People share 'pre-existing health condition' stories after House passes health care bill

Twitter users concerned about the bill passed the House to repeal and replace Obamacare are sharing their personal health stories on Twitter under the hashtag #IamaPreexistingCondition.

The hashtag started to trend hours after Republicans in the House narrowly pushed through the American Health Care Act, which would drastically remake health care in the U.S.

By midday Friday ET, it had trended worldwide with about 146,000 tweets so far.

Some celebrities joined in.

The posts are drawing attention to the wide range of people who could potentially face sharply higher insurance premiums if the AHCA, also dubbed Trumpcare, is passed by the Senate and signed by President Trump.

Under the House bill, insurers could not deny coverage to people with pre-existing health conditions. However, the bill would give states the option of seeking waivers to allow insurance companies to charge higher premiums to people who are sick or have a pre-existing condition.

To illustrate concerns over the bill, Twitter users shared pictures of themselves or family members naming their medical conditions.

ABC News’ Caterina Andreano contributed to this story.

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Ucraft announces a white-label website-builder solution

Ucraft announces a white-label website-builder solutionLos Angeles, CA, May 22: Ucraft, a subscription-based website builder and a BetConstruct investee, has just rolled out a White Label solution that is designed for all individuals and companies that want to venture into the website-building business.

Ucraft is a prominent website builder that enables users to create professional websites without any coding knowledge. With Ucraft’s success on both consumer and business market, the next logical step was the release of the White Label solution.

Ucraft’s White Label website builder gives all interested parties the opportunity to acquire an out-of-the-box solution and just add their own website templates. This business model is suitable for everyone looking to create websites either for clients or for their own projects. Pricing and plans will be decided by the buyer of the White Label software. This is a great offer for both businesses and individuals because it allows them to brand the solution with their own logo and colors.

This is a new market that Ucraft decided to conquer, which demonstrates that as a BetConstruct investee they are always proactive when it comes to strategy and ability to tackle competition.

To learn more, please follow the link:



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6 reasons why you can’t miss the Gaming in Holland conference & expo

The annual Gaming in Holland Conference & Expo is THE place to find out what is happening in the Dutch gaming market; and to meet with local and international executives, industry experts, and service providers.

Here are six more reasons why you can’t afford to miss this event:

6 Reasons Why You Can’t Miss the Gaming in Holland Conference & Expo1. Conference visitors will be among the very first to hear details of the secondary legislation accompanying the remote gaming bill under consideration by the Dutch Senate. Policy officials from the Ministry of Security and Justice will discuss current regulatory proposals (tech standards, responsible gaming, etc.), followed by a presentation of Gaming Authority CEO Marja Appelman on remote gaming licensing.

2. The Gaming in Holland Conference & Expo serves the entire gaming industry across all channels and product verticals and is of interest to the land-based, online, and lottery sectors. Representatives of various trade associations, including VAN, Speel Verantwoord, and the International Masters of Gaming Law, will both attend and contribute to the proceedings.

3. This year’s conference will feature a free Expo. Exhibitors include Novomatic, Ezugi, CDDN, JC Decaux, NMi, Leaseweb, and Screen Impact. There will also be an Affiliate Zone, where Dutch affiliates and operators may meet in anticipation of the opening of the Dutch market. Following the example of both ICE and EiG, there will also be opportunities to meet up at the Microgaming Bar. The Expo is free to attend for qualified gaming industry professionals. Sign up for the Expo here.

4. The Dutch casino market is currently undergoing a significant transition. State-owned Holland Casino is likely to be privatized in 2018. Hear all about the company’s vision for the future from Holland Casino CEO Erwin van Lambaart himself.

5. Stay informed of the latest facts & figures. According to H2 Gambling Capital, the Dutch iGaming market currently generates an estimated €250m in GGR annually. Around one million players wager online. Forty to fifty operators are expected to eventually enter the Dutch regulated online market. If you work for an operator in Legal, Compliance or Business Development, this event is a must.

