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Skilled gaming charges dropped

By LESLIE GRAY Logan Daily News Reporter This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

LOGAN — Charges of “skill-based amusement machine prohibited conduct” against a local business owner have been dismissed.

Marshal Lucas, aka Chief Dancing Elk, pleaded not guilty to the charges (first-degree misdemeanors) in January after a search warrant was conducted at his business — Mingo Trading Company — in December of last year during which three games of skill machines were confiscated.

In July 2010, the Logan Police Department received an e-mailed complaint that the business was giving cash payouts for games of skill machines. The LPD contacted the Ohio Attorney General’s Office. Undercover agents from the office investigated the claims and on two occasions, Nov. 9 and Dec. 9 of 2010, were given winnings with cash.

Hocking County Prosecutor Laina Fetherolf said Lucas’ charges were dismissed because the case is difficult to process.

“The statutes are not well-written. There’s no differentiation in defining whether Mr. Lucas as the business owner or the clerks are guilty of the offense,” Fetherolf said.

Although Lucas did not give the undercover investigators cash winnings himself, two of his clerks did and the statutes do not clearly define who is held responsible, Fetherolf continued.

The prosecutor’s office dismissed the charges without prejudice, which means the state can refile the charges at another time.

In previous correspondence, Lucas told The Logan Daily News he believed the machines complied with state law and was upset by the way the search warrant was executed. He also said he has suffered a major loss of revenue to his business as a result.

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