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Allan Levine combines his ability as a historian with his talent as a novelist in his latest book

Allan Levine & cover of his latest book

By BERNIE BELLAN
Winnipeg’s own Allan Levine has established himself as an award-winning author of non-fiction history – with probably the book best-known to Winnipeg audiences being Coming of Age: A History of the Jewish People of Manitoba, which was published in 2009.

 

In addition to his well-received works of history, Levine has occasionally delved into the mystery oeuvre, most often with his Sam Klein mystery novels, the most recent of which was The Bootlegger’s Confession.
The Sam Klein novels are set in Winnipeg in the first half of the 20th century – an era for which Levine apparently has a great deal of affection. With an endless series of colourful rogues populating those books, Levine has certainly demonstrated an ability to bring alive a period with which most of us now can only imagine through the accounts of others.

Now, with his latest book, Details are Unprintable: Wayne Lonergan and the Sensational Café Society Murder, Levine enters into a different sort of writing that combines his demonstrated ability to research his subject matter with a novelist’s fine ear for authentic dialogue.

Although the particular subject of this book – that being the sensational murder of a young, wealthy New York heiress by the name of Patricia Burton, presumably at the hands of her estranged husband, Wayne Longeran, may have commanded the headlines of newspapers throughout the United States and Canada (and Europe too, on occasion), by now the story has faded from memory.
As Levine notes, “The story of the murder of Patricia Burton Longeran and Wayne Longeran’s alibi, confession, and conviction is two tales in one. The first tells of the tragic death of a young mother…” the second aspect of the story relates to doubts cast on the Longeran’s guilt “mainly because the trial took place in an era before DNA was utilized in legal proceedings”.

And, although there have been other accounts of the murder and its aftermath published previously (to which Levine refers with full acknowledgment of those other works), the painstaking manner in which Levine pieces together the chronology of what likely happened in 1943 brings alive a story that for the vast majority of readers is likely totally unfamiliar.

There is a Jewish aspect to the story in that Patricia Burton was Jewish, but coming from a highly assimilated family that more than anything wanted to be accepted as one of New York’s upper echelon families, her Jewishness was totally irrelevant to her.
She was also an unmitigated spoiled brat and Levine offers up a vivid description of what her life of carousing and partying was like until her murder when she was only 22.

Now, if the story of the murder of a rich heiress at the hands of her estranged husband seems to have been lifted straight from some Hollywood movie, Levine informs us that this particular story itself actually inspired more than one movie.
The book is written in chronological form, with an often dizzying array of characters introduced throughout. Levine describes the origins of the Burton family fortune, beginning with a successful brewer by the name of Max Bernheimer. As the family became more assimilated – similar to many other German Jews at the time, the name was changed to the more Waspish sounding “Burton”.

Patricia’s father, William O. Burton, plays an important role in the book even though he died three years before Patricia’s murder, as it turns out that William was a homosexual – and that led to his meeting and having a relationship with William Longeran.

Longeran himself was quite the fascinating character – and a Canadian to boot! Levine explains how Longeran was very much a rogue, beginning from almost his earliest days when he plunged into a life of petty crime. He was also quite good looking and very much the ladies’ man – even though if not totally homosexual he was at lthe very least, bisexual,

Longeran’s homosexuality becomes a principal aspect of what eventually follows, as when he is eventually charged with Patricia’s murder, the New York City tabloids have a field day focusing on his “perverted” lifestyle. Levine quotes liberally from newspaper accounts of the day that use the most purple prose to denigrate Longeran in ways that would be largely unthinkable today. But Levine is able to set the scene so vividly the reader is able to imagine full well what it must have been like reading daily newspaper accounts, first of the murder of Patricia Burton, followed by the arrest of William Longeran in Toronto (where he had returned following her murder), culminating in his trial.

