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St. Lucie County Sheriff's Office cracking down on illegal gambling arcades

'You're putting money in and getting money out. When there's a payout it's illegal,' Sheriff Ken Mascara says
Posted at 5:27 PM, Sep 27, 2023

FORT PIERCE, Fla. — Vero Vista Auto Care is a long-established shop.

"I've been here a little over 20 years," Owner Mark Occhuizzo said.

He said within that time, they've had a number of neighbors.

"We've seen a lot of changes," he said.

What Occhuizzo said he hasn't seen or heard of in the area is a business getting raided.

Vero Vista Auto Care Owner Mark Occhuizzo Sept 27 2024.png
Vero Vista Auto Care Owner Mark Occhuizzo shares that he has seen a lot of the changes in the area over the last 20 years.

"Yeah, I am kind of surprised they seemed like a legitimate business," he said.

According to the St. Lucie County Sheriff's Office, Treasure Bay Arcade isn't legitimate.

"Inside here are 51 gaming machines all illegal. There were 17 patrons, two managers and an armed guard that met our detectives when they walked in," Sheriff Ken Mascara said. "All the patrons will get notices to appear for gambling, and the owner will receive 51 charges of running a gambling or slot machine illegally."

Mascara said it's very simple to understand why this is illegal.

Treasure Bay Arcade busted in St. Lucie County. Sept. 26, 2023.jpg

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"You're putting money in and getting money out," he said. "When there's a payout it's illegal."

So, Tuesday night deputies went about the business of clearing out the place, they began loading slot machines into a truck. Inside, deputies began checking machines for money.

With a number of vehicles in the parking lot Wednesday afternoon, WPTV knocked on the door for a response. Nobody answered. But by text the owner said he might be available Thursday.

Bruce Trask lives down the block from Treasure Bay Arcade Sept 27 2023
Bruce Trask explains how people cut through his neighborhood to get the arcade.

Bruce Trask lives down the block from the arcade. He said good riddance to the arcade.

"They were cutting through here," Trask said. "Some were using this as a parking lot to go over there. We had to stop them and kick them off the property."

Back at Vero Vista Auto Care, Occhuizzo said he's had very little interaction with the folks at the arcade.

"A couple of the employees had come over for prior repairs," he said, "but I don't know them on a personal level."