In the heart of Georgia, the once thriving enterprise Lucky Bucks, a trailblazer in the realm of slot machine operation, finds itself embroiled in the throes of a dramatic legal contest. The company, reeling under the weight of a recent bankruptcy, has been transmuted into the arena of legal spectacle. Its new management has wielded a potent accusation through a RICO lawsuit against predecessors they claim orchestrated a devious exfiltration of resources, leaving the company’s coffers plundered.
At the core of this corporate saga are allegations of a conniving scheme where ten individuals and a dozen shadowy entities are painted as the architects of fiscal chaos. They are charged with extracting a staggering sum of not less than $200 million; a veritable fortune purloined from the very company they once stewarded.
From within the borders of the Peach State, Lucky Bucks once proudly operated a unique tapestry of gaming experiences. With 2,300 of what local parlance dubs COAMS – coin-operated amusement machines – in a spider’s web scattered over 345 locations, these were not your ordinary slots. Unlike their flashy Las Vegas cousins, these machines challenged patrons with skill-based contests, rewarding victorious gamblers with lottery tickets and vouchers.
Times have changed, and so has Lady Luck’s favor. Browned by the sun of an economic downturn, choked by the tendrils of escalating regulation, and beleaguered by the stiff-fingered fists of rising interest rates, Lucky Bucks was forced to succumb to the fate that befalls many; a somber chapter 11 bankruptcy filed in the heat of June 2023 was its desperate cry, a declaration of over half a billion in debts.
However, in the midst of despair, a chink in the armor, a shimmer of hope: Lucky Bucks was reborn, phoenix-like, as Arc Gaming and Technologies. A Delaware bankruptcy court, in the fervor of July, blessed this reincarnation with approval of its Chapter 11 plan, thanks to an infusion of vital capital from its primary lenders.
Yet, the new keepers of the Lucky Bucks legacy staunchly hold that the company’s downfall was no tragic inevitability but the product of a grand theft orchestrated by its founder, Anil Damani, and his cadre of former employees, who are blamed for a scandalous embezzlement of funds. The suit recounts how they indulged in borrowing from lenders and dispersing the borrowed riches amongst themselves; all while Damani stood prohibited from company affairs by a state regulator as of June 2020.
The schemes were intricate: rerouting contracts only to return them with inflated price tags, vandalizing machines by shearing off serial numbers to sell them illegally. Moreover, there was cunning in their secrecy—the allegations recount tales of encrypted messages and obliterated files and records, effectively turning the company’s digital footprint into a ghost.
Piecing together this elaborate puzzle, the new management’s sleuths dove deep into Lucky Bucks’ digital arteries, conducting thorough reviews of IT systems and drawing testimonies from those who remained employees.
Yet the defense stands unremitting. Damani’s legal champion, Scott R. Grubman, dismisses the allegations as empty shells—”baseless claims,” as he terms them. Dignifying Damani as both a successful businessman and community stalwart, Grubman readies his legal lance for the courtroom joust to absolve his client of the grievous accusations enveloping him.