COLUMBUS, Ohio – Law enforcement agents busted a local diner allegedly conducting illegal gambling operations in Chesapeake, Ohio around 2p.m. on Wednesday.
The Lawrence County Sheriff’s Office joined forces with the Ohio Attorney General’s Bureau of Criminal Investigation and executed a search warrant at the Sky Lake diner located at 1543 Eaton Road.
According to Sheriff Jeff Lawless, there were about 20 video gambling machines seized from a hidden room inside Sky Lake. The machines along with cash confiscated cash from the operation were removed from the building.
Sky Lake owner Tracy Ellis told law enforcement he was not responsible for any wrongdoing.
“I thought I was in accordance with the law. I might not be. I might be wrong. They might have changed the law. It might be written to where I’m wrong. If I am, I have to pay the consequences, but I thought by all means I was right,” said Ellis.
He argued that people go over at Sky Lake to have a burger and chat, not to lose money.
“You want to lose money, go to West Virginia and play those machines. You can lose $10,000 in an hour. These are not like that,” Ellis explained
The owner, however, admitted that machines found inside the establishment where he kept it in a back room to keep them away from kids, were already there for 20 years.
Though no charges have been filed yet, Lawrence County Prosecutor Brigham Anderson told it is illegal to operate a gambling house in Ohio. The case will be presented to a grand jury on mid-August.
“This joint investigation began earlier this year after local authorities received several complaints regarding suspicious activity inside the business. Today’s search warrant is being served in order to gather additional evidence to support our belief that illegal gambling was occurring here on a regular basis,” Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine stated.