LANCASTER — Four Lancaster County businesses are accused of having "illegal gaming devices," according to a news release from the Lancaster County Sheriff's Office.
Since March 7, local law enforcement and the State Law Enforcement Division have seized 15 sweepstakes machines in a targeted effort to rid the county of illegal sweepstakes gambling.
The county's sheriff's office has been "extremely lenient" in the past but is cracking down on people who own gambling machines, said Sheriff Barry Faile.
The law is clear and there are no loopholes, he said in the news release.
"There have been over 1,200 of these machines seized around the state. If we find any in Lancaster County, they will be taken and those numbers will be added to the statewide total.
A Lancaster County magistrate has ruled that all 15 machines seized this month are unlawful, according to the news release.
The owners of the machines are provided a 15 day window to appeal the ruling. After 15 days, the machines will be destroyed.
The sheriff's office says it will continue to work with SLED to find and seek destruction of the illegal machines.
From this point forward anyone found with an unlawful gaming machine will be charged criminally," Faile said.
"We have been extremely lenient and allowed owners ample opportunity to remove these machines from the county. We will extend that leniency no longer."
It is unclear which businesses had the gaming machines.
State law prohibits certain gaming machines used for gambling.
Violators face a misdemeanor charge and a $500 fine and up to one year in prison.
Anna Douglas 803-329-4068