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Gambling Crackdown in Oklahoma Bars Online and Phone Rewards

A legal opinion by the state attorney general has led Oklahoma law enforcement to begin shutting down sweepstakes games which allow gambling for payouts of online or phone time.

Play Now at English Harbour! The Oklahoma Attorney General has decided that machines available around the state offering phone cards as a reward constitute illegal gambling, and state authorities are raiding locations utilizing the machines. The concept is also used by Internet cafes, which attempt to skirt gaming laws by paying customers who play at slot-type machines in online time rather than cash.

But Drew Edmondson, the state's top law enforcement official, says that sweepstakes machines paying out in rewards that can be exchanged for cash are the same as regular slots and break gambling laws. Now, police are hitting bars, restaurants, convenience stores and bowling alleys to seize machines and end the gambling.

"I respect Drew Edmondson and his office and respect their opinion," said attorney Gary James, who represents some of the locations. "I do have some differing with the opinion and the legalities of these machines."

Some counties are notifying venues hosting the machines to remove them voluntarily. Grady County District Attorney Bret Burns says he's telling proprietors in his county they have thirty days to dispose of the machines, or else seizures and arrests will follow.

If Edmondson's opinion stands up to likely court challenges, possession or sale of one of the gambling machines could result in fines and up to six months in jail.

Published on October 4, 2009 by JulieWong

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