CHESAPEAKE, Ohio (WSAZ) -- A business in Chesapeake, Ohio, has been raided for alleged illegal gambling, according to Lawrence County Sheriff Jeff Lawless, and Lawrence County Prosecutor Brigham Anderson and Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine.
Investigators with all three agencies raided the restaurant at Sky Lake in the 1500 block of Eaton Road Wednesday afternoon.
According to a news release, gaming machines and other evidence were removed from the business.
"This joint investigation began earlier this year after local authorities received several complaints regarding suspicious activity inside the business," DeWine said. "Today's search warrant is being served in order to gather additional evidence to support our belief that illegal gambling was occurring here on a regular basis."
Sheriff Jeff Lawless says they'd received complaints from the gamblers themselves.
"They were losing their livelihoods, their paychecks, their house payments, and things start to suffer," Lawless said.
The owner, Tracy Ellis, insists he's not responsible for any wrongdoing.
He admits he's had the machines at the establishment for 20 years. He claims if they're illegal, that's news to him.
"I thought I was in accordance with the law,” Ellis said. “I might not be. I might be wrong. They might have changed the law. It might be written to where I'm wrong. If I am, I have to pay the consequences, but I thought by all means I was right."
Ellis says he kept the machines in a back room to keep them away from kids.
No charges have been filed at this time. The investigation is ongoing.
Ellis says claims that people lost significant money are not true.
“People go over there and have a burger and chat,” Ellis said. “You want to lose money, go to West Virginia and play those machines. You can lose $10,000 in an hour. These are not like that."
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