Pauls Valley, OK, Pauls Valley Democrat

March 26, 2013

Gaming devices come to a halt

Barry Porterfield
Pauls Valley Democrat

bporterfield@pvdemocrat.com — It was a gamble not worth the risk as a handful of illegal gaming devices have been discovered inside businesses located near each other just west of Wynnewood.

In all six illegal video gaming machines have been seized from a total of three businesses located near the crossroads of Interstate 35 and state Highway 29.

The machines are described as being in violation of the state’s gambling laws while offered to the public outside of a legal casino setting.

“These are video gaming machines much like you would see in casinos,” Sheriff Larry Rhodes said Monday.

“Clearly it’s a violation of gaming laws in Oklahoma for these machines to be in these businesses.”

A tip led Garvin County officials to all three businesses on Thursday, March 21. The names of those businesses have not yet been released.

At each business there was a voluntary inspection of the machines before it was determined they were illegal.

The video machines included various games, all involving chance, which could be played by anyone putting money into the device.

Evidence showed if a player won they were presented a receipt or voucher that could be redeemed for cash at the three businesses.

“It appeared payouts may have been as high as a couple of hundred dollars,” Rhodes said.

The locations where the machines were seized are businesses open to the public and are not sites where legalized gambling may take place under the Tribal Gaming Compact in Oklahoma, he added.

No suspects were identified in the case as findings in the investigation are expected to be turned over this week to the district attorney’s office.

“There were no arrests, but we did seize all the machines,” the sheriff said.

“The owners and operators of the machines could be held criminally accountable.”

The machines and over $1,000 inside them are expected to be forfeited in the case. The illegal gambling devices may later be destroyed or disposed of legally.

As a reminder Rhodes asks area residents who see what they believe are criminal activity to continue to report the information to the county sheriff’s office at 405-238-7591 or the Garvin County Crime Stoppers at 1-855-211-STOP.