Hialeah is permitting the operation of video gambling machines in stores, even though a state law declared them illegal four months ago, city police said Thursday.
"We have changed our stance," said Carl Zogby, spokesman for the Hialeah Police Department. "For now, we’re not prohibiting the machines in Hialeah businesses so long as they’re not used for the payment of prizes."
The city is basing its approach on a legal opinion it says it received from the state Attorney General’s Office. But a spokeswoman for that agency told the Miami Herald on Friday that no such opinion exists.
Zogby said the city adopted its approach after several Hialeah businesses defied the state law that made the machines illegal starting in April.
The state law was passed in response to a three-year investigation on illegal betting in the Internet cafes affiliated with Allied Veterans of the World, a purported charitable organization based in St. Augustine.