A man is now in police custody for running an illegal gambling house in Arkansas. This raided AR gambling ring, it just so happens, is located only minutes away from the Missouri border.
Missouri gambling is currently limited to casino-style riverboat gambling, which became legal in the mid-1990s. In Arkansas, however, casinos are legal and mobile betting is now also legal.
Illegal Arkansas casino located by Missouri border
A mere 15 minutes from the Missouri state line, an undercover operation led to the police raid in July, Harrison Police Department Police Chief Chris Graddy told local media.
“We actually sent undercover officers in and started an operation and investigation into that, and it was discovered that there was illegal gambling going on. If they’re putting money into a machine to gain profit, that would be gambling. That type of activity has not been approved in this part of the state, and there are ways to legally gamble here in Arkansas.”
Thirty-three-year-old Daniel Scallorn is currently facing a felony charge of maintaining a gambling house. He posted $25,000 bail.
Authorities seize nearly three dozen machines
By all accounts, the police operation was a success. They not only caught the man allegedly responsible for the ring, they also recovered 33 gambling machines and more than $50,000 in cash.
Police believe the facility, “Platinum Internet Lounge,” is part of a larger network of illegal gambling rooms.
The rules of the Arkansas Racing Commission (ARC) bar private facilities from running any electronic game for money. Instead, legal gambling is permitted at three specific casinos as well as via mobile apps in the state.
The ARC weighed in on the arrest, saying the machines that police recovered possibly provide unfair odds to players. Illegal operators can rig games, then gamblers pump money into a machine expecting a win. What they don’t know is that their chances of winning are sometimes far below the same state standards as legal casino games.
ARC Spokesperson Scott Hardin said unregulated machines are a top concern of the commission.
“When it comes to these machines, if you walk into a gas station and see a machine over there with someone pumping $20 bills into it, I can assure the state does not play a role in ensuring that it pays back a minimum amount. That would be my No. 1 worry, is those machines are not regulated by the state, as far as paybacks.”
Illegal gambling rooms bring crime
This incident in northern Arkansas isn’t an isolated incident. States across the country also deal with illegal gambling and illegal adult game rooms on a regular basis. Whether the operations take place in Texas, Florida or Arkansas, one aspect remains the same: these facilities are crime magnets.
For example, a manager at a pizza place near the gambling ring in Arkansas said these operations spur break-ins and thievery. As a result, the manager said people are afraid to visit businesses in the area.
Last month in Florida, Jacksonville City Councilmember LeAnna Cumber slammed illegal game rooms. She said these facilities generate thousands of calls to local law enforcement every year.
In response to a similar bust that happened in Corpus Christi, TX last month, an assistant district attorney said illegal gaming rooms are a “breeding ground” for criminal activity.
How to report illegal Missouri gambling machines
If you see an illegal gambling machine or facility in Missouri, please contact the Missouri Gaming Commission. The MGC provides a form you can use to report the machines.
The MGC is also available via phone at (573) 526-4080.