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Several arrested in connection to an illegal gambling den

Troopers assigned to the Louisiana State Police Gaming Enforcement Division brought an extensive criminal case to conclusion this week resulting in numerous arrests.  The Gaming Enforcement Division is committed to the strict regulation and control of statutorily authorized gaming entities in conjunction with the Louisiana Gaming Control Board (LGCB). The regulation of gaming and the enforcement of criminal gambling laws promote the public’s health, safety, and welfare by safeguarding the people of this state against corrupt and dishonest practices. The program also provides professional services in an effective, innovative, and fair manner that instills public confidence, while fulfilling duties that ensure accurate revenue collection and reporting from licensees, protect the state’s assets, and ensure the integrity of all gaming devices and systems by enforcing compliance with all state laws, regulations, and licensee’s internal controls related to legally authorized gaming in Louisiana.

Baton Rouge – On February 22, 2021, Troopers arrested 43-year-old Wayne Neyland aka “Uber Wayne” of Denham Springs and 38-year-old Jack Hardesty of Prairieville for violation of LRS 14:90 Gambling. In addition, Troopers also arrested 41-year-old John Brewster of Denham Springs, 33-year-old Ryan Westmoreland of Denham Springs, and 31-year-old Darren Ortego of Denham Springs on February 23, 2021, for violation of LRS 14:90 Gambling. The investigation revealed the aforementioned individuals were the principal operators of an illegal gambling den, which was based at the 5th Street Social Club in Baton Rouge. Investigators were able to determine all five individuals participated through various recruitment, financing, advertisement, and coordination of daily operations.

In February of 2021 Arrest Warrants were obtained for all five individuals and they were subsequently booked into the East Baton Rouge Parish Jail for violation of LRS 14:90 Gambling.

Louisiana State Police would like to remind the public that Gambling, as defined in Louisiana Revised Statute (R.S.) 14:90, is illegal in the State of Louisiana. Gambling is the intentional conducting or directly assisting in the conducting, as a business, of any game, contest, lottery, or contrivance whereby a person risks the loss of anything of value in order to realize a profit. LSP has encountered many attempts at “legal” poker games and other types of Gambling businesses. These attempts have all failed because the goal of any business is to make a profit. If the business is profitable in any way as a result of Gambling, it is illegal.

The only exceptions in the Gambling law in Louisiana are international cruise ships, all forms of legal gaming as defined and regulated in Title 27 of the Louisiana Revised Statutes, and participation in any state licensed fantasy sports contest as defined in R.S. 27:302.

Unregulated and illegal gambling venues are expanding around the country; operating without any supervision or regulation. Their operations do not adhere to any of the laws or regulations in place to prevent fraud, theft, money laundering, and a variety of other criminal behaviors.

To report illegal gambling call 225-925-1900 or visit www.lsp.org and use the “Suspicious Activity” tab to file a report of suspicious or criminal activity.