Monday, February 28, 2005

Lottery tale: Marriage trade-off...$300,000 scratch-off

Of the Post-Dispatch

Rolf Walker,right, 70, stands with his wife Shirley Walker, 67, in front of their new Chrysler Sebring. (Gabriel B. Tait/P-D)

Shirley and Rolf Walker of Pacific have bridged many differences in their 48 years of marriage, including disagreeing about how many lottery scratch-offs a responsible person should buy in any one week. "If you left it up to me, I wouldn't buy a single one," said Shirley. "We don't have the money to spend." But marriage is about compromise, so the Walkers decided some years ago that if Rolf Walker just purchased a couple of scratch-offs a week, that would be OK. And if, when he won, he'd put at least half his winnings in his pocket instead of buying more chances, well, that would be even better. So on Feb. 19, Rolf Walker, 70, a retired machinist, bought two scratch-offs at Bud's Market and Gas on Old Route 66 in Pacific. He got two winners, for $5 and $15. According to the rules of the marital agreement, he had two potential ways to handle his winnings: He could cash in the tickets and not buy any more because he'd already purchased a couple that week, which Shirley regarded as more than enough. He could cash in the tickets, put half the money in his pocket and spend half of it on more scratch-offs, another acceptable alternative. Decisions, decisions. Shirley, 67, sent Rolf to the Eureka Wal-Mart for groceries. She has rheumatoid arthritis, must get dialysis three times a week and needs to stay off her feet as much as possible. On the way back, Rolf stopped at the MotoMart at the corner of Fox Creek and Allenton roads to cash in his chips. He decided to abide by marital Rule 2 and spend half of his $20 winnings on tickets. "So I told the young lady behind the counter, 'Give me two of those,' and I gestured at the $5 tickets in the rolls up above the counter," Rolf recalled. The clerk, Sarah Provance, reached up, grabbed two $5 tickets and, in a continuing movement, accidentally detached a $10 game card as well. She apologized and offered to put the $10 card back. But then he recalled Rule 3 - a rule he'd made with himself that superseded other rules: "If a ticket I didn't ask for gets torn off, I never have them put it back because it might be a winner," he explained. That ticket, called Lucky Gold, paid him $300,000. On Tuesday, lottery officials confirmed the win. On Wednesday, the Walkers bought a new Chrysler Sebring to replace their '97 Plymouth. Said Shirley, "I got in it the first time, and I said, 'Seems to me there's a crack in the roof,' but he said, 'Nah, that's the sun roof.'" Moral: Always allow some wiggle room when making marital rules.
Reporter Florence Shinkle E-mail: Phone: 636-500-4107

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Lottery winners lose out

The state sells instant game tickets even after the top prize is long gone.
By Tony Manolatos / The Detroit News

Todd McInturf / The Detroit NewsBill Christman takes his chances with an instant ticket. Consumer advocates say the state should do more for players.
Scratch and win?
As of Monday, five of the 38 instant games that are shipped to Michigan retailers no longer offer grand prizes:
• Love That Loot, $2 game with both $14,000 top prizes claimed
• Snow Bank, $2 game with both $15,000 top prizes claimed
• Magic 21, $2 game with both $21,000 top prizes claimed
• Silver Streak, $2 game with both $25,000 top prizes claimed
• Roll Out The Cash, $5 game with both $250,000 top prizes claimed
• To check all games, including ones like The Golden Pack, which is still on store shelves but is no longer being replenished, go to:,1607,7-110-821_918---,00.html
Source: Bureau of State Lottery
Lottery's fine print
Would you buy instant lottery tickets if you knew that the grand prizes were already claimed?
Yes, I could still win a lesser amount
No, I want a shot at the top prize
Get results and comments

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It's called The Golden Pack, a Michigan Lottery game that costs you $10 to play, with the promise that you can walk away a millionaire. But in truth, you can't come anywhere near the top prize -- it was won long ago.
Only two Golden Pack tickets were truly golden, but the rest are still for sale.
What's left is a maximum prize of $10,000, but lottery officials say they're not deceiving anyone. Read the small print, they say, or check the lottery's Web site, which lists weekly grand prize updates.
The news is a surprise to some lotto players.
"Whaddya mean I can't win the top prize?" said Bill Christman, 64, a Warren truck driver who bought a scratch-off ticket last week.
As of Monday, five of the 38 instant games still shipped to stores no longer offer grand prizes. And top prizes are gone in as many as 100 other games that may still be sold, lottery officials said. That means untold numbers of players over the next several months will buy tickets that cost as much as $10 without any chance of winning a top prize.
"If the top prize is gone, the ticket shouldn't be for sale," Christman said. "It isn't fair."
He is among the players who feel taken when they find they're playing for substantially less money than what's splashed across the front of tickets.
A disclaimer on the back of each ticket tells players "prizes are subject to prior sales," but consumer advocates said the vague language is hardly a warning.
The lottery introduces about 72 instant games a year, each shipped to stores for two to five months, but some are available for a year or longer, lottery officials said. Games expire 18 months after they're introduced.
Both old and new games are sold in stores, and lottery officials aren't sure how many tickets from old games remain on store shelves.
The state stopped filling orders from stores for The Golden Pack, introduced last September, on Friday. But it's still sold widely. Michigan Lottery commissioner Gary Peters said grand prizes account for only about 15 percent of the potential winnings for each game.
"Certainly, folks play for the grand prize, but they also play for the other prizes," Peters said. "There's still some very nice prizes to win (when the grand prize is gone). ... Folks who are just playing to win the top prize need to check the Internet."
There are usually two top prizes available for each game, and when they're gone, they're gone, Peters said. He doesn't pull the games when someone hits the jackpot because millions in smaller prizes remain.
One $5 game, for example, Roll Out the Cash, has $3.6 million remaining in unclaimed prizes, Peters said. Both of the game's grand prizes, $250,000 apiece, are gone.
"If I pulled it, folks are going to say, 'You pulled a game with $3.6 million left to win,'" Peters said. "I'd be criticized for that."
Perhaps, but the Michigan Lottery Web site shows that Roll Out the Cash players don't have much of a chance to cash in. There's one $10,000 winning ticket remaining and three $1,000 winners
In all of the games, some players play to win the grand prize. Otherwise, why play, they say. They said the state should offer more top prizes and force retailers to post the availability of those prizes next to the tickets.
"They should get rid of the games if there's no top prize left -- that's what I'm after," said Shannon Elder, 57, a salesman from Burt who stopped at a Sterling Heights party store to pick up a scratch-off ticket last week.
The state can and should do more for players, consumer advocates said.
"Unfortunately, we know people don't read fine print and not everyone has Internet access," said Megan Owens, of Public Interest Research Group In Michigan, an Ann Arbor-based consumer watchdog group. "While, technically, they're not doing anything illegal, they are being misleading."
A Duke University professor who published a book about state lotteries, "Selling Hope," said the Michigan Lottery should be more upfront, especially on the back of instant tickets.
"Probably, the reasonable thing to say is, 'By the time you buy this ticket, the million dollars may be gone, but there are still $5 prizes available,'" said Charles Clotfelter, professor of public policy, economics and law at Duke.
Clotfelter said lottery officials probably don't want to make too many changes to instant tickets, a cash cow for the state. During each of the last five years, instant games were the Lottery's top moneymaker.
In 2004, a record year for the lottery, the department had sales of $1.9 billion, including $690 million from scratch-offs.
Store owners, who keep 6 percent of their lottery sales, don't see a problem.
"The more games I have, the better it is for the store because people can play whatever game they like," said Lorenza Caradonna, who co-owns Car-Donna Party Store on Mound in Sterling Heights with her husband, Jack.
The Caradonnas drape their instant tickets like streamers from liquor shelves behind a counter. Customers can see all 37 different games for sale, including some that say, "Win up to $250,000" and "Win up to $1,000,000."
The Caradonnas sell thousands of dollars of scratch-offs every week, reeling in a ton of business from the Visteon Corp. parts plant across the street. Some of the workers who play hope the next ticket is the one, but almost all of them settle for much smaller prizes or nothing.
"It gives me something to do other than read the paper. I get so bored being a cleaner," said Betty McCarter, 54, of Detroit, who on Wednesday bought three $2 tickets and a bottle of Faygo.
McCarter doesn't mind scratching tickets with no shot at winning a grand prize.
"I can still win $5 or $10," she said.
Most players aren't as ambivalent when they find out they bought a ticket that won't make them rich, even though it says it could.
"I had a guy come in here the other day who started yelling at me," Jack Caradonna said. "He said, 'How can you sell me this ticket? I can't win with this ticket.'"

