Federal authorities have been undergoing a long investigation into illegal gambling that has been going on in North Carolina. They have already arrested over two dozen people in the operation.

That investigation may soon get a boost from some of the people that were involved in the initial arrests. Four men were sentenced for their part in the gambling scheme. The judge, laid out the details of sentences ranging from one year to six years.

U.S. District Court Judge Thomas Selby Ellis also gave the four men that were sentenced an option. He promised them reduced sentences if they would volunteer information in the ongoing investigation.

Their arrests stem from their ties to Henderson Amusements Inc., the company who was at the center of the illegal gambling operation. The company was said to have been running the operation for seven years. Over $14 million was made in that time.

There was also $114,000 accounted for in bribes that were paid to law enforcement officials. Harold Steve Hartness, Jerry Pennington, and brothers Barron Sloan and James Otis Henderson, were the four men sentenced on Wednesday.

I have seriously damaged this community by undermining its confidence in law enforcement,” said Pennington in court.

Casino Smoking Ban Debate Pushed To Next Week by Iowa House

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A Bill has been proposed that would amend the current smoking laws in Iowa. Casinos and Veterans organization private events are considered the main beneficiaries to the amendment.

In Iowa, they are taking a similar approach to public smoking as many other states, banning the harmful activity inside public areas. There is a fifty foot area outside of public establishments where smoking would be banned.

An amendment to the current Bill on the table, however, would ease that restriction to only ten feet outside the establishments. There is strong support to stop smoking at public places in Iowa.

“It’s not something that’s being done against the will of the majority of the public,” said Kevin McCarthy, the House Majority Leader. He claims that there is evidence that four out of five people in Iowa have shown support of the ban.

The key for the gambling industry comes in the amendment to the Bill. Casinos and Veterans organization functions would be exempt to the new smoking laws. Those establishments would not be required to go smoke free.

The ban is catching the usual opposition from restaurant owners who are worried about the decrease in business that the ban would bring. They hide that fear behind the idea that business owners should have the right to chose whether or not they allow smoking in their establishments.

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