I-Team: Coakley Shuts Down Mini-Casinos

By Joe Shortsleeve, WBZ-TV I-Team

BOSTON (CBS) – It’s a bust for mini casinos — popping up across the state. Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley issued an emergency order shutting them down.

It’s a story the I-Team broke, Chief Correspondent Joe Shortsleeve says, the AG says these businesses are breaking the law.

WBZ-TV’s Joe Shortsleeve reports.

A few weeks ago, the I-Team told you about these businesses, a growing trend across the country. They say they are selling Internet time, but it is very clear it is all about the gambling. And today the Attorney General put a stop to it.

Attorney General Coakley “citing evidence of illegal gambling and the lack of consumer protections” slammed on the door on at least seven mini casinos operating in Massachusetts.

Take a look inside this mini casino off Route One at Bell Circle in Revere and you would think that you were at Foxwoods.

WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Lana Jones reports.

And there is also one on Route One Lynnfield. It is jammed at all hours of the day with people playing video slots and poker.

We talked to a few players several weeks ago. Most said it was gambling and that they were having fun.

However, Martha Coakley says they are breaking the law.

These operations say they are selling Internet time and the gambling games are just an added feature. But the I-Team found that gambling is the only reason people are there.

The owner of the Lynnfield location, Anthony Sabia, told us in March he is operating using the state law that governs sweepstakes.

Sabia says it is free to play a few rounds so “it is like McDonalds and the Monopoly game.”

Coakley says the sweepstakes law does not apply to these operations.

The Attorney General says she is working with the Speaker of the House to craft legislation that will make sure these places stayed closed. State officials are very concerned about competition to the state lottery, which could mean less money for cities and towns. State police from the Attorney Generals office raided at least four mini casinos last week and confiscated several computers.

  • Cheryl

    Why is it ok for the state to make money off of people gambling by playing the lottery but it is not ok for individuals to make money off of it? I think it is about time that we get to decide how and where we spend our money. After all, the state already gets a good chunk of our income in the form of taxes.

    • J Roy

      $20 plus instant lottery tickets are ok though. It makes no sense
      Why is it a big emergency to close them down? A “real” emergency is a earthquake, fire,robbery or someone dying..

      Lets get with it!!!!!!!!!!!

      I love channel 4 but Joe you need to sniff something else out

  • Pat

    Gotta love this state. If the politicians can’t tax it, get a kickback from it, or own part of it….they ban it. Mafia tactics at its finest.

  • Jill

    Good Call Martha…when will we ever realize that casinos and gambling in general sucks money out of people that shouldn’t be gambling in the first place.

  • royp7733

    I’m sure the odds are better at these “illegal” sites than they are with the lottery. I never win on scratch tickets any more. I’m heading to Rockingham for some Hold ’em!

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    […] I-Team: Coakley Shuts Down Mini-Casinos It’s a bust for mini casinos — popping up across the state. Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley issued an emergency order shutting them down. Read more on CBS Boston […]


    HI so why is it that the North Shore Cape Ann,Gloucester,mass. still have Gambling there at Lucky 7’s on Roger street in Gloucester, when I whent in there I put in the Money in the Slot Machine’s is it or not Gambling when you Put Money in a SLOT MACHINE ? and when I win I Get Gift cards that is VAUE AS CASH SO PLEASE WHY ARE THEY STILL OPEN IN GLOUCESTER I HOPE THAT ATTORNEY GENERAL MARTHA COAKLEY WILL CLOSE THEM DOWN ALSO THAT HAS COSINOS SLOT MACHINE IN THERE PLACE TOO… AND I HOPE THE I – TEAM JOE SHORTSLEEVE COMES DOWN TO GLOUCESTER AND LOOK IN TO THIS LUCKY 7’S STOP MACHINE WERE YOU HAVE TO PUT IN REAL MONEY INTO THEM…

  • Lisa

    Glad 2 see Martha is stopping some business from breaking the law, to bad she’s not as diligent about the health care companies in this state doing the same thing , a platform i believe she ran on and lost (shocker there) and if shutting down a few slot places is the biggest challenge she willing to undertake then maybe the its time MA go shopping for a new AG

  • Luckylady

    As of yesterday..Lynnfield is back open – Yahoo!

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