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Amherst Casino Criminal Defense Lawyer

MGM Amherst Casino: A Magnet for Criminal Arrests?

In August 2018, Massachusetts opened its first full-service resort casino – the MGM Amherst. Situated on Main Street in the heart of Attorney For MGM Casino Crimes In Springfielddowntown Springfield, the nearly $1 billion property spans across three city blocks and includes 125,000 square feet of gaming space, a five-story hotel, restaurants, shops, a movie theatre and more.  While the casino has brought jobs and entertainment to the area, it’s also ushered in a new wave of crime.

Within the first four months of operation, police responded to 208 incidents inside the casino, including 16 larcenies and robberies, five assaults, and two sexual offenses resulting in over 120 arrests. This is two times more criminal activity than the state’s other major gaming venue, Plainridge Park Casino experienced all year.

Springfield police have also seen an uptick in crimes committed outside the walls of the casino. 115 incidents were reported in the five months following the casino’s opening verses 22 crimes reported in the three months prior to its opening. A comprehensive public safety report on casino crime is expected to be released in Feb 2019.

If you or someone you love has been accused of committing a crime inside the MGM Amherst casino, you need to take immediate action to protect your rights.

Depending on the severity of the crime, you could face jail or prison time, hefty fines, restitution a permanent criminal record, and other serious consequences. The criminal defense attorneys at Kokonowski & Kokonowski, LLC has the skills, experience and resources to build a solid defense on your behalf.

maximize your chances of securing a positive outcome for your situation.

Call us today to schedule your free consultation. We have offices in three convenient locations:

Springfield: 413.737.9700

Northampton: 413.585.9200

Amherst: 413.549.0022

Casino-Related Crimes

We provide representation to those charged with casino-related offenses including but not limited to:

  • Larceny/Theft Crimes/Auto Theft
  • Cheating and Financial Fraud
  • Money Laundering
  • Casino Marker Default/Bad Checks
  • Underage Gambling
  • Drug crimes
  • Assault/Battery
  • Robbery
  • Driving/Operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol (DUI/OUI)
  • Sex Trafficking
  • Prostitution
  • Gun crimes
  • Disorderly conduct

Springfield Law Enforcement Combats Casino Crime With Enhanced Public Safety Measures

Local and state authorities as well as casino operators have committed a tremendous amount of resources towards fighting crime in and around the MGM Springfield casino.

The Massachusetts State Police formed a “Gaming Enforcement Unit” to ensure the safety of residents, casino customers, and visitors inside the casino. This specialized unit serves as an investigative arm of the Massachusetts Gaming Commission and is made up of 20 people, including six or seven Springfield police officers. They work in conjunction with MGM security and surveillance teams to deal with incidents that occur on the property.

The rest of downtown is secured by the Amherst Metro Unit, a group of 40 cops who patrol kiosks and Union Station. There is also a K-9 team of police officers with dogs trained to detect such things as drugs, guns, and explosives. The Springfield police department has also invested in a $1 million Real-Time Analysis Center that is capable of monitoring live feeds from thousands of surveillance cameras installed throughout the Metro area including inside the MGM casino, Union Station, shops, and the parking garage.

Were You Arrested for Violating State Gaming Laws?

Capping and Pinching Bets

Capping a bet occurs when someone feels they have a strong hand and tries to sneak more money on the table while the game is still in Attorney For Casino Arrest in Springfield, MAprogress. Pinching a bet refers to the opposite – sneaking money off the table. Both are considered larceny which is a felony.

Money Laundering

Money laundering involves receiving money from a criminal act — whether it be extortion, drugs, or theft and turning around to use those funds in an effort to “wash” or “clean” the money. In a casino setting, money laundering occurs when someone buys a huge stack of chips, gambles, and then cashes out claiming that all the funds were from their winnings.

Using Counterfeit Chips

It is against the law to possess, use, or manufacture counterfeit chips, tokens, credits, or any other items of value.

Using a Cheating Device

It is illegal to use any device that can give you an advantage in a casino game, such as a counting device, probability analyzing application, or camera.

