Monday, October 31, 2011

D'Amato's Online Gambling Advocacy Group has paid his Lobbying Firm $1.73 Million

Former U.S. Senator Alfonse D'Amato (R-NY) is the chairman of the Poker Players Alliance, an online gambling advocate group, and also founder and managing director of Park Strategies LLC, a lobbying firm with offices in New York, Washington DC, Taipei, Albany, Buffalo and Long Island.

According to the New York Times, Poker Players Alliance, a U.S. nonprofit interest group, is funded with money from foreign online gambling companies. Federal investigators are looking into allegations that PPA is away for foreign interests to simply funnel campaign money to Members of Congress. PPA has paid D.C. lobbyists more than $15 million during the last decade.

Since 2007, Poker Player's Alliance, the nonprofit organization D'Amato serves as chairman of the Board, has paid $1.73 million to Park Strategies LLC, the lobbying firm founded by D'Amato.

Detroiters Marian Ilitch and Michael Malik have hired D'Amato to represent at least one of their gambling affiliates, Gateway Casino Resorts.

Through Gateway, the Detroiters hope to secure an opportunity to open an Indian casino nearest New York City, in partnership with the newly recognized Shinnecock Indian Nation. Their latest schemes would include developing, managing and operating a casino at the famed Belmont Race Track on Long Island.

Mrs. Ilitch owns Detroit's highly leveraged  MotorCity Casino.  Her husband Mike Ilitch owns the Detroit Tigers (MLB).  They are the co-founders of the Little Caesars pizza enterprise and owners of the Detroit Red Wings (NHL).  Ilitch Holdings, Inc. is the parent company of these affiliates.

When the Michigan Gaming Control Board refused to issue a commercial gaming license to Michael Malik in 1999, he was forced from the original MotorCity Casino partnership.  For more than a dozen years, he and Marian have failed to get commercial gambling approved in Hawaii; and also failed at numerous schemes to open off-reservation Indian casinos in California, Michigan and New York.  Failing to ever obtain a Michigan gaming license, Malik also ventured into the online gambling industry but when the U.S. adopted stricter regulations, he put that on hold.

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