Posted: July 31, 2022, 6:53 a.m.
Last update on: July 31, 2022, 07:02h.
Police discovered this month that several internet lounges in Arkansas were allegedly fronts for illegal gambling operations. The owner was arrested and authorities seized 33 slot machines and around $50,000, according to a recent report.
The salons were located in Mountain Home and Harrison, Ark. Both were closed by the authorities, KTLOa local television station, reported.
Daniel P. Scallorn, 33, of Green Forest, Ark. was arrested for running a gambling den. He posted $25,000 bond, KAITanother local TV station, reported.
He has similar salons elsewhere in the state, police said. Apparently, they are also under investigation.
Payouts to slot machine winners
The case began on July 4 after a reported kidnapping involving Mountain Home’s Platinum Internet Lounge. An employee there, Danny Baird, 44, was questioned by police. He admitted that the show pays the winners of the slot machines, KTLO said.
He gave up to $300 a day for a winning ticket, the report adds. Baird also gave an officer $6,000 ‘for his custody’ after his arrest, KTLO reported.
Officers searched the store. They seized an undetermined amount of cash, ledgers, notes and other items. The operation was stopped on July 4.
Later that month, the Harrison salon also came under investigation. It was also closed.
We actually sent undercover officers and launched an operation and investigation into this, and it was discovered that there was illegal gambling going on,” Harrison Police Chief Chris Graddy said KAIT.
“If they put money in a machine to make a profit, that would be gambling. This type of activity has not been approved in this part of the state, and there are ways to gamble legally here in Arkansas.
Legal gambling in Arkansas is permitted at three licensed casinos and through state-approved mobile apps.
With regard to these machines, if you walk into a gas station and see a machine there with someone pumping $20 bills into it, I can assure you that the state has no role in ensuring that he repays a minimum amount”, Arkansas Racing Commission spokesman Scott Hardin said KAIT.
“That would be my main concern is that these machines are not regulated by the state, as far as refunds go.”
Pope County controversy
In a related case, Pope County Judge Ben Cross is asking the Arkansas State Board of Election Commissioners to reject a referendum on the casino ballot in 2022. The effort is being pushed by a tribe Native American from Oklahoma.
The Choctaw Nation owns and operates tribal casinos in neighboring Oklahoma. The tribe funds a political action committee in Arkansas called “Fair Play Arkansas”.
A proposed new referendum will ask voters to remove Pope County from being an eligible host county for a gambling venue.
Arkansas voters have already allowed up to four commercial casinos in a 2018 referendum. In November, the Arkansas Racing Commission issued an allotted gambling license for Pope County to the Cherokee Nation Businesses (CNB) and Legends Hospitality.
The Choctaws oppose Arkansas allowing a casino in Pope County due to competition and other reasons. The venue is said to be less than 90 miles from his Choctaw Casino & Resort in Pocola, Okla.