Suspected illegal gambling operations in Hilo disrupted by police

Police say this is one of 33 suspected illegal gambling machines that were seized at three Hilo locations Friday.

HILO, Hawaii: Big Island police arrested three people as they raided three Hilo gaming centers last Friday. Law enforcement executed search warrants at the Tilt Amusement Center, located at 111 E. Puainako Street, Da Little Game Shack, on at 165 E. Kawili Street, and 777 Arcade, located at 500 Manono Street.

Police say they used undercover officers and tips from the public to corroborate the suspected gambling activities.

The police action began around 2pm Friday, July 20th. Police seized 33 suspected illegal gambling machines, suspected gambling records, and large sums of cash.

Three employees were also arrested, one from each establishment, and were released peddling further investigation.

From the Hawaii Police Department:

Police arrested three employees on suspicion of promoting gambling. They were 47-year-old Paul Lagat of Keaʻau (from Tilt Amusement Center), 50-year-old Lance Yamada of Hilo (from 777 Arcade) and 39-year-old Serena Valenzuela of Pāhoa (from Da Little Game Shack). All three were later released pending further investigation.

“The Hawaiʻi Police Department thanks the public for providing tips and information that assisted police with the disruption of these suspected illegal gambling operations,” said Lieutenant Burt Shimabukuro from the Area I Vice Section.

Vice detectives are continuing the investigation.

The exterior and interior photos of the establishment were taken by blogger Damon Tucker in 2009, who at the time “wondered how they could be legal.”

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