SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Local News

June 25, 2013

Warrants detail probe into arcade

FBI expert: Lucky 7 games do not involve any skill

(Continued)

But even if the games did involve skill, investigators suggested, they would still be illegal under another provision of the state gambling law that prohibits the use of such machines for games that provide cash, merchandise or other items of value.

The raids at both the Danvers and Gloucester locations on June 11 led to the shutdown of the arcades.

According to the search warrant “return,” a list of items seized included more than $5,000 in cash, a gaming machine, computers and an external hard drive, numerous circuit boards for the machines, receipts, a credit card reader and financial documents.

They also seized four gift cards, which had been used as “prizes” for winners.

Cuevas, the lead investigator in the case, and another trooper, Sgt. Steve Fennessy, conducted undercover surveillance at the Danvers arcade for the first time on Jan. 30.

Cuevas went into the business and noticed about 40 computer terminals along the walls of the room.

In the center was a customer service station, where two employees were working.

“How can I play the games?” Cuevas asked. The male asked him to fill out a card with information but did not ask for any identification. Cuevas, using a fake identity, filled out the card and was given a white “access card” that had a computer chip on it.

For $20, the trooper was given 2500 points. It was a Wednesday, so he received a “bonus” 500 points, he noted.

The games at each kiosk had eight columns with things like fruits, numbers or other objects, the trooper noted.

The troopers noted that the manufacturers of the games were names that were familiar to gambling regulators and that the same types of machines were used in casinos.

Players would have to accumulate at least 2,500 points from winning games on the machines to collect any “prizes,” which were gift cards to nearby businesses. Cuevas noted that none of the 15 people playing at 6:30 p.m. had cashed in for any prizes while he was there.

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