Number of illegal gambling machines increasing in Lee County
LEE COUNTY, Ala. (WTVM) - The Lee County Sheriff’s Office is receiving a high rate of reports of illegal gambling in convenience stores and gas stations - in fact, you can be arrested and charged in Alabama if you are in ownership of any type of slot machine, casino-type gaming, poker, and roulette.
Gambling has been a hot topic for decades in Alabama, and although lawmakers have tried pass gambling legislation in recent years, it has never made it through - still making gambling illegal.
Sheriff Jay Jones said within the past few weeks, they’ve seen a high rate of reports into their office about illegal gaming machines in gas stations and convenience stores.
“A lot of time we go to the business they have a special room in the back that may have a sign saying employees only or whatever and then they’ll have the gambling machines in those areas,” said Sheriff Jones.
The business must immediately shut down the machines and is given five to seven days to have the machines removed… If they don’t comply when the time is up a warrant is issued and they will be subject to an arrest.
“Any device that involves an element of chance in the order to obtain something of value then that is gambling simple gambling under Alabama law. In many of the cases it’s not a pay out of money it is a store credit type of situation and that’s something of value and of course that’s a violation of the law,” said Sheriff Jones.
Sheriff Jones said a lot of time businesses will change ownership and vendors of these machines will talk to the new owner about installing the machines which then leads to a report. He also says those who don’t win or others who are caught will notify officials of others and that leads to more findings.
“Having these types of devices are in violation of Alabama law maybe that will change someday I don’t know but until it does were duty bound to enforce the law,” he said.
Sheriff Jay Jones says they don’t go out seeking these machines but if they receive a report they will follow up.
The Alabama Indian casinos in Wind Creek Atmore, Wind Creek Montgomery and Wind Creek Wetumpka are the only casinos that are legal in the state.
For more information about the Alabama Indian casinos, click here.
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