DUSHANBE, February 27, Asia-Plus  -- A group of alleged gambling machine cheaters has been detained in northern Tajikistan, according to the Ministry of Interior (MoI).

The source at a MoI said that the detainees had replaced chips in four gambling machines in Sughd’s Bobojonghafurov district and thereby they had snatched a large sum.

“Playing in an amusement arcade near the railway station they “won” 116,500 somonis (equivalent to more than $33,000) in one night; but at that moment, the amusement arcade had only 8,500 somonis (some $2,500) in cash,” said the source.  “The guys came the next day and demanded that the amusement arcade’s owner should pay them the remaining sum.” 

The owner, Ikrom Fozilov, suspected that something was wrong and applied to police, and all five machine cheaters were detained.  “The preliminary investigation has established that amusement arcade’s guard Bahrom Afzalkhonov was in collusion with them; they promised to give him a part of “winnings,” the source said.              

The machine cheaters face charge of fraud.  In the meantime, a charge of illegal entrepreneurship will also be brought against the amusement arcade’s owner, because gambling establishments are prohibited from functioning in Tajikistan.