Video Lottery: Linked to Crime?

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Wood County, the City of Parkersburg, and now Vienna have set limits on the number of video lottery businesses in their jurisdictions.

One reason they're doing that is fears about gambling-related crimes.

Parkersburg Police Chief Bob Newell says a suspect in a recent robbery apparently was seeking money to cover lottery-related gambling debts.

Vienna is the latest community to restrict the distance between video lottery establishments which have steadily opened in the last few years, and the city's new police chief cites as a reason recently-reported crimes like the one mentioned in Parkersburg.

"Many people think there's money there and they're going to break into these establishments," says Vienna Police Chief Steve Stephens. "It brings out not only the robbery element, it brings out the burglars and petty thieves as well."

Parkersburg's Police Department investigated several armed robberies last year at establishments where video lottery is available. Police Chief Bob Newell says there are connections between the robberies and where they took place.

"We arrested someone who was involved in the robbery of another establishment who was in debt, gambling at these establishments, Newell says. "So there's not just crimes related to these establishments themselves, there are also crimes connected in other ways."

Stephens says the problems are similar to those where crimes and thefts are committed by people trying to get money to buy drugs or alcohol.