6. The Gaming in Holland Conference & Expo is an ideal event for networking and connecting to local knowledge. With virtually all local and international Netherlands-focused industry professionals in one place, there will be almost endless networking opportunities during coffee breaks, lunches, as well as the official conference dinner.

Check out our full conference agenda and book your place before it is too late!

I look forward to seeing you in Amsterdam. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me:



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South Korean K-pop star jailed one year for gambling $3m online

south-korea-singer-jailed-online-gamblingA former K-pop singer has been sentenced to a year in South Korean prison for blowing over $3m on an illegal online gambling site and lying to the authorities investigating his activity.

On Monday, South Korea’s Yonhap news agency reported that the Seoul Southern District Court had sentenced Jung Jin Woo (pictured), a member of the pop group M2M who got his big break via an Idol-style television program, to one year in prison for illegal gambling.

Court documents indicate that the 32-year-old Jung was originally cautioned over his gambling activity way back in 2007, but the warning didn’t take. Jung was again caught gambling online in 2014, but he convinced his mother’s boyfriend to claim that he’d been the one gambling on Jung’s online account. Mom’s squeeze was eventually slapped with a KRW 1m (US $900) fine.

But Jung’s close call failed to dissuade him from continuing to gamble online, and he even acted as a promoter for the unidentified online sports betting site from August to September last year.

Eventually, the authorities closed in on Jung, who reportedly spent a whopping KRW 3.5b ($3.1m) in 1,500 separate transactions with the betting site over the years. Jung later told the authorities that he gambled online to make money to maintain the flash life of a celebrity that his fans had come to expect.

Jung eventually copped to his misdeeds, but in doing so, revealed the subterfuge involving his step-father. The court claimed this deception played a major role in Jung’s sentence. Worse, step-dad’s false confession earned him a sentence of two years of probation.

Jung isn’t the first South Korean celebrity to fall afoul of the country’s strict anti-gambling laws. Numerous K-pop stars, TV personalities and sports figures have all been forced to do the bow of shame after getting caught engaging in illegal gambling activity.

Incredibly, South Korea’s anti-gambling laws don’t even stop at the water’s edge. South Korean citizens are subject to prosecution even if they’re gambling in a jurisdiction in which such activity is completely above board, although prosecutions tend to be reserved for serious spenders, as leniency can be shown to those who gamble “just for momentary pleasure.”



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No Zika detected in Florida mosquitoes so far this year, officials say

With summer approaching, Florida health officials are taking steps to prevent another outbreak of the Zika virus. State and local officials have been monitoring for the virus in both humans, who could pick up the virus abroad, and in mosquitoes, which could transmit the illness to humans.

Officials from the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services said Thursday that no Zika virus has been detected in any mosquitoes tested this year. Since last year’s outbreak began, they have tested 90,000 individual mosquitoes which represent 6,500 mosquito pools. There is no longer an ongoing outbreak in Florida.

“As we enter into the warmer months, it’s especially important that Florida communities are equipped with the knowledge and resources they need for their Zika-related response efforts,” said Commissioner of Agriculture Adam H. Putnam said in a statement Thursday.

Last year, officials in southern Florida had to combat outbreaks of locally transmitted Zika virus in four areas in or near Miami. In 2016, a total of 1,118 people in Florida were diagnosed with the disease.

This year, there have been no outbreaks of locally transmitted Zika, although 33 people have been diagnosed with the disease in Florida after being infected outside the U.S. Zika virus usually causes mild symptoms in adults, but it has been linked to serious birth defects, including microcephaly and other brain defects, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The virus is spread primarily via the Aedes aegypti mosquito, which been called a “cockroach” mosquito for its ability to live indoors and reproduce even in tiny pools of water. Mosquitoes like the Aedes aegypti are the primary way the Zika virus is spread, although the disease can also be transmitted through sexual contact.

The Aedes aegypti mosquito has also been found to be resistant to pesticide spraying. Last year, after locally transmitted Zika was spread in Miami, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the initial mosquito-control measures were not effective.

