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Gambling King Now Dead. 2005-07-21
Thomas Venezia, who ran a gambling empire in the Metro East, until ousted by the federal government 10 years ago, was found dead Tuesday morning. He was found in his Belleville home along with his roommate, and girlfriend. Venezia, 64, was found in a recliner, with a bullet in his head and a pistol and suicide note by his side.
The body of his girlfriend Jennifer Anderson, 21, was found on the kitchen floor, shot with the same .38-caliber pistol. Police say Venezia shot Anderson then shot himself. There is the theory that this all occurred because Venezia was suffering from throat cancer.
Over six years, Venezia made up to $48 million by putting video poker, and slot machines at Illinois taverns, paying off winners illegally and splitting the profits with bar owners. His prison term was cut down to nine years from 15 after he testified against his business partner, and attorney Amiel Cueto.
Belleville Police Chief Terry Delaney, who had known Venezia, believes that the suicide was related to his illness. However, why the girlfriend was involved has not been clear. Investigations into this matter are surely to be underway soon.
(By Andrea)