SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Opinion

August 8, 2013

Our view: AG's office owes community, family answers on Lucky 7s

Yes, investigations can take time — and, yes, we know all about the wheels of justice moving slowly.

But after two months, there are many questions surrounding the attorney general’s move to abruptly shut down and seize the assets of the Lucky 7 Arcades in both Danvers (at the Liberty Tree Mall) and Gloucester. While the search warrants raised questions of their own regarding the operations of those facilities under a new state gambling statute, the fact is, authorities now owe explanations to the operating Parisi family — which has still not been charged with any crime — and the community at large.

It was June 11 that law enforcement officers, working under the jurisdiction of the state attorney general’s office, raided both Lucky 7 sites, froze the business’s bank accounts, seized cash, and pulled machine motherboards, gift cards and computers from the locations.

Under the statute of limitations, the state could hang on to the seized assets for up to five years, while owners Rosalie and Sam Parisi, who operate the family business, can only wait. And that, quite frankly, is ridiculous. But it’s clear that the Parisis, who have operated the Lucky 7 in Gloucester for more than six years and expanded to open their new outlet in Danvers last year, are not only caught up in the grips of that poorly crafted law, but another, as well.

The hard-line Lucky 7 crackdowns have come amid a series of probes by the AG’s office into the operations of Internet cafes and shutdowns of facilities that allow patrons to purchase Internet time that can be used for gambling on electronic screens. That’s all after a 2012 piece of legislation that created a new charge “for conducting or promoting an unauthorized sweepstakes that is executed through the use of the display of an electronic machine,” according to the AG’s office. And that includes apparatuses that pay off in merchandise, in addition to gamblers’ usual prize — cold, hard cash.

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