Gaming machines removed from pool hall

Published 3:37 pm Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Clanton police officers searched a Clanton pool hall Friday night and removed several slot machine-like games.

The Game Room, located in the 600th block of 7th Street South, was also shut down by the State Fire Marshal’s Office until several safety concerns can be addressed, said Police Chief Brian Stilwell.

The department has been receiving complaints of underage teens inside the business during operating hours, said Stilwell. The Game Room holds a pool hall business license, which restricts anyone under the age of 19 from being inside the business.

CPD sent an undercover officer inside the business on a couple of occasions, and, while inside, he discovered that some “Wild Cherry” slot-like machines were being played, Stilwell said.

Officers also noticed several safety concerns, and with help from the State Fire Marshal’s Office, closed the business until repairs can be made, Stilwell said.

“The owner of the business was very cooperative, and I believe will work to correct the safety issues. In fact, it looks like they were working on them today [Tuesday],” Stilwell said. “We want to work with our local businesses, but have to address complaints when they come to our attention. My biggest concern now is to get the safety issues corrected.”

Several exits in the business were blocked by vending machines and games, which could have been disastrous in the event of a fire, officers said.

The owner was issued several city code and ordinance violations and charged with misdemeanors related to slot-like machines, including simple gambling, promoting gambling and possession of gambling devices.

One patron in the business was charged under a new state law that makes it illegal to be in possession of salvia divinorum or “legal weed.”

Detectives removed six “Wild Cherry” machines, which will be held as evidence, Stilwell said.

The State Fire Marshal’s Office as well as officials from the Clanton Fire Department will monitor the safety concerns to make sure they have been addressed before the business reopens, Stilwell said.