The tax that ate Las Vegas; Dr. King misremembered

Shame on the District of Columbia. Its embattled leadership has yanked away $200,000 in funding for treatment of disordered gambling. You’d think that would be a priority item for a city whose government is partly funded by sports betting … but you’d think wrong. Problem gamblers hoping to get help close to home have received a ‘Drop dead’ message from City Hall. “The Department of Behavioral Health is committed to providing a range of services in the public behavioral health care system to meet the needs of all residents,” a spokesman proclaimed airily. It’s that those services are no longer germane to problem-gambling treatment.

You’ll have to fall back on Gamblers Anonymous or the National Council for Problem Gambling‘s helpline. “Treatment and support services for problem gambling disorder currently are available through a network of DBH-certified community-based providers,” said the mouthpiece, deftly passing the buck. What he neglects to mention is that if you don’t have private insurance you’re pretty much SOL.

The DBH’s weak response met with predictable backlash from NCPG Executive Director Keith Whyte (one of the real angels in this field). He derided the district’s resources as inadequate, saying, “In many cases, the whole reason the gambler is calling [the hotline] is because they’ve run out of their money. They’re in debt.” Also, a problem-gambling diagnosis is a black mark on health records, especially if you work for the (ahem!) federal government. Explained Whyte, “In some cases, they’re right to be scared, because pathological gambling is specifically excluded from coverage under the Americans with Disabilities Act.” This isn’t the first time that D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser (D) has barked up the wrong tree and we fear it won’t be the last, at least where disordered gambling is concerned. Whyte is hopeful she’ll see reason. We are not so optimistic.

Fontainebleau is hot—but not in a way that owner Jeffrey Soffer would like. Construction debris atop Las Vegas‘ next megaresort ignited over the weekend, causing 12 fire engines to be dispatched to the scene. The conflagration was contained after 38 minutes but not before a plume of black smoke arose, visible across the Las Vegas Valley. The valley’s finest had to hump firefighting gear all the way to the pinnacle of the 68-story resort, 737 feet above Las Vegas Boulevard. Thankfully, no one was injured and we fervently hope this ‘dry run’ never has a sequel.

Where was Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt (R) when a bomb was found in a tribal casino last week? The intemperate guv has been lobbing verbal Molotov cocktails at the Sooner State’s gaming-enabled tribes, part of his Call Me Bwana quest to keep them down on the rez. It’s gotten so bad that GOP legislators and even Stitt’s own attorney general want to elbow him out of the picture, so counterproductive are his antiquated attitudes. Stitt’s so picky that even when a tribal-state compact gets through the Lege, Stitt’s veto pen is poised at the ready. Remember how anti-tribal the Trump administration was? “Even [Donald] Trump has mentioned he doesn’t know why the governor has such animosity toward the tribes. It’s nonsensical,” marveled Senate President Pro Tempore Greg Treat (R).

Such a petty racist is Stitt that he even banned the wearing of tribal regalia at graduation ceremonies. With 40% of Oklahoma now tribal land, thanks to the Supreme Court, Stitt sees his own sovereignty shrinking. Treat says he’s willing to give Stitt one more year to bargain in good faith but if progress doesn’t ensue, the Lege will take charge. Attorney General Gantner Drummond added that “Oklahoma’s relationship with our tribal nations has suffered greatly as a result of the governor’s divisive rhetoric and ceaseless legal attacks.” Stitt claims to be dickering with tribes on the square but when your own party thinks you’re a wacko you might want to have your sanity checked.

Jottings: In a divide-and-conquer move, Interblock and Play Synergy are divvying up the spoils from the Aruze Gaming collapse. Interblock is acquiring Aruze’s electronic-table-game technology and inventory, while Play Synergy gets everything else. The Aruze name isn’t going away, as Play Synergy is adopting it as its new moniker … Disgraced gambling mogul Steve Wynn‘s inability to keep his zipper closed will cost him $10 million, made payable to the Nevada Gaming Commission. He’ll also have to cut any remaining ties with the state’s casino industry. Well done, NGC … The glacier-powered casino process in Japan has claimed another victim: MGM Osaka‘s 2029 opening. The megaresort is now expected to bow in 2030 … NCAA schools have recorded 175 sports betting offenses over the past five years, according to association President Charlie Baker. Frankly, we expected it to be worse … Number of casinos in Bermuda: zero. Salaries paid to top regulators: As much as $225K apiece. Nice lack of work if you can get it.

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Mike McNamara

Mike McNamara

A Las Vegas Realtor since 2008. Mike has a wide range of knowledge around all things Las Vegas.

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