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Police confiscate illegal gambling machines

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By Alice Du Pont

Quincy Police Chief Ferman Richardson said no one knows exactly when illegal slot machines showed up in the city of Quincy, although he thinks it has only been in the last 6 to 8 weeks.

During the regular meeting of the Quincy City Commission Tuesday night, Commissioner Derrick Elias asked if there was paramutual betting going on in the city. Before Elias' inquiry, Richardson said he had no idea the machines were inside several local businesses.

Elias said he heard about the machines a month ago after a citizen asked him if the city was now allowing paramutual gambling.

"The man said if the city was allowing them he wanted to put one in his home. I thought he was joking until he asked me the same thing 2 weeks later and told me where two of them were located. I checked at the stores he mentioned and he was right," Elias said.

Following an investigation, officers confiscated seven of the machines July 30 from different locations throughout the city. The machines were taken from the following locations:

• Kelly's Jr. 24-Hour at Graves and West Jefferson Street

• Kelly's Jr. One on East Jefferson Street

• The Game Room on West Jefferson Street

• Sunset Mart at the corner of Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and South Adams Street

• Game Stop on Pat Thomas Parkway

• Golden Falcon on Pat Thomas Parkway

• Kelly's Jr. at Key and Crawford Streets

Richardson said use of the machines is considered gambling under Florida law if there is a cost to play, and winning is based on chance and not skill and if there is a monetary value to the prize.

"These machines had all three," he said.

Richardson said the machines are described as "coin pushers" because a continuous sliding motion causes coins to move forward to a tray which releases the coins when enough coins have been deposited into the slot.

He said no decision has been made whether to charge the store owners and he is waiting for advice from the city's attorney. The company that leased the machines is based in Pensacola.