The Observer: Illegal gambling major problem in Texas

News | June 17th, 2015

Law enforcement continues to shut down illegal game rooms in Texas and all over the nation.

There is an estimated 100,000-150,000 “8-liner” and illegal slot machines in the state of Texas alone. With the illegal gaming brings violent crimes and dangerous situations.

“We know these kind of establishments bring out more criminal activity to our area. There have been cases where these gambling places have been robbed,” said Constable Mark Herman of Precinct 4. “These operations are illegal and have no place in our society.”

The American Gaming Association (AGA) and the Association of Gaming Equipment Manufacturers (AGEM) have recently partnered to raise awareness of the illegal activity and violent crimes associated with illegal game rooms.

“I don’t think that a lot of the people in Texas fully understand that if the location is paying out in cash or paying out in more than $5 in value in non-cash prizes, those locations are illegal,” said Marcus Prater, executive director of AGEM. “You don’t want them in your cities or neighborhoods.”

Usually these illegal game rooms will be housed in shopping strips with dark tinted windows. Sometimes even former tire shops and tractor-trailers parked along busy roadways are turned into illegal gambling places.

“I think it is a widespread problem throughout Texas from small towns to large,” said Prater. “It’s rampant it’s from border to border.”

The problem is not just local, but a statewide problem. Officials wants the community to know that it is also their right to watch their communities for illegal gambling. The police do have investigators monitoring the illegal establishments. Ultimately, the entire place is shut down once police catches those involved in the illegal gaming operations.

“We here at Precinct 4 will keep doing everything we can to keep shutting them down and arresting people for implementing these gambling establishments in our communities,” said Constable Herman.

If a person is concerned and believes illegal gambling is going on in their community, it should be reported immediately. Reports can be done anonymously.

“We need the communities to be our eyes and ears out there,” said Constable Herman.

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