Illegal gambling charges still to be filed against cheque cashing business

Police claim that a Newport News cheque-cashing business which they raided late last week also carried on an illegal gambling business, the McClatchy-Tribune news service reports. Cash Express also does business as Internet Sweepstakes Center, and was visited by undercover police officers three times in April, according to an affidavit for a search warrant in Newport News Circuit Court.

The warrant was followed by a police raid in which 20 computer gaming machines and a card reader were seized and are being examined.

"There have been no arrests, but charges are pending," said police spokesman Lou Thurston.

The Newport News police were alerted to the illegal gambling enterprise by their counterparts in Hampton, the McClatchy-Tribune report reveals. Hampton police came across the enterprise while investigating a seperate matter.

According to the affidavit filed by the Newport News investigators regarding the Cash Express case, gamblers played on normal desktop computer systems with card readers attached. Users would transfer money from their credit cards onto special swipe cards, which would then be used to buy computerised "tokens" for the computer games available on the PCs.

"These tokens were then wagered in player-defined amounts," the affidavit said. "The winnings would then appear as money won on the screen."

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