By Sue Loughlin
TERRE HAUTE — Indiana gaming police seized 88 illegal electronic gaming machines in a raid at a Terre Haute business Friday.
The raid occurred at Lektron, 1319 Wabash Ave.
Officials obtained a search warrant Friday morning after about a weeklong investigation, said Larry Rollins, director of the state’s new Gaming Control Division.
Officers were tipped off when they saw an ad in a gaming magazine in which the owner was trying to sell the machines. “They were selling these for $500 apiece,” Rollins said.
Police also seized 16 boxes of component parts to the so-called “Cherry Masters” as well as records.
The owner of the business, Gordon Klein, could not immediately be reached for comment and an employee, Greg Mitchell, had no comment.
Rollins said it will be up to the Vigo County prosecutor whether to file criminal charges.
Possession of the gaming machines is a class-A infraction. If the machines are used for gambling, then it could potentially become a class-D felony, Rollins said.
The prosecutor’s office will review the report from the investigation, said Rob Roberts, chief deputy prosecutor.
“Then, we’ll make a determination on whether the facts warrant prosecution,” he said.
The License Control Division of the Indiana Gaming Commission can take administrative enforcement action, Rollins said.
Under administrative action, a business can lose its retail merchant’s certificate, alcohol beverage permit, tobacco sales certificate, and/or charity gaming license for a violation of gambling statutes, Rollins said.
The Gaming Control Division was established by House Bill 1510 during the 2007 legislative session and went into effect July 1. The primary job of the division is to investigate illegal gambling, but gaming control officers have full police powers and can enforce all Indiana laws.
The division’s goal is to obtain voluntary compliance with the gambling laws, Rollins said. “If people have these machines and want to voluntarily get rid of them, they can contact us at the Gaming Commission,” Rollins said.
The Gaming Commission number is (317) 233-0046 and people should ask for a representative of the Gaming Control Division. People also can e-mail email@example.com.
“We’ll contact them and come and get them [gaming machines], no questions asked,” he said.
Statewide, there is a crackdown on the electronic gaming machines, he said. Several raids have occurred throughout the state in recent weeks. Twenty machines were seized Thursday night in Lafayette.
Sue Loughlin can be reached at (812) 231-4235 or firstname.lastname@example.org.