Friday, May 16, 2008

Charles Barkley's Gambling Debt Is Not a Problem

Barkley to Pay $400,000 Gambling Debt
By KEN RITTER,
AP
Posted: 2008-05-15 19:41:15
LAS VEGAS (May 15) - Charles Barkley acknowledged he owes a $400,000 gambling debt to a Las Vegas Strip casino and promised Thursday to repay it after a prosecutor said the retired NBA star faced criminal charges.

"My mistake," Barkley said in an interview at a pro-am golf tournament in Hoover, Ala. "I'm not broke, and I'm going to take care of it."

Barkley was responding to comments by Clark County District Attorney David Roger, who said prosecutors would file a criminal complaint if he did not pay the debt cited by the Wynn Las Vegas resort.

"He'll have an opportunity like anybody else to make restitution to the hotel," Roger said.

The casino alleged in a civil complaint filed Wednesday in a Nevada state court and first reported by the Las Vegas Sun that Barkley failed to repay four $100,000 casino markers, or loans, received last Oct. 18 and 19.

"To date, and despite repeated demands, Barkley has refused to repay the $400,000," the complaint said.

In a radio interview with sports station WJOX in Birmingham, Ala., Barkley repeatedly blamed himself for letting the debt lapse.He told radio interviewers and a reporter at the golf tournament that the debt stemmed from a wager on the 2008 Super Bowl. He did not explain why Wynn alleged the loans were made in October.

"I've been gambling 20 years. I've never had this happen before," the 45-year-old Barkley told WJOX. "It's my fault I let the time lapse. I screwed up."Barkley, now a basketball analyst for Turner Network Television, denied any personal financial problems, and said the casino didn't call him before filing the complaint."All they had to do is call and say, 'Hey, you owe us this money,'" he said.

A Wynn Las Vegas spokeswoman did not immediately respond to Barkley's comments. A hotel official earlier declined comment on the court case, citing ongoing litigation.

Barkley could be granted up to six months to pay if he agrees to the standard district attorney's office restitution program, bad check unit chief Bernie Zadrowski said. He would be responsible for the $400,000 plus a 10 percent program fee totaling $40,000.

Roger said that if the case remains unresolved, as many as four felony theft or four felony bad check charges could be filed. The possible penalty for each theft conviction is one to 10 years in state prison. A conviction on a felony bad check charge could carry a one- to four-year term.

Barkley played 16 NBA seasons for the Philadelphia 76ers, Phoenix Suns and Houston Rockets. He was named league MVP in 1993 and was an 11-time NBA All-Star. Barkley also played on the USA Olympic "Dream Team" in 1992 and 1996.

Barkley has made no secret of his gambling over the years. He estimated during a May 2006 interview with ESPN that he'd gambled away about $10 million over the years."Do I have a gambling problem? Yeah, I do have a gambling problem," Barkley said. "But I don't consider it a problem because I can afford to gamble."

He said he never bet on basketball, and only bet in casinos. He called it a bad habit, but said he intended to continue.

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. The information contained in the AP news report may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or otherwise distributed without the prior written authority of The Associated Press. All active hyperlinks have been inserted by AOL.
2008-05-15 13:25:54

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Editorial Reviews of All or Nothing

New York Times--". . . a cartographer of autodegradation . . . Like Dostoyevsky, Allen colorfully evokes the gambling milieu — the chained (mis)fortunes of the players, their vanities and grotesqueries, their quasi-philosophical ruminations on chance. Like Burroughs, he is a dispassionate chronicler of the addict’s daily ritual, neither glorifying nor vilifying the matter at hand."

Florida Book Review--". . . Allen examines the flaming abyss compulsive gambling burns in its victims’ guts, self-esteem and bank accounts, the desperate, myopic immediacy it incites, the self-destructive need it feeds on, the families and relationships it destroys. For with gamblers, it really is all or nothing. Usually nothing. Take it from a reviewer who’s been there. Allen is right on the money here."

Foreword Magazine--"Not shame, not assault, not even murder is enough reason to stop. Allen’s second novel, All or Nothing, is funny, relentless, haunting, and highly readable. P’s inner dialogues illuminate the grubby tragedy of addiction, and his actions speak for the train wreck that is gambling."

Library Journal--"Told without preaching or moralizing, the facts of P's life express volumes on the destructive power of gambling. This is strongly recommended and deserves a wide audience; an excellent choice for book discussion groups."—Lisa Rohrbaugh, East Palestine Memorial P.L., OH

LEXIS-NEXIS--"By day, P drives a school bus in Miami. But his vocation? He's a gambler who craves every opportunity to steal a few hours to play the numbers, the lottery, at the Indian casinos. Allen has a narrative voice as compelling as feeding the slots is to P." Betsy Willeford is a Miami-based freelance book reviewer. November 4, 2007

Publisher’s Weekly--"Allen’s dark and insightful novel depicts narrator P’s sobering descent into his gambling addiction . . . The well-written novel takes the reader on a chaotic ride as P chases, finds and loses fast, easy money. Allen (Churchboys and Other Sinners) reveals how addiction annihilates its victims and shows that winning isn’t always so different from losing."

Kirkus Review--"We gamble to gamble. We play to play. We don't play to win." Right there, P, desperado narrator of this crash-'n'-burn novella, sums up the madness. A black man in Miami, P has graduated from youthful nonchalance (a '79 Buick Electra 225) to married-with-a-kid pseudo-stability, driving a school bus in the shadow of the Biltmore. He lives large enough to afford two wide-screen TVs, but the wife wants more. Or so he rationalizes, as he hits the open-all-night Indian casinos, "controlling" his jones with a daily ATM maximum of $1,000. Low enough to rob the family piggy bank for slot-machine fodder, he sinks yet further, praying that his allergic 11-year-old eat forbidden strawberries—which will send him into a coma, from which he'll emerge with the winning formula for Cash 3 (the kid's supposedly psychic when he's sick). All street smarts and inside skinny, the book gives readers a contact high that zooms to full rush when P scores $160,000 on one lucky machine ("God is the God of Ping-ping," he exults, as the coins flood out). The loot's enough to make the small-timer turn pro, as he heads, flush, to Vegas to cash in. But in Sin City, karmic payback awaits. Swanky hookers, underworld "professors" deeply schooled in sure-fire systems to beat the house, manic trips to the CashMyCheck store for funds to fuel the ferocious need—Allen's brilliant at conveying the hothouse atmosphere of hell-bent gaming. Fun time in the Inferno.

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Bio


Preston L. Allen is the recipient of a State of Florida Individual Artist Fellowship in Literature and the Sonja H. Stone Prize in Fiction for his short story collection Churchboys and Other Sinners (Carolina Wren Press 2003). His works have appeared in numerous publications including The Seattle Review, The Crab Orchard Review, Asili, Drum Voices, and Gulfstream Magazine; and he has been anthologized in Here We Are: An Anthology of South Florida Writers, Brown Sugar: A Collection of Erotic Black Fiction, Miami Noir, and the forthcoming Las Vegas Noir. His fourth novel, All Or Nothing, chronicles the life of a small-time gambler who finally hits it big. Preston Allen teaches English and Creative Writing in Miami, Florida.