April 21, 2017
By Robin Harris
The city is slowly becoming the favorite for illegal gambling devices, promoting illegal gambling activity.
There are seven locations where illegal activity is the main attraction; The Gold Rush, KG’s Amusement Center, The Parlor at Five Hills, Cyber Café Charity Sweepstakes, Shamrock Sweepstakes Game Room, Surf and Sip Internet Cafe, and Veteran Charity Sweepstakes. These illegal attractions can also be found in bingo halls.
An illegal gambling device is any device, machine, paraphernalia or equipment normally used or usable in the playing phases of any gambling activity, whether that activity consists of gambling between persons or gambling by a person involving the playing of a machine.
Federal law defines illegal gambling activity as a violation of the law of the state in which it is conducted, where the act involves five or more people who conduct, finance, manage, supervise, direct or own all or part of such business; has been or remains in substantially continuous operation for a period of more than 30 days, or has a gross revenue of $2,000 in any single day.
Over the past few years, law enforcement has seen an increase of gambling parlors in Texas cities:
- In July in South Texas, nine underground casinos were raided, 11 people arrested, and 700 machines seized.
- In August in Houston, 12 people were arrested, 90 guns, body armor and ammunition were seized
- In October in Houston, the Green Grass Game room was raided and $1.9 million seized,
- In December in the Midland area, $91,000 was seized.
Moreover, this environment is conducive for the promotion of gambling addiction, binge drinking and illegal drugs, he added.
The police department is working to disassemble these parlors and is involved in on-going meetings with prosecutors and experts aimed at devising an effective plan of action.
The goal is to strategize so law enforcement can identify the businesses participating in this illegal activity; to accomplish this goal, the police department has implemented continuous observation and intelligence gathering that will assist in the prosecution of all who take part in gaming.