South Carolina, Florida Gambling Raids Lead to Arrests, Cash Seized

Posted on: April 16, 2024, 11:29h. 

Last updated on: April 16, 2024, 02:01h.

Ten suspects were charged and more than $15K was confiscated following an Irmo, South Carolina raid on a poker game earlier this month.

An Irmo, S.C., police cruiser
An Irmo, SC, police cruiser, pictured above. Police officers raided a poker game. (Image: WLTX)

A police search of a Friarsgate Center office led to the arrests. Each suspect is scheduled to appear in local court in June.

Adam Watts, 28, Gary Watts, 67, and Daniel Schaffer, 53, were each charged with keeping unlawful gaming tables. Seven others at the poker game were charged with playing at a gaming house.

The raid took place after police received tips that poker at the office attracted between six and 20 players each night, according to South Carolina TV station WLTX. The organizer of the game would take his cut from the winnings, the report added.

“This type of activity is against state law, and will not be tolerated in Irmo,” Irmo Police Chief Bobby Dale said in a statement. “We have seen in past gambling operations that lives have been lost because of the financial greed of some involved. We will not allow this activity to be a part of our community.”

Florida Machines Seized

In an unrelated raid, Bradenton, Fla. police searched the Pour Decisions Saloon on April 10.

Four gaming machines were seized by Florida officers. The devices resemble slots.

The bar raid followed a month-long undercover investigation. Based on their findings, detectives were given a search warrant by a judge for the location.

As of last week, no managers, employees, or customers were charged as a result of the search. But given that the investigation remains open, arrests are possible, according to the Bradenton Herald.

Under Florida law, the operation of a slot machine without an official license is illegal.

If convicted, owners of a business where such illegal activity is occurring could face up to several years of incarceration. Convicts could also be fined thousands of dollars for each illegal gambling machine present on the premises. Players and employees of the gaming operation could also be charged.

Prior Arrests

The bar raid follows similar arrests in Florida last July by the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office.

In that court-ordered search, local deputies confiscated 69 gambling machines and more than $52K in cash.

Several illegal gambling operations were shuttered, according to the sheriff’s office.

In September, 33 slot machines and $15K were seized in another raid by the same sheriff’s office. That business also was closed.