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Search warrant executed at suspected illegal casino

Norwalk Reflector Staff • Aug 13, 2014 at 11:22 AM

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine and Smith Township Police Chief John Siranovic announced that a search warrant was executed Tuesday at a Mahoning County business suspected of operating as an illegal casino.

Agents with the Attorney General's Bureau of Criminal Investigation assisted local law enforcement in serving search warrants at House of Skills, 22184 Harrisburg-Westville Road, 44601, in Smith Township. Investigators removed 54 machines from the establishment, 46 of which were operational.

House of Skills is suspected to have been operating casino gaming devices and giving cash payouts in violation of Ohio law. The investigation is still ongoing at this time. While skill games are permissible under Ohio law, cash payouts from skill games are prohibited. Electronic gaming devices with cash payouts meet the definition of slot machines under Ohio law.

"Unless you are playing at a casino or racino, electronic games that pay cash prizes are illegal under Ohio law," DeWine said. "While this joint investigation is still ongoing, neither state nor local officials will tolerate illegal casinos with no regulatory oversight and who may be taking advantage of customers.”

“We received several complaints from area residents regarding this location and contacted BCI for assistance,” Siranovic said. “Today’s search warrant is an important step to ensure the law is being followed.”

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