Thursday, June 11, 2009
The ranking Republican on the House Gaming Oversight Committee wants federal officials to crack down on illegal video poker vendors operating within the commonwealth. Rep Curt Schroder of Chester County has sent letters to the FBI, Justice Department and other federal agencies asking them to investigate profits vendors are making off the 17,000 illegal video poker machines the state police estimate are being operated in the commonwealth. Schroder says shutting down the vending operations would nip video poker in the bud, and work more effectively than raiding bars and taverns. Schroder says, “Focus on the vendor and supplier level. In order to enforce the law, focus on that, look at their tax avoidance. That will clean this up right away. If there are no vendors and suppliers out there to supply it, the activity will stop.” Schroder says he’s “not convinced state police are giving [vendors] the scrutiny they deserve.” Major John Lutz, who heads the state police’s Bureau of Liquor Control Enforcement, concedes vendor investigations aren’t a high priority, since they’re labor-intensive and can last more than a year. But he says federal officials are already involved in the investigations the state police carry out.