Five Men Arrested after SWAT Raids Gambling Dens in Arkansas

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The police arrested 5 men in Fort Smith, Arkansas, who ran an illegal gambling operation.

Five Men Arrested in Arkansas for Running Illegal Gambling

On April 16, after a 5-week investigation, SWAT teams raided gambling dens in Forth Smith, Arkansas where illegal gambling took place. The police booked 5 men for running illegal gambling operations at 2 pool halls and confiscated $62,261 and a total of 32 gambling machines, according to a news report by KFSM-TV.

The report stated the gambling operation was taking place at 2 pool halls in Fort Smith: Buckets Billiards on Grand Avenue and Classic Billiards on South Zero Street. A confident informant tipped off the investigators during a drug investigation.

Sebastian Country Prosecuting Attorney Daniel Shue stated that the 5 men are Michael Eakin, 67, Ronald Wight, 60, Edwin Eddins, 57, Chad Bandy, 44, and Bryce Bandy, 28. They are due in court on April 28.

Capt. Philip Pevehouse of the Sebastian County Sheriff Department stated that the illegal gambling operation took place in the backrooms of the pool halls. He said that a person could come out of the rooms with money won from gambling.

Pevehouse told the TV station that the authorities issued a misdemeanor to 11 people who used gambling devices at the time of the raids. When he questioned people if they needed a password to enter the gambling venues, everyone told him that people could walk in freely. Pevehouse stated that the investigators didn’t recover any drugs.

Sixteen Men Were Arrested at another Arkansas Raid in March

According to a report by KATV last month, Law enforcement arrested 16 men in Blytheville and Osceola. The local authorities seized 56 gambling machines and confiscated $100,000. The suspects ran the illegal operations at stores and gas stations. The police received complaints about illegal gambling operations in the fall of 2020.

Blytheville Police Chief Ross Thompson said that gambling is illegal and problematic in Mississippi County. He stated that it had caused robberies before and lowered economic standards.

What Forms of Gambling Does Arkansas Permit?

Arkansas is one of the few states in the US which are not very gambling-friendly. However, in 2018, it was among the first states to legalize retail sports betting. Now legislators push for online sports betting. House Bill 1942, which proposes “immediate online sports betting”, was reviewed by the Committee of House Rules a few days ago.

Nonetheless, the state currently has strict regulations when it comes to different forms of gambling. The state is a home of three gambling facilities: Oaklawn Casino Racing Resort in Hot Springs, Garland County, Saracen Casino Resort in Pine Buff, Jefferson County, and Southland Casino Racing in West Memphis, Crittenden County.

The gambling activities are limited to horse race betting and dog race betting, lottery, DFC, and charitable gaming. Poker or other forms of social gambling activities are prohibited.

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