Court Overturns Las Cruces Man's Gambling Conviction

Jul 28, 2012

The state Court of Appeals has overturned a Las Cruces man's conviction of running a gambling enterprise out of his Internet cafe.

Michael Vento was convicted in 2009 of one felony count of commercial gambling, but the court reversed that Thursday because it said the jury was given flawed instructions that didn't distinguish whether the gambling was illegal because it was betting or a lottery.

The court sent the case back for a possible retrial, saying there was enough evidence for a charge that Vento conducted a lottery in violation of New Mexico's gambling laws.

Vento sold customers Internet time for computers in his cafe and they received chances to win cash prizes.

The case was prosecuted when Gov. Susana Martinez served as district attorney in Dona Ana County.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.