Oklahoma Father-Daughter Duo Allegedly Operated Hidden Gaming Venue

Posted on: September 22, 2019, 04:00h. 

Last updated on: September 22, 2019, 09:02h.

Oklahoma investigators recently discovered an illicit gaming operation — hidden inside a bar — that was allegedly run by a father-daughter team, according to news reports.

An illegal gambling venue was found during a search of an Oklahoma bar by police and the state’s Alcoholic Beverage Laws Enforcement (ABLE) Commission. (Image: The Oklahoman)

Authorities found slot machines and gaming tables in a secret room located in a South Oklahoma City bar identified as Enzone, station KWTV reported. The illegal venue was found during a court-ordered search by police and investigators from the state’s Alcoholic Beverage Laws Enforcement (ABLE) Commission.

Oklahoma City police claim the operation was run by the Enzone owners, who were identified as Michael Yones and his daughter, Carrie Reddin. The venue was found following an inquiry that lasted almost a year, the station reported.

When questioned about slot machines that were visible through a small door, bar employees denied to investigators there were any slots there, the news report said.

But last month, investigators entered the bar to carefully search the premises. The more detailed search revealed a “pool cue rack” that was used as a “door to a hidden room,” police told the TV station. That hidden room was where investigators said they found the slots and gaming tables.

Yones, who was inside the hidden room, refused to open the door when asked to do so by police.  Authorities then forced open the door.

Cold Cash Located

Officials also located hidden cameras over a poker table and some additional cameras nearby. An unspecified amount of money was discovered in a kitchen freezer, too.

Yones, Reddin, and three employees were arrested on violations, the report said. The specific charges were not immediately available.

Police believe Yones lived in the bar. Also, Yones did not hold a valid liquor license, but served alcohol to customers, KWTV said.

Oklahoma Tribal Compacts

Elsewhere in the state, Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter recently hired the Michigan-based law firm Dykema to assist in compact renegotiations with Native American casino operators. The firm will be paid up to $250,000 for its advice during talks among Republican Governor Kevin Stitt and the tribes, for which the stakes could be in the hundreds of millions of dollars.

Oklahoma has 143 tribal casinos, more than any other state, owned by 35 federally recognized tribes. Together, they’re the second-biggest revenue generator of any tribal casino market, after California’s.

Per 2004 compacts, tribal operators share between 4 and 10 percent of revenues from Class III electronic games and table games, based on a sliding scale of performance. In return, the state promises to safeguard regional exclusivity and to prevent the establishment and expansion of commercial casinos in Oklahoma.

The compacts are scheduled to end in January 2020. The tribes have said they are prepared to renegotiate some of the terms.

In July, Oklahoma Indian Gaming Association (OIGA) Chairman Matt Morgan said that most of the state’s 38 Native American tribes have agreed to come together to thwart the governor’s overall plan to amend their gaming agreements. Oklahoma tribes are uniting to oppose the effort by Governor Stitt to renegotiate gaming compacts and increase revenue-sharing responsibilities stemming from their Native American casinos.

But the tribes might be willing to alter the compacts if the state expands their gaming options. Specifically, the tribes want the right to operate sportsbooks.

Their current compacts allow for gaming expansion, such as the recently liberalized sports gambling activity nationwide. The ban ended when the US Supreme Court struck down the federal sports betting prohibition in May 2018.