You can reach Tony Manolatos at (313) 222-2069 or

Friday, February 18, 2005

Slots bill is dead, but other forms of gaming aren't, yet


MUNCIE - Despite a setback for slot machines at horse racing tracks, the Indiana House can take one last shot next week on legalizing pull tabs and video gambling machines in bars, clubs and restaurants.
"This gives us a better opportunity than we had before," said State Rep. Tiny Adams, D-Muncie, who authored pull tab and electronic gaming bills supported by the Indiana Licensed Beverage Association.
The House Public Policy and Veterans Affairs Committee voted down a bill Monday that would have put electronic slot machines at horse racing tracks that also would help fund a new Colts stadium.
State Rep. Jack Lutz, R-Anderson, supported the measure, while State Rep. Terri Austin, D-Anderson, rejected it. Anderson's Hoosier Park would share in the first $27-million yearly going to the horse racing commission.
"This was supposed to be an economic development bill," said Lutz, who supported growing revenue for the horse racing industry.
Lutz said the slot machine bill, like other forms of gambling, could come back as a revenue bill or end up in the biennial budget with the ways and means committee.
Adams said he expected House Republicans to give his bills on pull tabs and electronic gaming a hearing before next week's deadline to get House bills out of committee.
"This will not expand gambling," said Adams. "It just collects taxes from what is already there."
Jim Lutton, a retired city worker who used to play video gaming machines, said that Lucky 13s and 50-50 pull tabs are plentiful in local bars and restaurants.
"They should tax them," Lutton said. "If they don't, the machines should be taken out."
Lou Coulter, a local bar and restaurant owner, was not surprised the House committee rejected slot machines at horse tracks.
"They should look at our package," said Coulter, the past president of the state licensed beverage group.
Conservatively, electronic gaming machines could raise $350-million a year, four or five times the revenue from slot machines at tracks.
Coulter said there was still support among lawmakers for the pull tab and video gaming proposals.
"They have not told us to get lost," he said.
Mike Brown, spokesman for the Indiana Horse Racing and Breeding Coalition, said the decision against slot machines at race tracks was devastating to Indiana's horse industry. He was less sure about the impact it would have on other forms of gaming.
"We feel reasonably certain that the bill failed for all the wrong reasons," said Brown. "We did not hear anyone say they were against horse racing."
Austin made it clear she supported Hoosier Park, but said the bill was "fundamentally flawed and needs significant changes" to make it out of the House.
Among her concerns were a public bidding process that could have allowed companies to operate slot machines at Hoosier Park that might not be compatible with the horse racing industry. Austin also questioned why none of the revenue was earmarked for education.

