The Knucklehead of the Day award
Today's winner is the Montana Gambling Control Division and its boss Gene Huntington. They get the award for the following.
WHITEFISH - Antique gambling equipment, including a roulette wheel dating to the 1880s, was seized from an antique store here by state agents under a state law prohibiting the possession of unlicensed gambling equipment.Making the world safe from antiques, two 19th century roulette wheels at a time. Either these state officials are total morons with nothing better to do or they have a financial interest in seizing this stuff. I bet the former and that makes Gene Huntington and The Montana Gambling Control Division today's Knuckleheads of the Day.
“Some of these things are over 100 years old,” said Ron Turner, owner of the Cowboy Cabin. “These are not gambling devices. These are antiques. It's a historical collection. This never is, nor will be, a gambling establishment.”
Those arguments failed to persuade three agents with the state Department of Justice Gambling Control Division who showed up at the store on Jan. 31.
Turner, 65, called his son-in-law for advice. His son-in-law called police to make sure the state agents were who they said they were.
Two Whitefish officers responded and asked the agents to verify their identities. Turner said one got mad and yelled at the officers.
Whitefish Assistant Police Chief Mike Ferda said one state agent was rude and “went a little over the top to our officers.”
The agents seized two roulette wheels, two early 20th century punchboards and a chuck-a-luck - a small, hourglass-shaped cage that spins with three dice inside. The agents marked as evidence and said they would return for a craps table, a blackjack table, a roulette table and a smaller craps table top - all 19th century items.
Turner said the items are worth an estimated $77,000.
The state has not filed charges against Ron or Eila Turner, who recently moved to Whitefish from California, where they also sold antiques. They opened the Cowboy Cabin in December.
Gene Huntington, administrator of the state's Gambling Control Division, said the most likely charge would be misdemeanor possession of illegal gambling equipment. State law doesn't address antiques except for old slot machines, Huntington said.
He said the state could destroy the equipment, use it for training or give it to a museum.
Ron Turner said some of the items were being sold on consignment and asked the agents if he could ship the items to California or to their owners, but was turned down.
Hat tip- Overlawyered
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