Canfield women, others accused of running gambling operations

BOARDMAN, Ohio -

Four women face gambling charges stemming from raids on so-called internet cafes in Boardman.

Charges of gambling and operating a gambling house were filed against the four women this week in Mahoning County Court.

According to the Ohio Attorney General's Office Mandi Berro, 37, and Miracle Petrino, 46, both of Canfield, operated Lucky's Internet Cafe at 685 Boardman Canfield Road.

Investigators say 68-year-old Karen Maselli of Pittsburgh and Dustee Tomaiko of Randolph, Ohio are charged in connection with operations at Play Skilz Arcade on Market Street.

Boardman police and members of the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation searched the two locations, as well as Players in the Boardman Plaza this past December.

Police Chief Jack Nichols told 21 News at the time that they confiscated electronic gaming machines from the businesses which were allegedly making large cash payouts to winners in violation of Ohio law.

Nichols says that acting on several tips, undercover officers from his department played games at the businesses over several months and received payouts in hundreds of dollars.

Ohio law prohibits games on sweepstakes terminal devices if they give out prohibited prizes such as cash, alcohol, and tobacco, or pay out more than $10 in merchandise prizes per play.

At the urging of the Ohio Attorney General, local government officials, law enforcement groups, prosecutors, charitable organizations, and veteran and fraternal organizations, lawmakers enacted the law in 2013.

The law prohibits sweepstakes games, clarifies what is a prohibited scheme of chance, and authorizes sweepstakes gaming if a person meets certain criteria and gets a certificate of registration through the Attorney General.

The four women entered pleas of "not guilty" to the charges and waived their right to a speedy trial.