VIDEO: St. Lucie County Sheriff Shuts Down Another Arcade
Fort Pierce - Wednesday October 25, 2023: St. Lucie County Sheriff detectives shut down another arcade Tuesday. It was the fourth arcade the Sheriff's office has shut down in the post two months.
Shortly before noon yesterday, St. Lucie County Sheriff’s Office detectives executed a search warrant at the 'Sweepstakes' arcade located in the 2100 block of North U.S. 1 in Fort Pierce. 51 gaming machines were seized.
“This has been an arcade for a while,” said Sheriff Ken Mascara. “Two weeks ago, they closed and changed their name to Sweepstakes.”
In a video recorded by the Sheriff's Office inside the arcade the Sheriff pointed to decals, recently pasted on the gaming machines which said that players are donating money, not gambling. "But once you win, you go to a machine in there and get your winnings," said the Sheriff. "It's gambling, plain and simple."
“We diplomatically tried to address the illegal operation of these (arcades) in our county, and it has fallen on deaf ears," said the Sheriff., "and it’s time to take action.”
Florida Gaming Control Commission Chief of Law Enforcement Daniel DeCourcy went along on the raid. He said the owner of the arcade could potentially be fined up to $10,000 per machine.
"There's only four licensed facilities in Broward County, and four licensed facilities in Dade County, as well as the casinos run by the different Indian organizations.," DeCourcy. "Other than that these types of places, that are arcades, are illegal throughout the state of Florida."
Gaming Commission Agent John Labandera pointed out that the gaming inside these kinds of arcades is "un-regulated and predatory." He said arcades like Sweepstakes "do not follow any rules. Number one they don't pay taxes. Number two they set the machines to lose 98% of the time."