In Pennsylvania, there were 13 casinos operating in Pennsylvania. Twelve of those venues had licensing, were inspected and regulated by the state. They also pay high taxes in order to operate in their respective regions. However, a 13th venue, the 777 Casino of Windfall Amusement does not have licensing or follow regulations of the state. They operated in Berks County, within the Kenhorst Borough. They were located between a dollar store and a pawn shop and have been operating based on approval from the community. They were recently raided by state police, with 60 electronic gaming machines seized.
Details of the Raid
Along with the machines, the raid resulted in almost $68,000 in confiscated funds. No charges have been filed as of yet, but the investigation is ongoing. According to police, a tip came in that alleged illegal gambling machines were in operation within the facility.
Investigators researched the business in the local paper, finding out details about how the operators worked on getting approval from boroughs to adjust hours of operation as well as add more gaming machines. According to the police, it is not uncommon for gaming facilities of this type to operate out in the open.
What Locals Did Wrong
Since the start of the casino, officials in Kenhorst continued to approve the operation even though there were cautions and red flags at every turn. When the expansion of Windfall was approved, Penn National Gaming stepped in and sent an eight-page letter to the legal counsel of the borough in advance of a meeting. The letter discussed the many ways the operation was not within state laws regarding gaming.
Penn National was not happy with the operation, as it was an unlicensed competitor close to its new mini casino. The operator has plans to create a mini-casino in Morgantown which is close to the Kenhorst area. Penn National Gaming paid a whopping $7.5 million to be able to offer the gaming option in that area.
It finally came down to the Berks County District Attorney raiding the casino with the assistance of the State Police before it was shut down.
Officials were shocked that the borough allowed the business to expand to offer such services. A detailed warning was reportedly provided that the operation was more than likely an illegal one.
Of the games seized during the raid, many appeared to be from Banilla, a North Carolina based manufacturer and distributor. This company primarily services regulated skill games in the state of Georgia. The average cost of such machines is around $8,500, so the ones that were confiscated in Pennsylvania are valued at almost $500,000.
It remains to be seen what will happen to those who were operating the facility 777 Casino. It is also unclear as to if the community will be at fault in any way for allowing an illegal gaming facility to offer services. Much more should be revealed in this case within the coming weeks. We will stay on top of any new reports and provide information as it is made available.