July 17, 2017
EVANS, Colo. — At least three Denver-area adult, skill games arcades have been raided by police – shut down for “alleged illegal gambling.”
This comes on the heels of an exclusive FOX31 Problem Solvers investigation into whether these kinds of strip-mall quasi-casinos are flaunting loopholes in Colorado statute.
Multiple law enforcement sources tell FOX31, the Colorado Attorney General’s Office has taken the lead in a statewide crackdown.
Based on witness testimony and visits by the FOX31 investigative team, police showed up in late May with search warrants to: Palace Skill Arcade in Evans and on Pecos in Denver, plus at Treasures in Commerce City.
Witnesses said police, with guns drawn, also seized hundreds of what looked like slot machines and computers, loading them into a semi-tractor trailer.
A FOX31 viewer sent us this picture of state and federal agents during a raid of Palace Skills Arcade in Evans.
Evans police referred our inquires to the Colorado Bureau of Investigations.
“Pursuant to a warrant obtained in connection with an alleged illegal gambling operation, agents with the CBI Gaming Unit, Colorado Department of Revenue (Gaming and Tax units), the Commerce City and Evans police departments and the Adams County Sheriff’s Office seized items from metro area businesses in connection with an on-going investigation.”
Police sources tell us what was going on inside the raided businesses was virtually identical to what our undercover cameras captured at another skills game establishments in Denver a few months ago.
At La Fortuna, (and second “related” adult arcade) we found video machines, which spun much like electronic Vegas slots, and paid thousands in cash to lucky winners.
That despite the establishments having no oversight from gaming regulators.
Owners told FOX31 they believe all the games inside La Fortuna were legal – based on the fact players needed some level of “skill” to win.
La Fortuna in Denver remains open and, so far, has not been closed or served with a search warrant.
However, Denver vice is on the record that it continues to investigate La Fortuna owner, Bagrat Garamov, to see if what he’s doing inside his establishment is legal.
FOX31 previously contacted the Garamov family for our May undercover investigation through their lobbyist. An email this month to that same intermediary has so far not enticed a response.
Court details about what and who federal and state police agencies are investigating in the latest raids of Palace Skill related enterprises remain “sealed” under court orders.
However, the FOX31 Problem Solvers didn’t let that stop us.
We tracked down Abdullah Khalad, listed as “registered agent” of a company called LZ Inc. LZ Inc. is listed as a business entity related to the raided Evans Palace Skills Arcade.
Khalad told FOX31 he didn’t have anything to do with the operations themselves, other than he “did a commercial lease” for the owners several years ago.
Khalad said his name shouldn’t be on the ownership paperwork we found at the Secretary of State’s Office for LZ Inc.
He said he’d have an attorney get ahold of us to explain, but that never materialized.
So we hit the next door. It appears from state business records that at least three of the raided skill arcades are connected to two names: Ali Chang and Xin “Bing” Lan
According to the new home owner, Lan recently sold at least one of his homes in Aurora.
FOX31 visited another location in Aurora, listed as Lan’s forwarding address.
The man we approached in the driveway claimed to know very little about Lan, saying “he was not there.”
Last week, the FOX31 investigative team found the door to the Skill Game Arcade on Pesco Avenue propped open.
The interior of the property remained dark, with computer hard-drives still missing from each console.
We went inside to see if the person at the desk had any knowledge of the raids.
He declined to provide his name and asked that we leave the premises.
Denver police spokesperson, Doug Schepman, told FOX31 “We don’t have any updates to share right now.”