Illegal Gambling Devices Seized From Hancock County Bars

State authorities say illegal gambling is common in Hancock County and they are cracking down. Authorities have seized gaming devices from three bars in the county, and two of those were part of an earlier raid.

"It's just been part of the culture down here for years,'' said Mark Smith of the state Alcohol Beverage Control bureau.

Last week, authorities say they found illegal machines in use at the Brass Anchor Club, owned by Edna Prestebach, and Jus Rubie's in the county and the Knock Knock Bar, owned by Gary Veglia, in Waveland.

Smith said Knock Knock and Brass Anchor were part of a raid conducted about five years ago in which 75 illegal gambling machines were seized from about a dozen establishments in Harrison and Hancock counties. The repeated violations could jeopardize those bars' liquor licenses, he said.

The bars' owners will undergo an administrative hearing before the state Tax Commission, which regulates the sale of hard liquor.

As a result of the recent raid, Vegalia and Prestebach face misdemeanor gambling charges, punishable by a fine of up to $1,000. Also charged are three employees of the bars.