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Cook County recently saw a police sting sweep through and seize more than thirty two video gaming machines that were being used illegally.
It is not illegal for establishments to allow their customers to play the machines. It is illegal, however, for these establishment owners to be paying out winners when they win money.
$5,000 was seized in the recent sting as well as the machines. Local restaurants and bars were the targets for undercover cops over a three month investigation. The results were disturbing.
Many of the locations that were being investigated were paying out their customers in real money. Police caught on to the operation after a woman claimed her husband had lost $60,000 on these video machines.
Sheriff Tom Dart believes that until the organized crime in Cook County goes away, the machines will not either. He drew a direct correlation between the machines and organized crime.
He claims that to make an impact and keep the machines from being played illegally, other agencies other than his own will have to join in on the fight against organized crime.
Eleven people could possibly face misdemeanor charges as a result of the recent sting.
Illegal Video Poker Gambling Operation Busted in Pennsylvania
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Although paying out video poker machines is illegal in most states, bars and other establishments continue to engage in this criminal activity,
On Thursday, a variety store located in Bella Vista, Pennsylvania became the latest establishment to be raided by the police.
A Citizen complaint is what started the investigation into the store. The claim was that the store was paying out players who won money playing their video poker machines.
An undercover cop was sent into the store, which is located near the Italian Market in Bella Vista. The cop played one of four Dodge City poker machines and was paid out by the store attendant when a certain amount of credits were reached.
The store owner was not arrested, but the store was shut down after the bust. Letteria Lamacchia, who was the store clerk that paid the winning ticket, was arrested.
The FBI has been called in by local police to investigate whether organized crime was involved in the running of the illegal operation.