Smell of smoke leads firefighters to more than 750 illegal gambl - 14 News, WFIE, Evansville, Henderson, Owensboro

Firefighters discover more than 750 illegal gambling machines in warehouse

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(Source: Taylor Kearns) (Source: Taylor Kearns)
The location of the warehouse. (Source: Google Maps) The location of the warehouse. (Source: Google Maps)

The discovery of more than 750 illegal gambling machines inside an old warehouse in Swansea is the second largest gaming machine bust in state history, according to the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division.

A Swansea police officer responding to a smell of smoke in the area noticed water coming from a storage warehouse on 800 South Brecon Avenue not far from Highway 321 Monday morning. The officer called firefighters who entered the building and found the machines.

SLED spokesperson Thom Berry says some of the machines are operational and others are in the process are being repaired for use.

"These are all types of gaming machines that are in various states of operability," said Berry. "Some are in the process of being rebuilt and converted. There are some shells of machines that are being manufactured and some old machines, including a couple of old 'one-armed bandits,' as they are referred to."

"This appears to be some kind of centralized facility where machines from a number of different locations, whether its in South Carolina or other states in the Southeast, have been were brought," said Berry.

The owner of a body shop across the street says the machines were brought in under the cover of darkness.

"Apparently I saw them bring all the machines in and didn't even know it," said Chuck Matini. "There was these white trucks going in and out after dark."

Berry said the have been reviewed by a magistrate and have been ruled illegal. That magistrate personally signed each machine. Agents are in the process of removing all of the evidence from the warehouse.

The building is owned by GLR LLC. It operated as a sewing plant in the 1960's. A business license was applied for and received by a company called Swansea Bonded Storage in June.

There have not been any arrests.

"This is a part of a larger ongoing investigation into video gaming activities in South Carolina," said Berry. "This will be just another piece of the puzzle we're putting together on this ongoing investigation."

SLED, the Swansea Police Department and the Attorney General's Office are handling the case.

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