Upshur County officials shut down illegal gambling operation
By By Phillip Williams Special to the News-Journal
April 23, 2012 at 10 p.m.
GILMER - Upshur County District Attorney Billy Byrd said his office shut down illegal gambling operations involving "8-liner" machines at five businesses earlier this month.
Byrd said agents issued warnings to the businesses rather than filing charges against them.
District Attorney investigator Jon Warren led the sweep April 12, on businesses in Gilmer, Big Sandy, Diana and one in rural south Upshur County, Byrd said.
The DA said all the business owners cooperated by shutting down the machines.
He said he believed their voluntary compliance with the law "fulfilled our goal" of stopping the gambling operations.
Byrd said undercover officers obtained video footage of how the machines paid out winnings the past several month.
Byrd said the machines themselves aren't illegal; "it's how they pay out winnings" that is the issue.
"The law is simple," he said. "These machines are for amusement only and the winnings can only be for novelty items. Paying with Wal-Mart cards, Visa cards or tickets to be used to purchase items inside that store is illegal. This is a cash pay out and violates the law."