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Officials raided a Roy gas station allegedly running a gambling operation

Jan 11, 2022, 9:56 AM | Updated: 10:09 am
gas station gambling...
Alleged gas station gambling operation busted by local and state law enforcement. Photo: State of Utah Office of the Attorney General

Listen Live: Richard Piatt, spokesperson for the Utah Attorney General’s office, discusses the gambling operation

ROY, Utah — After months of surveillance and an undercover investigation into an alleged gambling operation, police raided a Texaco gas station locally known as “Lil’ Wendover.”

On Monday, local and state law enforcement raided a gas station they believe ran an illegal gambling operation. They stormed into the Texaco and took hold of nearly two dozen machines described by the Office of the Attorney General as video-game style, and the cash inside of them.

Video-game style machines used in alleged gambling operation. Photo: State of Utah Office of the Attorney General

Police took the owner of the gas station into custody. They charged Neel Jagdish Patel with 20 counts of Fringe Gambling Devices, one count of money laundering, and one count of Pattern of Unlawful Activity, according to a release from the Utah Attorney General’s office.

During questioning, Patel admitted to operating the gambling devices, and that cash from the devices was mixed and deposited with everyday proceeds from the convenience store. 

gas station gambling

Cash seized from video-game style gambling machines. Photo: State of Utah Office of the Attorney General

Detective Josh Taylor with Roy Police said similar gambling rings were popular a few years ago. As legislators passed laws to make it more difficult to gamble in Utah, most gas stations got rid of their machines.

Officials said they have been watching the gas station for months. During their investigation, they sent in undercover officers to play the illicit machines. The detectives received illegal cash payment for their winnings on the gaming devices. 

Brendan Call with the Utah Attorney General’s office told KSL TV that gambling operations have consequences beyond “just gambling.” They bring in other crimes as well.  

Contributing: Jacob Rueda

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Officials raided a Roy gas station allegedly running a gambling operation