Levine points out that there was something else going on in the world at the time – a minor story known as World War II, but for the tabloids – and even other more self-respecting newspapers of the day, the Patricia Burton murder and subsequent arrest and trial of Wayne Longeran took centre stage for much of the time that other far more pressing events were certainly deserving to be in the spotlight.

While Patricia’s murder was not really that much of a mystery, given the overwhelming evidence that led directly to Longeran, what did become a pivotal part of what followed was his confession.
As mentioned, Levine has a fine ear for recreating imagined dialogue and, given that there were no tape recordings at the time, he does his best to lay out what likely happened when Longeran gave his confession to New York police. That confession proved to be the damning nail in the coffin for Longeran. Yet, by today’s standards of jurisprudence, there is a very good chance his actual arrest in Toronto by Toronto police and his confession to New York police would both be ruled as having occurred in violation of his legal rights.

And that proves to another fascinating aspect of this book, as Levine describes the many appeals filed on behalf of Longeran through the years while he served out his prison sentence. The standards of what constituted acceptable behaviour by police evolved over time and what happened to Longeran played a part in the evolution of those standards, as Levine explains.

At times the book does slow down its original fast pace when Levine begins to describe the very lengthy research he conducted in the New York District Attorney’s office when he read firsthand all the files relating to the Burton murder case.
Although Levine writes that he is almost totally certain that Wayne Longeran did indeed murder Patricia Burton, the circus atmosphere surrounding his trial and the overt homosexual bashing in the papers of the day undoubtedly played a large role in what eventually happened to Longeran. Readers may well be aware how recent it is that gay rights have been recognized within Western societies, but reading firsthand how vitriolic – and commonplace within media, the attitudes were toward homosexuals not that long ago helps to bring a real perspective to how far we have come.

By focusing on this one particular story, rather than doing an exhaustive study how the ostracizing of homosexuals was not only considered acceptable within larger society, it was demanded by the majority of the public, Levine not only treats readers to a terrific story, he offers a salutary lesson in how intolerant society was for so long.

In addition to being available at McNally Robinson, Details are Unprintable: Wayne Lonergan and the Sensational Café Society Murder is available at Indigo Chapters, Amazon (both Canada and the US), and Barnes and Noble in the US.

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Features

A Jewish Perspective on the Hidden Gems of Nuevo Vallarta and Puerto Vallarta

Nestled along Mexico’s Pacific coast, Nuevo Vallarta and its neighboring city, Puerto Vallarta, have become popular destinations for travelers seeking sun, sea and cultural experiences. For Jewish travelers, exploring these cities offers a unique blend of relaxation and discovery; from pristine beaches to vibrant local culture, here’s a perspective on the hidden gems these destinations offer.

Traveling to Nuevo Vallarta and Puerto Vallarta

Barceló Puerto Vallarta: A Tranquil Haven

Among the myriad of accommodations in the region, the Barceló Occidental Nuevo Vallarta (with bookings at https://www.barcelo.com/en-ca/occidental-nuevo-vallarta/) stands out as a serene retreat. Situated on Mismaloya Beach, this resort combines traditional Mexican architecture with modern amenities. Its all-inclusive packages cater to families, couples and solo travelers, providing an ideal base for exploring both Nuevo Vallarta and Puerto Vallarta.

Exploring Nuevo Vallarta

Embracing Nature at El Cora Crocodile Sanctuary

Nature enthusiasts will appreciate El Cora Crocodile Sanctuary, located a short drive from Nuevo Vallarta. This sanctuary not only preserves native wildlife but also offers educational tours that delve into the region’s ecosystem. For Jewish travelers, it provides an opportunity to connect with nature while appreciating Mexico’s biodiversity.

Cultural Insight at the Marina Vallarta

The Marina Vallarta, known for its upscale ambiance and waterfront dining, offers a glimpse into local life. Jewish travelers can explore boutique shops and art galleries while enjoying a variety of international cuisines. The marina’s lively atmosphere during sunset, with boats bobbing gently in the marina and street performers entertaining passersby, creates a memorable experience.

