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Connecticut casinos use home liens to recoup gambling debts

Two Connecticut tribal casinos have placed dozens of liens on homes across the state since the early 2000s, for amounts as small as a few thousand dollars, according to a Globe review of land and court records.

Experts interviewed by the Globe — including current and former casino executives, academics, problem gambling counselors, and a representative of the American Gaming Association, the commercial casino industry’s trade group — said it is unusual for a casino to use property liens to collect debts.

Dozens of Internet sweepstakes cafes are owned and operated by people who are in so much financial hot water that they couldn’t land a job at an Ohio casino. The pseudo gambling parlors have flouted a decades-old state law that requires businesses to register with the secretary of state. And most cafe owners snubbed an affidavit requested by the Ohio attorney general’s office last year to obtain more information about owners and their businesses; most provided little more than a street address. The Columbus Dispatch investigated the backgrounds of both the businesses and the names of owners supplied to the attorney general’s office last summer on “affidavits of existence” and found a trail of red flags. For two years, state lawmakers have wrangled about what to do about such establishments, which now are entrenched and unregulated in the state. 

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