FALFURRIAS ( Kiii News) -
The Police Chief in Falfurrias says he doesn't think the 8-liner video game rooms that seem to be flourishing in that small town should be in the community, and that he knows "it's illegal." There are said to be at least six game rooms in Falfurrias; all of them making pay outs that law officers know are illegal. 3 News received an anonymous tip from a viewer telling us about the illegal gambling operations going on in Falfurrias, so we went to check it out, and what we found was surprising.
They're all over the city; game rooms filled with 8 liners. They're at the Snappy Store at the Valero Gas Station on Highway 281. They're at the former La Cabana Restaurant on West Rice St., and there are two of them on Saint Mary's Street. Sources say the one at 902 Saint Mary's was the first game room in town.
On Thursday 3 News went inside the game room at 902 Saint Mary's St., and asked a man playing one of the machines what he wins from the machine when he wins. He replied by saying the machines pay with debit cards.
Also inside the store was Falfurrias resident Richard Salinas who told 3 News, "from 11 to 1, you know they match you so, people play a match at one and they go to another one so like 20 dollars can be 40 dollars, you know but you have to go to four other game rooms so people just circulate until that match is over and they stay at one."
City Clerk Idolina Perez says Falfurrias has an ordinance permitting the game rooms, all you have to do is come into City Hall and buy a permit. Perez explained to 3 News, "the first 20 machines, the cost is $100 per machine, and $150 per machine for the next 20 machines, and then $200 dollars for all machines in the excess of 40 machines located on the premises ."
Falfurrias Police Chief Eden Garcia says he knows the gambling operations are illegal, he doesn't like them, and wants them out of the community. The Chief says steps are being taken to make that happen, but he wants to make sure the investigation and crackdown is done the right way. Chief Garcia told 3 News, "we want the community to know that it's not falling on deaf ears, you know, we are doing something about it. It's just something that takes time to put together."