Moose Lodges raided over illegal gambling

Posted at 6:25 PM, Jan 06, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-07 08:58:33-05

SOUTHWEST FLORIDA -- Several Moose Lodges in Southwest Florida have been raided by state investigators over illegal gambling.  Six different Moose lodges were targeted: two in Cape Coral, one in LaBelle, one in Port Charlotte, and two in South Fort Myers.

The organizations are service-oriented social clubs that serve food and alcohol.

Investigators confiscated thousands of dollars and arrested several people, with more arrests pending.

The Moose Lodge website says its an organization dedicated to helping others, celebrating life and having fun, but some of that fun may have been illegal.

The LaBelle moose lodge parking lot was empty all afternoon Wednesday; the bartender wouldn't comment on what happened.

So, what did happen?

Sometime recently, the division of Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco conducted routine investigations of Moose Lodges when they discovered six different chapters were in "the act of keeping a gambling house."

ABT issued warnings to each lodge, but those warnings were apparently ignored.

ABT investigators seized $39,428 in cash, 49 gambling machines, five poker tables and arrested four people. Eight more arrests are pending.

All the Moose Lodges that were raided are still operational and open for business.