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‘Just be careful:’ Man arrested, accused of armed robbery outside Jacksonville gaming facility

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — A man is behind bars Thursday evening, accused of robbing another man at gunpoint outside a Jacksonville gaming facility.

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It happened at the bestbet on Monument Road earlier this month.

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A few people told Action News Jax Annette Gutierrez off-camera that they come to this bestbet often, and they have never been in fear of their safety. But this incident has them thinking twice about leaving with pockets full of cash.

“I mean, I don’t like that at all,” Nic Malone, a BestBet player said. “I heard about it. It definitely is a little scary, and if you have a lot of money on you, maybe you get an escort to the car or something.”

Malone said he plays at this bestbet a lot but said he does feel safe.

“I do, they have security that’ll walk you to your car if you need it,” he said.

READ: Man shot multiple times in parking lot of bestbet poker room, Orange Park Police say

Over the past three years, the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office has received nearly 300 calls for service at 201 Monument Rd., where bestbet is located.

Forty-two of those calls were disputes, 13 of them were burglaries, seven were assaults, and three were robberies -- with one robbery each year.

JSO’s arrest report said on Feb. 17, police were called to an armed robbery at the bestbet on Monument Road. The report states the victim had just won about $20,000 and when he walked outside towards his car, a man “held a gun to his head and took $7,000 cash out of his right jacket pocket.”

The report said a witness ran over to help and found the suspect’s phone on the ground. Police later arrested 21-year-old Sean Evans in connection with the armed robbery.

The report said Evans’ Ribault High School football picture was on the phone’s home screen.

READ: Reported bomb threat at bestbet in Orange Park turns out to be box full of Bibles

Action News Jax’s Annette Gutierrez reached out to the Florida Gaming Control Commission, which regulates casinos and gaming centers, to ask if the state has any protocols for safety. A spokesperson said individual facilities handle their own security.

Action News Jax law and safety expert Dale Carson said Evans is charged with a felony and could face life in prison. But other factors may come into play.

“In a circumstance like this, where you’re 21-years-old, you’re subject to what’s known as the Youthful Offender Act, which allows a reduction in standard sentencing for an adult.” Carson said.

Bestbet was asked to comment on the incident and the spokesperson sent a statement that said they are aware of the situation and are cooperating with law enforcement. But this is an ongoing investigation, so they could not comment further.

Whether you lost it all or hit the jackpot, a security guard Gutierrez spoke with said you can always ask someone to walk you back to your car.

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