Four more businesses in two Ohio towns could soon bear the cost of association with an illegal gambling bust. Recently, raids in Jeffersonville and Washington Court House resulted in law enforcement seizing cash, records, and unlicensed gambling machines as evidence in ongoing investigations.
It’s uncertain whether the raids will lead to any arrests right now. However, anyone convicted of operating the machines or facilitating their operation faces potential jail time.
Details of the latest Ohio illegal gambling bust
The Ohio Casino Control Commission and Fayette County Sheriff’s Office searched the following Washington Court House businesses last week:
- Miss Kay’s
The same bodies also raided Unique Treasures in Jeffersonville. The Commission says it received multiple tips about each location. In each instance, reports said that gaming machines were paying out cash prizes.
None of the four establishments have appropriate licenses to operate such machines. In each instance, law enforcement found exactly what their tips reported. At the same time, the Sheriff’s Dept. has not yet made any arrests.
A statement from the Commission does not reveal how much cash or how many machines it seized. Additionally, it is not yet known how many persons of interest in connection to the raids there are.
What is clear is that anyone convicted of operating an illegal gambling establishment could pay in more ways than one. For those who may have patronized such establishments, running this risk makes little sense.
Possible fines, jail time for perpetrators
Offering gambling without a license to do so carries escalating penalties for repeat instances in Ohio. The state considers the first instance a first-degree misdemeanor, for example.
Prosecutors can seek harsher fines for subsequent convictions, though. Those are fifth-degree felonies. The requisite confinement time attached to a first-degree misdemeanor is six months to a year. There is also a maximum fine of $2,500, which can be a concurrent part of a sentence.
People caught playing on illegal gambling machines usually just face fines, but that makes the cost of doing so even higher than simply the cost of playing the games. Additionally, there’s no guarantee that the purveyors of such machines haven’t tampered with them to decrease payouts.
The Commission provides legitimate, regulated online casinos in Ohio to give Ohioans of legal age avenues to enjoy this kind of entertainment without running such risks. Hopefully, the people who used these gaming machines will opt for those facilities in the future.