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43 gambling machines seized at five businesses

Authorities in Pulaski County say they expect to issue arrest warrants within the next few days after raiding five businesses and confiscating 43 gambling machines on Wednesday.

Pulaski County Sheriff Todd Wood said Thursday that charges of promoting gambling eventually will be filed, but no one has been arrested yet.

The locations raided were: the Lakeway Shell station on Ky. 80; the Slate Branch Super Stop on Slate Branch Road; the Express Mart on Ky. 39; Louise’s Food Mart in Somerset; and Hampton’s Service Station in Burnside.

Twelve machines were confiscated in Burnside, and 31 were confiscated from the other locations, according to authorities.

Police said that in all instances the gambling machines were in back rooms of stores, out of sight of regular customers.

Officers said Thursday they are focusing on learning where the gambling machines came from and who owns them. They say they suspect the devices came from “outside sources.”

On Wednesday, investigators from the sheriff’s department and the city police departments of Somerset and Burnside entered the five businesses, armed with search warrants. The raids were conducted after police sent undercover officers into various establishments to look for gambling activity.

Wood said Thursday that he doesn’t think the five businesses have a common owner.

“We don’t believe at this time that any of the machines were owned by any of the local businesses,” he said. “We do believe that they were placed there through outside sources that own the machines. We think the profits were split between owner and business.”

According to police, those who won playing poker on the machines would receive a ticket which they could then cash in at the front counter.

“We have information of rather large payouts, and we have information of people losing rather large amounts of money on these machines,” Wood said.

According to Wood, similar gambling raids in the county resulted in arrests several years ago.

“I think the cycle has gone around to where it’s now back in our area,” he said. “We’ve tried to educate the public and business owners that these machines are deemed illegal. We expected business owners to understand that and to get rid of them. But some chose not to do so.”