Poker machines laundering money for Jihad?
The Daily Telegraph reported just how simple laundering cash is by feeding $2100 into a poker machine on Thursday, pushing the collect button and exchanging the money for a legitimate cheque without even playing the machine.
Department of Gaming and Racing sources revealed to the paper that the $15 billion in annual poker machine turnover is being inflated by tens of millions of dollars as a result.
The planned crackdown on cash transactions came as Federal Treasurer Peter Costello stepped up the pressure on Australian Muslim leaders to rein in extremists in their community.
"This is where we really need the Islamic leadership of this country to stand up and contend unequivocally that terrorism, no matter who it is perpetrated by ... is never justified," he said.
An al-Qaeda tape released yesterday encouraged Westerners to embrace radical Islam.
Director of the Justice Department’s laundering monitoring agency Austrac, Neil Jensen said the agency was looking at the issue of laundering money to fund terrorism.
"It is in their interests (pub and club owners) not to be used in the process of laundering or terrorist finance," Mr Jensen said. "They don’t want to be caught up with it."
When asked if he would be surprised if millions of dollars a week were being laundered through machines for a range of criminal activities, Mr Jensen said he was unable to say.
"It is fair to say the potential is there," he said.
A spokesman for the Australian Hotels Association said: "The AHA has worked with the Commonwealth Government and Austrac on new legislation ... it is acceptable to the industry.
"We are aware it is an issue.
"And we are very aware of the obligation on money laundering to the community ... hoteliers are law-abiding citizens."
The spokesman said publicans had an obligation to report suspicious activities such as feeding money straight into a machine and collecting it as a win.
Mr Scully said: "This is a very serious offence involving the laundering of the proceeds of crime. We need to root out this evil."
Pinball Machine Sale Today
eShuffleboard.com Latest News
Dear Shuffleboard Players,
52 days but who's counting? Well, I guess I am. I received a "Board Bits™" from John McDermott in my email today and I've posted it online for you to review if you are not on that list. John has lots of information about the Sol Lipkin award, air fares and a new show on Fox called "Standoff" that starts tonight. John sold a shuffleboard table to this show and hopes we'll take a look. You west coasters can still catch it!
September 21-24th, 2006 8th Annual Wandering the World Women's Tournament
American Legion Post #193, Louisville, KY 40212
Note from Susie Halstead:
We had put on the flyer after the deadline a $5.00 increase in registration plus a $5.00 per event increase after deadline. It is just a $5.00 increase for registration, not each event. All events women and men stay the same as listed in the flyer after the deadline. Anyone who has sent late fees for each event will be reimbursed.
September 15-16 Fall Amateur Singles and Doubles
The Journey's End Amateur is just a week or so away. Check out the link above for links to all 5 previous amateur events.
The Indiana Schedule for 2006-2007 has been posted to: http://www.eshuffleboard.com/IN/Indiana_Schedule.htm
This year the bar owners sat down and hashed out the schedule. It's still a work in progress, but the major pieces are in place. All the phone numbers for the venues are at the top of the schedule so give them a call to confirm if you are going to be in the area.
The Indiana State Tournament will be Journey's End. Anyone can play in the Pre-State and in addition to Indiana residents, Ohio and Kentucky can play in the Indiana State Tournament!
November 18-19, 2006 Indiana Pre-State (Open to All)
Mike Koontz: 574-202-1632 Email: email@example.com
November 24th-26th, 2006
18th Annual Indiana Championship Bourbon, IN 46504
(Open to IN, OH, KY Residents)
And lastly, the complete results from the Jim Long Weekend weekend will be posted as soon as Jeri Ingram gets rested up.It's my fault, I wasn't able to stay all weekend.
These Guys Play to Win Respect
11:48 PM PDT on Monday, September 4, 2006
By DOUGLAS QUAN
A nickel-and-dime obsession stretching back to the 1980s era of Pac-Man, poufy hair and AC/DC has landed two Inland men in the annals of arcade-game feats.
The Guinness World Records holder for the highest score on three pinball games is Jim Belsito, 36 of Rialto. Belsito has squeezed 31 pinball machines into his house, including one that blocks the front hallway. "It's the ultimate bachelor pad," Belsito said.
The just-released 2007 edition of the Guinness World Records lists among the top arcade game players Riverside's Paul Dean, 41, and Rialto's Jim Belsito, 36. Dean holds the highest score in the classic James Bond-inspired arcade game Spy Hunter, a record he clinched in 1985. Belsito racked up the highest scores on three of 10 pinball games at a tournament in Las Vegas in April.
It is the first time since 1986 that the Guinness book has included a section recognizing video and computer game scores.
"I was basically ignored for many years. I'm very excited about it," said Dean, whose Boy Scout manners belie an intense competitive spirit. "I went to Barnes & Noble and I couldn't believe it. I got a paragraph. Few people get that much space."
The laid-back, sneaker-wearing Belsito was equally elated. The Guinness book has never recognized pinball scores.
"Quite awesome," he said. "Definitely honored to be there."
