State agency raids Avon Lake bar in connection with illegal gambling investigation

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State agency raids Avon Lake bar in connection with illegal gambling investigation
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State agents raided an Avon Lake bar and confiscated four electronic gambling machines and at least $1,000 in cash, according to a search warrant filed in Lorain County Common Pleas Court.

The warrant alleges an undercover agent from the Ohio Department of Public Safety’s Investigative Unit was able to gamble and win money Oct. 20 and 27, and Nov. 3 at the Dogg House Bar & Grill, 33475 Lake Road, before obtaining the warrant signed by Judge D. Chris Cook on Nov. 8, according to court filings.

There were three slot machine-type video games in the back of the bar and a fourth machine that offered a variety of games including poker, slots and Keno, located on the southwest corner of the bar, according to the warrant.

The machines contained $1,098, money that apparently was deposited to play the games, the warrant said.

Also taken as evidence were tickets and gambling records, according to the evidence custody document attached to the warrant.

None of the machines was defined as “Skilled Based Amusement Devices” or licensed by the Ohio Casino Commission Control, according to the warrant.

“As such … the operation of the devices is a violation of the law absent any evaluation of the prize paid for winnings,” according to the warrant.

The warrant said all the machines accepted cash and winners could cash out credits after playing.

The machines would print out a payout slip, which then was presented to a bar employee who would give back cash in return.

An agent collected a winning combination of $37 in cash after playing the slot-style Pick a Pot game Oct. 20; a winning combination of $24 after winning while playing the Lucky Striker slot game Oct. 27; and a winning combination of $117.40 while playing the slot-style Full Moon Fever.

After each winning game, according to the warrant, the agent pressed the ticket button which dispensed a payout ticket worth the winning total.

Each time, the winning ticket was redeemed a bar worker obtained the ticket and took it to an office before returning with the cash, the warrant said.

Kevin Piazza, the officer whose name appeared on the warrant, said the investigation is ongoing.

“We’re just waiting to consult with the prosecutor to file charges,” Piazza said.

Which county will prosecute the case isn’t clear.

Piazza said it could land in Cuyahoga County as the operation at Dogg House could be tied to cases there.

“We’re working on a bigger case with this,” he said, adding he could not elaborate.

No arrests were made, Piazza said.

Four to five agents participated in the serving of the warrant at Dogg House, he said

Complaints tipped agents off to the machines at Dogg House, Piazza said.

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