FORT PIERCE, Fla. — The Florida Gaming Control Commission announced Tuesday they busted multiple illegal gambling operations in the state, including at sites in Delray Beach and Fort Pierce.
Officials said the investigation resulted in the seizure of more than $1 million in assets, cash, slot-style gaming machines, computers and ATM machines.
Players Paradise Arcade, located at 4900 Linton Blvd. in Delray Beach, and Midway Arcade, located at 4986 25th St. in Fort Pierce, were among four sites investigated by the commission.
Other locations in the state investigated included Lucky Game Lounge in Tampa and an unnamed site in St. Petersburg.
The state gaming commission said they received a complaint about the Midway Arcade, which prompted them to serve a warning notice letter of Florida gambling laws on Jan. 27.
Officials said 93 gaming units were seized in Fort Pierce and 120 in Delray Beach.
Investigators said subsequent investigations by law enforcement uncovered extensive illegal gaming operations in Hillsborough, Palm Beach, Pinellas and St. Lucie counties.
"Illegal gambling establishments operate outside the legal, regulated market to exploit vulnerable Floridians," Lou Trombetta, the FGCC executive director, said in a statement. "They are usually associated with organized crime, do not generate state tax revenue, and do not provide the same consumer protections or safeguards as legal gaming operators."
The agency said there were arrests in the case but could not share any other details.
The commission said illegal arcades often utilize predatory tactics to fool customers into thinking their machines are legal, but they offer no consumer rights, no guarantee of fair play, and no recourse if an operator steals their money.
"Great work by the law enforcement officers at the Florida Gaming Control Commission and my Statewide Prosecutors shutting down a massive illegal gambling operation spanning several Florida counties and involving more than a million dollars in assets," Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody said. "These illegal gaming operations will not be tolerated in Florida."
Illegal gambling is a criminal offense. Officials said these operations can expose people to other criminal activity including armed assaults, drug trafficking and prostitution.
Residents and business owners can anonymously report any suspected illegal gambling activity by visiting the gaming commission's website or calling (850) 880-3433.