Kentucky Police, FBI Bust Illegal Gaming Sites, Four Charged as $10K Seized

Posted on: May 21, 2021, 10:23h. 

Last updated on: May 22, 2021, 06:24h.

Law enforcement officers in a Lexington, Ky., suburb this week worked with federal agents to bust two illegal gaming facilities. Authorities said that led to the arrest of four people, as well as the seizure of about $10,000 and 22 machines.

Kentucky illegal gaming
Officers with the Nicholasville Police Department show some of the 22 illegal gaming machines they confiscated this week as the result of two raids on businesses in the central Kentucky city. Four people have been arrested so far, and about $10,000 in cash was seized. (Image: Nicholasville Police Department)

On Monday, the Nicholasville Police Department executed search warrants at two businesses located less than a mile apart.

In the backroom of a used car dealership on South Street, officers and FBI agents found seven machines. They found 15 more at a convenience store just down the street.

In a statement on the agency’s Facebook page, the department said it acted on the warrants after receiving several complaints about the machines.

Illegal gambling machines such as these are designed for the person not to win,” the Nicholasville Police Department said in the post. “They usually pay out small amounts in an effort to have you continue to return and play the games.”

Photos taken by the department show the officers confiscated video slot machines, as well as poker and keno games.

Four Face Felony Charges

Nicholasville officers arrested Barron Henderson of South Carolina, Teresa Burdine of Nicholasville, Sheila Johns of Nicholasville, and Carolyn Ramsey-Jasper of Somerset, Ky. 

The police department’s statement said officers charged each individual with four counts of conspiracy to promote gambling, a Class D felony in the state. According to state law, each count is punishable by one to five years in prison.

Johns’ arraignment is scheduled for June 16 at 10:30 am ET in a Jessamine County court. Arraignments for the other three take place on June 17 at 9 am.

While federal agents took part in the raid, it’s uncertain if any of the four will face federal charges. None have been filed so far in US District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky.

The police added that the illegal gaming investigation continues in the case, and that more people may face charges.

Legal Gaming Just Minutes Away

Casino gaming is illegal in Kentucky, but the state does allow racetracks to offer historical horse racing (HHR). HHR machines look like Class II slot machines. However, instead of using electronic bingo games to determine winners, HHR machines use the outcomes of previously run races.

Racing officials also say HHR is a pari-mutuel-based game, unlike traditional slot machines.

Earlier this year, state lawmakers passed a bill giving the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission the ability to approve HHR games. That was necessary after a state Supreme Court opinion last year said the state agency did not have the power to create a new form of pari-mutuel wagering.

The closest HHR parlor to Nicholasville is Red Mile Racing and Gaming. That venue is located less than 15 minutes away in Lexington.