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Friday, Apr. 29, 2016

Sting leads to gambling arrest in Viola

Thursday, July 29, 2004

Poker machines confiscated

An undercover investigation by local law enforcement officials into illegal gambling activities at a pool hall has led to the arrest of the pool hall's owner.

Robert L. Wray, 54, of Viola was charged July 27 with operating a gambling house, an unclassified felony.

The charges against Wray stem from a July 24 raid by officers from the 16th Judicial Drug Task, Arkansas State Police and the Fulton County Sheriff's Office at the Fun Days Game Room and Pool Hall in Viola.

According to the Fulton County Clerk's Office, two poker machines were confiscated from the pool hall. Officers also collected $500 from Wray.

Sixteenth Judicial District Drug Task Force Chief Scott Russell said Wray was giving cash prizes for winnings from the poker machines. In a post-Miranda interview Wray admitted that he had been paying cash for voucher tickets, according to the prosecuting attorney's office.

Russell said the tickets had a point value assigned to them depending upon how well a patron played the machine. He said Wray gave cash prizes for vouchers with 100 points or more.

Russell said on March 3 Wray gave an undercover informant $10 for two vouchers, worth 100 and 106 points. He said on the day of the raid, Wray instructed the informant on methods he could use to garner more points.

The informant used the instructions given to him by Wray and exchanged a voucher for $35 later the same day, Russell said.

"A business can have poker machines but the prizes can't be monetary in nature. It's against the law," said Fulton County deputy Carroll Traw.

Wray's bond was set at $5,000. He posted bond July 27. He will be arraigned in Fulton County Circuit Court Aug. 2.

Russell said the investigation is continuing.

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