“Aggressive mosquito-control measures don’t seem to be working as well as we would have liked,” now-former CDC Director Tom Frieden told reporters at the time.

Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious disease expert at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, said in an interview during the Zika outbreak last year that the Aedes aegypti mosquito is especially hard to combat for multiple reasons.

“There’s a history of Aedes being relatively resistant to conventional pesticide,” Schaffner told ABC News. “When we say they’re resistant that means the mosquito inherently can shrug off the pesticide.”

All outbreaks of locally transmitted Zika in Florida were declared over by last December, six months after the first outbreak was reported in July.

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With a revolutionary new approach in design, Spintec aims to have the most comfortable and ergonomic gaming terminal on the market

At G2E Asia, Spintec is presenting two product lines. Karma line, already proven in Macao and well-known for its compact solutions and a completely new product line Aura, which is perfect for multigame amphitheatre setups. Both product lines offer variety of games (Roulette, Sic Bo, Craps, Baccarat) in different setups with any technological solution (automated, virtual, live).

With a revolutionary new approach in design, Spintec aims to have the most comfortable and ergonomic gaming terminal on the marketEach year Spintec take an opportunity to have an Asian launch of new products at G2E Asia. After a successful introduction at ICE, a new product line Aura is presented for the first time in Asia. With a revolutionary new approach in design, Aura aims to have the most comfortable and ergonomic gaming terminal on the market. These gaming terminals are perfect for amphitheater setups, combining live, automated and virtual games in one multigame experience. “As part of a multigame solution, we can add a stand-alone multigame wall. This is a stand-alone display solution that can be put in any interior, independent from any back-wall on which monitors are usually installed. The multigame wall has already been installed at Perla Hit Casino in Slovenia with excellent feedback from the players and from the casino managers. Players can choose from different virtual dealers and enjoy different virtual games in a well-known HD quality,” explains Primoz Krsevan, Regional Sales Manager at Spintec.

Spintec’s core product line Karma consist of compact electronic table games solutions and is presented at G2E Asia with three products: automated Roulette, automated Sic Bo and Craps, stand-alone virtual playing station with wider monitor and multigame option for a player to choose between virtual Roulette, virtual Baccarat and virtual Sic Bo.

All products hold the known Spintec’s promise of longer gaming session gained through comfort of the player, proprietary technical solutions and psychological knowledge of the player.

Spintec is welcoming you at G2E Asia, booth #953.

A new product line Aura:

With a revolutionary new approach in design, Spintec aims to have the most comfortable and ergonomic gaming terminal on the market

Automated Sic Bo/Craps from product line Karma

With a revolutionary new approach in design, Spintec aims to have the most comfortable and ergonomic gaming terminal on the market



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Plainridge Park staff survey shows casino’s broad economic benefits

plainridge-park-casino-employee-surveyMassachusetts’ first casino’s revenue to date may be underwhelming but its impact on local employment has been a clear winner.

Penn National Gaming (PNG) opened its Plainridge Park Casino in June 2015 and while the slots-only venue hasn’t exactly set the world on fire with its ability to generate revenue, a new Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC) survey of casino staff shows how valuable the venue has been to their futures.

The MGC commissioned the survey to gauge the economic impact of Plainridge Park, the first of three commercial casinos and one (possibly two) tribal venue called for under the state’s gambling legislation. Given the survey’s findings, the MGC was understandably keen to promote the results.

The survey found that slightly over half (50.1%) of Plainridge Park’s new hires had been working only part-time or were unemployed before their new casino jobs. Over 86% of these new hires had no prior gaming experience before joining Plainridge Park.

Even more favorable, only 3.5% of Plainridge Park new hires had transferred from other PNG venues, and nearly 93% of new hires didn’t need to move house in order to commute to their new job. Of the 7% who did move, one-quarter relocated from within Massachusetts.

MGC chairman Steve Crosby recalled that a key motivator behind the legislature’s willingness to pass the state’s Gaming Act was to goose broad-based economic development, and Crosby said the survey was proof that this “legislative intent is being achieved.”

