Once a raid is conducted, the district attorney’s office files for forfeiture of the machines found at the location and stores them until trial, if necessary. Because operating a business with these machines is only a misdemeanor, often the worst punishment is the loss of the machines themselves.
The machines transported Thursday were older machines that investigators said were probably purchased originally for use in areas where gambling was legal, but as the machines aged and were replaced, they were likely purchased for illegal use in Alabama for approximately $2,000 each. In some previous cases, a facility with 10 of those machines could generate as much as $5,000 a week, according to one investigator.
Once any legal questions are settled, the machines must be destroyed. Because the games are electronic, they must be disposed of as electronic waste, following certain protocols.
“We could run them through our shredders, but you just end up with such a mess of materials,” said Ken Ehrsman, president and COO of Advanced Technology Recycling, the company that will dispose of the machines. “Any time we do a guaranteed destruction, we manually demanufacture the electronics, destroy the cabinets and process the other materials.”
The electronic components are then processed numerous times before being sent to a smelting facility where the gold, copper, silver, platinum and other precious metals are extracted.
ATR is a company that specializes in electronic recycling, while maintaining the security of any data contained on electronic devices. They currently take most types of computer and office equipment and have locations across the country, including one in Birmingham.
For more information, visit www.atrecycle.com.