PHOENIX -- The Arizona Department of Gaming has seized 24 illegal gaming machines from a dozen locations around the valley and in Tucson.
Agents served simultaneous warrants at locations including grocery stores, malls, shopping centers, a storage facility and a private residence. The seized devices had an estimated value of $132K. Agents also confiscated a vehicle, $12K in merchandise and almost $17K in cash.
The investigation began when Arizona Department of Gaming received an anonymous call regarding several suspected illegal gambling devices in Phoenix and Tucson. Arizona gambling statutes state that the prizes in "amusement" gaming devices cannot be offered as a lure to separate players from their money.
Undercover agents confirmed the devices were operating illegally with prizes such as gift cards, iPads, TVs, Kindles, Play Stations and other electronic devices.
Many machines may have also made it tough for players to win. The seized machines are being further inspected, as they may have been manipulated so players can't win until a certain number of losses were reached, which is also a violation of the statutes.
"There's a big difference between amusement gaming and illegal gambling," said Mark Brnovich, Director of the Arizona Department of Gaming. "Although portrayed as amusement-type devices, these machines were engaged in separating consumers from their money with lavish prizes, some too big to even fit in them."
Evidence gathered by agents suggests possible violations including: possession of gambling devices, benefiting from gambling, promotion of gambling, and possession of gambling records. As the investigation continues, additional charges may be filed by the Attorney General's office. No arrests have been made at this time.
To report suspected illegal gambling, contact your local police department or the Arizona Department of Gaming at 602-255-3888.
Here's a list of locations from which the illegal gaming machines were seized:
-San Tan Village Mall
-Arrowhead Town Center
-Paradise Valley Mall
-Desert Sky Mall
And the following Phoenix El Super Locations:
3130 E. Thomas Road
5127 W. Indian School
7502 W. Thomas Road