Slots for Minnesota Bars Offers Alternative to Casino Plans

allen costantini,

The sound of slot machines could soon be mixing with the sounds of clanking bar glasses and noisy patrons if one state lawmaker has his way. State Senator David Tomassoni of Chisholm is the DFL Majority Whip who likes the Governor’s support of gambling. He thinks the Pawlenty administration’s proposals for some kind of Twin Cities casino project has opened the door for his own concept for expanding legal gambling in Minnesota. “What I have here is a proposal to allow bar owners to put up to five slot machines in their bars.”Tomassoni is well aware that his proposal is far from a sure bet, “If you’re going to talk about gambling revenues, then you want to talk about something that can actually fund the general fund and can actually make a difference.” Tomassoni’s plan is to have the slots controlled by the Minnesota Lottery with the money allotted under a system used in Oregon. “It’s based on 3,200 bars and I think it averages out to 4.8 machines per establishment.”So, where does the money go? “The biggest allocation,” Tomassoni insists, “would be about $350 million to the general fund annually.” Another $70 million would be ear-marked, as required by state law, for the Environmental Trust Fund and $17 million is to be set-aside for compulsive gambling prevention and treatment programs. Then $87 million goes to charities that already benefit from the Legal Gambling Division’s “pull tab” operations in bars. The bars themselves could keep up to one-third of the proceeds. That part of Tomassoni’s bill doesn’t please all the bar owners, some of whom would like to capture a bigger slice of the proceeds pie. Tomassoni counters that saying, “A third is actually a pretty big number. It’s about, I think, about $230 million that would end up going to the bar owners.” The plan is particularly appealing to tavern proprietors hit hard by the loss of business from the cancellation of the National Hockey League season. “I’m excited for the idea of spreading the wealth with the gambling,” smiles Kevin Geisen of St. Paul. Geisen’s Eagle Street Grill is directly across Kellogg Boulevard from the Excel Energy Center. The two year old tavern has had to drop its staff from 40 to just 5 when a labor dispute dropped Minnesota Wild hockey games to zero. “I would enjoy an opportunity, especially with our location in St. Paul, any opportunity that will increase our revenue.”Charity organizations are more cautious. “There has been some concern over the years that if video lottery came in, depending on how it was put together, it could devastate us,” comments King Wilson, Executive Director of the Allied Charities of Minnesota. “Our understanding is that this would be in addition to the current pull tabs. This would occur in many of the same, if not most of the same establishments that we do our pull tabs.” Wilson says the present funding for members of his trade association breaks down like this, “It’s a $1.4 billion industry. Pull tabs are, like, $1.2 billion of it and that’s primarily done in bars and restaurants across the state. There’s no doubt there will be a loss of pull tab sales if four or five slot machines, video lottery machines, are put in an establishment.” Tomassoni agrees. His initial proposal, three years ago, had no provision to compensate the charities for the presumed pull tab losses. Now he understands the charities plight. “I think it would actually draw off a bit of the pull tab revenue just because of the fact that they’d both be in the same location. And so, the way the bill’s proposed and the way it’s been introduced, it would allow a pretty good chunk of money to actually go to the charities.”State Lottery officials say they assume private clubs like VFW’s and American Legion posts that now feature pull tabs would be eligible to add the machines, so long as they meet the same criteria required of tavern owners. Still, Tomassoni’s proposal got a chilly reception from pull tab salesperson Marguerite Butler at the Golden Valley American Legion Post. “Overall, people like dealing with people better than a machine. I don’t see a necessity to have em here, not at all.” She worries that the slots might not just coexist with pull tabs, but replace them. “I think if we don’t have em (pull tabs) that a lot of us will be out of business, out of work. I mean people who sell. We won’t have a job.”Tomassoni sees big advantages for his proposal over a “Racino” at Canterbury Downs or a State/Tribal casino in Minneapolis, St. Paul or the Mall of America. First, he contends, it can be “up and running in six months” under Lottery control. Second, he argues, unlike a single casino, the video/lottery plan spreads the direct benefits of any gambling expansion across the entire state.

By Allen Costantini, KARE 11 News

Monday, February 14, 2005

Strictly the Best 31 CD Review

Bounty by layer!

This is one of the best compilation Cds in the “Strictly the Best” series. This Cd runs the gamut from Dancehall to traditional riddems’. “Dude” by Beenie Man with the sexy, sultry voice of Ms. Thing starts off this cd at a fast riddem’ man. Next in line is the very popular “All Out” by Elephant Man. Get up and dance all out. Stand up and shout.
Are you into remixes? Then the “Get Busy Remix” by Sean Paul ignites your inner self. This cut alone is worth having in your collection. Sizzla, Bounty Killer and the tra dich “Smile” by Junior Kelly will put on smile on any face.
I’ve noticed stateside dancehall is marketed in compilations first. Then artist must gain the popular vote and get a solo album. Money and riches will follow. Do you sellout to gain popularity? Some say so, some same no. But who am I to talk?
Get this Cd for your collection. Then indulge yourself with the artists themselves. Happy “ Hot in the club” dancing.

Tribes Placing Their Bets For Ohio Casinos

:: G A M B L I N G N E W S ::

