BENTON, AR – Five convenience stores in Benton were served search warrants Wednesday in regard to running gaming activity in their stores.
Police say the stores investigated are Lance’s Convenience Store at 3821 Edison Ave, Bullock’s Superstop at 15536 I-30, Phillips 66 at 1554 I-30, Jimmy’s Superstop at 901 Edison Ave, and the EZ GO at 1921 Highway 5 North.
Investigators found that these stores were providing “prizes” to customers won from playing “slot style” machines. According to police, the prizes were items such as merchandise from the store and gasoline.
"They are allowed to hand out like little trinkets and such that are basically almost worthless to people, but in this case, it went much beyond that," says Lt. Kevin Russell with the Benton Police Department.
The owners were cited for keeping a gaming device and the machines, 13 of them, were confiscated. Keeping a gaming device is an unclassified misdemeanor.
"Just like anyone else, they'll have their day that they'll be able to go to court and deal with the issue and dispute it or whatever they choose to do," says Russell.
Officers with the Special Investigative Unit closed each store for 30 to 45 minutes Wednesday to take the machines and load them into a truck.
It is now up to a judge to decide whether to give the machines back to the store owners.
Anyone with information about incidents is asked to call the police at 778-1171 or 315-TIPS. The investigation is ongoing and more businesses may be cited in the future.