Corpus Christi police raided an illegal gaming operation this week in Texas. Two men were arrested as part of the city’s continuing crackdown on illicit gambling.
The suspects were identified as David Rivers, 44, and Ray Firova, 39. Each was charged on Tuesday with keeping a gambling place, possession of a gambling device, and gambling promotion. The location of the Corpus Christi gaming site was not released by police.
For each charge, if convicted, they each could spend up to a year in jail and/or be ordered to pay a fine of up to $4,000, the Corpus Christi Police Department said in a statement.
No details were provided if any cash or gambling equipment were seized during the raid. No word either if any players were in the operation when it was raided.
The investigation into the gaming site was undertaken by Corpus Christi police, the Texas Comptroller’s Office, and federal agencies.
Investigators went undercover there to investigate the operation, KRIS, a local TV station, reported. Officers allege the operation was using gambling devices to place bets. Bets were made in cash, the report adds.
Corpus Christi police investigators say they will continue to enforce “all Texas gambling laws.”
Under Texas law, a player cannot win a “wholesale value available from a single play of the game or device of not more than 10 times the amount charged to play the game or device once or $5, whichever is less,” the police statement added.
Prior Raid Leads to $40K Fine, Arrests
In a prior raid, in May Corpus Christi police conducted a court-approved search at Play Your Luck. It is a game room near Airline and Holly roads.
The owner of the game room and an employee were arrested, KIII, a local TV station, reported. An undisclosed amount of cash and gambling equipment were seized by police during the search.
The game room will also be fined by state officials by about $40,000, KIII reported.
In March, Corpus Christi police served a search warrant on a game room on Alameda Street. Three men and a woman were apprehended, the Corpus Christi Caller-Times reported. Each suspect was charged with gambling promotion, keeping up a gambling place and possession of a gambling device.
The three male suspects were also charged with unlawful carrying of a weapon. They allegedly had handguns during another crime, police said. Also, 14 patrons in the game room at the time were given warnings for gambling.
Various gambling equipment, two vehicles, and cash were seized from the operation, police added.
On the broader subject of gambling in Texas, as of January 2021, a University of Houston Hobby School poll found that 58 percent of Texans favor allowing full casino gambling in Texas. Another 18 percent support a limited gambling expansion on the state’s three Indian reservations and at existing horse and dog tracks.
In addition, Las Vegas Sands supports gambling expansion in Texas. The company has lobbied for pro-gaming legislation.
When asked about the issue, Mark P. Jones, a fellow at Rice University’s Baker Institute, predicted last year to Casino.org that “gambling legalization will remain an issue in Texas politics until such time that casino gambling is legalized.”
“However, a full one-third of Texas Republicans want to leave the gambling laws as they stand (or reverse them). And even pragmatic Texas Republicans have some concern that were they to vote in favor of casino gambling, the vote could harm them in future Republican primaries,” Jones said.
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