The Lubbock District Attorney's office froze $7,000 from Georgia's amusements/Paradise Gameroom bank accounts. This brings the total to around $80,000 in cash and machines that police collected. On Sunday night, Georgia's Amusement gambling facility and another one called VIP in Lynn County was shut down by the DPS and Lubbock DA's office. But no one has been arrested yet.
The DA's wouldn't tell us when that will happen only that they're working on arrest warrants. They did tell NewsChannel 11 this is the first of many raids to come. All together, roughly $82,000 were confiscated by undercover agents during this sting operation.
This is how it all got started. Earlier this year, there were 20 eight liner businesses operating in the Lubbock area, and DA's were onto the possible illegal operations. They told the businesses to either operate legally or shut down. Eighteen gambling houses shut down. In the last couple of months, the DA's said four to five of them opened back up.
NewsChannel 11 opened up the wound again during an undercover report and discovered cash pay outs at some of the eight liner operations. Ever since then, undercover officers have been checking for criminal activity. "There are all sorts of gambling charges. Most are class A misdemeanors which means a fine up $4,000 per count and up to a year in jail per count. So, each time they paid our undercover officers in cash that would be count," said John Grace, Assistant Criminal DA.
But, the Flamin 7, which is an eight liner business that's still open said they don't fear of being shut down. We went inside the Flamin 7 and asked them point blank if they are in violation and if they are operating a legal business. "We don't do anything illegal. People come in and have fun. Play the games. We don't give cash we don't give gift certificates," said Fran Snook, a Flamin 7 employee.
But how the games are played is exactly what Grace says is illegal. Flamin 7 doesn't hand out cash, that's right. But they do cash out points that can be played on other machines. Grace says that's illegal.
"The supreme court has defined a payment in cash as being either cash, gift certificates or a replay certificate where you're able to take that certificate and move points from one machine to another or anything that can be exchanged for cash," said Grace.
The two businesses in Sunday night's raid, Grace says they were clearly breaking the law. Georgia's amusements was allegedly handing out cash payments to their customers. The eight liner operation VIP was allegedly doing that same thing.
Grace told NewsChannel 11 they tried to educate the 20 eight liner businesses about the law and what was legal. Eighteen ended up shutting down. But now, four or five have opened back up again. So now, Grace says the next phase is to enforce the law by shutting these places down.
But Fran with Flamin 7 is adamant. She say's they're not doing anything wrong. "Flamin 7's making enough money. They're not looking to make a million but they're making enough to provide a place where people have fun and play games and meet people," she said.
But how long will that last for Flamin 7? Grace wouldn't tell us when the next raid will be, but did say Flamin 7 is on the list.