Nearly 60 gaming devices seized in Phoenix area

Sep 11, 2012, 12:51 PM | Updated: 4:39 pm

PHOENIX — The Arizona Department of Gaming said nearly 60 illegal gambling devices have been seized at more than 40 locations across the Phoenix metropolitan area.

With the assistance of the FBI in Phoenix and the Arizona Attorney General’s Office, Department of Gaming agents served warrants on 45 businesses and one storage locker last weekend.

Agents seized 54 eight-line gambling devices and five coin pusher machines. The devices allow patrons to deposit money, play various casino-style games and win
credits that can be redeemed for cash.

“Within the last couple of years, we’ve seized nearly 200 gambling devices across the state,” said Arizona Department of Gaming Director Mark Brnovich.

Brnovich believes the community’s changing attitudes about illegal gambling are part of the problem. He said, by accepting some of the social pitfalls that come along with the illegal gaming, we create an increasing criminal element. It has a tendency to attract things like organized and unorganized crime, along with crimes of opportunity like strong-arm robberies.

“There’s a lot of money to be made by a lot of people,” he said. “That’s why I think you keep seeing attempts by folks to benefit or profit from illegal gambling in Arizona”.

Brnovich said combating the problem requires teaming up with state and federal agents. He feels his office does the best it can with the resources available.

Authorities recently received information about a criminal enterprise in California that was moving to Arizona.

The organization is suspected of distributing illegal gambling devices targeting various “mom and pop” convenience stores, gasoline stations and smoke shops throughout the Phoenix area.

No arrests have been made yet.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Nearly 60 gaming devices seized in Phoenix area