Professor Tim Davis talks to Yahoo! Sports about the fall of Jeff Rubin, former financial adviser to NFL players
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September 6, 2012
DOTHAN, Ala. – Premium parking was easy to find on a hot, muggy day in late May at Center Stage bingo casino. In a sea of almost a thousand parking spaces, just 52 cars sat in the lot.
Inside, the view was drearier. Electronic bingo games were played on silent computer monitors, giving the casino all the excitement of a doctor’s waiting room. The adjoining restaurant was an empty, out-of-business shell. The places where a high-end bar and a club were originally supposed to be were either locked up or cast in shadows.
Part of the bingo hall was partitioned with an odd black wall featuring flecks of light shimmering through. On closer inspection, the “wall” was actually a bunch of spray-painted plywood sheets patched together.
Customers wore T-shirts and paint-splattered jeans, and the Southern drawl of the man talking over the PA system made the room like a scene from a Jeff Foxworthy routine.
Yet for a group of 35 current and former NFL players, Center Stage is no joke. Raided by Alabama state authorities in July and stripped of its “illegal” bingo computer monitors, the casino is now down to hosting paper bingo – the final shred of economic life in a business that’s part of a bankruptcy filing including $68 million in losses, including as much as $43.6 million from NFL players.
Even with the bingo hall’s adjoining amphitheater, bed-and-breakfast and RV parking lot on the property, the question that plays on a loop is simple: Where did all the money go?