Gess brothers spared jail for illegal operation


Two  brothers who illegally ran machines at amusement arcades without paying £170,000 in gaming duty have been spared jail. George, 39, and Joseph Gess, 45, were sentenced at Hove Crown Court last Friday.

They had each pleaded guilty to four counts of unlawfully providing gaming machines in contravention of the Betting and Gaming Duties Act 1981, at a previous hearing in December.

The younger brother was sentenced to 15 months’ imprisonment, suspended for two years, and ordered to complete 180 hours of community service. Joseph Gess was sentenced to 12 months’ imprisonment, suspended for two years, and order to carry out 100 hours of community service.

The brothers’ gamble failed when officers from HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) seized 86 illegally operated gaming machines from the premises last year. This followed an investigation into the non-payment of Amusement Machine Licence Duty (AMLD).

In June 2012 HMRC officers visited four amusement arcades in Sussex and Kent. The others were located in Bognor Regis, Brighton and Tunbridge Wells.

Officers seized the machines and more than £19,000 in cash from inside them. The Gess brothers were then arrested.

The machines were making money without being registered to be run in the country.

David Margree, from HMRC, said: “Gaming machine operators are legally required to pay gaming duty. ”If they do not, we make concerted efforts to collect that duty. As a last resort we will always step in and seize machines so that they are not run at an advantage over honest operators.”


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