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MURRAY DENIES IT CONDONES ILLEGAL GAMING

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Members of the city's legal department and police force angrily denied a citizen complaint Tuesday that the city condones illegal gambling at the Alano Club, where members gather to play poker machines, pinochle and cribbage, before and after six daily Alcoholics Anonymous meetings.

In a Nov. 16 letter from an eight-year member of the Alano Club, "a subculture of employees and members" are alleged to have "sanctioned and covered for the gambling," referring to the payout from two leased poker machines.That member was expelled from the club earlier the same day for disturbing the peace.

City Attorney Craig Hall said his office sent a "scathing" letter to the club Oct. 31 after an anonymous call with the same allegations came in two months ago. He stressed that gambling complaints are "not the easiest complaints in the world to investigate."

Ed Peterson, city prosecutor, said complaint after complaint had been brought to his attention to no avail. Peterson said those allegations are not true.

"A terrible gambling scheme is alleged, but there is no evidence whatsoever of gambling," Peterson said. "I don't believe there were any payoffs going on."

Utah has one of the broadest statutes in the nation, Peterson said. Wagering money in a game with some chance of winning a prize is legal gambling.

"This is not a gambling club, but a social club for recovering alcoholics and their families," club manager Ken Korgi said.