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Baseball players warned about addiction at online casinos

According to a report on online casinos and gambling out of New York, Major league baseball apparently was concerned enough about reports of Paul Lo Duca's possible involvement with online casinos and bookmakers, according to sources, that it sent its security force through spring training this year with a beefed-up message: Be careful whom you gamble with.
According to sources, MLB security told players to be wary of online casinos in particular, and to avoid getting into situations where bookies or online casinos might become involved.
MLB security chief Kevin Hallinan generally tours spring training camps with warnings about the dangers of online casinos and gambling and other potential vices, but this year's briefing included significantly more focus on the dangers of online casinos than in the past. Online casinos are now very popular in the US, and there are thousands of online casinos operating worldwide.
"The point of the whole thing was to make it clear that this isn't something that's good to be doing," one player told the New York Daily News on condition of anonymity.
The Daily News reported last week that at least twice in the past 14 months, illegal bookmakers took steps to get Lo Duca to pay gambling debts, including making a call to the Florida Marlins, the team Lo Duca then was playing for, and to associates. According to sources, the Marlins immediately reported the call to MLB security.
MLB spokesman Rich Levin said Saturday he does not believe the spring training message "had anything to do with any cases" and declined comment on Lo Duca's situation.
After The News reported allegations of gambling debts at online casinos following reports last week of adultery charges in Lo Duca's divorce papers, Lo Duca said that he bets only on horse racing and has a legal casinos betting account,
The Mets issued a statement Saturday saying they have "talked to Major League Baseball and they have expressed no concern of any violation of any Major League Baseball rule regarding Paul Lo Duca. . . . We support him through this difficult period in his life."
MLB rules prohibit players only from betting on baseball (not online casinos) and include a one-year suspension for betting on games in general and a lifetime ban if a player bets on his own team.
The New York Times reported Saturday that Mets GM Omar Minaya had asked Lo Duca whether he gambled on horses.
According to the player who heard the briefing, MLB's spring training presentation stressed that using any online casinos - and there are many - is illegal, and that there are two problematic issues: There is no recourse if the online casinos site folds or simply decides not to pay out. And more significantly, because online casinos do not operate under the same regulations as legitimate American casinos, gamblers might end up being subjected to the tactics of strong-arm, shady types at the online casinos coming to collect.



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