County police bust businesses for poker machines

February 1, 2009 6:57:10 AM PST
Cook County sheriff's police have raided 10 businesses in southern Cook County and seized 31 video poker machines.Sheriff Tom Dart says during a three-month investigation, officers found the machines in bars, restaurants, liquor stores and even gas stations.

Dart says while the machines are marked 'for amusement only,' players sometimes spend up to $20 at a time to play them, and he says his office has received calls from families saying a loved one has lost an entire paycheck playing these games.

The sheriff wants to continue the raids, and he'd like a change to state law to target the business owners.

"More often than not, the person who ends up getting actually charged in this is the one who is physically doing the payout, who is really just an agent of the person who owns the establishment," Dart said.

Officers did not take anyone into custody Saturday. Instead, offenders were told to turn themselves into police within the next three days.