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Nazareth, Pa., United States

Wednesday, February 04, 2015

Does Social Club Gambling Really Help the Communty?

In my latest post about gambling at social clubs, I told you that the undercover state trooper at all four social clubs has been outed. Many of you think that the unregulated and untaxed gambling that goes on at these places is harmless and might even benefit the community. But one of my readers has a different view.

To all of you that think the money raised goes back to these organizations is sadly mistaken. This money raised at these clubs goes back into the operating expenses and when you join up most of the clubs will tell you upfront that their affiliations are separate. Holy Family is separate from the church and is not linked to support the church. Hecktown Fire Co does not even have a fire fighter on the board of their social club and most of the board members do not even live in the area of the fire company to ever get there in time to put out a fire. The American Legion in Nazareth has one fundraiser to help their little league and that is all. Look up their financials on line and you will see exactly how these operations work and they contribute nothing to support the communities in which they operate. I have sat at the American Legion and watched a woman pull out a check book to write the legion a check and I am thinking how nice of her. She hands the check to the bartender and the bartender, instead of thanking her, hands her a small game of chance board. Here this woman plays the board off and when she wins the prize she asks for her check back. Is this fair? Can she use her checks written on income tax as donations to a charitable organization? How about going to Hecktown and seeing the bartender with a big roll of payout money in his pocket stand next to you at the poker machine and start putting in 20.00 bills and not playing one dollar or two dollars, but 10.00 a game and hitting a three of a kind or full house and collecting a nice payout for himself. Is that fair? Do you have that privilege? How about going to Holy Family when they had their machines and seeing the machine in use placard on the machine with a payout before the club even opened. Is this fair? Could you do this and get away with it? NO, the rules are enforced for some, but the privileged have no rules. I am happy that there is a crackdown at these clubs, the greed is sickening and by the way, Hecktown's football pool last year was 100.00 a block. The breakdown for that pool left someone pocketing 3500.00 that did not go back to the patrons who played. SO for all of you know it all's [sic] that think you have it right, think again, because even the people in high places in these towns know what goes on and looks the other way or is part of the problem and not the solution.

22 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hard to believe Mayor Carl Strye Jr, was Vigilance Hose President for 25 years and didn't know this was happening??? They have all been busted in the past and continue to put the machines back into play after the dust settles, so they don't learn anything.

Bill Coker said...

Bernie,
There seems to be some misunderstanding of how football game pools work. Smaller boards ($2, $5, $10, $20) pay the entire take back out to the players. $100 boards usually have party connected with them and the cut pays for food and drinks for the players. Try having a party for 100 for the four or five hours the game takes with drinks, snacks, and dinner at halftime for $30 to $35 a head. While paying with checks is technically illegal, it is still an exchange of money. I pay with $50 bill (or $50 check), hit the board and get the same $50 bill (or check) back as part of the prize money which can legally be up to $500. Simply an exchange of money in different forms.

Playing machines before opening (or after closing) and bartenders with inside info playing machines is a different matter and I agree fully that should be stopped.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Bill, I'm not opposed to the gaming that goes on. I simply think it needs to be more accountable. Some of these clubs are not benefiting the community so much as their stewards, as demonstrated by the above story about Hecktown.

Anonymous said...

If you look up Mayor Strye on Face Book and access the information on his friends, you will see his ties to all of these clubs from the stewards, to the bartenders, to the cooks and the the families that are interconnected. For example, Bobby Recker runs one club but has family connected to another club in the form of cooks and bartenders. Hecktown's people that run that club is friends with the mayor. The steward at the Jacksonian is friends with the mayor. The man and wife that run Holy Family catering has ties to Hecktown through their son who bartended at Hecktown. An ex steward at the American Legion who was accused of stealing is friends with the mayor.when the mayor enters their clubs, he is treated like a king. This list goes on and on. The mayor knows what is going on and for him to say he doesn't, is wrong.

Anonymous said...

I love your blog and am a daily visitor. But you've asked exactly the wrong question, unless you're simply a busybody zealot in recovery who's concerned that others might be having more fun than you. I drink occasionally and quit gamble 20 years ago. But I truly don't care if others do. I'm pro-choice that way.

The question is "Do Social Clubs Harm The Community"? While HFC supports school scholarships and flowers for the church altar, etc., the more prescient question is whether they do harm. After 100+ years in existence, it seems they don't.

Do the state's casinos really help the community? Few would argue that they do any good at all. In fact, the police log is rife with stories of crimes committed due to - or in support of - gambling addiction.

Club patrons vote with their wallets. Poorly run clubs go away. Well run establishments thrive. Board members and stewards may be skimming, but it's cushion change compared to the corruption of the government/gaming Leviathan.

Society has a lot of serious pressing problems that need to be addressed. Social clubs is not one of them.

Anonymous said...

It's funny that no one has mentioned that on any given Friday or Saturday night you can find 5 or 6 off duty state troopers (sometimes more) hanging out at East Lawn, and they have been doing this for quite awhile, all while there were (GASP!!!!) poker machines in use!

Bernie O'Hare said...

That's not exactly a defense. If anything, it tends to show the corrupting influence of unchecked gambling.

Anonymous said...

