Deputies: Illegal Gaming Discovered At Claremore Convenience Store

Wednesday, April 29th 2015, 11:07 pm
By: News On 6

A tip from the public led the Rogers County Sheriff's Office to what it calls an illegal gaming operation. Deputies say they found close to $2,000 in cash and four illegal slot machines.

Deputies said it started with a tip that a city convenience store was selling synthetic marijuana and bath salts; but when the undercover deputy investigating the tip asked to use the restroom he stumbled upon a lot more.

The Buy-N-Bye in Claremore doesn't sell gas or a whole lot of merchandise for that matter.

Investigators believe a large amount of the revenue came from what sat in the back room of the store.

"We are here to seize the illegal gaming machines - slot machines in the back," Rogers County Investigator, Daniel Welch said.

Out of sight from the public were four slot machines. An undercover deputy found the gaming room and quickly realized how it all worked.

"Nothing about this gambling is up to industry standard," said Welch.

The stickers on the machines say “For amusement only - no cash or prizes.”

However, investigators said people would play the machines, and, if they won, the clerk would use a key fob to print a receipt which was used for store credit or cash.

An undercover deputy said he walked away with just that after winning Wednesday morning.

"She said that was a mistake and rarely happens," said Welch.

But with the piles of cash in each machine along with the thousands of dollars and hand written receipts found throughout the store deputies doubt that.

"The paper trail is enormous,” Welch said. “This is going to take a while to go through, but it doesn't seem they're reporting this cash exchange to anybody," Welch said.

The machines were taken out of the store Wednesday to be hauled off for evidence processing.

Welch said, "We've got hard working establishments that go through the right procedures to run an operation and this is shady and completely underground."

The underground gaming was only brought to light because of a tip from a concerned citizen.

The owners of the Buy-N-Bye were not arrested, as deputies need more time to gather all the evidence.

If arrested, the owners will face a felony charge for having the machines in their store.

Employees can be charged with a misdemeanor for making the transactions, and anyone found to be playing them can be charged with a misdemeanor as well.