By Marjorie Nesin
---- — Police abruptly shut down Gloucester’s Lucky Seven Arcade Tuesday afternoon, as well as the newer, second Lucky Seven in Danvers’ Liberty Tree Mall that is owned by the same Gloucester family.
“They’re saying illegally gambling, but they’re not telling us a whole lot,” said Janine Parisi who runs the Rogers Street arcade that is owned by her mother, Rosalie, who works with her husband Sam.
Parisi denied any charges of wrong doing and illegal gambling Tuesday afternoon in a telephone interview with the Times.
“We are all stunned. We’ve been in business for seven years,” she said. “We have complied to every law. We have had people come in from other businesses telling us we are the only ones that do it legally.”
Rosalie Parisi owns the arcade in town on Rogers Street and another Lucky Seven arcade located within Danvers’s Liberty Tree Mall. Janine operates the arcade as a family business, she said.
“We’re pretty shook up right now,” Janine Parisi said. “This is our life, this is our business. Our whole family works for this.”
Gloucester police were assisting in the investigation Tuesday afternoon, but directed questions to Danvers police who declined to comment. State police, too, declined to comment, directing inquiries to the Attorney General’s office.
Brad Puffer, a spokesman for Attorney General Martha Coakley, said the investigation is ongoing and police had made no arrests in the case as of Tuesday evening.
The shut down was the latest in a series of investigations by the Attorney General’s office into similar businesses. Since 2010, Coakley’s office has shut down a number of internet cafes that allow patrons to purchase internet time, primarily to use that time for gambling on electronic screens.
The Lucky Seven arcades allow customers to play a variety of games, but pay off not in cash, but in prizes, such as dinners at local restaurants and local business gift cards.
This past August, Gov. Deval Patrick signed into law legislation that created a new crime “for conducting or promoting an unauthorized sweepstakes that is executed through the use of the display of an electronic machine,” according to statement’s from the Attorney General’s office. Those charges would carry a penalty of up to $250,000 per machine and/or a state prison sentence of up to 15 years.
Police removed “quite a bit of stuff” from the Gloucester location Monday afternoon as officers raided the arcade, according to Janine Parisi.
“We’re just stunned, and as far as I know the community loves us,” Parisi said. “This is going to hurt the community if we don’t get it back.”
Marjorie Nesin can be reached at 978-283-7000, x3451, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.