Discovering Puerto Vallarta

Historic Exploration in the Zona Romántica

Puerto Vallarta’s Zona Romántica, also known as Old Vallarta, beckons history buffs and culture seekers. Cobblestone streets wind through quaint neighborhoods lined with colorful colonial architecture. Jewish travelers can visit the Zona Romántica’s eclectic art galleries, boutique cafes and the iconic Church of Our Lady of Guadalupe, offering a glimpse into the city’s rich cultural heritage.

Artistic Marvels at the Malecón

A stroll along the Malecón, Puerto Vallarta’s oceanfront promenade, reveals a treasure trove of sculptures and open-air art installations. From the whimsical Seahorse sculpture to the thought-provoking Millennium sculpture series, each artwork tells a story of Mexico’s artistic spirit. Jewish travelers can engage with local artists and appreciate the vibrant cultural tapestry that defines Puerto Vallarta.

Culinary Delights

Savoring Kosher-Friendly Cuisine

While kosher options are limited in Nuevo Vallarta and Puerto Vallarta, some restaurants and resorts offer kosher-friendly menus upon request. The culinary scene in both cities blends traditional Mexican flavors with international influences, ensuring there is something to satisfy every palate. Jewish travelers can indulge in fresh seafood ceviche, traditional tacos al pastor and refreshing aguas frescas while soaking in the coastal ambiance.

Community Engagement

Connecting with Local Jewish Communities

For Jewish travelers interested in community engagement, both Nuevo Vallarta and Puerto Vallarta host small Jewish communities. Synagogues and Jewish community centers welcome visitors seeking spiritual connection and cultural exchange. Engaging with local Jewish communities provides a deeper understanding of Mexican-Jewish heritage and fosters meaningful connections across cultures.

Final Note

Nuevo Vallarta and Puerto Vallarta offer Jewish travelers a blend of relaxation, cultural exploration and natural beauty. Whether basking in the sun on pristine beaches, exploring historic neighborhoods or savoring culinary delights, these cities provide a rich tapestry of experiences. With accommodations like the Barceló Puerto Vallarta offering comfort and convenience, travelers can immerse themselves in Mexico’s Pacific coast while appreciating its hidden gems from a unique perspective.

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Features

Gambling Statistics Shine Light on Canadian Gambling Culture

Explore pivotal statistics that highlight Canada’s gambling culture. Get a concise overview of the trends shaping the nation’s betting landscape.

Canada’s gambling culture is as diverse as its landscape, and recent statistics shed light on this thriving sector. From coast to coast, Canadians engage in various forms of betting, each with its own set of trends and numbers. This article delves into the data, uncovering the patterns and preferences defining gambling nationwide.

Canadian Gambling Statistics

User penetration refers to the percentage of consumers engaging with a product or service beyond the expected audience. Despite a 47% decline in 2023, the online gambling industry is projected to expand.

By 2027, it’s forecasted that the gambling market will cater to 20.38 million individuals. This trend suggests an increasing preference among Canadians for online gambling over traditional brick-and-mortar casinos.

The industry boasted a 97% return on investment in 2022, outperforming land-based casinos, which only saw a 61% return. With the rising interest in online betting, Canada’s online casino industry is experiencing the highest user penetration rate.

What Is the Average Expenditure on Gambling by Canadians?

Many enjoy the thrill of the occasional game of chance. The fact that you can retain all of your earnings, as there are no taxes on gambling profits in Canada, adds to the allure of gambling. In Canada, winnings are subject to taxation only for professional gamblers with a sustained winning streak.

In recent years, the trend toward online casinos has changed. The pandemic-induced closures of land-based casinos accelerated this change. It’s a profitable industry, as 60% of Canadians say they spend money gambling each month.

