Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley Monday asked state regulators to prevent casinos from placing liens on the homes of people with unpaid gambling debts. The request was made after a weekend article exposing the practice.
“Protecting against predatory lending and overly aggressive debt collection in the gaming industry is critical, because the odds are stacked against the patron being able to earn back the value of the loan,” Coakley wrote in a letter to the Massachusetts Gaming Commission.
The Boston Globe Sunday ran a piece that detailed the practice by Connecticut casinos Mohegan Sun and Foxwoods of placing liens on homes of patrons who owed the casinos money advanced for gambling.
The article noted that casino industry specialists said it is unusual for a gambling business to employ property liens as a debt collection tactic.
But Mohegan Sun officials defended the practice in the piece. “Over time it is expected that debts would be collected, as they would be at Lowe’s or Sears or anything along those lines,” Mohegan Sun CEO Mitchell Etess told The Boston Herald.
Current Massachusetts gaming regulations do not cover credit extended to gamblers or the collection of that debt.