Cracking Down On Illegal Gambling

Sunday, December 3rd 2006, 6:09 pm
By: News On 6

Wagoner County is cracking down on illegal gaming machines. Authorities in Wagoner County have told local business they have until the end of the year to remove any machines that allow customers to gamble for money.

News on 6 reporter Chris Wright explains.

Within a month, these electronic slot machines at Glen's Restaurant in Wagoner will be gone. The ones down the road at Fast Trax convenience store will also be removed. On Wednesday, Wagoner authorities informed the owners of the businesses that they have to get rid of the machines or they will be confiscated.

"If they're there in operation, they've got a problem, and I've got the state statute to quote them," said Sheriff Johnny Cannon.

That state statute says that any machines that "cash out" are illegal. Many of the slot machines issue receipts that can be redeemed for money, and the FBI recently told Wagoner police that they need to crack down on the illegal gaming.

All the machines have to be removed by December 31st. The owners we talked to say they will comply with that, but it doesn't make it fair.

"It's really not hurting anyone, it helps us, it helps the Wagoner community," Fast Trax owner Sherry Rose said.

Sherry Rose, who thought the machines were legal, says her business takes 50 percent of the profits from them, the other half goes to their manufacturer. She estimates that the slots bring in $300 to $400 a week, money that goes toward paying bills.

"It's not a lot, just enough to help pay a bill, it's not the casinos, this is pennies compared to the casinos," Rose said.

But Sheriff Johnny Cannon says that if anyone in Wagoner County wants to gamble, they will now have to head to those casinos.

"They need to go where they're legal, there's plenty of them."

The Wagoner County Sheriff's Office says it has never received any complaints about the gaming machines, but it had no choice but to comply with the FBI's wishes.