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Gaming machines seized, summons served, court date set
Law enforcement activity continued at Whitley City’s Bestway Plaza, Suite 8 on Tuesday, December 5, 2023 when officers from the McCreary Sheriff’s Department seized 19 illegal gaming machines from an alleged “game room” that was apparently operating adjacent to other businesses in the Plaza. Tuesday’s seizure of the machines occurred after the Sheriff’s Department located and shut down thirteen of the nineteen machines for being in operation less than 72 hours prior, on Friday night (12-01-23.) While in the act of shutting down the machines on Friday night, law enforcement also arrested and charged five individuals located in Suite 8 for active warrants and/or drug charges.
As a result of the seizure, a criminal summons was served on Monday (12-11-23) to Ricky Longmire of Stearns, KY by the McCreary County Sheriff’s Department. Longmire is charged with 19 counts of Possession of Gambling Device, Class A Misdemeanor and one count of Permitting Gambling, Class B Misdemeanor. A district court date has been set for January 25, 2024.
The misdemeanor criminal summons on Longmire is the first served in McCreary County since the new Kentucky law prohibiting establishments from operating gaming machines took effect earlier this year on July 1, 2023. Those who violate the law face fines of up to $25,000 per device, including anyone who owns, operates, finances, supervises, or manages a machine.
Currently, there are three types of legal, regulated gaming in Kentucky. The types of legal gaming in the Commonwealth are the Kentucky lottery, charitable gaming, and parimutuel wagering on horse racing.
Locally and statewide, the new law has met with controversy as many owners of convenience stores, game rooms, gas stations, and other small businesses operated the machines as a way to increase business revenue.
In Kentucky, the Sheriff’s Oath, taken in addition to the Constitutional Oath by elected sheriffs and each deputy, requires a Peace Officer Oath to enforce gaming laws.