Florida Arcade Employees Charged After Illegal Gaming Investigation

Posted on: June 5, 2024, 05:58h. 

Last updated on: June 5, 2024, 10:15h.

Two suspects were arrested this week in Port Charlotte, Fla. after local investigators uncovered alleged illegal gambling involving slot machines.

Charlotte County Sheriff Bill Prummell
Charlotte County Sheriff Bill Prummell, pictured above. His office is getting tough with illegal gambling. (Image: YouTube)

On Monday, officers assigned to the Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office (CCSO) Narcotics Unit went to a business called “Arcade Headquarters” in Port Charlotte.

Authorities said they saw illegal gambling taking place inside the business and an employee there was given a written notice to appear in court on charges of being an employee of a gambling house.

Arcades Tip Off Each Other

“Within minutes of this interaction, the other casinos in town began telling customers to leave and hurriedly closed their doors,” according to a statement from the sheriff’s office.

Officers then went to “Showtime Casino,” also located in Port Charlotte, where they had received complaints that suspected illegal gaming was taking place in that business.

Two employees there were taking turns walking up to the road to watch for officers.

The employees were also locking the door behind every customer as they came in and out of the casino,” the sheriff’s office said. “Detectives observed illegal gambling happening inside of the casino on slot machines.”

Detectives warned every patron in the business that they were engaged in illegal activity and needed to leave immediately.

The two suspects operating the business, Mevin Rodriguez, 28, and Amey M. Naik, 31, were charged with being agents or employees of a gambling house.

Ignored Warnings From Officers

Previously, the operators of these businesses were warned repeatedly by the sheriff’s office, as well as the Florida Gaming Commission, about the relevant laws.

Whether they choose to label themselves as casinos or arcades, these businesses are continuing to ignore the numerous warnings from law enforcement,” the sheriff’s office said in this week’s statement.

Last year, the sheriff’s office raided two alleged illegal businesses in the city, seizing some 200 gambling machines. Despite that, the businesses continued to operate. Last week, there was an armed robbery at one of the businesses.

“It appears the owners simply don’t care as they have remained open, ignoring several warnings we have provided. Well, to these gaming establishments, I assure you, we aren’t playing,” Charlotte County Sheriff Bill Prummell said.

He added that, typically, the businesses close their doors briefly when they learn that deputies are issuing warnings or making arrests, but reopen within a few days.

Patrons can be charged, as well as business operators.

“Regardless of what you may have heard, if you are in an establishment playing on these illegal machines, you can be charged with a misdemeanor,” Prummell warned. “Please think twice before deciding to enter one of these businesses. CCSO will continue to educate the public and enforce the law on these casinos in Charlotte County.”

In July the Florida state law used in this case against the employees will turn from a misdemeanor to a third-degree felony, which could result in tougher penalties.