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In Florida, only on Indian reservations and in pari mutuels in South Florida is there allowed to be any form of slot machine gambling. That fact landed the owner of a Tampa gambling parlor in jail after he was charged with keeping a gambling house.
John Zilba, the owner of Action Gaming on North Florida Avenue was arrested after police claim that he was running an illegal slot machine parlor.
The arrest was made after Zilba apparently went to the sheriff’s office earlier in the year to find out if the shop he was opening was legal.
Police say that he was told that it was illegal to open the parlor, but, Zilba went ahead with his plans and opened Action Gaming in June.
A customer tipped off police to the parlor after she felt she was being ripped off at the establishment. She claimed that when she arrived at the points necessary for a payout, someone would step in and clear the machine out.
Police found USB ports hooked up to the 100 slot machines that they seized. The ports indicate that the owner could have been programming the slots from a different location to alter the payouts.
The machines that were seized were valued at $800 each. Players who played frequently did not think the hall was illegal due to the fact that they never won money, only gift cards.
Police say, however, that because the gift cards had a monetary value, that would be enough to make the operation illegal.