The Smoke and Cerveza Store on Lyons Avenue in Santa Clarita, California, was raided recently by state authorities receiving complaints of illegal gambling devices being played there and drugs being dealt by employees. A search warrant was obtained by police officers raiding the bodega, and officers ended up arresting both the store owner, Pacifico Palo, and Geraldo Tamoyo, an employee. The store contained an illegal video slot machine and a search turned up drug paraphernalia, including methamphetamines.
The local Alcohol Beverage Control board helped to complete a search of the establishment, which turned up the illegal narcotics and the slot machine in question. The slot game contained almost fifteen hundred dollars in illegal proceeds, and was seized by authorities. Palo was held in a local jail in lieu of thirty thousand dollars’ bail, and Tamoyo was being held in lieu of ten thousand dollars’ bail. Neighbors had been complaining about activities alleged to be taking place at the store, and prompted the official investigation.
In California, Indian tribes have been granted exclusive right to all forms of gambling income, including those moneys won at slot machines. This right was solidified recently by a Senate decision to disallow slot game-like electronic Bingo devices from being used by charity organizations like churches and high school booster clubs. States may not tax the gambling incomes of Indian tribes unless they offer them something “substantial” in exchange. In California, this happens to be the right to be the only ones allowed to operate slot machines legally.