The operators of the Elvins Auction house raided by Park Hills police June 15 have each been charged with seven felony counts of promoting gambling for allegedly having illegal slot machines in their business.
The charges were filed Wednesday by the office of Prosecuting Attorney Wendy Wexler Horn against 49-year-old Carl King and his 52-year-old wife, Jenna King, both of Park Hill. The charge were filed in St. Francois County Circuit Court Division III. Records indicate that arrest warrants were issued for both defendants. No bond amount was mentioned in the court docket.
One count of promoting gambling in the first degree was filed against each of the defendants for each of the slot machines police say they confiscated in the raid. The range of punishment for those charges if they are found guilty ranges from up to a year in the County Jail to up to four years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000 on each count.
The charges allege the defendants “knowingly advanced or profited from unlawful gambling activity by setting up and operating a slot machine(s)” at their place of business on Morice Street.
After receiving information from the Missouri Gaming Commission and a local “confidential informant” Park Hills police obtained a search warrant for Elvins Auction on June 15. A team of officers executed the search warrant about 15 minutes before an auction was expected to conclude.
Detective Mark Rigel said they found the seven electronic slot machines in full view at the business. Officer Tony Remshardt, who was also involved in the raid, said one person was using a machine when police entered the building.
Officers took information from all the people in attendance at the auction and Rigel said several confirmed they had played the slot machines and received payouts from the operators when they won. There were signs on all of the machines that said they were for amusement only.
All seven machines were seized by police and are being held as evidence in the case. They also seized approximately $1,500 in cash that is believed to have been obtained through the alleged illegal gambling activities.
While the Gaming Commission made it clear it has no enforcement authority related to illegal gambling activities outside licensed casinos, it did provide technical assistance during the investigation. Officers from the unit did tests on five of the machines. Rigel said the machines were set for a much lower rate of payoff than machines found in the legal casinos in the state.
Chief Bill Holloway said the department’s investigation indicated there had been slot machines in the business for about one year. It further indicated he machines are owned by a man who lives in Washington County and were placed at the auction house under consignment.