Gaming device deadline today

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, October 14, 2003

Today is the deadline for video gaming operators in the county's jurisdiction to remove all devices or face seizure by the Pike County Sheriff's Department.

On Tuesday, Sheriff Russell Thomas said he didn't expect any of the seizures to be necessary.

"As of today, only one location still had video (gaming) machines," he said. "The machines have been removed from all other locations."

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Thomas said deputies from his department had been visiting the six locations that were notified to cease operations of the gaming machines.

Those locations, he said, were ones where the department had information about operation.

"We were aware of where video machines existed," he said.

Thomas declined to name the locations.

County commissioners had directed Thomas to send letters to establishments known to operate the machines in September, giving operators 30 days to comply with existing Alabama law that prohibits gambling.

There had been some controversy in the state as whether or not the machines, in which players were usually "paid" with gift certificates, were actually games of chance or games of skill. Games of chance are illegal in the state, according an attorney general's opinion.

The county's move came on the heels of any enforcement operation inside the city of Troy

where 46 illegal gaming machines were confiscated by police.

Thomas said he expected the remaining location to have the machines out of service by today's noon deadline.