Feb 14, 2005
American Indian tribes that once thrived on the unspoiled expanse of Ohio want to reclaim ancestral lands -- for the spoils of casino gambling. At least three tribes have pitched glitzy casino development as an option to the bruising statehouse politics and failed statewide votes that have kept Las Vegas-style gambling out of Ohio.
The tribes have caught the eye of Ohioans and their elected leaders with the alluring prospects of casinos -- employment of thousands, spin-off hotels and commerce and tens of millions of dollars for lean tax coffers.
But the reality is this: What out-of- state tribes are attempting in Ohio has never been done in the United States.
No tribe has crossed the borders of its home state to open a casino elsewhere. It's not impossible, experts say, but it's likely to be a time-consuming process with no certainty of success.
The Eastern Shawnee, Wyandot and Ottawa tribes pursuing casinos in Ohio are from Oklahoma.
The Eastern Shawnees and Wyandots operate casinos there, while the Ottawa tribe has none.
All three have historic roots in the Buckeye State.
They say they are ready to make claims to place land in federal trust and open casinos under an agreement, or compact, with Ohio's elected leaders.
Such compacts could allow casinos at sites outside the tribe's ancestral grounds, such as downtown Cleveland.
"Indian-law experts will tell you there's nothing under the law that says it can't be done," said Terry Casey, a Columbus consultant representing the Eastern Shawnee tribe.
Casey and Eastern Shawnee Chief Charles Enyart have created a tribal-casino buzz across the state.
The tribe has announced plans for two casino resorts in western Ohio. Casey and Enyart huddled with 24 state legislators last month, and they have the ear of Cleveland Mayor Jane Campbell, who wants a casino downtown.
Casey, former executive director of the Franklin County Republican Party, met with city officials three times in recent weeks. Enyart met with Campbell on Friday. He said the mayor left wearing an Eastern Shawnee lapel pin.
Chris Ronayne, the mayor's chief of staff, heard their pitch.
"It's all about the tribe being a literal vehicle to deliver a casino," Ronayne said. "The mayor is questioning their assumptions, what they really could deliver."
Campbell has said the city's best option for landing a casino is through a statewide ballot issue that would change the Ohio Constitution, allowing home-rule cities to vote on casinos.
She wants the issue on November's ballot, but that looks to be a tall order. She needs support of the business community. Joe Roman, head of Greater Cleveland Partnership, said the regional business group is several months away from taking a stand. It first wants to do a $300,000 study of the potential market for Ohio casinos.
Different approaches in tribal campaigns
The tribes said they have a better way, and the Eastern Shawnees have been most aggressive.
The tribe reached a revenue- sharing agreement with Monroe officials last week, for a proposed $750 million casino-and-retail complex on land along Interstate 75, between Cincinnati and Dayton.
Last November, the tribe announced plans for a $145 million casino development near Botkins, off I-75 between Dayton and Toledo.
The tribe also is eyeing sites in Lorain and Lordstown in Trumbull County.
The Wyandots, meanwhile, are conducting a lower-key campaign.
A contingent representing the tribe met with Campbell in late January. The group included Greg Hill, president of Sawmill Creek Resort in Huron. Sandusky developer Bill Janowich said the group is "just nosing around to see what we could do in Cleveland."
The Wyandots have historic roots in the city, having once lived on the banks of the Cuyahoga River, Janowich said.
The tribe's plan calls for four or more casino resorts in northern Ohio that would generate $1 billion in revenue, up to 3,000 jobs and about $100 million in taxes to the state, local governments and schools.
The casinos would serve the tourism meccas at Cedar Point and the Lake Erie islands, the tribe said.
The Ottawa tribe is pursuing casino development in the Toledo area, said Perrysburg lawyer Bill Caughey. He declined to comment further.
Last June, Caughey said a compact between the state and the Ottawas for a Toledo-area casino could yield $200 million a year for Ohio, according to the Toledo Blade newspaper.
'Friendly' rivals in pursuing casinos
The three tribes are in a "friendly competition" to land a casino, said Enyart, the Shawnee chief.
The tribes are in proximity in western Oklahoma. The Shawnees and Wyandots jointly operate a health-care clinic. Enyart's cousin, Ellis Enyart, handles gambling development for the Wyandots.
The Shawnees have asked the two other tribes to work together in establishing casinos, but there has been little response to the offer, chief Enyart said.
The Shawnees also reached out to racetrack owners, who have pursued slot machines for years, and to local casino developers including Jacobs Investments and Forest City Enterprises.
Forest City Co-Chairman Sam Miller said his company is not interested. In a written statement, developer Jeff Jacobs said "many peace pipes have to be smoked before all this becomes reality."
In fact, there is no precedent for what the tribes want to do in Ohio. But they are part of a trend - tribes trying to leave their reservations and allotted lands to open casinos in markets with greater wealth.
The Seneca-Cayuga tribe of Oklahoma soon could become the first to establish a casino outside its home state, said Blake Watson, a University of Dayton law professor who is an expert in tribal-gaming laws. The tribe has established a claim on land in New York and is working on a settlement that would allow it to open a casino in the Catskills.
But no outside tribes have established land claims in Ohio, Watson said. Tribes transferred most of their land under treaties with the United States dating from 1795 to 1818, Watson said.
Tribes can contest the legitimacy of those treaties by filing land claims in federal court. Casey said the Shawnees could make 14 such claims, covering hundreds of thousands of acres in southwestern Ohio.
The tribes would prefer a less thorny route. They could ask the U.S. Department of Interior to place into trust land from the tribes' ancestral grounds or from their last reservation.
The tribes must show federal authorities that casinos would not harm surrounding communities. Federal officials also consider how far the development is from the tribes' homelands.
Taft opposition considered critical
Even if the land is placed in trust, tribes would still need a compact with the governor and legislature for casinos. Tribes have signed 249 such compacts across the United States, under which the tribes typically share profits from gambling.
Tribes face an uphill battle in Ohio. Gov. Bob Taft has said he opposes any expansion of gambling.
Without the state's approval, the tribe would be limited to the kinds of gambling nonprofit groups do, such as bingo, pull- tabs and "Las Vegas Night" games, including poker, craps and roulette. Tribes would not have to share any of those profits with the state.
The Shawnees want to build support with state legislators before they approach Taft.
"We know it's not a cakewalk, but we think we have something legitimate to offer," Enyart said.
Opposition from traditional anti-gambling forces will be stiff. David Zanotti, director of the Ohio Roundtable, said American Indian tribes "cop the biggest attitude in the gambling world." "Their attitude is, 'We will push for whatever we can get, however we can get it, and if we don't get it, we'll sue,' " Zanotti said.

Texas Hold 'Em is the new bingo

DAVID KOHL/ For The Post

Joe Dailey, from Crestview Hills, deals a hand during a game at the St. Pius X Texas Hold 'Em tourney Friday.

