State Senator Frank Padavan


Senator: Poker Machines Probably Illegal, Definitely Deceitful

Senator Frank Padavan, (R-C, Bellerose), today sent a letter to Nancy Palumbo, Director of the New York State Lottery Division, demanding that video poker machines be withdrawn from Saratoga Gaming and Raceway and any other video lottery casinos. The Senator would also like the Lottery Division to prevent them from being installed at any future VLT parlors.

"Video poker machines require a player to use skills to increase the chances of a payout and are clearly illegal in New York State. These machines apparently make payouts based on total percentages of prizes awarded, regardless of a player's level of skill," Senator Padavan said. "So either the Lottery and VLT vendors are in violation of the law, or they are perpetrating a giant fraud on the people dumping their money into these machines."

According to recent news reports, the video poker machines are amongst the most popular machines at the Saratoga Gaming and Raceway. The poker machines are based on five-card draw poker, in which the bettor gets to first see the cards dealt and then picks which ones to hold before taking a second spin. This implies that the gambler actually can affect the outcome of the game through skill. If the game relies on the gambler to use some level of skill, it is considered a video poker machine and is therefore illegal.

"Either the game is illegal because skill is involved, or they're just letting the poor saps putting money into the machines think skill is involved," Senator Padavan. "Even for the standards of the Lottery, this practice is shameful and they should remove these machines immediately."

Attached is a copy of the letter from Senator Padavan to Nancy Palumbo, Director, New York State Division of the Lottery.


Director Palumbo:

It has come to my attention that the Lottery Division is offering so-called "match card poker" games through some of its video lottery terminals. Either these games constitute video poker machines, which are prohibited by law, or they are a fraud on the public that is both large and shameful even by the standards of the Lottery Division.

Assuming that they are not video poker machines, the fraud is obvious: these games encourage the player to draw the inference that there is skill involved in, for example, the selection of cards. However, again assuming that the games are not illegal video poker machines, there is no skill involved.

These games appear to represent a monumental deception. I am writing to demand that you withdraw all video poker terminals currently in operation.

As the Lottery Division is well aware, the New York Council on Problem Gambling has reported high rates of problem gambling among New Yorkers; anecdotal evidence suggests that video lottery terminals are particularly addictive. Deceiving members of a vulnerable population into believing that they have any control over the outcome of these games is an especially odious practice.

I await your reply.


Frank Padavan





Would Require Parental Consent for Body Piercing

The State Senate passed legislation Monday sponsored by Senator Frank Padavan (R-C, Bellerose), that would require parental consent for the piercing and branding of minors, and prohibit the piercing, tattooing, and branding of those under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

"Most medical procedures require parental consent or notification, yet for some reason the Assembly won't pass this bill, when clearly the risks associated with piercing and tattooing are of legitimate concern," Senator Padavan said. "This bill enjoys support from the medical community and many people who earn their living as practitioners of piercing and tattooing."

"This bill is needed now more than ever. With the growing popularity of different types of piercing, infections will only become more commonplace. This week, the Journal of the American Medical Association contained an article about the links between hard cartilage piercing and greater risks of infection," Senator Padavan said. "It's time to give parents the tools to help their children make informed decisions with regard to altering their bodies."

This legislation would make the piercing or branding (excluding ear piercing) of children under 18 a Class B misdemeanor. Exceptions would be made for emancipated minors, minors with parental consent, and religious rituals. Current law only makes the tattooing of minors a crime, but does not address piercing.

Additionally, this bill would make it a crime to tattoo, brand, or pierce any individual under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Existing law does not address this issue.

Nineteen other states along with several counties throughout New York State have already enacted their own laws regulating piercing, branding, and tattooing. This bill would provide a state standard regulating body art for minors and intoxicated individuals.

"Municipalities around the State have implemented their own policy regarding parental consent for body piercing and tattooing," Senator Padavan said. "This legislation brings conformity to the law and clears up any confusion resulting from differences in local policies."

This is the fourth time the legislation has passed the Senate. Assemblyman Anthony Seminerio has introduced the bill in the assembly where it awaits further action.

"I would urge anyone concerned about protecting children to contact their Assembly-member and ask them to support this bill," Senator Padavan said.

--Padavan-- 03/02/04


Senator Frank Padavan visited the Bayside YMCA’s preschool program on Thursday, October 9th, where students and staff thanked the Senator for voting to restore pre kindergarten funding in this year’s state budget. Programs like the one at the Bayside Y rely on the funding to provide preschool programs.

Pictured in back row are teacher Ana Brundige, Program Director Lisa Mintz, Senator Padavan holding a card presented to him by the students, Executive Director Joseph Min, and teacher Jamie Kim. Also pictured are students who take part in the YMCAs preschool program.

Students pictured are Andrew A., Jawada, Jade B., John C., Hannah H., Matthew H., Darian K., Aaron K., Anthony L., Andy L., Eric L., Dantela N., Helaman S., Vivian S., and Belinda W..



Padavan, McLaughlin and Liu in discussions come to agreement with Chancellor Klein

Senator Frank Padavan, (R-C, Bellerose), Assemblyman Brian McLaughlin, (D, Flushing), and Councilman John Liu (D-L, Flushing), joined in discussions with Schools Chancellor Joel Klein, aimed at maintaining pre-kindergarten programs run by Community Based Organizations, (CBOs) throughout the City.

In the past, when school districts were not able to logistically offer pre-k programs, CBOs provided the service. There was some question as to whether this would continue under the restructuring of the City school system this year. After discussions with the Senator, Assemblyman and Councilman, the Chancellor announced that CBOs would be allowed to continue offering pre-k programs in districts where they had previously provided the service.

"This is a win win situation. It gives the Department of Education a viable way to offer pre-kindergarten programs to the most students, and more importantly, it allows quality programs in districts throughout the City to continue," Senator Padavan said. "Assemblyman McLaughlin, Councilman Liu and I all realized the importance of continuing these programs and we approached these discussions in a bipartisan way. This isn’t about politics, it’s about getting the most kids into the best pre-k programs possible."

"All the research shows that early childhood development, including pre-k programs, will increase educational performance for students later in life and cut down on the need for remediation," Senator Padavan said. "The importance of these programs cannot be overstated. I’m happy we were able to resolve this situation prior to the beginning of the school year so that programs aren’t disrupted."

"As we move forward with the restructuring of the school system, the need for discussions between those of us at various levels of government, and the Chancellor and Mayor Bloomberg will continue to be necessary about different issues that come up," Senator Padavan said. "I’m happy that the Mayor and Chancellor are moving forward in a spirit of cooperation and have opened channels of communication."

--Padavan-- 08/14/03