, who is filling in today for a vacationing Abdul, is a little bit upset about being referred to as a "lobbyist" and is devoting WXNT air time to advocating for his pull tab legislation for Indiana's "mom and pop" bars as he likes to call them. Mr. Klopfenstein has referred to your's truly by inference as a "hater" and a "lunatic." As a former lobbyist myself, who represented organizations not unlike the one Mr. Klopfenstein works for, he might be well-advised to consult an attorney about his legal obligation to register as a lobbyist. His employer is a registered lobbyist and, although his firm retains the services of a lobbying firm, KWK Management, to do lobbying for it at the State House, by Mr. Klopfenstein's own admission, he testifies at legislative hearings about matters concerning his organization and responds to legislator's questions. If he would check around, he would find many of his counterparts at other organizations are indeed registered lobbyists. And the last time I checked, the firm his organization retained to lobby for it is not a law firm as he called it. Rather than use the free air time WXNT has chosen to provide him to advocate his gambling expansion efforts in Indiana and trash your's truly, he might want to read Indiana's lobby law. He just might find he should be registered as a lobbyist whether he likes to be called one or not. And your little on air diatribe, Mr. Klopfenstein, only confirms my belief that you should not be appointed to the Board of Zoning Appeals.

Jeff Cox said...


Anything can be abused. Gambling, alcohol, cigarettes, drugs (both legal and otherwise), food, books, clothes, anything. Government's job is to protect its people from the predations of others, not from themselves. Once you give them license to protect you from yourself, then you give them license to go into every aspect of yuor life, and the cost of government goes up accordingly.

Anonymous said...

"Businesses, churches, nonprofit groups and families are all being victimized by problem gamblers who are stealing from their employers and their own families to feed their gambling addictions."

Perhaps shopping malls should be outlawed because of habitual shoppers, Starbucks boarded up because of caffeine junkies, and the entire internet dismantled because of web addicts.

The revocation of liberty of the many because of the lack of self-control of the few. Stalin would be proud.

Anonymous said...

Klopfenstein's claim that he isn't a lobbyist is a big fat lie. Forget all that lobbying of the city-county council you did, Brad, to exempt bars from the smoking ban ordinance? Didn't your members do a little extra entertaining for city councilors about that time? Isn't that why Lincoln Plowman is sponsoring you now?

Gary R. Welsh said...

During Klopfenstein's hearing on his nomination before the Metropolitan Development Committee, he was asked by Mike Speedy about his potential conflicts, which he never mentioned during his presentation. He acknowledged he worked for the bar owners as executive director of the Indiana Licensed Beverage Association. He said he would recuse himself if he had a conflict, but that he doubted there would be a conflict if it simply dealt with granting a variance for an already-existing bar. I'm thinking, excuse me. Speedy asked no follow up as my mouth drops open. Councilor Nytes follows up on that point. He basically said he would run it past the Board's legal counsel and rely on their advice. So we see a coninuation under the Republican administration of people with blatant conflicts of interest being appointed to important boards and commissions without even a blink of an eye. More business as usual. The same old corrupt city governance we've had for years will continue unabated regardless of which party is in power.

Anonymous said...

I understand the concern over more gambling and the States appetite for more money regardless of how it is achieved. However, I have always thought that it is much more against the Constitution Principles to allow the state to have legal gambling at every gas Station and convenience store while retaining the right to arrest a group of people at a tavern for a low stakes card game. Sorry Can't agree that it should be illegal in the whole state unless it is a lottery run by the state. The Charter of this organization says that it is to preserve the rights and Advance the principles of the constitution: How about freedom of choice including bad choices, freedom of commerce even when you personally may not use those services, freedom of enterprise. I don't know about Neal or Mays, or who these people are of which you speak. I don't care. I think that the state has gambling in every store imaginable, so do private organizations, and government organizations such as the FOP... if anything this gets closer to the statement you guys make about " ...and no special privileges or immunities shall be granted to any class of citizens which are not granted on the same terms to all citizens." Then the passing of this law is closer to what you say you support.

Think about it.