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Conn. casinos employ hardball tactic to collect debts

Mohegan Sun, which wants to build a Massachusetts casino, uses liens as a collection tactic.
Mohegan Sun, which wants to build a Massachusetts casino, uses liens as a collection tactic.Credit: TROY WAYRYNEN/THE COLUMBIAN VIA AP

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REVERE — In 2006, years before Mohegan Sun arranged to lease 42 acres for a casino hotel proposal at Suffolk Downs, the company went after a much humbler piece of real estate in the neighborhood, the home of an elderly man who had gambled beyond his means.

Mohegan Sun won a court judgment to place a lien on 45 Clark Rd., a white cape owned in part by Louis H. Cutler, an 80-year-old retiree who failed to repay $36,000 the casino had lent him for gambling.

Foxwoods, too, put a lien on Cutler’s house, in 2007, seeking repayment of $30,600 in gambling credit, plus interest and fees.

Not only is the collection tactic uncommonly aggressive — a number of industry specialists said they had never before heard of casinos using it – but the liens raise questions about whether the businesses allow gamblers to extend themselves too far.

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