2 Men Charged With Setting Up Illegal Gambling Network

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NORTH HUNTINGDON, Pa. (KDKA/AP) – Authorities say they’ve charged two men with illegally setting up a network of video poker machines in bars and clubs in western Pennsylvania.

“Illegal poker machines are big business and Operation Bar Bluff has shut this enterprise down,” said State Attorney General Josh Shapiro at a Friday news conference.

Shapiro announced Friday that 54-year-old James Tartal and 50-year-old Edward Deluca have been charged with operating a corrupt organization, under the name of “Zucco Vending,” and illegal gambling devices.

“They operated illegal machines with illegal devices attached to them. They never paid taxes on their winning and they broke the law,” said Shapiro.

Officials say they seized more than $660,000 from the operation that set up 126 illegal poker machines in 25 bars and clubs in Westmoreland and Fayette counties.

Shapiro says there were illegal cash payouts at the bars and that the machines were equipped with illegal devices that would “knock off” credits after a player was finished.

“The players knew they were playing for illegal payments and payouts, so they played more and more and spent more and more in these machines,” Shapiro said.

Authorities say Tartal and Deluca pocketed hundreds of thousands of dollars in illegal proceeds, while other, law-abiding businesses played by the rules.

It wasn’t immediately clear if the pair had hired attorneys.

(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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