Mont. officials seize man's antique gambling devices
WHITEFISH, Mont. (AP) A 19th-century roulette wheel and other old gambling equipment were seized by state agents from an antique store under a law prohibiting the possession of unlicensed gambling equipment, authorities said.
Some of these things are over 100 years old, said Ron Turner, owner of the Cowboy Cabin. These are not gambling devices. These are antiques. Its a historical collection.
Those arguments failed to persuade three agents with the state Department of Justice Gambling Control Division who showed up at the store on Jan. 31.
The agents seized two roulette wheels, two early 20th century punchboards and a chuck-a-luck a small, hourglass-shaped cage that spins with three dice inside.
The agents marked as evidence and said they would return for a craps table, a blackjack table, a roulette table and a smaller craps table top all 19th century items. Turner said the items are worth an estimated $77,000.
The state has not filed charges against Ron or Eila Turner, who recently moved to Whitefish from California, where they also sold antiques. The couple opened the Cowboy Cabin in December.
Gene Huntington, administrator of the states Gambling Control Division, said the most likely charge would be misdemeanor possession of illegal gambling equipment.
Huntington said the state could destroy the equipment, use it for training or give it to a museum.
I don't know whether to laugh or cry...