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Clouds Cover South Florida Gambling Operation

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In a report out late Thursay by the Palm Beach Post in sunny South Florida, 2 undercover agents went into a South Congress Avenue bar in Delray Beach, popped two $20 bills into a slot machine and walk out an hour later with $35.

The two undercover agents who performed the gambling operation were representatives of Florida's Division of Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco. They eventually went back and arrested the owner and seized equipment, computer records, and cash.

The agency, with the help of Delray Beach police, wrapped up a 3-month investigation starting back on Jan. 19 by arresting David Spitler, the owner of Dave's Bar & Grill, and charging him with keeping operating an illegal gambling house and unlawful possession of coin-operated slot machines.

Undercover agents served a search warrant at the bar and seized $1,219.83 in cash, 2 gambling slots, a Pull Tab Ticket machine, business records and computers, according to a spokeswoman at the bureau.

Responding to an anonymous complaint of gambling occurring through a Yahtzee-type dice game and on slot machines at the bar, agents posed as patrons and won money there on 5 occasions between Oct. 3 and Jan. 5, according to the affadavit.

In addition to Spitler, 60, of Delray Beach, agents arrested bartender Carol Pitts, 42, of Wellington who was found with cocaine and marijuana in her purse. An arrest warrant has been issued for another bartender, Samuel Kurtz, on a charge of aiding and abetting an illegal gambling operation.

South Florida has become a haven for gambling ever since the Seminole Indian Tribe of Florida began constructing mega-casinos across the region. It has been reported that land-based casino gambling in South Florida has reached $3 billion dollars in total revenue in just over 3 years of activity.

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