Given the negative narrative that usually surrounds gaming activity, it’s worth celebrating gaming’s obvious positive achievements. Plainridge Park’s launch also dispelled certain myths propagated by anti-gambling campaigners during the push to pass the Gaming Act, including the canard that casinos would boost crime rates or that state lottery sales would decline.

An unrelated survey by Applied Analysis on behalf of the Association of Gaming Equipment Manufacturers (AGEM) estimated that the average salary of the planet’s 55k gaming supplier industry employees was around $90k, significantly above the average salary in pretty much every jurisdiction except (possibly) the United Arab Emirates or the Vatican.

However, these 55k employees include not just rank-and-file staffers but also senior management, some of whom earn eight-figure annual pay packets, which tends to skew the individual average upward. Regardless, the survey estimates that the total economic output of the gaming supplier industry was $17.9b in 2016, up from $16.8b in 2015.



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Malaria patients number more than 1,000 in US hospitals each year

Malaria may seem like a disease from bygone days to many people in the United States.

But a new study published today in the American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene finds that, every year, more than a thousand patients are hospitalized in the U.S. for malaria infections — virtually all contracted in other countries — with some turning deadly.

While malaria used to be endemic in the U.S., the disease, which is usually spread through infected mosquitoes, was effectively eradicated in the states by the 1950’s, according to the study authors.

However, malaria is still a massive health problem worldwide with 212 million cases reported globally each year, causing approximately 429,000 deaths, according to the World Health Organization. People who travel outside the U.S. remain susceptible to the disease.

“The number of imported malaria cases has steadily increased in the United States,” the study authors wrote. “Similar to other countries that eliminated malaria, this increase has mostly occurred among returned travelers, as well as among foreign visitors and immigrants from malaria-endemic countries.”

Malaria is a parasitic disease primarily spread by mosquitoes to humans. Symptoms may appear vague at first including fever, chills and other flu-like symptoms. If untreated, the disease can be fatal. Those traveling to areas where the disease is endemic are at higher risk, though they can take prophylactic medication to reduce the chances of infection.

To understand how people in the U.S. are affected by malaria, researchers from various institutions including the University of California Los Angeles, Los Angeles County Department of Public Health and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) studied national patient data. They found an average of 1,469 annual hospitalizations for malaria in the U.S. between 2000 to 2014.

Researchers found that between 2000 to 2014 there were 22,029 total malaria-related hospitalizations; 4,823 of the cases were designated as “severe,” with 182 deaths reported. They used hospital discharge data from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Nationwide Inpatient Sample, which contains about 20 percent of hospital discharge records nationwide.

This group of malaria patients often required multiple days in the hospital. They spent 4.36 days, on average, with a mean bill of $25,789 for all hospitalizations. Men accounted for about 60 percent of these malaria cases and more than than half, 52.5 percent, were black. The highest number of cases — a combined 71 percent — were reported in the southern and northeast regions of the U.S.

The actual number of malaria cases may be higher, since some people may not come to the hospital for treatment. The authors estimate an average of 2,128 people may have malaria each year in the U.S.

High numbers of imported malaria increase the chance of a local outbreak, as well. Between 1957 and 2015 there have been “63 outbreaks of locally transmitted mosquito-borne malaria,” according to the CDC.

“There are elements of this that are perhaps surprising,” said Dr. William Schaffner, infectious disease expert at Vanderbilt University Medical School. “Over 22,000 admissions for malaria in hospitals in the U.S. … I wouldn’t have thought it was that large.”

Because many doctors learn about malaria in medical school, but rarely see live cases, Schaffner said, diagnosing the disease at an early stage can be difficult. Patients coming into the ER for treatment may be “the first case they’ve ever seen.”

And though few people contract malaria within the U.S., the study authors note that remains a challenge for treatment.

“Despite the reduction of malaria incidence in developing countries, malaria continues to be an important public health problem in the United States,” the authors said. “Despite its elimination in the early 1950s, and the disease burden remains substantial.”

