Investigation continues into illegal gaming operations
By ADRIENNE WALLACE
Aug 14, 2017, 14:58
HOPEWELL – The Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office recently received a letter asking about “Hopewell, Illegal Sweepstakes Games,” expressing concerns about activities in Cavalier Square.
A shop that once operated there is now closed, but the investigation continues.
Matt Benka, with MDB Strategies, wrote in an email: “On behalf of the Virginia Charitable Bingo Association I am writing to notify you that we are aware of illegal gaming activity taking place” at Cavalier Square. “We understand the games are both Sweepstakes and Internet Café related, neither is allowed under Virginia law. The charities in your area that are conducting legal games are suffering much lower proceeds as a result of these games and request that it be shut down immediately.”
In response, Hopewell’s Commonwealth’s Attorney Richard Newman stated, “There is an ongoing investigation being conducted by the State Police. As of this date they have not unearthed anything illegal. Since it is ongoing that is all that I can divulge to you at this time.”
On Wednesday, Benka said he had contacted the State Police and they have said there is no ongoing investigation.
But Newman disputed that claim.
“I don’t know who you talked to, but I can assure you there is an ongoing investigation by both state and Hopewell police,” Newman responded in an email. “I doubt seriously the state police are going to tell Joe citizen what they are or not investigating. For your information there have been several unsuccessful prosecutions three of which were dismissed in Henrico alone. So I will await the results of the investigation.”
Police Lt. Paul Intravia confirmed that, in fact, Hopewell Police Department is conducting an on-going investigation, into reports of illegal gaming, and said that Police have been looking into the matter for some time.
MDB Strategies, LLC focus is delivering result oriented legislative, regulatory and government affairs solutions, while developing relationships that will benefit your business for decades in Virginia and Maryland.
“Everyday these games are open legitimate charities are losing revenue,” Benka stated.
However, representatives of the Hopewell Family Moose Lodge said that their bingo fund-raisers have not been impacted, and the number of participants remains steady, though they always experience a drop in numbers in the summer months. At the most recent bingo night more than 100 took part in the games. The Moose takes the money it earns through bingo to support many community organizations and raised funds for those in need.