BEN DORGER Standard Examiner File Photo

The 2nd District Court is seen Friday, November 15, 2019 in downtown Ogden.

OGDEN — Prosecutors have filed six criminal charges against a 43-year-old man after an investigation by the State Bureau of Investigation into alleged illegal gambling at an Ogden smokehouse.

Biplob Khanal, of Salt Lake City, was named in charges filed Thursday by the Weber County District Attorney’s Office relating to the activities of Smoke Shop and More, 314 Washington Blvd.

An SBI agent said in a probable cause statement that he conducted an undercover investigation, playing a game of fishing on a device inside the smoking room during multiple visits from September 28 to February 8.

He said the machine accepted money in exchange for credits to play the game. Killing fish earned credits, but credit payouts went down, he said. “With the randomness and change in credits you receive, this is not a game of skill but (appears) to be a game of chance intended to create a profit for the owner/operator,” the affidavit states.

Unused credits can be used to purchase items from a prize cabinet or as smoking room credits. The agent said he has never earned credits while playing the game.

The affidavit says officers later served a search warrant and found alleged online gambling cards with cash payments in the store’s back office.

Khanal was charged with a third degree felony for providing online gambling; class B misdemeanor gambling; and four counts of Class A misdemeanor fringe gaming devices. State law defines such devices as those providing a user with a card, token, credit, gift certificate, product, or the opportunity to participate in a contest, game, gaming program or sweepstakes with a potential cash return or other prize.

Khanal’s connection to the alleged gambling business was not immediately clear. The charging documents did not specify his relationship, and James Swink, the county attorney who filed the charges, said he could not discuss the case beyond the charging documents.

Khanal was not in custody and did not have a lawyer on file as of Friday afternoon. Prosecutors filed a request with the 2nd District court for a judge to issue a subpoena ordering Khanal to appear in court on the charges.


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