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Illegal Gaming Machines Seized in California

31 March 2011 by admin

Recently a major raid happened in California that resulted in a large number illegal gaming machines being seized along with $145,000 in cash as well as twenty three arrests. The raid is a result of three months of investigating on the part of eight different police departments working with the California Department of Justice, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the California Franchise Tax Board.

The raids took place on twenty cafes, pool halls and bars in Garden Grove and Westminster. The crackdown and investigation came about when local police noticed an increase in certain crimes. “We have seen an uptick in the different crimes associated with illegal gambling,” Lieutenant Jeff Nightengale of the Garden Grove police force said. Once the increase was notice, it lead to an investigation that grew to include more and more jurisdiction. All as a result of some little gambling machines, most of which resemble small video game consoles.

To outward appearances, the video game machines held simple games such as Tetris. Although I know several people who would say that Tetris is not simple. Tetris aside, and I do mean that literally, the games hide games that are illegal in California. All a player in the know had to do was push a particular button on the gaming machine’s console and it would load blackjack and poker, which are illegal in the state. But the illegal gaming operations had a safety. If someone came in that was suspect or who made the operation feel jeopardized, a switch could be flipped that would set all of the gaming machines back to the legal games.

Cash was stored in the gaming machines, and investigators are still counting how much money was seized in the raid as a result of seizing the gaming machines. Nightengale said, “Each machine has to be opened, and all the money needs to be counted. It could be tens of thousands of dollars collected.” The $145,000 seized was the immediate amount they found; the money in the machines was discovered after the raid. Hiding the money inside the machines was a simple way for the owners to keep the excess money hidden yet still at hand when it came time to pay out to players.

While this is a big step in cracking down on a large illegal gambling operation, there is still a long way to go. Nightengale says that the investigation’s next is to discover who was manufacturing the illegal gaming machines.

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