TV: Sources: 8-liners sold back to illegal game rooms


by By Jeff McShan / 11 News

Posted on August 15, 2009 at 4:38 PM

Updated Monday, Oct 19 at 6:42 PM

HOUSTON -- Confiscated eight-liner machines are reportedly being sold back to illegal gambling businesses. Sources inside the Houston Police Department say the gamblers are being enabled by law enforcement agencies outside of Houston.

Houston Game Rooms
Sources: 8-liners sold back to illegal game rooms
August 5, 2009

On Tuesday, the Houston Police Department's Vice Squad arrested yet another man charged with the promotion of gambling after receiving numerous anonymous complaints.

HPD says complaints from civilians are what start every illegal eight-liner investigation. They currently have 50 separate cases that are being checked out by the Vice Squad.

"The gambling wouldn't be so bad, but it brings in other crime," said Houston City Councilmember Toni Lawrence. "[Crime like] following senior citizens home and robbing people in their driveway because you know they have money."

There are reportedly more than 400 illegal game rooms in Houston and Lawrence has led the fight against them. She says Houston is having some success because of stronger ordinances. More investigations have also led to the seizure of thousands of machines.

Some of the gambling machines are eventually destroyed and never used again, but not all of them.

11 News has learned some state law enforcement agencies outside of Houston are making the fight more difficult.

On eBay, machines that have been seized are being auctioned off for cash. The bidding starts at a mere $250.

Police sources say many of these machines are being purchased by people in Houston who then open up another illegal game room.

"We know other counties have auctions. Buying them on eBay is an option, but they still have to get those machines licensed," said Councilmember Lawrence.

For now the fight continues, but some people believe the battle is a lot harder than it should be.