HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - There are new developments in the case against the alleged gambling machines.
The Prize World at the Aiea Shopping Center was the first location to have the Products Direct Sweepstakes machines and it may be the last. Three weeks before a trial was set to begin the judge already ruled on her own the machines are against the law.
Tuesday afternoon Honolulu Police raided the Prize World for the third time. One employee was arrested and eight machines and other evidence was confiscated. For fans of these games, the news got worse today as Judge Leslie Kobayashi ruled the machines are indeed gambling. It's a major blow for the company PJY Enterprises which distributed the machines.
"My client is disappointed. We were preparing for trial and did not anticipate this would happen. We of course respect the judge's decision but we are going to appeal it to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals," said Keith Kiuchi, PJY Enterprises Attorney.
The machines worked when customers bought coupon books or merchandise that happened to also come with a promotion to play the games where you can win cash. However the Judge said the coupon books weren't available and there was hardly any merchandise in the stores so people were only paying for the promotion not the merchandise.
"The judge found that the promotion, the sweepstakes promotion as its operated is gambling under the statute," said Kiuchi.
They will appeal. However company owner Tracy Yoshimura says there are about 120 machines still in operation and another 150 in storage. He will tell all the stores to shut them down immediately. He plans input new software to make them legal again. Still it's like crapping out.
"For Tracy's company it is a pretty significant financial loss. It is the income stream going forward. For some of the operators that lost the machine it's a significant financial loss as well," said Kiuchi.
To be clear the ruling had nothing to do with the Winner's Zone cases or the internet sweepstakes machines which have been raided as well. Those are technically different and a separate case.