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GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

March 25, 2014

Lucky 7 to fight charges from AG

By James Niedzinski
Staff Writer

---- — The Gloucester owner of the Lucky 7 arcades is committed to fighting the gaming charges filed against her company, their attorney said Tuesday, minutes after a pre-trial conference in the case was postponed in Gloucester District Court.

Boston-based attorney John Swomley of Swomley & Tennen LLP, representing Lucky 7 owner Rosalie Parisi, said he’s convinced that the charges of unlawful operation of a game or gaming device and one charge of organizing or promoting a lottery should never have been filed against the business, which had operated at the west end of Gloucester’s Rogers Street for seven years, then added an arcade in Danvers’ Liberty Tree Mall in the summer of 2012.

Massachusetts State Police and local police in Gloucester and Danvers, acting on orders from the office of state Attorney General Martha Coakley, raided and abruptly shut down both arcades last June 11, seizing the game machines and motherboards, and freezing the company’s assets in the process.

“The charges were brought forth for political reasons, which we find unpalatable,” Swomley said of the allegations. He did not elaborate.

The charges were outlined in Gloucester District Court briefly in January, roughly seven months after the seizure and shutdown. A pre-trial conference had been scheduled for Monday, but was postponed, with a new pretrial conference has been set for May 20 in Gloucester. No individuals are named as defendants in the case. The charges are filed only against Lucky 7 Arcade LLC.

The Gloucester location of the arcade was operating for about seven years, while the branch at the Liberty Tree Mall in Danvers was signed off on by the Board of Selectmen in April 2012. The arcade operated machines that allowed customers to earn prizes, but did not pay off in cash — allowing players to win gift certificates for dinners at local restaurants and other awards.

A spokeswoman for the AG’s office declined to comment on Swomley’s statement about the charges being purely political, while also declining to indicate who, if anyone, may have filed any complaints against the Lucky 7 businesses.

In a recent visit to the Times, Coakley, who is running for governor, said that, in general, her office only takes action after receiving complaints, whether that be from a police department or anyone else.

Coakley’s office has cracked down on Internet cafes and phone card lotteries in an effort to quell illegal gambling, resulting in both civil and criminal cases.

Sam Parisi, Rosalie’s husband, has said the family had done everything to comply with state law, including approval from various departments and boards in Danvers and Gloucester, approval from the Division of Standards for the machines and letter of support from State Sen. Bruce Tarr, R-Gloucester. The city, as well as Danvers, accepted licensing fees annually to host each gaming machine.

Parisi suggested that, under the state’s gaming law, businesses like Chuck E. Cheese’s — which has a location in Danvers — or the national chain Dave and Busters could easily be considered in violation as well. Both chains offer games and machines that pay off in prizes.

During her Gloucester visit, however, Coakley said she sees establishments such as the Lucky 7 as a different matter.

“I haven’t been to Chuck E. Cheese’s lately,” Coakley said, “but my understanding is that places such as those may have these games, but they’re ancillary to the businesses. Their business is as a restaurant — serving food, then this is entertainment.

“My understanding of (Lucky 7) is that the sole business is a form of gaming,” Coakely added. “Regardless of how it pays — whether gift certificates or not — it’s not a restaurant, it’s in the sole business of operating games, so it’s quite different, in my mind.”

In filings with the Secretary of State, the Lucky 7 Arcade had the intention of selling non alcoholic beverages and snack foods as an “incidental to the main business activity of the company,” and operating automatic amusement devices.

But the arcade’s expansion into Danvers and opening at Liberty Tree had drawn questions from town officials.

At that time, there was one dissenting vote by Gardner Trask, who now chairs the Board of Selectmen.

”I was concerned at the time about the legitimacy of the enterprise,” he said Monday, adding that he did not file a complaint with the AG’s office.

”The business they engaged in appeared to be very close to gambling,” he added.

In September of 2012, Danvers Town Clerk Joseph Collins and others started asking questions if the arcade is in line with state gambling laws.

”(But) based on what (the Board of Selectmen) had before them, they had no reason not to grant it,” Collins said.

Danvers Police Chief Neil Ouellette declined to comment, as the AG’s office is investigating the case.

According to state law, anyone who operates a game or gaming device in violation of state law can face no more than five years in a state prison, 21/2 years in a house of corrections, a fine of $25,000 or both.

Raffles and bazaars are permitted with certain guidelines under a different state law.

Times editor Ray Lamont contributed to this story by James Niedzinski, who can be reached at 978-675-2708 or at jniedzinski@gloucestertimes.com.

 
 
 
 
 
 
Both locations are closed until further notice. We are working hard to resolve this issue. If you would like to help us in, VOICE YOUR CONCERN TO THE MA ATTORNEY GENERALS OFFICE.   ago@state.ma.us  Sorry for any inconvenience. And thank you for your patronage, we miss you all!
 
 
"Where the Fun Keeps on Spinning"

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Lucky 7 Arcade is an arcade with 8-liner video games that mimic slot machines, in a Vegas atmosphere. A place where adults (21 & over) can meet and socialize while playing video games.  Our skill games are fun and challenging and offer hours of entertainment. Try your skill with our Crane Machine and win prizes and gift certificates to local merchants. Beverages and snacks are available for purchase.  Air conditioned and handicap accessible with an ATM on site.

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Winners can choose from a variety of Prizes & Gift Certificates

WEDNESDAY -FREE $5 MATCH PLAY ALL DAY
(1 PER CUSTOMER, PER DAY) 

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CRANE GAME FILLED WITH GIFT CERTIFICATES

Gloucester Location:
 2 Rogers Street
Gloucester, MA  01930

 
Hours:
Sun. noon - 10pm
Mon. - Thurs. 11am - 10pm
Fri. & Sat. 11am-11pm
 
 


Danvers Location
100 Independence Way
Danvers, MA 01923

 
Hours:
Sun: noon-6pm
Mon-Sat: 11am -9pm

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www.facebook.com/lucky7arcade