You know those gambling maquinitas in
convenience stores around Miami, Hialeah, Opa-locka, and Miami
Gardens? Turns out Miguel Exposito was right and then some about the
racket. Last year, Miami's then-police chief fell out of favor with
Mayor Tomás Regalado when cops confiscated 105 "video amusement"
machines from dozens of markets, cafeterias, and laundromats.
Exposito said the devices were being used for illegal gambling
When Regalado allegedly tried to stop
the raids, the top cop reported the mayor to the FBI for meddling in
a criminal investigation. Eventually, Exposito was forced out.
But three months before the chief's
departure, a gambling machine expert hired by the Miami city
attorney's office concluded the seized maquinitas were indeed for
What's more, D. Robert Sertell -- a former slot machine mechanic for an Atlantic City casino -- found that many of them were rigged to make sure the user always lost. Sertell's findings were never made public until recently.
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After reading about it on Mike Hatami's blog the Strawbuyer, Banana Republican contacted the gambling expert. Sertell said he spent three days in June 2011 analyzing the machines seized by Miami police officers. "They were designed and manufactured specifically for the purpose of gambling," he said. "It's a slam dunk."
Furthermore, Sertell continued, most of the maquinitas were designed to cheat the customer. He explained that the confiscated machines would not be allowed inside establishments where gambling is legal in Florida. He should know. He has inspected gambling machines for 15 years and has a contract with the state to keep an eye on slots.
If the maquinitas held by Miami police were in a casino, Sertell said, they "would get immediately shut down and whoever was responsible for them would be subject to punitive action."