Do video machines distributed by a Youngstown company provide people with skill-based entertainment, or are they a form of illegal gambling?
The answer to that question may be at the heart of raids conducted by state and federal agents in Youngstown and 33 other locations in three states.
Secret Service Agents, as well as law enforcement personnel with the Ohio Investigative Unit, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation conducted the searches in Ohio, Florida and Georgia on Wednesday.
30 of the search warrants were executed in Ohio, including offices at 2750 Salt Springs Road in Youngstown.
21 News was at the address on Wednesday when agents could be seen removing boxes from the building.
According to bingo supplier Nannicola Distributing which has offices in the building, the address also houses other businesses, including video game distributor, Playtronics Games, Inc.
According to a message attributed only to a “cnannicola” email address, the search warrants were related to the Playtronics business.
Nannicola says that Playtronics provides skill-based games allowed under Ohio Law and have been tested and approved for use in Ohio by an independent company.
According to the Nannicola website, the company is one the largest distributors of charitable gaming and fundraising products in the United States.
The Ohio Investigative Unit issued a statement saying that the case is part of an on-going investigation that began in 2013, when OIU, the Secret Service and the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor's Office began looking into those responsible for manufacturing, importing, distributing and operating illegal video slot machines.
That earlier investigation resulted in the conviction of the owner of a Wisconsin company that supplied thousands of video slot machines to bars, restaurants and other businesses throughout Ohio.
Those charges included attempted money laundering, possessing criminal tools and misdemeanor counts of gambling.
The prosecution of that case was led by Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Timothy McGinty.
If McGinty's name sounds familiar, you might know him as the force behind the Oakhill corruption case.