Runners’ phone-bet money (?) goes up in smoke!

January 23, 2001 8:47 AM
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Federal taxpayers could become more than $3 million richer should sports bettors fail to claim their confiscated casino deposit-box cash.

And, since the U.S. Attorney’s office in Las Vegas has been sitting on the money since they conducted "raids" on casinos last April and May, officials weren’t commenting on the likelihood of returning it.

According to a directive from the Feds, the claimants have just 10 days from Monday to try to recoup the money.

Sources said Monday the money was taken as a result of an FBI-Nevada Gaming Control Board investigation into activities allegedly conducted by sports bettors who were part of a ring involving so-called "runners." These are people who illegally place bets with money that is not their own but was supplied by an individual who wanted anonymity.

During the raids, federal agents confiscated $642,000 from a William Reed; $150,591 from John Dickshot, and $554,980 from Fritz and Mary Rathjens. They were identified as employees of sports bettor Arthur "Artie B." Bodendorfer. Bodendorfer himself had $216,522 confiscated.

However, none of the persons whose money boxes were confiscated has been charged with any law violation.

"Everybody who runs a sports book knows certain individuals who were working for Artie B. And, even they had people working for them. They simply would give money to an individual who then would make the bet, as instructed, and sign the Regulation 6a form. That person, who probably was paid about $100 a day, would then turn over the tickets to his employer. If the bet was a winner, the runner would take chips instead of cash for the winning ticket," said the source.

Efforts to have officials comment on the case were made in vain on Monday.


Preview Las Vegas glimpses Nevada business future

Everyone sees a neon bright future ahead for Las Vegas. But how will our economy really fare after this year? There’s no crystal ball, but the next thing to one is taking place next week at Preview Las Vegas 2001.

It will be held Wednesday, Jan. 24, at UNLV’s Thomas & Mack Center. It’s sponsored annually by the Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce and the Nevada Development Authority (NDA).

It opens with a networking breakfast from 7 a.m. to 8:15 a.m. More than 90 exhibitors will display business-related products and services. The program then runs from 8:15 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. The Legends In Concert group, "The Temptations" will open the second half of Preview.

A "Preview the Taste" luncheon will feature foods from several popular local restaurants, including Buca di Beppo, Gordon Biersch, Lawry’s The Prime Rib, Monsoon Pan-Asian Bistro, Smith & Wollensky, and Tenaya Creek Restaurant & Brewery.

Preview 2001 brings together local and national experts to discuss the state of the Southern Nevada economy, infrastructure, growth and diversification. There will be talks on trends in gaming and hospitality, business technology, tourism, real estate and development, entertainment, retail and other topics.

Bill Wells, 2001 Chairman of the Las Vegas Chamber’s Board of Trustees, said this must-attend event "has it all — high profile speakers, solid information about our future, exciting entertainers, networking, informative video segments and exhibits."

"As Las Vegas continues to evolve at a lightning pace, understanding what the future holds and how growth and change will affect our businesses and our families has never been more important," said Kenneth Ladd, chairman of the NDA and president of U.S. Bank.

For tickets to Preview 2001, contact the Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce at 3720 Howard Hughes Parkway; or log on to www.preview2001.net. Tickets are also available at the Thomas & Mack box office.

Ticket prices are: $50 for members of the Chamber or NDA before the event and $70 for non-members or at the door Jan. 24.


Speakers will include:

William Kristol, a conservative political analyst, editor/publisher of The Weekly Standard, and a network TV political commentator.

Gary Loveman is COO and a member of the executive office of the President of Harrah’s Entertainment, Inc. Loveman is responsible for Harrah’s 21 casinos and all its revenue generating businesses.

Rossi Ralenkotter is marketing vice president of marketing for the Las Vegas Convention & Visitors Authority (LVCVA). He directs its national and international marketing, advertising, convention, tourism, p.r. and research programs. Jack Shaw is a technology expert and author who can explain the challenges of the digital economy.

Mark S. Suman, co-founder and vice president of strategic planning for National Airlines, will discuss airline issues, especially those affecting travel and tourism in and out of Las Vegas.


CMA Associate

Blair Farrington has been producing, directing and choreographing TV shows and theatrical productions since 1979, and continues to produce shows all over the world.

In the early 1980s, Blair and his wife, Eunice, created the Roman Festival Program at Caesars Palace. The Farringtons also produced and manage the $25 million attraction for the Rio Suites’ "Masquerade in the Sky" and the singing gondolier attraction at The Venetian’s Grand Canal Shoppes. Watch for more from the Farringtons.


Adelson honored

Sheldon G. Adelson, chairman of Las Vegas Sands, Inc., and creator of The Venetian Resort-Hotel-Casino, has been named "Gaming Person of the Year" by Travel Agent Magazine.

The honor resulted from Adelson’s vision of Las Vegas’ "finer points of life: luxury and pampering, aesthetic appeal, fine dining and art."

In making the selection, the magazine said "Adelson has continued his tradition of innovating attractions of note by creating a celebrity-chef cooking school this year. The Venetian contains a gold mine when it comes to cooking’s famous names, including Wolfgang Puck, Emeril Lagasse, Piero Selvaggio and Gian Paolo ‘Zeffirino’ Belloni."

Graciously accepting the honor, Adelson remarked, "This is a tremendous honor that I share with all of The Venetian team members who helped to turn my vision into a reality."

Adelson was founder of COMDEX, the world’s largest trade show, which he sold to Japanese interests for $875 million. He leveled the aging Sands Hotel/Casino on the Las Vegas Strip and personally took his message to Wall Street to develop the funding necessary to build the $1.5 billion Italian-themed 3,036-suite hotel.

The property also features 120,000 square feet of gaming space, 500,000 square feet of retail space at The Grand Canal Shoppes; the 65,000 square-foot Canyon Ranch SpaClub; 500,000 square feet of meeting space at The Venetian Congress Center, and a direct link to the 1.2 million square-foot Sands Expo and Convention Center.

In recent months, Adelson has taken time away from his business to provide enlightenment to business masters degree candidates at universities, in his home state of Massachusetts, and in Connecticut.


 Bookie & bettor ‘pinched!’

Whoa! Someone forgot to tell him the rules of the game.

John Astarita of New Hampshire knew that betting with a bookmaker was illegal in the Granite State. But no one ever told him that if his bookmaker got caught, he’d be prosecuted, too. That’s what happened in the state’s largest city.

FBI investigators tapped the phone line of Ronald Enderson, whom they felt was accepting bets at his home. After monitoring his calls for some time, the feds arrested him and charged him with accepting 80 sports bets. He was fined $2,000 on each count — a total of $160,000 — and sentenced to a year in jail.

But the kicker for Astarita came after Enderson’s arrest. The feds arrested Astarita and charged him with making all 80 bets accepted by Enderson and wagering $83,000 over a five-month period. At the time of his arrest, Astarita had $120,000 in cash hidden in his home. The money was confiscated.

After being found guilty of "illegally placing bets," Astarita was fined $6,000. The judge ordered that the $120,000 confiscated from his home be forfeited, as well.

"It’s going to send a strong message to others," said a state police official. To both bettors and bookies alike!