Posted on: January 6, 2023, 12:42h.
Last updated on: January 6, 2023, 01:00h.
Four retail stores, their staffs, and owners were charged this week in Trumbull County, Ohio as part of an ongoing investigation into illegal gambling.
The undercover operation led to 15 suspects getting cited after the businesses were searched on Wednesday. Cash and nine gaming machines were seized, WKBN, a local TV station, reported.
The suspects each received a summons to appear in court for operating a gambling house or for gambling charges.
Warren Businesses Searched
The locations were identified by state officials late this week. At Convenient Food Mart in Warren, two gambling machines and $1,461 in cash were seized. Four gambling citations were issued against the store’s liquor permit. Four workers and the owner got court summonses.
Another location in Warren was Northend Supermarket. Two gambling machines and $404 were seized. Four gambling citations were issued against the store’s liquor permit. Three workers and the owner got summons.
Also charged was Gas Land Mart in Howland. Two gambling machines and $789 were seized. Four gambling citations were issued against the store’s liquor permit. Two workers and the owner got court summons.
And the final location was Champion Convenient Mart in Champion. Three gambling machines and $1,065 were seized. Five gambling citations were issued against the store’s liquor permit. Two workers and the owner received court summons.
The inquiry was undertaken by investigators from the Ohio Investigative Unit of the Ohio Department of Public Safety, working with local police departments, according to the Tribune Chronicle, a newspaper in Ohio.
Companies Face Fines
In an unrelated initiative, Ohio gaming authorities announced this week they will fine BetMGM, Caesars Sportsbook, and DraftKings $150K each.
Each business allegedly violated Ohio rules for responsible gambling messages.
The Ohio Casino Control Commission (OCCC) claimed that the three companies or their affiliate marketing provider improperly advertised products on platforms. They failed to display a problem gambling hotline and other content to assist those with problem gambling, the OCCC said.
In total, since December 14, Ohio regulators issued five citations against operators. All of the cases relate to alleged violations of responsible gambling.
Sports Betting Launched
New Year’s Day was the start of sportsbooks and online apps being able to take legal bets.
To celebrate the expanded gambling, sportsbooks launched with fanfare on January 1.
Pete Rose, the Cincinnati Reds’ former baseball star, showed up at Hard Rock Casino in Cincinnati. He placed the first wager at its sportsbook.
BetMGM held two events on New Year’s Day. The first took place at MGM Northfield Park near Cleveland. The second took place at the opening of the sportsbook at the Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati.