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Charges filed against Eagles Club Inc. for alleged gaming violations

Waynesboro club paid $3,050 fine, in midst of 60-day suspension

January 19, 2012|By JENNIFER FITCH | waynesboro@herald-mail.com

WAYNESBORO, Pa. — The Eagles Club Inc. is closed through March 16 because of gaming violations the club has challenged in court, state and club officials confirmed this week.

The social club at 16 E. Main St. is in the midst of a 60-day suspension that began Monday, according to Officer John Mathias, a supervisor with the Pennsylvania State Police Bureau of Liquor Control Enforcement.

Charges filed against the Eagles Club Inc. for activities between January and March of 2009 include:

  • Exceeding the $5,000 a week payout limit in small games of chance.
  • Possessing a gambling device or bookselling on premises.
  • Failure to fulfill the charter's purpose.
  • Misuse of proceeds from small games of chance.

Mathias said an administrative law judge initially imposed a 90-day suspension, but the club appealed that decision. Franklin County Court Judge Shawn Meyers dismissed the appeal on Dec. 1, 2011, but lessened the suspension to 60 days, he said.

The club paid a $3,050 fine, Mathias said.

Club President Robert Shields said 34 staff members are laid off during the closure, but they had a meeting to discuss returning as a "stronger, better team."

"We're looking at it on a positive note. It gives us a chance to reorganize and clean the place completely," he said.

Shields declined to comment on the violations and court case because they occurred before he took over leadership on Jan. 1. The club has 3,200 members.

On Wednesday, the Pennsylvania Senate on a 44-6 vote passed House Bill 169, which will increase the weekly payout to $25,000, according to a copy of the legislation posted on the Pennsylvania General Assembly's website.

"I think the key is the House and governor agree to the changes, so I'm hoping this can get to the finish line," state Sen. Richard Alloway, R-Franklin/Cumberland/Adams/York, said in a telephone interview Thursday.

A lobbyist for club organizations is notifying them of the changes, he said.

"I'm so glad to have this issue resolved. It's good for the clubs, it's good for the commonwealth, I believe," Alloway said.

The club's board of directors is pleased by the Pennsylvania General Assembly's steps to increase the weekly payouts from small games of chance, Shields said.

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