Theft of Gaming Credits

Taking another patron’s ticket and cashing it in before the victim notices it’s gone.

Failure to Repay Casino Marker

When you borrow money in a casino by signing a casino marker and fail to repay the debt, the state treats it as if you wrote a “bad check.”  The casino has the right to collect the debt from your bank account. If you have insufficient funds, the casino will attempt to get in touch with you about your debt. If you continue to ignore the debt, a warrant can be made for your arrest and you may be charged with a felony.

Loan Sharking

Loan sharking is a predatory lending practice in which an individual or organization (loan shark) loans money at extremely high-interest rates. Most loan sharks seek out borrowers who are financially desperate or who have been refused credit by banks. If a borrower can’t repay the debt, a loan shark may resort to threatening violence in an attempt to collect the money.

Casino-Related Crimes

Criminal activity often increases in urban neighborhoods that include a large-scale facilities such as a casino. A casino draws large crowds of people from all walks of life. The sheer amount of people confined in a gambling environment where money is changing hands and drinks are being served can prove to be a volatile mix. On a daily basis, the MGM Springfield welcomes over 150,000 visitors.

Listed below are some of the most common crimes that occur within the immediate vicinity of the facility:

Drug Crimes

Some drug dealers consider a casino to be a prime location for selling drugs. State and federal statutes prohibit the use, sale, manufacture, distribution, or trafficking of illegal substances such as cocaine, crack cocaine, heroin, ecstasy, marijuana, LSD, and unauthorized prescription medicine such as Percocet, Oxycontin, and Vicodin.

Penalties for a drug conviction can be harsh and may even include a mandatory minimum sentence. The severity of the punishment depends on the type and quantity of drug/s involved and whether the drugs are being sold or used for personal use.

Larceny/Theft Crimes

Patrons at a casino are carrying wallets and purses making them a prime target for pickpocketing. Massachusetts groups a wide range of theft crimes under a category known as larceny. Larceny can be charged as a felony or misdemeanor depending on the value of the alleged stolen property.

Stolen property that is valued at less than $250, is usually classified as petty larceny, which is a misdemeanor offense. Stolen property valued at more than $250 is classified as grand larceny, which is a felony. Auto theft or larceny of a motor vehicle is a very serious crime that carries a 1-year mandatory minimum jail sentence with the potential to serve up to 15 years.

Prostitution and Human Trafficking

Much like massage parlors, casinos can be a hotspot for prostitution and youth sex trafficking.  Potential clients are looking for a way to spend money and casinos are an attractive location.

Massachusetts criminalizes prostitution which is defined as the conduct of engaging, agreeing to engage, or offering to engage in sexual conduct for a fee. You can be charged with prostitution even if no money changed hands or no sexual conduct took place. Prostitution is a misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in the House of Corrections and/or a fine of $500. If the incident involves a minor, higher charges, and stricter legal penalties will be enforced.

Human trafficking is defined as holding or transporting people, often by use of force, fraud, or coercion, for commercial or sexual exploitation Springfield’s location on a major traffic route allows victims, as young as 14 to be transported to the casino by bus or truck.

Alcohol-Related Crimes

The MGM Amherst casino serves alcohol on the casino’s gaming floor until 4 a.m. Nearby bars and restaurants stop serving alcohol around 2 a.m. Access to alcohol at all hours of the day and night combined with the high stakes of gambling can lead to violent altercations, disorderly conduct, drunk driving, and other crimes.

Assault and Battery

When people get down on their luck, they often become irritated and may turn violent or aggressive. This aggression may be targeted at friends or family, casino staff or security, or random strangers. You can be charged with assault if you made an attempt or demonstrated the intention to use force against someone else. If you made deliberate physical contact with the person without their consent, you could be charged with assault and battery. If the alleged victim was injured, you could face more serious penalties.

