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Alabama Sheriff to Seize Video Machines

8 July 2001

BIRMINGHAM, Alabama –July 8, 2001 –As reported by the Associated Press: "A judge has ruled that video gambling machines are illegal in Jefferson County, clearing the way for authorities to begin seizing them Monday.

"Circuit Judge Wayne Thorn ruled Friday that the machines under state law `are gambling devices and slot machines.'

"Thorn's ruling was based in part on testimony from gambling industry consultants who determined that the machines were exclusively games of chance.

"…Thorn's ruling resulted from a November 1999 raid at the Movie Time Arcade.

"Deputies seized $1,895 in cash and 32 video gambling machines. Tennessee businessman Kevin Sharp, who owned the seized machines, argued that they were legitimate games of amusement. They require skill, and should fit

"…Video machines have spread since the Legislature passed a law in 1996 to allow children to play Skee-ball and the like at pizza parlors and arcades. The so-called `Chuck E. Cheese' law permits prizes worth $5 or less, but not cash payoffs.

"Last month, 4,900 video gaming machines lit up 78 arcades throughout Jefferson County. The number of machines had more than doubled in six months despite legal ambiguities…"

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