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Welfare recipients withdrew $1.8 million from casino ATMs

California welfare recipients withdrew more than $1.8 million in taxpayer cash on casino floors between October 2009 and May 2010, state officials said Thursday.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger also issued an executive order Thursday requiring welfare recipients to sign a pledge that they will use their cash benefits only to “meet the basic subsistence needs” of their families. It gave the state Department of Social Services seven days to produce a plan to reduce other types of “waste, fraud and abuse” in the welfare program.

The moves come in response to a Los Angeles Times story describing how Department of Social Services officials failed to notice that the debit cards they issue to welfare recipients could be used at more than half of the tribal casinos and state-licensed poker rooms in California.

--Jack Dolan in Sacramento

Comments () | Archives (80)

I have to agree with the person that said that elderly people blowing their social security in casinos is also a problem. My husband's grandmother came here recently from Korea, she has never worked a day in her life, not here or Korea. Yet she habitually goes to local casinos to spend her social security check on gambling since the check is like fun-money to her as other family members have more than enough money to support her. She is by far not the only elderly like this that I know of.

arnold, i'll sign a "pleadge" not to give the state of ca any of my hard earned dollars.

I bet it's way more than $1.8m. No way the state would have that number so quickly so soon after the LAT exposé.

Yeah, as others said, I'm sure that pledge will work. They were already obliged the minute they went on welfare only to use the money for food and clothes.

Why are we giving cash? Why are we giving anything out at all? Let the charities do that. Whenever government gets involved in welfare, there is always going to be fraud and corruption because no one is held accountable.

I pledge that the check is in the mail. I pledge that I will respect you in the morning. Oh yes, I also pledge not to use my EBT card at a casino.

No more of my hard-earned tax money to these losers--and I don't just mean that we should cut off these casino cheats, I mean no more tax money to any of these lazy, shiftless parasites.....PERIOD! They want money, let them go out and earn it. Enough already. End welfare. Deport illegals. Protect hard-working, decent folk.

Sign a pledge...WHAT A JOKE!!!

How about restrict where they can take money and use the card. I know for a FACT it can be done.

Stop the fast food places too from taking EBT while you are at it.

@east coast reader
We would have been okay, but that fool from Texas and that creature of VP ran this great country to the ground.
Whoever votes Republican ought to have his head examined.

It amazing what money does to people!.. What they should do is have the card only pay out in food and nothing more and have the money give to the landlord in a direct deposit this way if they need more money then they need to get off thier behinds and get a career and get to WORK!.. But I think Denney's is highering!...

@ Naz; Abraham Lincoln is quoted as saying, mind the pennies and the dollars will take care of themselves. It's precisely your attitude that has brought about some of our current woes -- that 'this little bit' won't matter. Well, it matters to me; especially when I paid nearly 20% of my income just last year alone to various entities of the state (income tax, property tax, gasoline tax, local tax, utilities' taxes, etc.) It really pisses me off when people say that money doesn't matter -- well, then GIVE IT BACK.


Let me understand this: THEY (AKA sponges, leeches, etc.) can use their EBT cards to GAMBLE....and yet MY child doesn't have a bus to ride to school? The HS is almost six miles from home!

FAR too many government "leaders" are giving away the store and promoting an EVIL socialistic welfare program!

WHY should those sluggards work when they can simply reproduce sans any thought as to HOW they're going to support themselves and their numerous offspring?

Mind you, I don't mind welfare for those who are truly deserving of it and those who only use it to get out of the depths of poverty, BUT when those IDIOTS are spending OUR tax dollars on TOTALLY unnecessary entertainment, that is wake-up call to the "powers-that-be" to actually DO the job they are paid to do and to get rid of this absurdity!!

hey JOE, only republicans need their head examined? how about: nancy, zev, gloria, tony v, etc, etc?

Advocates equals welfare fraud and abuse. They come up with all kind of brainless reasons why these poor recipients are entitled to everything. Cash Aid and Food Stamp applicants are required to be fingerprinted. This said requirement is used to deter fraud. However, the advocates are now claiming that this requirement discourage people from applying for the aforementioned benefits as they are afraid to do so. Furthermore, they want to get rid of this requirement.

A fraud investigator is not allowed to display his badge in the office while interviewing a recipient because, according to the advocates, this frightens the recipients and discourage them from applying for benefits or coming into the office. The only reason why a recipient will see a fraud investigator is because he/she is allegedly committing fraud. If you are meeting all your reporting requirements, there will be no such interview. Give me a break! We are creating a generations that demands rights but wants no responsibilities.

