Who’s Enforcing the Gambling Laws?
Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca has a well-documented cozy relationship with various casinos and an LA Times article illustrates just how tight he is with the world’s largest poker club.
The problem is that the department Baca was elected to run is responsible for enforcing gambling laws, which of course affects the aforementioned poker club, the Commerce Casino.
It is the largest land-based card club in the world, with 243 gaming tables and a 91,000-square-fot casino floor. It also has a history of political corruption (four City of Commerce officials and the casino’s former president were convicted of awarding secret shares of the casino to city officials who approved it) and has donated $2.4 million to campaigns in 2004.
Since taking office in 1999, Sheriff Baca has accepted more than $25,000 in political contributions from the casino, its shareholders and employees and the casino has donated more than $100,000 to the sheriff’s youth charity. Additionally, casino executives have given Baca gifts worth more than $2,300, including basketball and concert tickets, food and wine, golf fees and an expensive sculpture for Baca’s wedding.
Oh, here is another interesting tidbit; the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department holds its quarterly executive conference in a ballroom at the Commerce Casino’s hotel.
Can the residents of L.A. County really expect the good Sheriff and his department to enforce the law at this casino?