Attorney General: illegal gaming on the rise in Utah

  • More than 150 warrants served related to illegal gambling
  • 600 machines are suspected of circumventing gambling tax
  • Between $12 and $24 million wagered during offending period

Utah isn’t exactly known as a hotbed of gambling, legal or otherwise. In fact it’s not really known as a hotbed for anything save for Mormonism and a big ol’ salt lake.

The flyover state clearly nurses a naughtier side though, as evidenced by the flurry of warrants that were recently served in the ultra-conservative state. The charges? Facilitating illegal gambling.

illegal gambling law
Illegal gaming on the rise: more than 150 arrest warrants served in Utah

If the allegations are true, this isn’t just an isolated incident either – in all, over 150 warrants have been served as Utah Attorney General’s Office ramps up its investigation into off-the-books betting.

The probe arose after constituents complained to law enforcement that illegal gambling machines were being operated within their community. This notion sounds far-fetched until you factor in Utah’s ardent Christianity (60% of the state are Mormon), which may have compelled their troubled consciences to dish the dirt.

In total, 600 machines are suspected of circumventing gambling tax, with anywhere between $12 million to $24 million being wagered during the offending period.

As part of the operation, officials have confiscated around $200,000 in coins and cash. The next stage of the investigation could see operators arrested on felony charges.

Disappointing and regrettable

There are two sides to every story though, and one of the gambling operators suspected of facilitating illegal gambling, Intermountain Vending, has hit back with a strongly worded statement. In it, Intermountain expresses dismay, not only at the raid itself, but at the manner in which the Attorney General’s Office went about its probe.

“If the AG’s office had issues with our devices or our company we would have been more than happy to meet, provide whatever information was requested, and attempt to address any concerns or issues as we have many times before in various locations,” ran the statement issued by management, going on to explain that the function of their kiosks “has been thoroughly tested and we believe they meet all the requirements of Utah law.”

Whatever the outcome of the high profile investigation, it seems certain that there will be a few twists and turns as the case plays out in court.

“They are running slot machines, coin pushers in businesses throughout the state of Utah and trying to skirt the law on technicalities and things we do not believe apply,” insisted Leo Lucey, an investigator with Utah Attorney General’s office.

Nope, insists Intermountain Vending, describing the Attorney General’s actions as “disappointing and regrettable”.

Who knew the sleepy state of Utah was rife with so much drama and intrigue?

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