Charges are anticipated against the owner of a gambling operation the Lubbock DA's office says is illegal. Wolfforth Police Officers seized computer equipment and more than $12,000 during Saturday night's raid of Internet Access, a gambling operation fronting as an internet cafe. No employees or customers were arrested, but the owner could face up to 2-years in jail and a $4,000 fine for each count.
Cracking Down on Lubbock Eight-Liners
They look like slot machines, and pay out in prizes...at least they are supposed to. But NewsChannel 11's undercover video may prove otherwise.
NewsChannel 11 has been following this story and this weekend's raid is just the beginning of an illegal gambling crackdown. Eight liner casinos in Lubbock are considered illegal when money, gift certificates or coupons are won from chance games similar to slot machines. The Lubbock DA's office says if you are running a similar operation: consider yourself warned.
"Now they're starting to come back and so just as they came back, we're coming back and we'll keep prosecuting them until they get the message and go somewhere else," explains Lubbock Assistant District Attorney John Grace.
Illegal gambling operations are not new to the South Plains. In fact, two years ago NewsChannel 11 took hidden cameras into a local casino who claimed to be legitimate. We found that some operators were illegally giving away cash as prizes.
Police Raid High Dollar Gambling Operation
Police are continuing the investigation of yet another 8-liner operation that was busted Saturday night.
Grace says there are at least seven casino type businesses currently operating in Lubbock, all under surveillance. "We have not found any of these businesses that have been able to stay in business and draw a crowd and operate within the law," he says. Monte Carlo Game Room Owner Dennis Hodapp disagrees, he claims his business is legitimate. "If they want to come in and close us down, which I don't think they will because I don't think I'm doing anything wrong," says Hodapp.
The Monte Carlo gives winners coupons to come and play again yet Grace says that's illegal since coming back to use tickets to play, same as cash, is like winning money. "A lot of these businesses are trying to find loop holes," says Grace.
The bottom line: police say they're breaking the law and that it's just a matter of time before they're uncovered. "We're going to do everything we can to make sure people follow the law here in Lubbock and to let the operators know that Lubbock is not a friendly place to set up shop," warns Grace.
Police say they are planning additional raids soon. It will be likely that patrons will also be punished with up to a $500 fine and possible jail time.