Canadian priest accused of gambling away $380,000 meant for refugees

According to reports in the Canadian media, an Ontario-based Catholic priest is under investigation on suspicion of gambling away funds that had been set aside to provide for refugees newly settled in Canada.

Father Amer Saka, a priest at the St. Joseph Chaldean Catholic Church in London, Ontario, is suspected to have lost roughly a half-million Canadian dollars (equivalent to $380,000 U.S.) that had been entrusted to him by local families keen on sponsoring new arrivals from the Middle East.

Saka phoned the church’s bishop, Emanuel Shaleta, last month to reportedly confess that the funds were lost.

“He called me on the phone and . . . said he lost all the money. I said, ‘How?’ He said, ‘Gambling,’ ” Shaleta told the Toronto Star this weekend. He has since checked the priest into an addiction center. Investigators are examining the situation, though no formal charges have been filed.

Read more at the Washington Post…

Gamblers lose $6 for every $1 Florida gets, Rep. Van Zant says

While the Senate signaled its gambling bills were all but dead this year, they’ve stayed on life support in the House. But one lawmaker wanted his fellow representatives to remember gaming revenues come at a high price.

Rep. Charles Van Zant, R-Keystone Heights, said lawmakers should remember that all gaming revenue is money someone has lost.

“Every time you lose a dollar at gaming, there’s six more dollars that are lost,” Van Zant said during a Feb. 29, 2016, meeting of the House Finance and Tax Committee. “For every time the state gets paid a dollar in taxes, somebody loses $6, is another way of saying that.”

Van Zant was speaking against HB 7109, a wide-ranging gaming bill that in part allowed for the ratification of the contentious gaming compact the Seminole Tribe of Florida negotiated with Gov. Rick Scott in 2015. The bill also included all sorts of provisions for pari-mutuels, licenses and permits, care of racing greyhounds, and more.

Read more at Politifact…