By Kevin Eigelbach Post staff reporterPicture yourself in a hall full of tables, with a half-dozen or so poker players seated at each one, all trying to be the last man sitting.
Each player gets two cards, face down, and a chance to bet. The dealer then unveils three cards, known as the flop, then one, called the turn, and finally, the last card, known as the river.
Each time, the players can bet. The winner uses his two cards and the five community cards to make the best poker hand -- or bets to persuade everyone else to think he has the best hand -- and take the pot.
It's called Texas Hold 'Em, and it may one day become a significant source of revenue for local charities, said Tony Royalty, spokesman for the Kentucky Office of Charitable Gaming.
"It is fairly new, and we are having to wait and see if its popularity continues, but the general feeling is it could become as or more popular as bingo, given time," Royalty said.
It's easy to see why.
LaSalle High School in Monfort Heights had its first Texas Hold 'Em tournament last March, making it one of the first local organizations to do so.
In January, the school held a bigger, three-day tournament with more than 600 players. Associate Director of Development Matt Dierkers estimates that it netted the school's athletic program close to $30,000.
That's $10,000 a night, and you can't make that kind of money hosting a bingo. According to charitable gaming records, one of Northern Kentucky's most consistently successful bingo operations, the Glenn Cole Evangelistic Association, made less than $3,000 a night at its twice-weekly sessions in Covington last year.
LaSalle expects more than 600 players at its next tournament, a four-day event starting on March 31.
It's worth the hoops the school has to jump through to ensure it doesn't break any Ohio laws, Dierkers said. Those hoops include finding more than 350 volunteers to deal the cards and keep the games going.
It doesn't take much overhead to put on a poker tournament, said Sean Hennessy, a Westwood resident who has helped several charities.
Many already have a hall and some tables. Poker players aren't picky when it comes to where they play, Hennessy said.
"They would play on plywood doors if they could," he said.
Poker has another advantage over bingo -- men won't play bingo, but they will play poker, Hennessy said.
The Prince of Peace Parent Teacher Association made about $1,000 on its first poker tournament, held Feb. 5 at the Covington school with 44 players.
"We anticipated more people, but we got a late start," said PTA member Bernie Strange, of Covington. "If we had advertised sooner, we would have had more.''
The $50 charge to play -- an average admission price -- included food and soft drinks. Volunteers sold beer for $1.50 a can.
The association kept about 50 percent of the admissions fees and paid out the rest to the winners, she said.
"For our first one, we were happy," she said.
If the St. Pius X Athletic Association makes a few thousand dollars from its first tournament, which ended about 1 a.m. Saturday, association president Bridget Spears will be happy.
The Edgewood resident said the association supports 36 basketball teams, 23 volleyball teams, a cross-country team and several knothole softball and T-ball teams.
Events like this help keep fees at a minimum, she said. They also keep the children from having to raise money.
"I'm against kids going out and hawking raffle tickets, or whatever," she said. "Our goal is to have socials that people can choose to come to and have fun."
Catholic churches have used bingo to raise money for years, but that doesn't mean betting on poker doesn't concern some Catholics.
"I'm not too keen on gambling in general," said Father Robert Wehage, the pastor of St. Pius X Church. "I'm not one of those people who's wild about it."
Covington Bishop Roger Foys recently created a committee to study the Diocese of Covington's policy on casino-style gaming, diocese spokesman Tim Fitzgerald said. He didn't know if that would include poker tournaments.
"There is a point where gambling does cross the line and gets into vice," Wehage said. "As long as limits are put on it, as long as it doesn't emulate casino-type gaming, I guess I'm OK with it."
The St. Pius event has a $100 admission price, with no provision for a player to buy his way back in once he loses all his chips.
"It's not like anyone could lose their shirt, because of the limits set," Spears said.
In some tournaments, players who lose their chips can buy their way back in at a cheaper price. That's a popular option with charities, Hennessy said. Almost all of the players will buy their way back into the game at least once, he said, which means more money for the charity.
LaSalle High School doesn't allow rebuys at its tournaments, Dierkers said.
"We're here to put on a quality event," he said. "We're not here to take somebody's paycheck."
At the tournament that the Shamrock Boxing Club plans for March 13, players will pay $85 initially, and $60 to buy their way back in an unlimited number of times during the first two hours of play.
Volunteers will also hawk instant-win bingo cards, also known as pull-tabs, during the action.
The Covington charity, which trains young people to box, also runs one of the area's most successful bingo games.
But this winter, the bingo hasn't done as well as usual, owner Terry O'Brien said, and the gym has a big gas and electric bill to pay off.
Someone suggested a poker tournament. It takes about the same amount of effort as running a bingo game, he said.
"I was told there was interest enough," O'Brien said.
"They all run themselves. You just have to keep the books right."
One advantage bingo holds over poker is that with a charitable gaming license, a Kentucky charity can do two sessions of bingo per week for a year.
But a charity can get only a license for a special event, such as a poker tournament, twice a year. That rule also holds true in Ohio.
Publication Date: 02-14-2005

Friday, February 11, 2005

Will the Money Really Be There If You Win at Scratch-Offs?

More Information

Tennessee Lottery
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February 10, 2005
NewsChannel 19's Tom Woodard
Lottery scratch off games without the top prizes -- it's been a problem in the state of Florida, but what about here in neighboring Tennessee?
The money is still here, but for some players of the scratch-off games, it's not the big bucks that make them play. You can win up to a quarter of a million dollars playing scratch-offs, but what if the big money has already been won by somebody else?
"Lot of people will ask, 'Have you had any winners today?' That's their question," says Patsy Ivey of Fayetteville.
According to Tennessee lottery officials, the top tier prizes have never run out.
"Most people aren't really expecting to win the top prize, but it is there," says Ivey.
And if it isn't?
"As new as it is, it's got to have some of the top prizes left on it, and you're going to hear if they're not," says Wade Towry of Fayetteville.
Word of mouth is the best way to hear the news of winners and losers. There's also the Tennessee lottery web site, where the unclaimed prizes are listed.
But what's the secret of winning one of those prizes?
"Somebody scratching a bunch of them and hadn't hit anything, I'll scratch some of them then," says Towry.
But whether you're playing scratch-offs or Powerball, it all comes down to one thing.
"It's a game of luck, and somebody's going to win," says Ivey.
Patsy Ivey just wants it to happen in her store. If you want to know if a big prize has been won in the Tennessee lottery, just click here: Tennessee Lottery

Pull tabs stuck at starting gate

Procedural issue puts pull tabs decision on hold
INDIANAPOLIS — Because of a procedural snafu, legislation that would allow alternative gaming at Hoosier Park and Indiana Downs will remain at the starting gate for a few more days.The Indiana House Public Policy Committee was scheduled Wednesday to consider amendments to the legislation and then vote whether or not to send the bill to the full House for consideration.The proposed bill would allow Hoosier Park and Indiana Downs to each have 2,500 pull-tab machines with some funding going toward the construction of a new stadium for the Indianapolis Colts.Committee chairman Bob Alderman decided to continue the hearing on the bill because a number of the 12 amendments were not provided to committee members two hours before the meeting.“No new amendments will be accepted,” said Alderman. “I asked for the amendments to be submitted last week.”Committee member Terri Austin, D-36th District, said she didn’t get the amendments two hours before the meeting and has not had a chance to review them.“They didn’t meet the two-hour rule,” Austin said. “We need time to look at the amendments and know what we’re being asked to vote on. The additional time is needed to make good decisions.”The proposed bill has become a political football between Republicans and Indianapolis Mayor Bart Peterson, a Democrat.One expected amendment will remove financing for a new Colts stadium from the bill and then have the proposal offered as a second reading amendment on the House floor.Several lawmakers and lobbyists indicated that Republicans want Peterson to raise taxes in Marion County for the new stadium, something he is opposed to. A vote on the House floor will force each lawmaker to vote yes or no on construction of a new stadium and keeping the Colts in Indianapolis.Mike Brown, who represents Hoosier Park through the Indiana Horse Racing and Breeding Coalition, said the coalition recognizes that there are a number of interests involved in the legislation.“This is all part of the process,” he said of the delay on the bill. “The horse racing industry has concerns, there are state and local revenue concerns and politics in the process.”The coalition is just interested in keeping a bill moving through the legislative process, Brown said.“Whatever comes out,” he said, “we want lawmakers to keep in mind the horse racing industry.”Rep. Scott Reske, D-37th District, a co-author of the legislation, plans to offer an amendment that changes the distribution of funding in Madison County.Reske is offering an amendment to change the distribution of the 7 percent tax that will be collected at Hoosier Park. He said the city of Anderson’s share is being increased from 15 to 18 percent and the amount going to the Madison County Economic Development Council is being reduced from 35 to 32 percent.He said another part of the amendment will provide $200,000 to Alternatives Inc. during the first year for construction of the new shelter, $250,000 during the second year to post -secondary education program and $200,000 the third year to the Madison County Community Health Clinic.Reske said another amendment will make the entire city of Anderson a sports district, similar to what Indianapolis has around the RCA Dome and Conseco Fieldhouse.He said a portion of the income derived by horse owners and jockeys at Hoosier Park will be distributed to Anderson and Madison County.Anderson Mayor Kevin Smith said he will have to review any proposed amendments before commenting.“The city still owes more than $1 million on the bonds issued for the infrastructure at Hoosier Park,” he said. “The track revenue doesn’t support the bond issue for the track or for the renovation of Shadyside Park.”Last we knew: House Public Policy Committee considering legislation to allow 2,500 pull-tab gaming machines at Hoosier Park. Revenue will fund new Colts stadium with Madison County to receive 7 percent in tax revenues.Latest: Committee continued hearing on Wednesday when amendments to the bill were not provided to committee members two hours before the meeting, as required by the rules.What’s next: Commission scheduled to consider 12 amendments to the bill on Monday.