Canadian gambling statistics:

  • Six out of ten Canadians have gambled.
  • The monthly average expenditure for gaming and gambling in Canada is $6.75.
  • A month’s worth of gaming expenses is reported by 63% of males and 57% of women.
  • According to 73% of Canadians, gambling-related issues have gotten worse in their region.

The Increasing Attraction to Online Casino Gambling in Canada

An increasing number of Canadians are using online casinos, particularly in the wake of the pandemic. They offer various benefits regular casinos do not and are more convenient. Over time, land-based casinos’ revenue has decreased due to the growing popularity of online gambling sites.

The pandemic shutdowns accelerated the drop. For instance, the land-based casinos in Alberta no longer make as much money as they once did. Consequently, the Albertan government opened an online casino, and other governments quickly adopted similar strategies.

Casino Games at Online Casinos in Canada

Online casinos in Canada offer various games that cater to different preferences. Some of the most popular casino games at Canadian online casinos include:

  • Slots: These are the most common and varied, with themes ranging from classic fruit machines to the latest online slot games with advanced graphics and features.
  • Table Games: Classics like blackjack, roulette, craps, and baccarat are available in multiple variations.
  • Live Dealer Games: These provide an immersive experience, allowing players to interact with real dealers and other players in real time.
  • Video Poker: A favourite for many, combining elements of slots and poker in a unique format.
  • Progressive Jackpots: Games that offer the chance to win life-changing sums of money with a single spin.
  • Canadian Legalities for Online Gambling Sites
  • Casinos are legal in Canada, but each province and territory has the authority to establish its gaming regulations and issue online gambling website licences. Saskatchewan is the only province that does not host multiple online gaming sites.
  • Authorities in British Columbia, Ontario, Quebec, and Manitoba issue licences without a specific requirement, but these online casinos must operate exclusively within their respective provincial borders. Online gaming sites seeking to operate beyond these borders need a special agreement.
  • In Canada, only land-based casinos face penalties; foreign operators can only function by obtaining local licenses. Although offshore casinos cannot legally target Canadian players, they can accept them.
  • Statistics on Gambling Addiction in Canada
  • While the majority of gamblers do so without experiencing issues, there are hazards and health issues associated with it for some people. Because of this, the Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction (CCSA) carries out studies and creates resources aimed at assisting Canadians in making wise decisions regarding their gambling, both generally and, in particular, high-risk scenarios, like when they’re using alcohol or other drugs.
  • Here are some key statistics on gambling addiction in Canada for the year 2024:
  • 64.5% of Canadians aged 15 or older actively participated in gambling activities within the past year.
  • 1.6% of Canadian gamblers, representing approximately 304,400 individuals, face moderate-to-severe gambling addiction risks.
  • Canadian males reported higher gambling participation and addiction risks compared to females.
  • Indigenous Canadians showed a higher tendency to gamble (72.4%) and experienced greater susceptibility to gambling problems (4.5%) than non-Indigenous people.
  • In Canada, responsible gambling is promoted through various programs and initiatives, ensuring that individuals engage in betting activities within their means and maintain control. The emphasis is on providing resources and support to prevent gambling addiction and encourage safe, enjoyable gaming experiences.
  • Reflecting on Canada’s Responsible Gambling Journey
  • The statistics we’ve explored offer a revealing glimpse into Canada’s gambling culture, highlighting both the widespread appeal and the responsible practices of Canadian bettors. As the industry evolves, it reflects the country’s commitment to balancing entertainment with economic benefit and social responsibility. The future of gambling in Canada seems poised to be driven by informed choices and a clear understanding of the risks and rewards involved.
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Features

Caesars Windsor Reduces Operating Hours for Sports Betting Counter

Sports betting has rapidly evolved into a major attraction, drawing a diverse audience ranging from casual participants to dedicated enthusiasts, and its popularity is only increasing with the proliferation of online platforms. In particular, Canada has seen a notable rise in sports betting activities since the legalization of single-event sports betting in August 2021, which opened doors to a multitude of betting avenues, both in physical locations and online. 

