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Slot Machines Seized Not Subject to Forfeiture

27 July 2005

Las Vegas Sun

SANTA FE, New Mexico -- The state Court of Appeals has ruled that slot machines seized from a home in Alamogordo that were not used for illegal gambling aren't subject to forfeiture by state regulators. A three-judge panel of the court said Tuesday the machines aren't "gaming machines" or "gambling devices" under state law.

The Gaming Control Board seized 10 slot machines in November 1999 from the home of Cortney and Kerry Gwynne, who -- along with a third owner, Cecil Lunceford -- had bought them two years earlier from a distributor licensed in Nevada.

The board, in a complaint seeking forfeiture of the machines, said they were "unlicensed gaming devices" under the law and subject to confiscation.

But the state district court in Otero County concluded that the machines were exempt from the Gaming Control Act, and the Court of Appeals agreed.

Judge Michael Vigil, with Judges Jonathan Sutin and Ira Robinson concurring, wrote that there was no allegation of illegal gambling. Only the owners and their acquaintances played the machines, and nothing was paid to the owners in order to play.

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