Trish Bennett, Editor
CIRCLEVILLE – A total of 143 gaming machines, cash and documents were seized Friday in the investigation of an alleged illegal casino operation at Spinners on U.S. Route 23.
According to Sheriff Robert Radcliff, search warrants were served at Spinners as well as the residence of its owner, Stephen Cline, at 14270 Walnut Creek Pike, Ashville.
The action was the result of a joint investigation between the Ohio Casino Control Commission, the Ohio Attorney General’s Office Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI), the Pickaway County Sheriff’s Office and the Pickaway County Prosecutor’s Office.
Radcliff said investigators removed two and one half semi trailers full of slot machines from the business and at least a pickup truck full of documents and other items from Cline’s home during Friday’s operation.
“At this point, there are no charges filed, and no one has been arrested in conjunction with these search warrants,” Radcliff said. “Auditors and analysts will be reviewing the documents we took from both locations as the investigation continues, and we will confer with the county prosecutor as far as any charges relating to these two search warrants.”
Radcliff said the investigation began just before the first of the year when investigators started receiving complaints about cash payments being made from slot machines at the business.
Jessica Franks, spokeswoman for the Ohio Casino Control Commission, said cash payments are only permitted at the four land-based casinos in Ohio.
“There are other games that are allowed under the law as long as they are skill-based games, and they can only pay out in a merchandise prize or a voucher to redeem for merchandise,” Franks said. “If they are paying out in cash or in a voucher redeemed for cash, that is illegal under Ohio law.”
Radcliff said a total of 38 officers from the three agencies were involved in Friday’s operation between the two locations, about 14 of those from the Pickaway County Sheriff’s Office.
“We’ve had people assigned from each agency working on this since the initial complaints came in,” he said. “Then I had two detectives assigned strictly to this investigation once we got involved in it with the other two agencies.”
Radcliff credited the ability to work with other agencies for the success of operations like the recent bust of a large heroin ring or Friday’s joint effort on illegal gambling.
“While we were doing the drug investigation last week, we already knew we were going to be doing this one this week,” Radcliff said. “It’s one kind of investigation after another, and it wouldn’t be possible for one agency alone. You just couldn’t do it if you didn’t work together like that.”
This article originally appeared on The Pickaway News Journal