Detectives with the Polk County Sheriff’s Office served a search warrant today, August 15, 2011, at 11:00 a.m. at “The Horseshoe,” located at 150 California Blvd in Davenport, Florida. “The Horseshoe” is a gambling “sweepstakes/Internet-style” gambling business that opened approximately two weeks ago.
On August 1st, 2011 detectives received an anonymous complaint of illegal gambling taking place at “The Horseshoe.” Investigation revealed that this business was located in the Westridge Plaza (On U.S. 27, North). The business represents itself as an “Internet sweepstakes” operation.
On August 9th, 2011 detectives conducted an investigation into the illegal gambling operation. Detectives, posing as customers, entered the business and gambled on computers that represented slot devices. No customers were observed doing anything other than gambling on these devices.
This gambling operation utilized desktop computers to simulate slot machines for customers to gamble on as games of chance. Customers paid cash to an employee in exchange for a magnetic swipe card that contained the amount of money paid as credit. These magnetic swipe cards were then used to activate each computerized gambling device.
The computers are modernized versions of slot devices and represent the older style handle driven slots. Instead of pulling a lever on a device, each patron presses a key on a computer keyboard. Each device contains multiple games of chance for the customer to win or lose money. Once the desired game is completed the patron then takes the magnetic swipe card back to the cash register to cash out.
The investigation determined the clerk working at the business when detectives gambled is Angela Byers. The owner of the business is Ryan Ault. Both suspects have been identified as living outside of Polk County.
The charges that are filed are: keeping a gambling house, FSS 849.01 (F3) and operating a gambling device, FSS 849.16 (M2), 50 Counts each.
Arrested was 30-year-old Ryan Ault (DOB 3/25/81) of 10626 Demilo Place Apt. 207 Orlando, and 37-year-old Angela Byers (DOB, 1/17/74) of 2422 Otis Dr. Deltona.
Interestingly, the sign on the front door of the business reads: “THE HORSESHOE – NOT A GAMBLING ESTABLISHMENT”