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TMCNet:  Poker machines seized from Lansford American Legion

[January 10, 2013]

Poker machines seized from Lansford American Legion

Jan 10, 2013 (Standard-Speaker - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) -- Law enforcement officers seized six poker machines and more than $1,600 in cash from the American Legion in Lansford on Friday, Sgt. Gary Severns of the Pennsylvania Bureau of Liquor Control Enforcement said.

The seizure followed an investigation by agents of the bureau, which is part of the state police.

No charges have been filed against the Legion. If any charges are filed later, they probably will go before an administrative law judge, rather than a criminal court. In either case, the club's members would have an opportunity to answer the charges.

State Rep. Doyle Heffley, R-122, uses a downstairs meeting room at the Legion, 3 W. Ridge St., as a satellite office, which is open for constituents on Wednesdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

"This is the first I learned of any of these accusations. My staff holds satellite office hours in the basement of the American Legion in Lansford on Wednesdays, and we are thankful that this organization provides us space in their building," Heffley said in an email.

He said the Legion offers the room rent-free.

Some poker machines are illegal because of features built into them. Other machines that are legal for amusement purposes still can be used illegally for gambling if owners or workers arrange to collect and pay money to players.

Gambling is illegal in Pennsylvania except at licensed casinos and events run by clubs or nonprofit organizations that obtain licenses for small games of chance.

So officers or owners of clubs and businesses in which gambling devices are found can face criminal charges.

More often, clubs and businesses that operate according to liquor control laws face administrative charges when accused of gambling.

Severns said convictions can lead to fines from $50 to thousands of dollars against the license holder. Licenses can be revoked or suspended at establishments that have a history of violations, he said.

kjackson@standardspeaker.com ___ (c)2013 the Standard-Speaker (Hazleton, Pa.) Visit the Standard-Speaker (Hazleton, Pa.) at standardspeaker.com Distributed by MCT Information Services

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