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Indiana casino commission: Staffer hid complaints

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The Indiana Gaming Commission has found that one of its staffers hid dozens of gamblers' complaints against the state's 13 casinos for a year or more, the agency said.

The commission found the misconduct after questions from The Times of Munster prompted an internal review about why 56 of 154 complaints made against the casinos during 2009 had gone unanswered.

Commission Deputy Director Jennifer Reske told The Times that the staffer, whom she wouldn't identify, faced disciplinary action. The newspaper published its story Sunday.

"What we found was surprising and unacceptable," Reske said. "It is our policy to respond to every complaint submitted to the IGC. We take our role as regulators very seriously and this incident does not reflect the pride with which we, as an agency, do our work."

Reske said the staffer had filed away the complaints unanswered and then provided "inaccurate and misleading information" making it appear they had been answered. She said the commission was working to respond to all the complaints.

One such complaint was from Harold Turner, a Westfield resident who thought in January 2009 he had hit a winning progressive jackpot combination worth up to $25,000 on a slot machine at Hoosier Park Casino in Anderson.

But casino personnel said he didn't have a winner because the reels weren't exactly aligned, according to his complaint he submitted days later to a state commission agent at the casino.

Turner said he called the agent back a few months later to see how the investigation was going.

"(The agent) said, 'We haven't reviewed it yet. We'll get back to you,'" Turner said. "Well, I haven't ever received a letter or even a phone call."

Reske said new procedures instituted by the commission have whittled down this year's complaints so that none has been pending for more than 30 days.

A gambling experts said he was shocked at the Indiana Gaming Commission's lack of action on casino patron complaints, as the written complaint process is important for regulators across the nation.

"I have never heard of another state with this situation, where the complaint process has just completely broken down," said noted gambling law expert Nelson Rose, a professor at Wittier Law School in California. "It's all fairly easy to do."

Casino managers across the state expressed surprise about the unanswered complaints, and said it was not consistent with what they had experienced in dealing with the commission over the years.

"It's useful to us in the suggestions we receive, so we can improve our service," said Jim Brown, general manager at Hoosier Park. "And it's useful because our customers have this avenue to voice their concerns."

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  • Nothing New
    These issues were reported to the Indiana Attorney General in 2004 and all the Attroney General stated was no good deed goes unpunished. The Governor was told of the same type of activity in 2005 and 2006 and ignored it. The Inspector General refused to even answer a complaint filed against the members of the Gaming Commission and State Appointed officials. The Attorney General was asked to be a part of a law suit in Federal Court in 2009 representing the citizens of Indiana and they chose to back out and then became a leagal counsel for the Gaming Commission Representative. The same complaints of lack of not investigating complaints, lack of oversight and other issues are clearly documented.Members of the Indiana General Assembly and the media have known about this for over six years and looked the other way.

    It is all public record!
  • Basic Blocking and Tackling
    How does leadership miss basic blocking and tackling??? Oh how convenient to blame it on a staffer... Dump some of that overpaid undertalented leadership... Here basic Auditing Technique Reske... Number your Complaint Forms with a prefix indicating location. Each form must be accounted for... It is called a CONTROL NUMBER in the business world... Thus it is MANAGEMENT's responsibility to have intimate knowledge as to whether the Gaming Commission or any of the State's Casino Operations has UNRECORDED LIABILITIES...

    MUST BE ANOTHER MITCH D Crony runnning this operation....
    • Horse Racing Problems
      Investigation Launched Into Indiana Horse Racing

      State Police, Inspector General Leading Investigation

      http://www.theindychannel.com/news/24762890/detail.html

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