A judge has denied a motion to dismiss charges brought by Havelock police against Greg Muse for manufacturing or selling slot machines, setting the stage for the case to go to trial.
“That’s fine with me,” Muse said. “I would really like the case to move on. I’d like to have the machines shown in evidence to where they are skill machines.”
Muse, 52, of New Bern, faces 15 counts of manufacturing or selling slot machines and one count of possessing a slot machine. Muse is the owner of Craven Music Company.
Muse’s defense attorneys, Gary Clemmons and Marc Chesnutt, had asked for the charges to be dismissed on March 21, arguing entrapment by estoppel, a legal term meaning that a government official misrepresented a point of law. Judge Walter Mills heard a full day of testimony from defense and state witnesses before denying the defense motion this week.
Muse said the machines he has are not games of chance but require skill and dexterity, which he said means they don’t fall under state laws that prohibit slot machines and gaming machines.
“I want to proceed on and show the machines into evidence as being skill games,” Muse said. “I feel pretty confident that they are skill games and operate as skill games.
“They’ve been evaluated by gaming companies and labeled as skilled. It requires skill to play them and requires player participation. … It’s just a completely new product. Why some of our government officials chose not to understand that I don’t know why.”
Havelock police and Craven County sheriff deputies seized 16 gaming machines from seven businesses in Havelock on Oct. 17. Muse was one of eight people arrested on a variety of charges in connection with the machines.
District Attorney Scott Thomas was out of town and unavailable to comment on the judge’s ruling.
The trial has been scheduled to begin at 9:30 a.m. on April 24 at the Craven County Courthouse in New Bern.