The shift towards online sportsbooks has been especially significant, marking a notable change in the landscape of sports betting. Given the expansive range of online sportsbooks available to Canadians, experts like Neil Roarty provide critical reviews and comparisons that guide bettors through the complex array of online options. These sites delve into the nuances of each platform, evaluating everything from user interface and betting options to the perks and security features they offer (source: bestsportsbettingcanada.ca/).  

Despite the rising trend in online betting, traditional sportsbooks like those in casinos are adjusting to the new landscape. Caesars Windsor, for instance, has recently made significant changes to its sports betting services. Initially projected to increase job opportunities and enhance visitor footfall, thereby boosting various service-related positions within the casino, the reality has somewhat shifted. 

The casino’s CEO, Kevin Laforet, had expressed optimism at the sportsbook’s inauguration in January 2023, citing anticipated growth in employment opportunities due to expected higher traffic. This optimism was rooted in the broader economic benefits typically associated with casino expansions, such as increased employment for local and migrant communities including roles like dealers, bartenders, and security staff.

However, recent developments have seen Caesars Windsor recalibrating its approach to sports betting. According to a spokesperson from the casino, after a detailed review of betting trends at their facility, adjustments were necessary to align the sportsbook’s operations with actual guest preferences and patterns. 

As a result, the sportsbook has scaled back its operating hours to 3 p.m. to 11 p.m. each day, which has led to minor staffing changes. Importantly, all affected staff members have been retained, and the sportsbook continues to operate during peak times, especially during significant sporting events, with kiosk betting available 24/7.

Jessica Welman, editor of the Canadian Gaming Business, remarks on the overwhelming preference for online sports gambling over traditional brick-and-mortar sportsbooks. The convenience of placing bets via a smartphone or computer is a significant draw for many, enhancing the accessibility and appeal of online betting. 

Welman further noted that the market for online betting in Ontario has expanded consistently each quarter since its legalization, highlighting a robust growth trajectory that underscores the market’s potential.

However, the relationship between online gambling and its impact on physical casino revenues is complex and not well-documented. Sports betting reporter Greg Warren pointed out that most casinos do not specifically track how much of their revenue comes from sports betting as opposed to other gambling activities, which muddles the ability to analyze precise trends. 

Yet, experiences from the United States suggest that both in-person and online sportsbooks can experience growth simultaneously, indicating a synergistic relationship rather than a competitive one. According to Warren, the distinct experiences offered by online platforms and physical sportsbooks mean they can coexist and cater to different preferences.

Welman supports this view, suggesting that despite the convenience of online options, there is an enduring appeal for the physical experience of in-person betting. She argues that brick-and-mortar casinos provide a unique atmosphere that can’t be replicated online, serving as a draw for those who prefer the tangible excitement of a live betting environment. 

In line with its diverse offerings, Caesars Entertainment also maintains an online gaming app, which complements its physical sportsbook operations. This app is designed to offer users a seamless integration between the convenience of digital betting and the engaging atmosphere of in-person wagering. 

While specific details on the app’s impact on the casino’s overall business were not disclosed, it represents an integral part of Caesars’ strategy to bridge the gap between traditional and digital gambling experiences. This dual approach not only caters to a broader range of consumer preferences but also positions Caesars to capitalize on the growing trend of mobile and online betting.

As the landscape of sports betting continues to evolve, the interaction between online and in-person gambling platforms will undoubtedly remain a key area of focus for industry observers and participants alike. By maintaining a strong presence in both arenas, Caesars is well-equipped to adapt to changing consumer habits and technological advancements that have seen real money online casinos cornering many gambling markets worldwide, ensuring that it remains at the forefront of the gambling industry. 

This strategic integration highlights the potential for more synchronized growth and innovation within the gambling sector, shaping the future of how sports betting is experienced across different platforms.

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