NANTICOKE — A simultaneous, well-coordinated seizure. That’s how State Police describe their operations last night throughout four counties as hundreds of poker machines were seized from close to two hundred businesses.
State Police say the machines are illegal if there’s a payout for those who play. More than 250 State Police and Liquor Control Enforcement officers took part in the raid.
Sergeant James Jones says it all began two years ago when undercover officers on routine patrol noticed the large number of machines in Northeastern Pennsylvania bars.
“In this case it came to the attention the majority were owned by one vendor and as we see a vendor involved we focus the investigation on the vendor,” said Sgt. Jones.
That vendor, PA Coin, occupies the same three warehouses in Nanticoke our cameras were at 15 years ago during another raid of poker machines. Newswatch 16 also learned that the buildings were transferred over from the Coffee family to PA Coin in the mid-2000s. The Coffees were charged with tax evasion in 1998.
“The vendor actually sets a percentage, usually 35%, and that machine will keep 35% of the money that goes into it over the play cycle of the machine,” added Sgt. Jones.
State Police say the machines can make millions of dollars in profit for the vendors.
So far, no charges have been filed as the investigation continues.