DAGSBORO, Del.- The state of Delaware is cracking down on electronic gambling machines in American Legion posts.
WBOC has learned many of those posts have received letters, stating their machines should be removed and if now, they could face legal trouble.
The state said gambling machines are in violation of two Delaware laws. But, the posts say they need the machines to survive.
The letter said a gambling device that includes any machine in which a coin or token is inserted, and something of value is dispensed depending on chance, are illegal.
"I was livid that the state police and tobacco firearms people would pick on veterans," said Jim Gallagher, Commander of American Legion Post 28 in Dagsboro. "We're not a profit organization, we're a service organization and the people that play these machines are veterans."
Veterans said the money generated by these electronic games provide big time revenue for most American Legion and AMVETs posts in the state.
"We would totally be at loss for our fundraising, because this is a major component of our organization," said Tom Jones of Delaware AMVETs.
But now Jones, and many other post commanders are left holding letters from the state. Authorities said these types of machines are illegal. The Delaware Department of Safety and Homeland Security said rather than take immediate enforcement action, it decided to send a letter to known venues advising recipients of the potential issue regarding the use of these gambling devices.
The state recognizes that many posts use these machines for fundraising. Still, the state is standing it's ground. Commanders are now pondering their next move.
"What the AMVETs is proposing is to have the governor issue and executive order temporarily holding any future action until the legislature meets in January where they can come and pass bills to close this loophole," said Jones.
The commanders of the local posts said if they have to remove these games, they will most likely have to make big cuts with community projects, scholarships and donations.
State Rep John Atkins is working with local commanders to help the veterans in Sussex County.
Saturday, May 18 2013 10:19 AM EDT2013-05-18 14:19:20 GMT
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