Reader Comments
As usual (2/10/2005)They can't get anything done on time.If everybody would get thier fingers out of the pie they might be able to quit wasting time and taxpayers money.Put everything in the general fund where it belongs.
(2/10/2005)The Mayor should be able to hammer out an agreement with the other towns that are set to receive the same 15% as proposed and have them give a portion to the city of Anderson as oppose to trying to go for 40% and take a chance killing the whole deal for everyone. It called diplomacy, or the lack there of....and if the bill dies, Hoosier Park is gone. Any ideas for alternative uses for an abandon horse track, not to mention the jobs lost Kevin ? Bill Savage - Elwood
(2/10/2005)Last years bill (HB1188) was for Pull-Tabs. Pull-Tabs are not even mentioned in this years version (HB1569). It is now Slot Machines that are being considered. The payouts are calulated differently. Just thought you might want to get your story straight and not confuse the Herald-Bulletin reading public.
(2/9/2005)Just remember, it is the Democrats here that is bringing more gambling to Indiana.
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Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Amazing Race results!

Freddy and Kendra won the one million dollar race. The show ending last night.

I wanted Kris and Jon to win. But heah, you can only guess.

I am a loyal follower of this reality show. It is more exciting then the Survivor series.

Three weeks til the next race starts. Gitty up!

They are looking for team contestants for Amazing Race 8.

Saturday, February 05, 2005

Many elderly gamblers take risks they can't afford to lose

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By Barbara DaughertyVALLEY NEWS DISPATCHMonday, January 24, 2005

Once again a study has been done to prove something that could have been proved by exercising common sense.
The University of Pennsylvania and the Penn State College of Medicine interviewed 843 senior citizens 65 and older about their gambling habits. Their conclusion: A significant number of elderly gamblers wage more than they can afford, according to an Associated Press report.
Surprise. Surprise.
Of people surveyed 70 percent said they took part in at least one gambling activity in the last year, and 11 percent met study criteria for at-risk gamblers, reporting they "plunked down more than $100 on a single bet, gambled more than they could afford to lose, or both."
I think the other 30 percent lied, perhaps out of embarrassment, when they said they didn't.
To save money on this study, all they had to do was take a look at people queued up to buy lottery tickets. Nine of 10 of those people -- men and women -- are old enough to be retired. And they don't buy just one $1 ticket, they have lists of numbers to play as long as your arm -- and they do this on a daily basis. They may grouse about having to wait in line at the supermarket deli or the Post Office, but they will wait patiently in line while the oldies in front of them play their numbers.
Plus they also play all the weekly games and buy scratch-offs by the dozens. Add to this the amazing number of elderly women who play bingo, sometimes roving from town to town every night, in hopes of winning the big jackpot.
Then there are the raffle tickets sold by churches and organizations and the "cheap" one-day trips to Atlantic City. The majority of purchasers are old folks.
You can begin to see a pattern here.
I see no problem with playing the lottery or bingo or buying raffle tickets or visiting Atlantic City, however, when it compromises one's financial situation, then there is indeed a problem.
When you hold $100 in your hand and can't decide whether you want to go to bingo or pay your gas bill, you have a big problem.
Sure, getting together with friends to go to bingo offers socialization and excitement for senior citizens, but at what cost. If you don't have enough money for food or to pay your bills, who is going to bail you out?
Problem gamblers who are retired and on fixed incomes often end up in greater peril than younger people who have more years of living and working to straighten out their debts, said Dr. David Oslin, senior author of the study in the current edition of the American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, as reported by AP.
"These seniors who are at risk may not be ready for Gamblers Anonymous but many of them don't have a lot of money and spending on gambling could mean that they won't have anything left to buy medicines," Oslin said.
Oslin said the study has some limitations -- only half of the people who were randomly chosen agreed to participate in the study. I guess guilt and embarrassment got the best of the rest of them. Older folks, unlike many of their younger counterparts, still have a conscience.
Terry Elman of the Council of Compulsive Gambling of New Jersey said he suspects the percentage of at-risk gamblers is actually much higher.
"There's a shame factor and a no-way-out factor with (elderly) problem gamblers," he said. "They don't really know what to do, and they're too ashamed to tell even their own kids that there's a problem."
"If it's an occasional event, like taking a casino trip every six months, that's one thing," Oslin said. "If it's a regular activity in which people are spending money that they really can't afford to, that's something else."
There is a solution, of course: Don't risk what you can't afford to lose.
Common sense, people, common sense.
Address comments to Barbara Daugherty, Valley News Dispatch, 210 Fourth Ave., Tarentum, PA 15084, call 724-226-4665 or toll-free 1-877-698-2553 or e-mail

Topsfield Council on AgingFriday, February 4, 2005

The Topsfield Council on Aging is in Topsfield Town Hall. The telephone number is 978-887-1523. COA office hours are Monday-Thursday, 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.; and Friday, 8:30 a.m. to noon. For appointments and outreach visits, call Director Joann Capone at 978-887-1523.

