Texas’ Smith County has been notorious for its illegal gambling operation which often attracts the attention of the local authorities willing to keep things in check and maintain it under control. The most recent operation against an illegal gambling parlor took place just recently and resulted in the confiscation of three gaming machines operating in a gas station without the permit needed for it, whereas Houston saw the arrest of two people on the similar charges.
This Thursday witnessed the successful end of one of the most recent operations against an illegal gaming operation taking place in the state of Texas. The local Sheriff’s Office finalized action against a gas station which had gaming devices available on offer. With the help of a search warranty, the deputies examined the location and concluded that there has been, in fact, illegal operation in progress. Action, in this case, happened in a rapid manner, as the authorities were notified about the illegal operation towards the end of June, giving them time for action and investigation.
The Oasis gas station is among the preferred ones in the area, making a good use of its popularity by providing illegal gaming machines to its customers. Over the span of the operation, detectives responsible for the smooth process had the opportunity to closely examine the devices while being undercover, in order to confirm or deny that they work without the appropriate licensing issued by the state regulator. Patrol deputies and officers participated in the action.
Among the seized objects following the raid was a total of $13,027 in cash, paperwork potentially related to the operation of the said machines, as well as three gambling devises in operation. No individuals have been arrested as of this moment, but the authorities are looking into the matter and the investigation could bring more results and arrests. The search warrant was obtained this Wednesday, as the team was preparing for the official operation.
Texas Loses Gaming Revenue Due to Few Gambling Offerings
It could be recalled that the month of April witnessed another illegal gambling investigation taking place, again with arrested individuals in Smith County. That time Monica Prado was booked into the Smith County Jail on account of being linked to the unlawful gambling parlor located in the 11000 block of Highway 64 East. Prior to her arrest in April, the woman had already been participating in the promotion of gaming and had been in possession of gaming devices.
In the meantime, this Thursday another operation against illegal gambling parlor was taking place in Houston, where the local authorities were raiding a convenience store located near Jersey Village. Conoco Convenience Store has been subjected to the close monitoring with the help of a search warrant this Thursday and two employees of the facility were arrested. Those were the convenience store owner Sukhvir Singh as well as Milton Fernandes Linengrad who was the employee on shift at the moment of the raid.
The authorities managed to obtain video poker machines in operation in addition to some $6,000 in cash potentially generated by the operation the said devices. When it comes to gambling in a legal manner, the state of Texas is not the most liberal one, since local regulations leave residents with a very limited number of options to pick from. According to the framework which has been overseeing the field for quite some time now, players are restricted to the legal game provided by the state lottery and its scratch tickets.
There is also the pari-mutuel horse racing offering available at Sam Houston racecourse located in Houston and combined the current gaming offerings manage to generate some $4 billion annually. This strict regulation and prohibition of casino gambling across the state lead to a proliferation in the murky area of the illegal. Kickapoo Nation is the only operator with the legal permission to manage a casino venue, but offerings there remain limited.
In the recent months, talks have been going around of potential sports betting legalization which could boost the local economy, but according to State Rep. Todd Hunter, R-Corpus Christi, a lot of consideration has to take place when it comes to the state Constitution and the Legislature actions.
For the time being, individuals willing to gamble have the chance to do so in neighboring states, thus Texas is losing on the potential gaming revenue which could otherwise be generated by state operation. Rep. Abel Herrero, D-Robstown, has been a long-time supporter of daily fantasy sports and he even went so far as to file in a legislation in 2015, which failed to reach the committee.
He stated that it might not happen in the next twelve months, but Texas has the potential to maintain its players within the borders with attractive expanded gaming offerings in the following years.