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Two Sarasota men arrested for illegal gambling operation

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SARASOTA, Fla. -- The Sarasota County Sheriff's Office arrested two men who operate the Players Club 777 in Osprey for illegal gambling and other charges.

The investigation began in January of this year in response to citizen complaints about gaming establishments that re-opened after Florida law made Internet Cafes illegal. During a meeting that month, representatives of Players Club assured detectives that the electronic games were "arcade games" and the result of purchased entries; wins or losses were pre-revealed to the customer before any purchase was made; no purchase was necessary and that customers were paying for "internet time."

On multiple occasions, detectives with the Sarasota County Sheriff's Office and the Florida Illegal Gaming Task Force visited Players Club in an undercover capacity to evaluate the gaming machines and devices being used. Although Players Club claimed to eliminate the element of chance by pre-revealing entries to the customer and what is won or lost in advance of any monetary purchase, detectives determined the unpredictability had not been removed in the game itself. In addition, the gaming machines and networked technology being used by Players Club consisted of electronic sweepstakes software that the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services previously rejected on a game promotion application submitted by Players Club operators. None of the casino-style games used any form of player involved skill.

A search warrant executed at Players Club in June resulted in the seizure of numerous gaming apparatuses, servers and computers from the business office as well as the point of sale.

Based on this investigation, Jason Honea, DOB 7/19/88, the registered agent and manager of the corporation that runs the Players Club, and Jeremy Miles, DOB 8/14/72, the manager of the Players Club, are found to be operating Players Club in violation of Florida's gambling laws. Both men are charged with Conducting an Illegal Lottery, Possession of a Slot Machine or Device and Keeping a Gambling House.

In 2013 multiple locations of illegal gaming in Sarasota and across the state closed pursuant to clarification of the Florida Statutes that apply. The Sarasota County Sheriff's Office has no desire to allow illegal gaming to re-equip and re-establish locations in this community and will continue to work with the Florida Gaming Task Force, the 12th Circuit State Attorney and the Office of Statewide Prosecution to address any other similar operations.