We are not empowering these people to be self-sufficient and responsible adults. Poverty is not an illness is a mental state.



"executive order Thursday requiring welfare recipients to sign a pledge that they will use their cash benefits only to “meet the basic subsistence needs”

oh dang, I bet they are worried now!!! I bet they are shaking in their boots over this! How about CUTTING THEM ALL OFF WHEN THIS HAPPENS! NO MORE WELFARE SEEMS TO BE A BETTER SOLUTION

SO, let me get this right-Calif isnt enforcing immigration laws, they are gonna legalize marijuana (in violation of Fed Laws), and now you are not enfocing Fruad laws on this-why do you even bother making laws in CA if you do not intend to enforce them? Think of all the people you don't need! Prisons, Police, Law makers in Sacramento, Lawyers, Judges-BUDGET PROBLEMS SOLVED

The whole damned system is a fraud. Many of these people are illegals and a majority of all of the recipients claim their husbands left them and the kids, when in fact they are living in the same household. The verification of these so called poor people situations is non-existant. They use the money for drugs, and now gambling. Cut them all off, and deport the illegals,.

Gambling at casinos is a lost bet. It's an entertainment dollar for those who can afford it and it's an addiction for those who can't -- like those on welfare. Most likely, a welfare recipient that draws money from the casino ATM to feed the gambling habit will only continue to find ways around any system. Meanwhile, this behavior could be used to flag the recipient for an intervention before the usual escalation to crimes of theft and embezzlement.

Considering how much California's budget hole is....$1.8 million is utter chump change. Leave the welfare recipients alone...

California is dealing with what? $30 BILLION in debts? That is FIFTEEN THOUSAND TIMES the scope of this $1.8 million problem. This is about $200,000 per month in taxpayer money spent over a nine-months by desperate welfare folks in casinos. Since California has 34 million people this works out to ONE-HALF OF ONE CENT from every person in California PER MONTH!!! Why are we wasting time with this drivel when a reasonable rate of taxation on the rich would be a better approach?
Repealing the idiotic Proposition 13 would get a lot more done for the state than scraping at the bottom of the barrel like this.

Now pardon me while I go out to the sidewalk and find a penny to cover my personal share of this "welfare" problem for the next two months.

C. Moon - "...we could easily identify social security checks by these seniors being used for gambling...
Please don't confuse a senior who paid into the social security system with a welfare recipient or someone receiving social security benefits who did not pay into the retirement system. A retired senior who paid into the system his or her entire working life can spend his retirement earnings any way he or she pleases. They earned the right (and the dollars) to do so.

its really difficult sometimes.. because lets say i work from 16-36, get in a car accident, and then can no longer work and have to get state assistance or federal assistance, what happen to my tax dollars for all the years i worked and now all of a sudden cant.

i know there is disability (SSDI) that requires certain things like years emmployed in order to qualify and lets say i meet those guidelines and get approved, so if i decided to take that money and spend it on drugs and alcohol its your business??? i dont think so, i worked for it and its my rights!

i know in this situation its a little different because its welfare, and each state maintains there on welfare program and there are no previous work requirements to obtain benefits. but in this country its something that people are allowed to receive and if they qualify then who are we to tell them how to live.

im just saying we have to step back and think about the message that is being sent if we tell a person how they may live.

Hmm $1.8 dollars, that seems like a drop in the ocean of the "welfare" given out to the mega corporations.

The best part is that taxpayers in the other 49 states are paying for it, too, b/c the Fed Gubmint has been bailing out CA for years.
Oh wait, only 4 states were able to balance budgets this year...So that means that those 4 are bailing out the other 46. Can you say "Greece"?

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they should target the atm machine with a feed back worm through paper trail other than that to compleately stop the use of the dollar or food card at casinos would be wrong and bias predjust even though im against indian rights of fishing cultures due to there wide spread abuse of the situation theyve hurt the eco system as well but to say they cant use there card at the casino is wrong if there purchase ing food or goods that cost money to live such as tissue laundry soap etc but to atm there card should be eaten and they have to re apply and verbally explaine the situation i live on a tight budget as well and it discrimination if a person spends 2 dollars out there seperate living money or a birthday gift n they win to be penelized by buroucacy beyound the norm would be wrong also not to give that person gratification of freedome

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