State raids alleged illicit ‘casino’ at South Bay home

SAN DIEGO (CNS) – Acting on an anonymous tip, authorities broke up a suspected illegal gambling den at a Bonita home, a state official said Wednesday.

Investigators with the California Bureau of Gambling Control raided the Verde Court house Tuesday night, finding five black-market video wagering machines and other evidence that the premises were being used an illicit casino, said David Vialpando, special agent in charge of the BGC's San Diego field office.

The officers detained and questioned 10 people while searching the residence near the Plaza Bonita mall, then released them pending completion of the probe, Vialpando said.

Arrests in the case are expected in the coming weeks.

The state has had the home under periodic surveillance for several months. The alleged makeshift gambling hall — an add-on room with no interior access to the house itself — apparently was in operation at all hours, seven days a week, according to Vialpando.

The foreign-made video gaming consoles it provided are a type that offer blackjack, poker and slot machine-type wagering, he said. The devices, which are not approved for use in U.S. casinos, accept currency of various denominations and keep track of any winnings, which are paid out in cash by the operators.

A refrigerator in the house contained beer and soda that patrons could purchase, the special agent said.

It was unclear how much money the illicit operation might have been clearing in profits. Video-gambling machines of the type seized there typically bring in as much as $1,000 per week each, according to Vialpando.

Categories: KUSI