While Tim Eyman tries to characterize I-892 (Slots for Tots) as equal treatment for mom & pop bowling alleys [Bowling for dollars] its largest contributors are a handful of gambling conglomerates, mostly foreign and out-of-state corporations. Indeed, according to a recent article in the Seattle P-I, I-892’s biggest backer is the Great Canadian Gaming Corporation, which has sunk at least $62,500 into the effort through the end of May… possibly in violation of federal election laws.
But those aren’t the only laws of which Great Canadian may have run afoul. In addition to allegations of harassment, profit skimming, investment fraud, and prostitution, an investigative report by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation has uncovered accusations of loansharking in its B.C. casinos: “Loansharking alleged at B.C. casinos.” [Watch video clip]
The allegations came under oath in sworn depositions from two former long-time Great Canadian employees who were subpoenaed to testify as part of a lawsuit from a Texas corporation. Allegiance Capital claims that a joint venture with Great Canadian went sour due to profit skimming and prostitution onboard a Hong Kong based floating casino.
Proka Avramovic, one of the former employees subpoened to give evidence in Texas says the B.C. casinos banned certain loan sharks but allowed others to stay. “Obviously the company wanted to keep them there because they bring lots of money into the casino.”
With hundreds of paid signature gatherers hawking I-892 in the final week before the deadline, voters deserve to know what kind of company is paying them. This is a company accused of profit skimming and fraud, of promoting prostitution, and knowingly allowing loansharking in its casinos. It is a publicly traded corporation that hires a private investigator to harass the estranged wife of its chairman.
But most of all, this is a foreign corporation attempting to influence a Washington state election. And if they can’t be trusted to obey the laws in their home country, they certainly can’t be trusted to obey the laws in ours.
If I-892 were to be judged by the company it keeps, it would likely be convicted of several felonies.