What Our Clients Have Shared About Our Services
  • I retained Attorney Kokonowski to help with a magistrate hearing. Through the entire process he was incredibly helpful at putting my mind at ease. The outcome ended up being better than I could have hoped for. Things didn’t move to trial, there were no fines not even a court fee. Attorney Kokonowski’s legal prowess is second to none. He is a pleasure to work with even under these stressful circumstances. I felt confident in our chances with him at the helm. His fees are reasonable; beyond fair even, considering the caliber of representation he brings to the table. Working with Tom calls to mind a certain Robert Frost quote: “A jury consists of twelve persons chosen to decide who has the better lawyer.” You’d be doing yourself a disservice not having the best criminal defense lawyer around in your corner. Don’t take a chance hire Tom Kokonowski if you find yourself in need of a criminal defense lawyer.
    Patrick Connelly
  • Tom is professional, confident, down to earth

    I called Tom on a Saturday morning (he actually answered and talked to me for 30 minutes before I even hired him). I was frantically looking for a criminal defense attorney to guide me in the right direction. I had no experience with the court system and desperately needed guidance to protect my professional license. I hit the jackpot when I found him.

    Tom is professional, confident, down to earth, trustworthy and very easy to talk to. I always felt he had my best interests in mind. He explained the processes in detail, answered all questions, and allowed me to make informed decisions. In the end, Tom helped me get the best outcome possible and I am very grateful.

    Even though Tom is a fabulous attorney, his best assets are being a kind, decent, caring human being. I genuinely feel like he isn’t in it for the money. I hope to never need a defense attorney again, but if I did, it would be a no brainer. I wouldn’t think of hiring anyone else! A+++

  • Presented a polite but razor sharp defense

    Thomas Kokonowski saved me from a great deal of angst by getting two serious charges dropped due to insufficient evidence. He gently but incisively shredded the police report’s presentation of a traffic stop. The judge sided with him and found insufficient evidence for all but a low level moving violation. I would highly recommend him if you need any type of criminal defense. He handled my case with a clear grasp of the facts and a measure of grace which I think impressed the judge. I certainly am grateful I hired him to defend me.
  • Tom is a great lawyer. Got my case DISMISSED. When I found myself in a place where I needed a lawyer to keep my job and reputation I called Tom on a Sunday and then we had a meeting. I hired Tom because he was a straight shooter who knew what he was talking about. I thought that I was going to have to go to trial, but thanks to him my case was DISMISSED. Great guy, great lawyer!!!

  • He helped me on a DUI case last month and did a very good job representing me at the trial and got the charges overturned. I highly recommend.

  • Tom treated me right and never made me feel rushed. I felt like I was the most important thing going on each time we spoke. No nonsense. He’s not going to sugar coat but it’s clear he’s worth every damn penny. If you want the best, he’s the guy. If you want a smile, sunshine and rainbows… Keep going. He’s cocky and doesn’t mess around. I hope I never need his services again but if I do need any legal counsel he’s the first and last call I’ll make for a lawyer.

  • Attorney Kokonowski was consistently respectful and organized and communicated information effectively and quickly. He helped me understand all of my options and helped me successfully resolve my case.

  • At my hearing the Magistrate commented on my choice of representation, saying that I had “Chosen well” and that Tom was “One of the best” (Tom himself had told me this but hearing it from the Magistrate himself gave it a little more weight!). Tom presented a clear, professional, effective defense and in the end he gave me the best possible outcome by winning my hearing for me. He helped me through a scary learning experience, making it as painless as possible and I am relieved to have had him on my side.

  • I have worked with attorney Kokonowski for several years. He is a diligent attorney who consistently provides professional legal representation. Attorney Kokonowski is committed to his clients and their best interests.

  • I contacted Attorney Kokonowski in regards to a legal situation I was involved in and found him to be very knowledgeable & understanding of my situation he made me feel very relaxed and comfortable during this difficult time . I would highly recommend any one going thru any legal difficulties contact Attorney Kokonowski he is a true professional.

  • Attorney Kokonowski fought tooth and nail for me and got the case dismissed.I was asked out of the car I was in and searched. The police found heroin on me. Something didn’t seem right to me about the way the investigation was done. Attorney Kokonowski fought tooth and nail for me and got the case dismissed.

Thomas Kokonowski Law BLog
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