An undercover operation in Blount County revealed evidence of illegal gambling – including slot machines and scratch-off lottery tickets – at three businesses.

The Cleveland Police Department carried out the operation between May 15 and May 25 at a laundromat and two gas stations after receiving complaints of illegal gambling activities.

Authorities said they found slot machines at each of the businesses: Jerry’s Wash House, the Marathon Gas Station at 63447 US 231, and the Mobil Gas Station, also on US 231.

One of the gas stations also sold scratch off lottery tickets.

An investigator from the Blount County District Attorney’s Office assisted in executing search warrants and recovering digital evidence at Jerry’s Wash House.

Investigators said they learned from informants that slot machine winners were paid in gift cards and scratch lottery winners were paid in cash.

Jerry Thomas, owner of Jerry’s Wash House, is accused of promoting the game. He was jailed in Blount County Jail on Wednesday and later released on bail.

Further arrests are expected for promoting gambling, possession of gambling devices and possession of gambling records.

“Law enforcement is a community effort,” said Cleveland Deputy Chief of Police Bill Ferry. “Chief Thomas and I appreciate the citizens who support our police department and have assisted us in this investigation.”

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