Issue 3 : Should Out-of-State Bookies be Allowed to Operate Casinos in Ohio?

By Citizens For Community Values

Two out-of-state companies are attempting to write their business plan into Ohio’s constitution by creating a monopoly that would allow them to build four casinos in our state.

Penn National Gaming, which currently operates 32 gambling facilities in the U.S. and Canada, has partnered with Dan Gilbert, a billionaire from Michigan, who owns Quicken Loans and the Cleveland Cavaliers, to place ISSUE 3 before the voters on November 3, 2009.

During a recent ISSUE 3 debate at the Cleveland City Club Gilbert was asked a question about his 1981 arrest for illegal bookmaking. (Read the Columbus Dispatch article here.) (Listen to the debate on Podcast here.)

Unidentified Questioner: “I understand you were arrested in the past for illegal bookmaking. So if issue 3 passes can you tell me what crimes do you believe should preclude individuals from getting a gaming license, and specifically is bookmaking one of those crimes?”

Dan Gilbert’s Reply: “Yeah so when I was 18 years old in Michigan State when I was a freshman in the dorm room, we had those you know those little card NFL cards that you play. I don’t know, Bernie might have been playing, I don’t know, and somebody walked into some policeman on the corner, came in and they swept the dorms and they took out four, five, or seven I can’t remember the number, and then they dropped the case a few months later and no money was ever exchanged and that’s what happened to me at Michigan State. But so as far as what crimes, I don’t know, probably murder, rape, extortion of funds, larceny, things like that.”

FACT CHECK…Line by Line

Gilbert said: “Yeah so when I was 18 years old in Michigan State when I was a freshman in the dorm room, we had those you know those little card NFL cards that you play.”

USA Today describes it this way: “Gilbert was arrested with three other students in 1981 on charges of operating a bookmaking ring at Michigan State that handled $114,000 in bets on football and basketball games.’’

Gilbert said: “…somebody walked into some policeman on the corner came in and they swept the dorms…”

Forbes.com describes it this way: “One kid who couldn’t cover his debts panicked and called his father, who alerted the authorities. A wired undercover cop, posing as the kid’s dad, busted the ring. ‘It was a pretty sophisticated operation,’ says Jeffrey Patzer, who prosecuted the case, ‘way above average for what I knew of so-called organized crime.’ ”

Gilbert said: “…then they dropped the case a few months later…”

USA Today describes it this way: “Gilbert was accused of conspiring to violate state gambling laws. He was fined, given three years’ probation and ordered to do 100 hours of community service, the paper said. The felony was dropped after he completed the sentences.”

Anyone can understand the embarrassment of stupid youthful indiscretions, particularly when it has to do with violations of the law. If these are all of the facts, it sounds like Gilbert got off pretty easy.

But with today’s 24-hour newscycles and instant access to so much of the past with a click of the mouse, Gilbert should know that lying about something that is so easily discoverable and getting caught again may well say more about who he is today than who he was when a freshman in college.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.