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Alberta Study: Rise in Gambling Mirrors Rise in Crimes

17 April 2003

EDMONTON, Alberta -- As reported by the Edmonton Journal: "The rise in legal gambling in Alberta is linked to gambling-related crime, including money-laundering, fraud and counterfeiting, says a new study.

"An 18-month review of city police files identified 680 criminal offences related to gambling, such as fraud and employee theft to support gambling habits, as well as three suicides from despair over gambling addictions.

"`This is probably just the tip of the iceberg,' said Garry Smith, research specialist with the Gaming Research Institute at the University of Alberta.

"...The most common gambling-related crimes were fraud, theft, forgery and embezzlement to cover losses, Smith said.

"...The two largest single cases of employee theft during the 18 months of the study involved sums of $166,000 and $127,000, he said.

"...Casinos are also being hit by insider crime, the study said. Managers of one unidentified casino thwarted a $141,000 fraud attempt when a dealer was caught on camera passing a royal flush to a collaborator at a poker table.

"There were also numerous other cases of casino employees overpaying collaborators for winning hands.

"..."Some of the biggest high rollers in Edmonton are drug dealers," Smith said..."

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