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Video Slot Machines Busted

By: Lindsay Liepman
By: Lindsay Liepman

The popularity of 8-liner slot machines isn't slowing down in Leon County, but the illegal use of them is.

Sheriff's deputies have made two big busts recently and the department is running out of room to store the machines.

"Basically our biggest problem is storage," says Leon County Sheriff Mike Price.

It's a gamble Sheriff Price was willing to take. Fifty-six video slot machines are crowding the evidence room from three illegal gambling busts made by undercover deputies. Two men were arrested and about $27,000 was recovered.

"This type of investigation is extremely time consuming. Many times we have to get a confidential informant," says Sheriff Price.

It's not against the law to just play the machines but if cash or merchandise usually sold as retail is exchanged; that's illegal gambling.

"The places we hit have been paying out in cash and they've taken the spirit of the law and twisted it," says Sheriff Price.

And they've taken money from those who usually can't afford to gamble.

"The people that frequent this are not the people that can afford to travel...they are banking on making money and the system is not set up for them to profit," says Sheriff Price.

But the payout to owners can be in the thousands.

The truck stop busted last week in Buffalo made $4000 on a rainy Monday.

And investigators believe there are more illegal gambling operations still in business.

"As long as the statues are on the books, Leon County Sheriff's office is going to enforce the law," says Sheriff Price.

The sheriff's department will destroy the machines when the court cases are over, hopefully by next month.

Illegal gambling is a Class A Misdemeanor.


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