Feeling lucky?
On Monday, Feb. 21, the Council on Aging will sponsor a trip to Mohegan Sun. The bus will depart from the St. Rose parking lot at 8 a.m. Transportation cost is $20 per person. Mohegan Sun will give each person $10 for food and $10 in pull tabs. The bus will depart Mohegan Sun at 3 p.m., returning to Topsfield at 5 p.m. For reservations, call Jackie Rizzo at 978-887-3712. This will also partially benefit the Friends of the COA fundraiser for a senior center.

Chevak village skips payments; several residents lose power

PARTIAL OUTAGE: More than $100,000 in electric bills prompts utility to pull plug on several homes.
By JOEL GAYAnchorage Daily News
Published: February 4th, 2005 Last Modified: February 4th, 2005 at 06:57 AM
Detailing a long record of inept management, state officials say the Western Alaska village of Chevak has tumbled deep into debt, including spiraling electric bills that total more than $100,000.
The electric utility responded to the rising unpaid bill Wednesday by shutting off power to a dozen homes.
Though most of the village of 900 still has electricity, Mayor William Vaudrin and other city officials elected last fall are scrambling to find a way out of Chevak's financial hole. State officials say the village owes $500,000 or more in back taxes and bills.
"We're trying to do what we can," Vaudrin said. "But with no administrator and no one to guide us, we don't know who to turn to. We're calling all our creditors and apologizing, trying to get things straightened out."
It's not uncommon for small rural communities to fall behind on their financial obligations, though rarely do they fall as quickly or as far as Chevak has, said Scott Ruby of the state Division of Community Advocacy.
But Chevak's situation offers insight into the challenges of governing a village where costs are high, revenues are low, state and federal oversight is minimal, and a few families can dominate decision-making, Ruby said.
"I'd say most rural communities are struggling with a lot of these same issues," he said.
Chevak is a Cup'ik Eskimo subsistence hunting and fishing community about 17 miles inland from the Bering Sea coast, one of the largest villages on the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta.
The city employs about 20 people. Two years ago its budget was about $280,000 a year, Ruby said.
His agency offers financial and management advice to villages like Chevak, with expensive new water and sewer systems that require steady tending to ensure longevity. Installation of the village's $26 million sanitation system was completed about two years ago.
Chevak had struggled financially in the late 1990s, then got its act together, said Mike Black, head of the division. Four or five years ago, it was a model of financial health, he said.
Then things started going downhill. Reports stopped coming. Requests for budgets and audits were ignored. When the division sent specialists to the village, they found certain Chevak residents didn't have to pay their bills, he said.
"For a long time we've been advising the city it needed to be doing things differently regarding finances," Black said. "That advice fell on deaf ears, for various reasons. They told us to take a hike."
Ruby watched the situation deteriorate as the administration changed hands in 2002, he said. A Chevak resident was hired as city administrator, but the mayor wanted to replace him within a year, Ruby said.
When the city council refused to hire a replacement, the mayor quit. He was replaced by the vice mayor -- who was the administrator's brother, Ruby said.
"We see that quite often," he said. "In small communities it's very easy for one family to take over and control things." It can work out well or poorly, and sometimes the family will include both excellent employees and slackers, he said.
During that period, Chevak's finances started slipping. It stopped paying IRS payroll taxes in 2002, Ruby said. Between back taxes, penalties and interest, the city now owes $200,000 or more, he said.
The village also owes the state Department of Labor $15,000 or more, Ruby said, and is having a hard time paying its employees on time.
City officials applied for a low-interest state loan to purchase $145,000 worth of fuel this summer. The fuel was delivered. But when the city couldn't pay 10 percent of the cost, the state refused to complete the loan, leaving the fuel company unpaid.
The city fell behind in its electric bills more than a year ago, said Meera Kohler of the Alaska Village Electric Cooperative. The co-op, which includes more than 50 villages, carried Chevak's share as it swelled to more than $100,000.
Half the overdue bill came from a single meter at Chevak's old school. After a new $29 million school was completed two years ago, the city inherited the old facility, plus all the teachers' housing, which it began renting out.
Joe Symbol was among the tenants, moving into a two-bedroom apartment in the complex with his wife and three children. At $550 a month, including heat, electric, water and sewer, it seemed like a good deal, he said.
But a year ago, the oil heat went out, and tenants had to provide their own small oil heaters or electric space heaters, Symbol said. Last fall, the water and sewer service was shut off because pipes started freezing.
"Each time there was a drop in the service, they dropped the rent," Symbol said. In December, he and the remaining tenants started getting notices from AVEC that the power would be shut off because the bills weren't paid.
Rather than disconnect the whole city, AVEC chose to shut down only the service to the old school, which cost the city $5,000 a month.
AVEC issued a series of shut-off warnings starting at 30 days.
"Disconnection is always a last resort," Kohler said, "but in a situation like this, you've got to do something."
Wednesday, a lineman flipped the switch. While most of the city still has power, the outage was a double whammy for Symbol. With no other place to go, he moved his family into his business, the Hillside Grill. Now it's too crowded to cook in, he said.
"In one day I lost my home and my business," Symbol said.
He's not happy that AVEC shut off the power, but he's furious with the city. Rental money that should have paid the electric bill was spent elsewhere, he said. The city also failed to make good on its promise to buy stove oil after soliciting money from the tenants, Symbol said.
Throughout the last year, "The city would tell us not to worry, we've got this under control," he said. "We've been lied to constantly, over and over."
Ruby agreed the city has been mismanaged. "Whether it gets into the realm of malfeasance or criminality is a question the current city council is looking into. They told us if they find enough evidence for criminal charges, they'll file them."
One explanation for the city's out-of-balance books may be that Chevak's income has tumbled in the last few years. About 20 percent of its revenue once came from pull-tabs and bingo receipts. The city lost its gaming license after failing to send in the proper reports, Ruby said.
And like all other Alaska municipalities, Chevak lost tens of thousand of dollars in revenue sharing as the state eliminated those programs.