In this edition, Dean and Belsito join the likes of Alastair Galpin, of New Zealand, who managed to slide 70 socks onto one foot; Dusty, the Texas tabby cat, who produced 420 kittens during her breeding life; Dr. Isa Massaud Issa, of Libya, who deftly completed the game Operation in 1 minute, 2 seconds; and Janet Jackson, the most Googled (and ogled) person on the Internet in 2005.
Video:Jim Belsito shows off his 34 pinball machines
The two men have a lot in common. They honed their video-game blasting and pinball-flipping skills at Riverside's Castle Park arcade in the 1980s, when the graphics were rudimentary, and games emitted simple blips and booms.
They've built at least part of their careers around the arcade game industry. Dean is a trade-show exhibit installer, but he also operates a handful of coin-operated games at businesses across the Inland region. Belsito is co-owner of Riverside-based P S Vending, which operates games across Southern California.
Arcade games cram the homes of both men, who are single. Dean, who recently scooped up a Spy Hunter arcade game for $400 and shelled out another $1,000 to restore it, has 31 arcade games in his house, which he shares with his father. Belsito has squeezed 31 pinball machines in his house, including one that blocks the front hallway.
"It's the ultimate bachelor pad," Belsito said.
Their enthusiasm is infectious and invades much of their personal lives. Dean maintains a Web site, spyhunter007.com, that includes a mind-numbing list of arcade game-related records, articles and links. He is unafraid to boast that his Spy Hunter score of 9,512,590 is more than 10 times greater than the next highest recorded score.
"If I play it once, I can play it forever. ... There's no competitive value," he said. "I've mastered the game."
Last year, at a tournament in Texas, Dean scored a new world record in another classic game, Frenzy, which he played for 41 hours with three breaks.
Belsito, who signs off his e-mails with "Happy Flippin,' " competes in pinball tournaments called "Pinbrawls." He runs a pinball league that meets weekly at a Riverside bar. Twice a year, he hosts a pinball bash at his house open to all Southern California "pinheads."
Belsito enjoyed the 1975 movie, "Tommy," about a boy who becomes a pinball wizard, that was inspired by The Who's rock album of the same name. But the 1979 Brooke Shields flick "Tilt," which is about a young girl who is a pinball wizard, elicits only jeers.
"That was pretty bad," he said. Their parents are among their biggest fans. On the night he found out he was named in the new Guinness book, Dean and his father celebrated with dinner at The Old Spaghetti Factory. Belsito's mother rushed to Costco to pick up three copies of the Guinness book and proudly announced to the cashier that her son was listed inside. So what is the secret to their winning scores?
"You've got to have good hand-eye coordination," Belsito answered dryly.
Dean offered this football coach sound bite: "You just don't give up," he said.
Then, in the next assured breath, he added: "I played seven days a week."
Awesome careers: Professional pinball player
CONTRA COSTA TIMES
The title may be "professional pinball player" but Andrei Massenkoff says it's a rare player who can actually make a living at pinball. Massenkoff, the grand champion of the 2006 Bay Area Pinball Association and a member of the national Professional Amateur Pinball Association, splits his days between the San Francisco school district, where he works part time as a preschool teaching assistant, and local pinball venues.
Massenkoff, a native San Franciscan who graduated from college as a comparative religion major, was bitten by the pinball bug early. He's been playing since he was 4 or 5, he says, although it wasn't until college that he heard about competitive pinball.
"My junior year of college, someone informed me of the world championships," he says. "I made a trip out there (to Pittsburgh, Pa.) to see how I'd do amongst the big boys."
These days Massenkoff plays anywhere from three to six days a week -- one of those days is with the Bay Area association at a local bowling alley, liquor store or pizza parlor. The world championships, which ended Aug. 20, are "my favorite four days of the year," Massenkoff says. "The best in the world come out for that. It's intense."
Top players can earn as much as $10,000 in a single four-day tournament. But most players augment their earnings with day jobs, and some become pinball vendors, purchasing and installing pinball machines in public venues and collecting the resulting fees. Of course, others purchase pinball machines just for fun. Fremont software engineer Eugene Gershtein has seven machines in his living room.
"We just had playoffs for our last league season at my house," he says.
Gershtein and his wife play for fun, but Massenkoff is a competitive player whose high scores propelled him into the world championship finals this year. And fellow San Franciscan Neil Shatz, who took the crown last year, came in second overall.
Training: Professional pinball players devote enormous amounts of time to the game, refining their strategy and flipper techniques in three- to nine-hour practice sessions multiple times per week. It's all about ball control, touch, game management and patience. But it's fun for anyone to play, no matter what the skill level, says Massenkoff.
"Enjoy the game," says Massenkoff. "It takes a little time to get comfortable on a pinball machine, but it's fun. It's one of those games you can enjoy no matter how well or how poorly you play. Just shoot for the flashing lights."
Prospects: The world championship has a $33,000 prize purse, but only a select few make that kind of money. Most players have second jobs. To join the Bay Area or national Professional Amateur Pinball Association, visit www.BayAreaPinball.org or www.papa.org.