Salt Lake County sheriff's investigators capped a 9-month investigation Thursday night with raids on two establishments and the seizure of four video poker gambling machines.
Two Salt Lake County residents were arrested after a twilight raid at Plaza Billiards, 1754 W. 35th South. An employee and a part-owner were booked on five Class B misdemeanor counts of illegal gambling, Sheriff's Lt. Riley Cannon said.The raid at the West Valley pool hall netted investigators three video poker machines, and officers seized one identical gambling device at Valley Lounge, 3951 W. 54th South.
The machines were rigged to pay off on winning hands, Cannon said. While various establishments around the county have such gaming machines, he said, "If they are not used as payoffs, they're legal."
"The machines are distributed for amusement only. What happens when they come into an establishment like this is entirely up to the owner."
Seven uniformed officers entered the pool hall, which has a bar in back, and confiscated the machines and $850.
Arrests were pending following the Valley Lounge raid, the lieutenant said.
Deputies confiscated about a dozen gambling devices in a January raid. The machines, if rigged to pay off, are very profitable for their owners, Cannon said.
Private citizens complaining about illegal gambling and lost paychecks to gaming devices spurred the investigation, Cannon said. The Sheriff's Department probe will "eventually encompass every tavern in our jurisdiction."