"Where did all this money go," Ruby asked. "That's the big question."
Contrary to rumors floating around Chevak, the Alaska State Troopers are not investigating the former administration, spokesman Greg Wilkinson said.
City voters cleaned house in the October elections. Vaudrin was part of a new slate and in mid-January was selected mayor by the council.
"We had heard horror stories" about the city's finances, he said. "We wanted to get things straightened out and see what we could do."
Vaudrin was reluctant to detail the problems uncovered so far, in part because he and other council members are still exploring financial records that had been denied them. The former administrator has been suspended, he said.
Climbing out of debt will be a challenge, Ruby said. It may require the city to cut back on services such as police and to lay off employees. User fees may have to rise, and the city may have to shut down the old school and its expensive electric service.
City officials have considered asking the Chevak tribal council to take over the water and sewer system. Resuming bingo and pull-tabs could be an important source of revenue, he said.
"I think they might be able to do it," Ruby said. "It's a little bigger debt load than other communities have faced, but I don't think it's insurmountable."
Daily News reporter Joel Gay can be reached at or at 257-4310.

Bingo groups argue against rules changes

By RICK ALMThe Kansas City Star

Missouri's struggling charitable bingo industry asked the Missouri Gaming Commission on Friday to refrain from adopting stricter rules regarding the game.
“Please don't tie our hands,” said Larry Loos, a Cape Girardeau Optimist Club game director and official of the bingo trade group Associated Charitable Games of Missouri.
Since riverboat casinos opened in 1994, “We've seen a steady and consistent decline in bingo games and dollars they give back to their communities,” Loos said.
At a public hearing Friday in Jefferson City, a commission staff panel heard testimony on 33 proposed rule changes — some good, said Loos, like less record-keeping.
But game operators raised objections to nearly a dozen rules, including one that would expand the list of duties that must be performed by commission-approved volunteers and another that would prohibit those volunteers from also selling tickets to fund-raising raffles and sweepstakes often staged by bingo groups.
The net effect, Loos said, is a need for more volunteers when the pool of available workers is shrinking.
“Getting workers is one of the biggest challenges we face,” Loos said.
“I understand there have been abuses” in the current system, he said. “But this punishes groups that are honest and are trying to follow the rules.”
Association lobbyist W.T. Dawson objected to a proposed rule that would make bingo operators liable for illegal slot machines or other gambling devices found on any premises used for bingo.
That change might be unconstitutional, Dawson said. At best, he said, it is unfair to operators that lease meeting halls for bingo games but do not have control of the entire building.
Industry representatives also objected to tighter language defining pull-tab games — often called “paper slots” — that peel apart and depict winning and losing combinations of symbols.
“Pull tabs are an interesting money-maker for all of us,” Loos said.
Manufacturers have devised new twists to the games that could boost sales, but Missouri rules bar the sale of such games.
Another proposed rule would tighten when and where pull-tabs could be sold during a bingo session — eliminating lodge hall bar areas that typically are near but not in the room used for bingo.
“The idea of charitable bingo is to help charities,” said Linda Bennett, a bingo official with a Columbia, Mo., VFW chapter. But she said many of the proposals would cut into revenues.
The bingo industry this year is again pushing its plan for General Assembly approval of multi-hall bingo games broadcast via satellite.
Loos said the number of licensed bingo game operators has fallen to 471 from more than 900 statewide when the first riverboat casinos opened in 1994.
Missouri's nominal bingo tax collection dropped to $2.9 million last year from $3.9 million in 1999.
During the same six-year span, total dollars distributed by sponsoring groups to local civic, youth and charitable causes has fallen from $20 million to $14.2 million last year.
To reach Rick Alm, call
(816) 234-4785 or send e-mail to

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Moose Lodge funds missing

By Bryce T. Hoffman
CORNING The administrator of Corning's Loyal Order of Moose Lodge 274 is accused of cooking the books to conceal more than $100,000 of missing money.
Robert C. Laughlin Sr., of Gang Mills, was charged Wednesday with first-degree falsifying a business record, a class E felony, Corning City Police announced late Friday.
The charge entails filing false financial documents "with the intent to either commit a crime or cover up another crime," said Steuben County Assistant District Attorney Brooks Baker.
Further charges are possible, he said.
"At this point, the money is still missing," he said. "It's very, very early in the process."
Laughlin is the only suspect targeted by the investigation, Baker said.
Corning police began looking into the Moose Lodge's "bell jar" gaming operation about four months ago, according to a press release issued Friday.
The game of chance, commonly known as "pull tabs," is supervised by the New York State Racing & Wagering Board. Investigators from that agency uncovered the accounting discrepancies in September, police said.
This is the second time in five years the Corning Moose Lodge has faced this type of investigation. Former Administrator Martin D. Martini was indicted in 2000 amid accusations that he pilfered $50,000 from the lodge's gambling account.
The exact amount of money missing in the newest case was not released. Laughlin was arraigned in Corning City Court and released pending a future court appearance.
Members of the organization reached Friday outside the Moose Lodge, at 6 Bridge St., declined comment. Laughlin could not be immediately reached for comment.
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Illegal Pull-Tabs hurt lottery profits

Justin Foss
Monday, January 31, 2005

If you're stuck doing the whites, waiting around can get boring.
That is, unless there's scratch off's or pull-tab's to play with.
Bob here, found some half finished scratch off's to pass the time.
But today, he's also busy considering a not-so obvious crunch on the state budget.
Bob Govern tells KIMT Newschannel Three, "The Iowa Lottery is losing money?" "With all the people I see buying tickets and throwing them away like this, I can't see how they could be losing money."
But they are, and it's because of pull-tabs.
They're called ad-tabs and they're not regulated by the state...and money goes to a private company...they're also not recognized by the state as being completely legal.
David Smith with the Iowa Lottery tells KIMT Newschannel Three, "It's costing us money not only the lottery, but the people of the state of Iowa."
Now the reason these tabs aren't just illegal, is because Iowa law regulating pull tabs like this iowa lottery ones is pretty last week law makers announced a bill to change that. They say they need to stop it now, because other wise it's like putting the state's wallet, with millions of dollars in it, right into the washer.
Any and all profits from the Iowa Lottery, go to the state's general fund.
With ad tabs cutting into sales, the state's lost millions of dollars it was counting on in budgets.
With a tight economy, that makes a difference.
Govern says, "Whew, that's a lot of money."
A lot of money, for countless state programs that could get all washed up.