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Pennsylvania Family-Run Illegal Video Poker Scheme of 30 Years Comes to an End

Pennsylvania is known as one of the booming centers of development when it comes to its gambling industry and it is not a secret to anyone that this could come with illegal operation taking place as well. The latest court action against an illegal gambling organization involves an entire family participating in the management of a video gambling operation in Westmoreland and Allegheny Counties ever since 1983.

Sometimes working with acquaintances and friends might be the best thing an individual could do in order to propel ahead a given operation, but working with your family elevates the process on an entirely new level. Such is the case with the four members of a family living in White Oak, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania who has been overseeing the operation of an illegal video gaming organization for the past more than 30 years potentially generating an enormous amount of revenue from it.

This Thursday witnessed the official hearing led by North Huntingdon District Judge Wayne Gongaware but as it turned out the family members appeared in court without an attorney. The charges mentioned during the hearing were ranging from illegal operation of gaming machines and dealing in proceeds of an illegal activity to criminal conspiracy. Robert Biros, 83 is the kingpin behind this scheme which seemed to be working in a flawless manner propelled ahead by his adult children — John, 56; Christine, 55, and Andrew, 52. Their fingerprints were taken shortly after the hearing.

The family has been managing the operation of video poker machines, which are typically enjoying the interest of a wide range of gaming enthusiasts. The said devices were placed in bars, clubs, and store locations across the counties of Allegheny and Westmoreland. Investigation on the case has been in progress ever since 2011 when information was first received regarding the organization. As many as 8 video poker devices without the appropriate licensing were then confiscated by the Pennsylvania State Police and the liquor control enforcement officers.

Illegal Operations Deprive the State of Significant Economic Boost

Over the span of more than 3 decades the family has been depriving the community of revenue generated by gaming operation, which could have considerably improved the economic state of Pennsylvania’s Commonwealth as well as the region of the counties. At the moment they are no longer in operation following the most recent action against them. It should be taken into account that among the testifying individuals against the clan was Ronald M. “Porky” Melocchi who has been associated with another illegal ring operating in the McKeesport City area in Allegheny County.

He himself received the sentence of 10 years of probation for his illegal schemes, but now he helped the authorities with more information regarding the White Oak family business. Mr. Melocchi was part of the organization at its very first seven years as he provided the said devices with a thorough inspection and repairs when needed. One of the ways in which businesses were being convinced to install the devices was with the help of cash amounting to up to $15,000, often enough to convince them.

Among the locations overseeing the operation of such machines were the Croatian Hall and Mickey T’s in North Versailles, as well as the Irish Club in Monroeville. According to the investigation which is currently in progress, the family has divided the revenue amassed with the venues by splitting it in half. As many as 18 venues were searched with warrants, resulting in more than 100 video poker machines being seized recently.

Once the authorities had their eye on the family, they raided their house in White Oak, ending up finding $140,000 potentially generated through the illegal ring. At the moment the state of Pennsylvania is struggling to fill in the $2.2-million gaping hole in the state budget, the condition of which could have been easily alleviated with the help of the amount of money generated by the family. Following the hearing this Thursday, another one was set for 20th August which would aim to shed more light on the case.

 Author: Harrison Young

Harrison Young is an experienced writer, who started his career almost 8 years ago. Prior to joining our team at CasinoGamesPro, he worked as an editor for a small magazine.