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Geoff Freeman rebuts proposed ban on government credit cards at casino

22 May 2015

By Steve Tetreault
The gaming industry’s chief lobbyist warned Thursday against restricting the use of government credit cards in casinos, calling the idea an overreaction to an audit that found thousands of questionable transactions.

Geoff Freeman pushed back against what he said was the latest misperception of the casino industry. He said a blanket ban on the use of agency-issued credit cards would be the wrong response to an investigation that found more than $952,000 was improperly charged in the course of a year by Defense Department personnel on travel.

While condemning misuse, “a policy that prohibits the use of government credit cards at casinos would reflect a gross misunderstanding of casinos, which consist of much more than the gaming floor itself,” said Freeman, president and chief executive of the American Gaming Association.

In an audit released this week, the Defense Department inspector general outlined potential abuses of Pentagon-issued travel cards. Investigators found instances in which the credit cards were used to withdraw money from casino ATMs in amounts that exceeded per diem.

Besides identifying $952,258 in improper casino charges, inspectors also found $96,576 was spent in “adult entertainment establishments.”

Auditors found $3.26 million was spent at casinos and adult clubs in the year ended June 30, 2014. They eliminated charges that appeared to be allowable, such as stays in casino hotels or meals in casino restaurants by personnel clearly on assignment.

The inspector general suggested the Pentagon employ software that could better identify problem transactions.

Another recommendation was to consider blocking card use at specific casinos, which prompted Freeman’s letter to Defense Department Inspector General Jon Rymer and Harvey Martin, director of the Defense Travel Management Office.

“A blanket ban on the use of government credit cards at casinos would have significant negative unintended consequences,” Freeman said.

He compared it to the informal blacklisting of resort cities for government conferences, even when it might be less expensive and more efficient to meet in places such as Las Vegas or Orlando, Florida.

Copyright GamingWire. All rights reserved.

 

Murren: Sky won't fall on MGM if online gambling banned

30 April 2015
WASHINGTON — The sky won’t fall on MGM Resorts International if a ban on legalized gambling over the Internet is reinstated, company CEO Jim Murren said Wednesday. Likewise, Murren said it might not be a disaster for Nevada to lose its virtual monopoly on legal sports wagering if it is approved for other states. ... (read more)
 

Reid calls visa whistleblowers 'a bunch of whiners'

31 March 2015
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Sen. Harry Reid acknowledges using his clout to speed visa applications for wealthy foreign investors in the SLS Las Vegas Hotel & Casino, and said whistleblowers who had a problem with that are “a bunch of whiners.” “If I had to do it over again, I would do it again,” Reid said. ... (read more)
 

Lawmakers wrestle with proposed ban on legal Internet gambling

26 March 2015
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Lawmakers on Wednesday wrestled with a bill that seeks to ban legalized gambling on the Internet and roll it back in the few states — including Nevada — where it has been approved in some form. A hearing before the House Judiciary crime subcommittee broke little new ground as a panel of ... (read more)

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Bill to outlaw online gaming resurfaces in Congress

WASHINGTON — A Utah congressman on Wednesday reintroduced a bill that would reimpose a federal ban on wagering over the Internet, reigniting a debate that has split the gaming industry and sparked a broader discussion over the spread of gambling.The measure by Rep. Jason Chaffetz would roll back a Department ... (read more)
 

Online gaming ban omitted from government spending bill

WASHINGTON — Congress in its final major bill of the year unveiled Tuesday declined to support a call by billionaire casino owner Sheldon Adelson for a ban on legalized Internet gambling.The $1.1 trillion measure would fund most government operations through September of next year, making it a must-pass measure. ... (read more)
 

Draft of Web poker bill circulating on Capitol Hill

WASHINGTON — A draft bill that would legalize poker playing on the Internet is being floated on Capitol Hill, but Nevada Sen. Dean Heller said Tuesday there is no sign that it will move in any direction.Heller said he has been briefed on the bill by Caesars Entertainment Corp. lobbyist Haley Barbour. ... (read more)