Gambling machine confusion in local businesses
Cody Holyoke reports Video by tmj4.comvideo
MOUNT PLEASANT - According to state law, gambling machines are illegal. For some reason, however, a long-standing ordinance on the books in Mount Pleasant allows businesses to keep them -- if they pay a licensing fee.
Village Clerk and Treasurer Veronica Rudychev tells TODAY'S TMJ4 state investigators recently gave notice to a service station. A letter informed owners they were committing a felony by using the machines.
The business, however, has an 'operator's license' from the village.
"We were providing them licenses for these things. In essence, we were telling them it was okay for them to have them," Rudychev explained.
The policy sends mixed signals to local businesses and taverns, where the devices are popular. Now, workers have to consider another state law.
"Just to avoid any fines. Because we certainly don't want any problems," said Heather DeBruin, a bartender at Scores Sports Bar & Grill.
The people who play, believe the machines should stay.
"I like my local bar, and if this is something that keeps them in business, this is what they need," said Lee Potts of Mount Pleasant.
Staffers with the Wisconsin Department of Revenue tell TODAY'S TMJ4 they usually get involved if there are issues with tax payments, since the money earned illegally is still taxable.
Special agents and police around the area have been keeping a close eye on machines, even having them removed from other locations.
The Mount Pleasant Village Board hopes to rectify the error later this month.