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Three Men Charged at Manatee Gambling Parlor

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Authorities this week arrested three more people on charges of running an illegal gambling house, court records show. The Manatee gaming parlors were raided June 5, when the Manatee County Sheriff's Office shut down 16 of them. Authorities have since arrested seven people on felony charges of running a gambling operation that included slot-based machines and payouts of credit cards and other prizes.

The arrests Thursday were related to the operation of Joker's Wild in the 6500 block of 14th Street West, according to court records. Attorneys say the business owners believe their gaming machines fall within an exception to the gambling laws. They claim to be amusement arcades in which games of skill are rewarded with coupons, gift certificates and other prizes.

But authorities say there is no skill involved in the game machines. Florida law says slot-based games of chance, games that require payment to play and have a potential cash payout, are illegal.

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