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Clark County bar owners plead guilty to gambling

Owners from several local bars have reached a plea agreement in connection with illegal gambling charges.

Multiple Springfield and Clark County bars were cited by the Ohio Investigative Unit in 2015 for having illegal electronic gambling machines. The owners agreed to plead guilty to gambling and pay a $100 fine and court costs, according to court records.

“This is the Springfield area wrap up,” said Harold Torrens, lead OIU agent on the case.

The agreements were reached with a dozen owners of local liquor establishments, according to court records. The OIU will continue its investigation into the illegal distribution of gambling machines in the Cleveland area, Torrens said.

“We’ll be aggressively seeking some indictments this summer,” he said.

The distributors of the illegal machines could face corrupt activity and organized crime charges, he said.

Investigators confiscated 55 electronic gambling machines from 15 bars in the county last year.

Michael Turner, the owner of Nifty ’50s bar in Springfield was cited for two machines in his bar. He was unaware that the machines were illegal, Turner previously told the Springfield News-Sun.

The distributor who installed the machines told him they were legal and provided documents to back up the claim, Turner said.

Owners from a dozen other local businesses pleaded guilty to gambling. Those bars include:

•Wayside Tavern, 2288 S. Yellow Springs St.

•Wagon Wheel, 10005 S. Burnett Road.

•Social Club, 210 W. Main St.

•Sidetrax Tavern, 112 W. Main St.

•Ole’ Brick Tavern, 3475 Mechanicsburg Road.

•Nite Owl Tavern, 601 W. Main St.

•Hop Bar, 213 Lytle Ave.

•County Line Drive Thru, 6978 Urbana Road.

•Chap’s, 2352 S. Yellow Springs St.

•Bogie’s Bar and Grill, 3950 Springfield-Xenia Road.

•Boone Saloon, 3490 Dayton Ave.

•Ooh-Ooh Drive Thru, 6775 Dayton-Springfield Road.