Leechburg Moose Lodge forfeits electronic gambling devices
The Leechburg Moose Lodge will not try to get back computers and other equipment state police say were being used for gambling.
State police did not cite or fine Leechburg Moose Lodge 102 for violating its liquor license when it was found to be using a system in which patrons gambled using purchased phone cards.
The lodge officers claimed a vendor led them to believe the system was legal and were given “the benefit of the doubt,” said state police Capt. Mark Crossan, who works in the Bureau of Liquor Control Enforcement.
The computers were seized when state police conducted a routine inspection of the lodge in February. They will be forfeited to the state Attorney General's Office if no claim is filed in Armstrong County Court by Nov. 22.
Eleven Moose lodges in 11 counties and a firemen's club in Cambria County were found to be using the same system this year, Crossan said.
The only other case in the four-county area was Moose Lodge 236 in Irwin, which was cited for violating its liquor license in early September.
The computers at the Irwin lodge were not seized because they had been removed after they were seen there, Crossan said.
Fred Ulmer II, the administrator of the Leechburg Moose Lodge, said a vendor led them to believe a judge had ruled that the system, which he called “sweepstakes machines,” was legal.
“They were all over the state,” Ulmer said. “We had a letter from a judge who ruled them legal. The state police determined they were illegal. We believe them.”
Ulmer said the lodge cooperated with state police and handed everything over.
“They were very nice with us,” he said.
Crossan said the system is called Tel Connect, and is often found in what are called Internet cafes.
The state Legislature in 2002 amended the gambling statute of the state crime's code to make the machines illegal.
The outcomes of the games, sometimes called “simulated gambling,” are predetermined and not left to chance.
“Obviously, most people lose,” Crossan said.
Confusion may stem from an injunction that was filed, but the law was later upheld, Crossan said.
The Leechburg Moose Lodge has been cited and fined for gambling offenses before. The club was cited twice in 1995 and once each in 1996 and 2000 for having gambling machines; it was also cited for running sports polls in 1996 and 2012.
It was cited in 2011 for not properly keeping records on small games of chance, according to Crossan and Liquor Control Board records.
Fines for those citations ranged from $300 to $1,000, and totaled $4,350.
Brian C. Rittmeyer is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-226-4701 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Retirements help trim Arnold budget
- CNG station approved for Harmar
- South Butler students push composting as a way to slow food waste
- New Kensington-Arnold School Board reviews facilities use policy
- Harrison man held in jail on molestation charges
- Burrell school officials update education goals
- Route 56 in Allegheny Township reopened after fatal accident
- Second-graders at Fawn Elementary School hold forth on origin, meaning of Thanksgiving
- Pair of crashes snarl Route 28 traffic
- Apollo-Ridge closer to naming buildings, facilities
- Deer Lakes School Board gives $10,000 raise to new Superintendent Logue-Belden