It helps therapists who specialize in treating addiction.

Bernie O'Hare said...

12:09, The evidence is quite clear that casino gaming has helped the community, although the promises made by state legislators about property tax reductions were bullshit. The gaming revenue that goes to the state is less money that has to be raised through income tax. Host fees must be paid to the county and several municipalities. And communities impacted by gaming get grants for needed items. Freemansburg, for example, would never be able to afford a new police station without that grant. So yes, the casino gambling helps the community.

It does draw crime, but police are there to minimize things, and seem to be very much on top of it.

Contrast that to the social clubs. Stewards slip a few 20s into their pockets; there is no kind of monitoring or accountability; and drug activity is rampant at some of these clubs.

Like I said before, I would support this if it were regulated and taxed. I do not for one second buy the nonsense about social clubs helping the community.

Do they harm the community? That is the question you say I should be asking. Once again, the answer is yes. The unregulated gambling is an invitation to embezzlement and outright theft. Some people with addictions blow their money there. And the involvement of local officials presents an aura of corruption that could easily extend everywhere else.

Since you mention HFC, let's talk about the New Year's party. Everyone paid the same price. But there was a divide. At one side of the room sat the Mayor and other high honchos in a special section, while others were seated separately. The special section got better everything. Even the champagne served to those folks was of a higher quality than that served to others who paid the same price to get it.

I don't drink or gamble (other than the occasional office pool) and do not frequent these places. My guess is that many of them are very nice and I have no problem with what goes on there. But make it accountable. Legalize it, regulate it and tax it.

I have the same attitude for marijuana and prostitution.

Anonymous said...

Investigating social clubs is busy work for the law enforcement community who clearly need downsizing. Even Morganelli has indicated he'll not prosecute (or at least not very harshly). This is a ridiculous waste of resources. If people being served lesser champagne and food really cared, they'd stay home on New Years Eve. And everybody knows that social club stewards typically live high on the hog in huge McMansions with their take from gambling. Oh wait. No they don't. And neither do communities benefit ONE LITTLE BIT from the state's gambling monopoly. PA gambling was based on what has proven to be an outrageous lie. The entire enterprise is for the benefit of a connected few. You fell victim to your own lack of self control and see the vast majority of people through your recovery lens. Butt out of things that don't concern you and continue your admirabl;e recovery without being a nosy zealot. You want regulations and hand-holding on everything that got the better of you. Low expectations usually are met. You expect we're all as weak as you and we'll all end up begging to have our asses wiped for us. I know that's the core of liberalism. Some of us want the choice. You wish to deny it. There's nothing more annoying than a recovery zealot. I wish you continued good health. I just wish you wouldn't impose your belief system on the rest of who can handle vices without wrecking our lives. Again, this is a tremendous waste of resources. We have much larger problems to address.

Bill Coker said...

Bernie,

Small games of chance (boards and tickets) are highly regulated and taxed. These are regularly checked at the club level and the manufacture/wholesale end and Poker machines are the only non-regulated gambling and the source of skimming if it exists. The good clubs minimize this with good internal checks and balances.

With the exception of a few clubs, drugs are not any more a problem than in any business. Most of the good clubs attract an older crowd including many prominent (not just government) citizens. Drugs usually follow the younger crowd. Please don't tag all clubs with a drug problem where one does not exist. That is a completely separate issue from gambling. Where it does exist it does not emanate from the club but from dealers and users hanging there. The club receives nothing (even if the dealer is an employee).

Bill Coker said...

Bernie,

Sorry. Last post 1st paragraph should have said "...club level and manufacture/wholesale end and the numbers must agree. Poker machines..."

Bernie O'Hare said...

Bill, we agree.

Anonymous said...

Leave the clubs alone if it was'nt for the drunken bastards, I would be out of a job I love stopping these assholes and charging them with DUI.........SO leave them alone...Thank You!

Anonymous said...

Maybe a closer look should be taken at these x and current presidents,board members, stewards and bartenders. Being acoountable appears to not be something they need to adhere to with poker machines and the money. Lots of money passes through poker machines.

Anonymous said...

Wow O'Hare your snitch at the HFC must really be an angry loser. Why was "he" there? It is either one of your sticker goons or was
Angle there? Maybe a ex-state rep? Whatever, no one cares

Live your own miserable life and leave decent people alone. Your snitch buddy is a wuss.

Anonymous said...

Well we have a winner judging by the comments. Your entry on the Mezz and Gregory has garnered over one hundred comments. People love the pistol packing hot blonde from WE and the Mediterranean manslab.

There is your Pulitzer Bernie. More Mezz and Greggy please!

Anonymous said...

Isn't it nice you reprint a Anonymous comment because it agrees with your view. Truth of the matter is Bernie, you can't go in one democratic club or one republican club that doesn't have poker machines. How about writing an article about them.

Bernie O'Hare said...

My articles on this topic have not spared clubs who are Dem or GOP. In fact, in one of my first stories, I listed all the violations assessed to the Jacks Dems.

Anonymous said...

Hey 1:57 PM lighten up the man said he wants to legalize dope and hookers.

Bernie O'Hare said...

I do, but it won't happen in my lifetime.

Jim West said...
This comment has been removed by the author.