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State files gambling charges against Elks Club

April 03, 2001

State files gambling charges against Elks Club



By STACEY DANZUSO / Staff Writer, Chambersburg


The manager and officers of the Elks Club of Chambersburg face gambling charges following a two-month investigation into illegal machines police allege operated in the club's basement.

The Pennsylvania State Police Bureau of Liquor Control Enforcement filed the complaint Friday at District Justice Gary Carter's office, charging club manager Donald W. Hershey and officers John H. Shadle Jr., William D. Stenger, Stephen E. Patterson and Karen A. Clippinger with one count each of maintaining gambling devices, pool selling and bookmaking, according to court records.

During a routine inspection Jan. 20, two Liquor Enforcement officers discovered multiple gambling machines at Elks Lodge 600 at 168 Lincoln Way East, including two standup video slot machines and four tabletop machines used for illegal gambling purposes, according to allegations in the police criminal complaint.

Officers also uncovered evidence that the Elks set up and maintained football pool boards, recording and registering bets, records alleged.

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The officers arrived at the Elks Club at 1:35 p.m. Jan. 20, and identified themselves to the two bartenders serving about 20 patrons.

After the officers said they were there for an inspection, Hershey told the officers about the machines.

Officer J.E. Mathias Jr., and Hershey went to the basement, where the officer found four tabletop video slot machines and two standup video slot machines plugged in and operating, according to the affidavit of probable cause.

When Mathias hit the "redeem" key on one machine, three tickets were dispensed, which the officer was told could be used for dinners at the club, according to allegations in court documents.

Police seized the machines and learned the Elks owned the two standup machines and that the tabletop machines were owned by Todd Amusements in Hagerstown, according to the affidavit.

Hershey said the machines had been on the premises since last June.

The officers were told the club got 60 percent of the collections and patrons received $5 for each ticket from the machines, according to court documents. The patrons write their names on the tickets and leave them at the bar and winners pick up their money on their next visit, the affidavit alleged.

Hershey said the machines were emptied every two weeks, and each time the club's cut was about $4,400, court documents allege.

After opening the machines, police determined the six had a combined total of about $3,370, they said.

Also during the January inspection, Officer J.L. Harper found two football pool boards in the stairwell leading to the basement, police alleged.

Police were told the club makes no money on them, but each time a patron who signs up for a particular team has a team score 33 points in a game, the patron wins the pool for that week.

Attempts to reach Elks officers Monday were unsuccessful.

No date has been set for a preliminary hearing on the matter.

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