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Online betting drives Kentucky Derby to new wagering record

kentucky-derby-online-wagering-recordRace bettors wagered a record amount on the 143rd annual Kentucky Derby thanks in large part to strong online wagering activity.

Lousy weather kept many fans away from the Churchill Downs racetrack this weekend, which culminated in betting favorite Always Dreaming winning the marquee race. The event attracted just over 158k spectators, the seventh largest figure in the race’s illustrious history.

Despite the reduced attendance, all-source wagering on Saturday’s races hit a new record of $209.2m, 8.6% higher than last year’s total and 9% better than 2015’s then-record $194.3m. Wagering on the actual marquee race was up 12% from last year and up 1% from 2015’s tally.

The disparity between on-site attendance and betting volume was mirrored for the broader Derby Week festivities, which saw attendance falling 7% from 2016 to 349k, while all-sources betting handle for Derby Week rose 7% to a new record $285.1m., the online advance deposit wagering site of Churchill Downs Incorporated (CDI), was a significant contributor to 2017’s record-setting performance. TwinSpire’s Derby Day racing handle improved 22% year-on-year to $32.8m, while online wagering on the marquee race was also up 22% to $20.1m.

Wagering interest and the bad weather undoubtedly contributed to NBC’s Saturday afternoon Derby coverage hitting the second-best overnight rating in the past 25 years. NBC enjoyed a 10.5 rating, 12% higher than 2016’s figure.

CDI CEO Bill Carstanjen offered “heartfelt thanks” to Kentucky Derby fans for making the 2017 event “an amazing spectacle, rain or shine.” Carstanjen told investors that the strong wagering activity would likely mean adjusted earnings of between $4m and $6m higher than the sum contributed by 2016’s Derby.

CDI’s recent Q1 2017 earnings report showed similarly opposite trajectories of its online and track-based wagering operations. While track-based revenue was down roughly 10% year-on-year, TwinSpires reported betting handle rising nearly 7% in the three months ending March 31.



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Prom: When the Pressure’s On

By Adrian Lam, 18, Staff Writer

May 5, 2017

With spring here and school nearing a close, it’s an exciting time of year. Promposals are popping up left and right, with creative posters, beautiful bouquets and flash mobs galore! But, there is a side of prom we don’t always talk about—also lingering in the air is the pressure to lose one’s virginity and have sex during prom weekend.

When I asked Billy*, 17, from Hillside, NJ, if he had felt this pressure before in his high school, he replied, “It high-key exists. Trust me and just ask around, I bet you’ll hear some wild stuff.”

And let’s be honest: we hear exaggerated stories all the time of teens getting “wasted” on prom weekend and unexpected hookups occurring left and right.

Why is there this pressure? While some teens believe prom is the last chance to lose their virginity before high school is over (basically the premise of American Pie), others feel as if they are obligated to have sex with the date who brought them to prom. (They’re not.) Still, other teens want to share their own exciting stories about what happened that weekend. Certainly, the media has played a large role it making it seem like prom is the “make it or break it” climax (pun intended) of four years of high school when it doesn’t have to be. In reality, there’s no way for us to know how many teens are actually having sex or “losing their virginity,” so teens should not feel pressured during prom.

Whether or not you plan to have sex during prom weekend is nobody’s business, and you have the right to make your own fully informed decision. Bottom line: Be yourself and only have sex when you and your partner both agree that you’re ready.

If you’re not ready, it’s OK to say no. Sex is not a life-changing experience that will make you a different person. You won’t level up and evolve. It’s not a race, so make sure you are physically and emotionally prepared before you make your decision. (And, of course, to avoid a pregnancy and STDs, don’t forget to practice safer sex when you decide the time is right!)

Finally, if I could offer any advice to you as a soon-to-be graduate, it would be to make the most of these last couple of weeks of high school. There are a lot of ways to have a memorable, fun experience at prom, from eating delicious food to talking to your friends to dabbing whenever the opportunities arise!

*Billy is a pseudonym.

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