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Pennsylvania Police Arrest Illegal Video Gambling Kingpin, End 11-Year Operation

The gambling industry in Pennsylvania has seen a considerable development in the past several months bringing more to the local players and improving the overall conditions of gaming. This inevitably comes with more inspection which aims to provide the necessary regulation of the field and the prevention of illegal activities from taking place. A recent arrest taking place on Thursday put the end to an illegal video gambling operation which provided a total of 33 bars with gaming offerings without the permission of the authorities.

Every state interested in offering gaming to the general public has contemplated over the main benefits coming with a legal gambling field. There are the positive sides to it, such as the economic boost it most certainly provides. The amount of cash lost during casino activities in turn means the operation of the casino venues continues and they pay larger taxes on revenue.

State authorities then reinvest it for the benefit of the community and introduce people to better living conditions. In this sense, gambling in a regulated and legal way could be considered a positive influence on a regional level. Whenever there is illegal gaming activity in progress, this means that the revenue amassed throughout it sinks into the pockets of the kingpin of the given organization and the community can not reap the fruits of it.

Along with that, there is also the lack of proper protection for the players’ rights which could be easily violated. Such has been the case with the illegal network of gaming devices spread across a total of 33 clubs and bars located in counties to the liking of Fayette, Washington, Allegheny, and Westmoreland. Anthony Zenner, the person allegedly responsible for the continuous criminal operation, was arrested.

Illegal Operation Takes Its Toll on State

According to the issued information regarding the subject, they have been in operation for the past 11 years, significantly robbing the state of potential gambling revenue. Ever since 2006, Mr. Zenner has been working on spreading the illegal video gambling machines and overseeing activities taking place with their help.

A total of 142 devices have been working at the said locations up until 2017, generating a considerable amount of profits for the mastermind behind the plan. As it was stated in the report, the estimated amount of profit generated with the help of the devices reaches $7 million. The state of Pennsylvania is struggling to fill in its $2.2-million gaping hole in the state budget, the condition of which could have been easily alleviated with the help of the said amount of money.

Online gaming and sports betting are expected to help with it, in addition to the satellite casino venues licensing and future operation in some of the counties. Mr. Zenner himself is from Washington and for his management of the illegal gambling network he was charged with several offenses.

Among them are the fact that he has come up with the idea to operate such network and turned it into reality, as well as the fact that he had been hiding the proceeds generated through the illegal operation from the authorities and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. This arrest comes as a result of a thorough investigation of the case conducted by a Statewide Investigating Grand Jury which commenced in January 2016.

Along its lines, there was an undercover monitoring of the said locations and confirming the existence of unlicensed operation of gaming devices. The generated revenue was then divided equally between the kingpin and the owners of the given bar or club. It could also be recalled that the month of April witnessed an organized special operation in which the authorities ended up confiscating some 142 video poker machines from Mr. Zenner’s warehouse located in Washington County in addition to a total of $83,000 in cash.

At the moment he is held in custody with a bail of $30,000. As for the preliminary hearing, it has been set for 29th August, providing a development to the case.

 Author: Hannah Wallace

Hannah Wallace has been part of our team since the website was launched. She has a master’s degree in IT.