State police seize illegal gambling machines, over $177K in cash in raids

HARRISBURG, Pa.–Pennsylvania State Police seized 215 electronic gambling machines and over $177,000 in cash from bars and clubs following an investigation into illegal gambling in Washington, Westmoreland, Fayette, and Allegheny counties on Tuesday.

The Pennsylvania State Police Bureau of Liquor Control Enforcement (BLCE) executed numerous search warrants and conducted inspections of 48 licensed liquor establishments in those areas.

State police say criminal charges and Liquor Code administrative charges are forthcoming as the investigation continues. The Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General is assisting with the prosecutions.

“The ongoing operations of illegal gambling devices and illegal video gaming terminals, while often viewed as a victimless crime, result in lost tax revenue for Pennsylvanians and victimize households of citizens whose family members have gambling addictions,” said Major Scott T. Miller, Director of the BLCE. “The devices are not included in, nor may they be considered a part of, the Small Games of Chance Act.”

Illegal machines such as these are unregulated and do not operate on true odds; the amount of money retained by the machine is determined by and set by the vendor. The payout percentage would never be known by the player of the machine and is not verified by any governmental or industry oversight. The definition of gambling is consideration (money put into a machine), chance (the randomness of some act), and reward (a return of cash or payout of value).

In 2016, the BLCE seized 706 illegal video gambling devices and over $167,000 from illegal gambling activities.

If you are aware of a location with an illegal video gaming terminal, you may contact the BLCE at 1-800-932-0602 or your local law enforcement agency.

Source: Pennsylvania State Police