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Gaming machines seized in Warren



Published: Sat, March 26, 2011 @ 12:10 a.m.

By Karl Henkel

khenkel@vindy.com

WARREN

Three gaming establishments were searched, and approximately 150 machines were seized during raids Friday afternoon, Trumbull County Prosecutor Dennis Watkins said.

Though no one has been charged, the prosecutor’s office and the Warren Law Director’s criminal division will now evaluate the evidence and determine whether charges will be filed.

Watkins said the review shouldn’t take very long, from “a couple of days, if maybe a week or two” and said generally gambling offenses are misdemeanors.

The locations are Players Club, 2700 Mahoning Ave. NW, Lot$-A-Loot, 2004 North Road SE and Lucky Charms, 2001 Southern Blvd. NW.

The machines removed from Players late Friday consisted of computer hardware and big-screen monitors.

In the affidavit for the search warrant at Players Club, Detective Richard Tackett of the Trumbull County Sheriff’s Department twice visited the establishment and twice cashed out with more money than when he entered. Tackett said on both occasions he did not “engage in or play any ‘games of skill’” and the computers he played on were “nothing more than games of chance ... almost identical to the gambling machines commonly seen at legal out-of-state casinos,” according to the affidavit.

Similar undercover investigations occurred at Lot$-A-Loot and Lucky Charms.

“From the information in the undercover investigation, these machines were used for nothing but solely actual gambling games such as slots, poker, 21,” assistant prosecutor Chris Becker said. “Pure and simple gambling.”

Trumbull County Common Pleas Judge Andrew Logan issued the search warrant. Warren police and deputy sheriffs, along with the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation, executed the search and seizure.

There were 100 computer/machines at Players Club, 30 at Lot$-A-Loot and 20 at Lucky Charms. The computers at Players Club were described in the affidavit as having card swipes. Using “purchasing points,” a player could then obtain “winning points,” which he or she could cash out from playing games such as slots, poker and bingo.

Becker said all were confiscated and are in custody of Warren police. The establishments weren’t closed because the investigation is ongoing.

Mahoning County Prosecutor Paul Gains said the idea of Internet cafes concerns him because there are no regulations.

Watkins said establishments that promote gambling won’t be tolerated.

“We want to make it clear,” Watkins said. “Games or schemes that do not involve skill but are based on chance are illegal in this state.”


Comments

1Buck009(2 comments)posted 3 years, 9 months ago

These Places are making Big Buck's.And do you think they are reporting what they are ripping off people.Mahoning Co. need's to step it up and CLOSE THEM ALL!

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2lee(544 comments)posted 3 years, 9 months ago

If you play the games than you are ripping yourself off, That's why the state lotto games are called "the stupid tax"

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3TAXEDOFF(118 comments)posted 3 years, 9 months ago

What about the joint on Belmont in Liberty just up from Kravitz deli it's in Trumbull County

I went in there the other day and the place was full of suckers and the guy putting money on the plastic cards was a shady guy I remembered for selling M80 fireworks out of the trunk of his car ...

Wonder why they weren't busted.

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4joseph(47 comments)posted 3 years, 9 months ago

These machines aren't hurting anybody. The police should be more concerned about real crime than wasting so much time trying to regulate these games of skill.

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5tommygc(25 comments)posted 3 years, 9 months ago

Get a grip. With everything that is going on this country do we really have the time manpower and resorces to be bothering with this. All this is is another moneygrab so our hypicitral government can take more of our money. No one is forced to enter these establishments.Murders and rapists and child molesters running free, church festivals and the like. When we get our house in order then and only then should we point fingers at others.

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6Alexinytown(246 comments)posted 3 years, 9 months ago

The only reason these games are illegal is because the government is not getting its cut. The fact it is a rip off and "morally wrong" and "unregulated" has nothing to do with it. It is all about the government not getting its fair share.

Personally I don't like these games, but truth be told, the Ohio Lottery is as big of a rip off as anything else you see here in Mahoning County. The odds of winning the lottery are far worse than any deal you can make with a bookmaker or any of these machines.

The only difference is one organization calls it numbers and the other organization calls it a lottery. In my mind, it is the same damn thing.

Anything can be rationalized as a game of skill, but at the end of the day, this is about money more than anything else.

As far as gambling in general, the ultimate question as to illegality is "why is this illegal?". Tax revenue, and nothing else, is the reason. Politicians will go out there and beat the moral drum all day long, but it's a gross misrepresentation.

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7Youngstown_Strong(91 comments)posted 3 years, 9 months ago

This article reminds me of the documentary Youngstown: Still Standing, it sounds like something the Vindicator was publishing back in the 50s :)

Check out the video here and tell me, is Youngstown becoming "Wide Open" again?

http://www.imdb.com/video/wab/vi19976...

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