But a letter addressed to the Parisis from their attorney, Eric Tennen, and obtained by the Gloucester Daily Times, a sister paper of The Salem News, states that state Sen. Bruce Tarr, R-Gloucester, told Tennen “no one thought the new law would criminalize what was already allowed.” Tennen reflected that sentiment.
“I think it plainly obvious that the Legislature did not intend to criminalize what was already legal (e.g. Lucky 7, Chuck E. Cheese’s, Dave and Busters, etc.) However they did not harmonize the new law with the old,” Tennen wrote.
Tarr was not available to comment. But Tarr had endorsed the Gloucester Lucky 7 as the family prepared to expand to their Danvers location within the Liberty Tree Mall in 2012. The Gloucester location had been operating for six years at that time.
Neither arcade pays off in cash to customers, instead paying in gift certificates to local restaurants and other businesses. The Parisis have emphasized previously that, in that sense, their businesses also boost other aspects of the local economy. Tarr has also previously praised the Gloucester business as an economic “good neighbor.”
A spokesman for the Attorney General’s office declined to comment, saying the matter was still under investigation.
Investigators returned their search warrant with a summary of search and investigation details in late June. The warrant application contains details of undercover visits by troopers, who made their first visit to the Danvers arcade in January.
Based on what they found, FBI forensic examiner Deneen Hernandez said it was impossible for a customer to increase his or her odds of winning by stopping the electronic “reels” on the game, as reportedly suggested by some Lucky 7 employees to undercover officers.
“Ms. Hernandez stated that there is no customer skill involved in determining the results and explained that game odds/payout percentage can be set on each machine’s mother board by configuring ... switches,” wrote trooper Jose Cuevas, an investigator in the case.