When the Commonwealth Raided Fairhaven and Fall River Internet Cafes
Casino gaming has been legal in Massachusetts since then-Governor Deval Patrick signed the Expanded Gaming Act into law on November 22, 2011.
Months before Patrick acted, Fall River City Councilor Leo Pelletier launched a gaming venture of his own.
Pelletier, who was then and is currently a member of the Fall River City Council, and three co-defendants were indicted in 2011 and charged with various gaming charges after launching Leo's Place, two so-called internet cafes located in Fairhaven and Fall River.
Peletier was charged with organizing or promoting gambling services, operating an illegal lottery, allowing lotteries in a building, and the sale and advertising lottery tickets.
The Internet cafes were operated through Pelletier's corporation New England Internet Cafes, LLC (NEIC).
Co-defendants Ron Sevigny of Fall River, Linda Pelletier of Spring Hill, Florida, and Donald Greenidge of New Shoreham, New York, were indicted on related charges.
WickedLocal.com reported Pelletier's defense at the time was that players were paying for internet time and playing free sweepstakes. The site reported then-Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley charged that patrons of these internet cafes were paying nearly exclusively for the right to gamble.
Coakley issued a ban on cyber cafes and phone card machines in April 2011.
Following his arrest, Pelletier told the Boston Globe he was unfairly targeted by Coakley,
"I don't think it's fair to single out my two cafes just because I'm the councilor," he said. "There have been at least 10 more of these places that have popped up."
Ultimately, Leo Pelletier and Linda Pelletier (unrelated) pled guilty to the charges and were sentenced to two years' probation. All corporate assets of more than $100,000 were forfeited to the state.
The Leo's Place location in Fairhaven was located in the Sconticut Square plaza, literally doors away from the WBSM and Fun 107 studios.