Hawaii Tilt Stores Remove Las Vegas-style Slots

Chad Blair/Civil Beat

Looking to try your luck at Windward and Pearlridge malls? Try another time.

Las Vegas-style slot machines that gave out cash prizes have disappeared from Tilt stores on Oahu — at least temporarily.

The action comes three weeks after state Rep. Cynthia Thielen raised concerns about suspicions of gambling operations in Kaneohe.

It also comes one week after police raided three Hilo arcades in a sweep for "suspected gambling operations." One of the arcades was Tilt Amusement Center in Prince Kuhio Plaza.

It's not clear whether the removal of Island Fruit video arcades from Windward and Pearlridge malls are related to the Big Island raids. Hilo officers, who seized "33 suspected illegal gambling machines, suspected gambling records, and cash," were expected to forward the results of their investigation to Hawaii County prosecutors.

Civil Beat left a message with the Hilo vice squad to learn the status of the case. The Hilo prosecutors office said the three defendants, who were arrested during the raid and later released, were not yet the subject of prosecution.

Inquiries to Tilt, meanwhile, were referred to the home office of Nickels and Dimes in Texas, which operates Tilt.

A woman answering the phone at Nickels and Dimes said the company was trying to get the Hawaii machines "put back in." She said she would pass Civil Beat's inquiry on to a vice president for operations.

Rep. Thielen was traveling and could not be reached for comment. But the Kaneohe resident who asked Thielen to look into the Tilt machines and similar operations told Civil Beat he was "pleasantly amazed" by developments.

"In my opinion, they are not going to admit or deny that it has anything to do with gambling," said Jim Wolery. "There is a lot of interest in these kinds of machines, and other places may open up."

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