VFW Post 1320 Gambling Operation Busted
Story By: Noelle Newton
(SAPULPA, Okla.) March 9, 2007 - A gambling bust tonight inside a "secret room."
That room was discovered inside an area VFW hall, where agents found eight slot machines.
Law enforcement from three agencies raided the VFW in Sapulpa.
Police officers say the machines were in a room by the bar, and the only way you could play is if a bartender buzzed you in.
As the veterans now know, they've been "buzzing in" undercover officers for a month.
State agent H.T. Scott says, “We don't write laws, we enforce them. You can't pick which one you enforce or who you enforce it on.”
This time, says Scott he found himself taking down some of our nation's heroes, “The bad thing about this, is the VFW is a great organization that helps a lot of people.”
But at VFW Post 1320 in Sapulpa, police say they were helping people make a little extra cash, just not legally.
The Sapulpa Police Department got several tips that slot machines were in a private room.
The state sent in undercover officers, who found a trusting bartender.
Scott says, “Our guy got buzzed in the first night, so they got lax about who they let in there.”
Scott also says, while the officers were inside they saw people win hundreds of dollars.
“Unless they're a tribal casino, it's illegal to gamble.” Scott says they knew what they’re were doing. “You wouldn't put a buzzer on a door if you thought it was okay to go in there.”
Now the post commander, bartender and others could face prison time.
Scott says it's simply a gamble that's not worth taking, “What happens is, you give the place a black eye it doesn't need simply by trying to make a little extra money with illegal gambling.”
No one was arrested today. Officers just identified each person inside the hall.
Those caught playing the machines could be charged with misdemeanors, but that's for the district attorney to decide.
The Alcoholic Beverage Laws Enforcement Commission tells FOX23, it will file charges against the person who's name is on the hall's liquor license.
The Creek County D.A. will decide whether to file additional charges.