Troopers with the Missouri State Highway Patrol confiscated several gambling machines from the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 2591 in a surprise inspection conducted Tuesday.
Acting on an anonymous complaint, officers with the MSHP Gaming Division did a walk-through inspection of the post at 121 S. Ohio Ave., and found six illegal machines, said MSHP Troop A Public Information Officer Sgt. Collin Stosberg.
“The VFW has a Bingo license but not a gambling license. A special permit is required to operate those kinds of machines, which the VFW did not have,” Stosberg said. “Essentially they were slot machines and they were taken. At this time there have been no arrests made but the investigation is ongoing.”
Calls to VFW Commander Larry Revens were not returned by press time but VFW member Larry Stevenson confirmed to the Democrat several machines had been taken. According to Stevenson, four or five years ago there was some confusion about the legality of the machines and if they would cause the post to lose its Bingo license.
“We received a certified letter saying the machines (and manufacturer) had been through the court system and they were legal,” Stevenson said. “I think virtually every VFW in Missouri has got those machines.”
Established in 1994, the MSHP Gaming Division provides criminal and regulatory enforcement of gaming operations in the state. Its Investigative Unit provides oversight and conducts investigations related to Missouri’s 316 licenses charitable gaming operations. In 2012, the unit was involved with 543 investigations to determine the suitability of licensees, suppliers and vendors.