December 12, 2023 3 min read


Gambling-Related Crime in the US: December 12, 2023

Crimes tied to gambling venues and related matters have washed over the US this week, with the most prominent cases described below

Police departments across the United States have reported a number of recent gambling-related crimes, ranging from the puncturing of the tires of cars at a casino parking lot to illegal gambling operations. In the meantime, two extorters were convicted and face decades in prison

A California Man Damaged the Tires of 35 Cars

In California, a man was arrested for puncturing the tires of cars at or around the Table Mountain Casino parking lot. Identified as Matthew Ebner, 53, the man has damaged 35 cars over the course of a month, local news outlets say.

Ebner used homemade metal spikes to damage the vehicles, causing thousands of dollars in damages. The perpetrator was eventually spotted by police officers who later searched his home and discovered a number of metal spikes.

As it turns out, Ebner had a dispute with the casino, which may have prompted his act of vandalism. The man was released after a short stay in arrest and the matter has been handed to the local prosecution.

A Man Stole a Car from the Spokane Tribe Casino Parking Lot

Speaking of cars, a man just stole a car from the Spokane Tribe Casino in Washington and later crashed in the vicinity of the property. While the culprit’s name was not disclosed, he was eventually apprehended near the Airway Heights Police Department while trying to escape from the police.

Local officers learned that the suspect already had a warrant for his arrest because of a previous incident. The crashed vehicle was later recovered from Highway 2 near South Hayford Road.

Two Extorters Face Years in Prison

In Brooklyn, New York, a federal jury convicted Anthony Romanello of extortionate collection of credit and conspiracy to commit the same in connection with a gambling debt. Joseph Celso was also convicted of conspiracy to commit extortionate collection of credit. The two men face up to 40 and 20 years in prison, respectively.

For reference, the two men and co-defendant Luan Bexheti conspired to use extortionate means to collect an unpaid gambling debt owed by John Doe #2 from his brother, John Doe #1. As a result, the latter was confronted in a restaurant in Manhattan and punched in the face by Romanello after promising to only pay a portion of the money. On the following day, Celso warned John Doe #2 that “things could get ugly” if the debt is not paid.

An Illegal Casino in California Was Busted

In the meantime, the Stockton police in California raided an illegal casino on Friday, arresting seven suspects in the aftermath of the operation. The casino was operated in a local residence’s garage where officers found a number of casino machines and four firearms.

Tracy Harbutte, who operated the property, was charged with operating and illegal gambling establishment and animal cruelty.


Although Fiona doesn't have a long-spanning background within the gambling industry, she is an incredibly skilled journalist who has built a strong interest in the constantly growing iGaming network. The team at is glad to have her on our roster to help deliver the best stories as soon as they hit. Aside from writing, she loves to dabble in online casino games such as slots and roulette, both for her own enjoyment and also as research to better improve her understanding of the industry.

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