PUEBLO, Colo. - The doors are shut and the lights are off at three gaming centers in Pueblo County after police and the Colorado Bureau of Investigations discovered illegal gambling operations.
"The illegal gambling was based on machines that are commonly known as fishing games, where people enter money into the machine and they win prizes in money and because of that, it's actually illegal gambling," said Sgt. Eric Gonzales of the Pueblo Police Department.
Sixrteen games similar to these at two TableZ locations and Skillz Arcade were seized.
"These ones, you don't know what you're getting into. You don't know what kind of payouts, or if you're getting any kind of payout," Gonzales said.
Gonzales said the biggest concern is the games aren't regulated.
"Other casinos in the state that are regulated require that you have an 80 to 100 percent payout. These aren't regulated in any way. They can have a zero percent payout," Gonzales said.
Dan Corsentino,a former Pueblo County sheriff and now a lobbyist for sweepstakes operators, said he believes these businesses have legs to stand on in court.
"Skill games are legal in the state of Colorado and games of chance are not. So is this software a game of chance? Or is this software a skill game?" Corsentino said.
Corsentino said as the technology involved in the games develops, the conversation will continue.
"It's almost like a shell game. You know, legislation comes out, new technology is developed," Corsentino said.
So far, the businesses are facing 12 counts of sales tax and zoning violations. Gambling charges are forthcoming.
At the time the warrants were served, police said half the people using the establishments had unrelated warrants for their arrests.
Gonzales said these businesses should stay closed unless they have other operations besides the games to keep them open.