Illegal gambling machines seized from gas stations in Leavenworth County

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LEAVENWORTH, Kan. -- Four metro businesses are in hot water, accused of running illegal gambling operations.

The Kansas Racing and Gaming Commission raided the convenience stores and seized eight gambling devices.

Three stores in Leavenworth -- including Home Town on Broadway, Conoco on 4th Street and Fast Stop on Metropolitan Street, along with Finish Line in Lansing -- were all found to have gambling machines.

The Kansas Racing and Gaming Commission fields dozens of tips a year about potential illegal gaming and said many times tips come from a surprising source.

"A lot of times it's people, believe it or not, they'll lose a lot of money so then they call and complain," Enforcement Agent Fred Waller said. "Also we have local police departments, sheriff's offices, they may see them and they'll call us, ask for our help."

Although the laws are crystal clear, investigators said business owners often try to argue it's perfectly fine to  have gaming machines like these.

"If it looks like a slot machine, plays like one, it is one," Waller said. "And the only place in Kansas those are legal are the state owned casinos or tribal casinos."

Most often, machines are seized from small town gas stations. And while the business benefits from renting space out to the machine owners, and they might occasionally pay out to the player, the rest of us lose out.

"It takes away from the legal part of it," Waller said. "They're skirting by not paying taxes, preying on local community people that'll walk in there and spend their money there."

The state is continuing its investigation and will turn over findings to local prosecutors in Leavenworth County. The gaming machine distributors, store owners and even the gamblers themselves could all potentially face charges.

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