The San Patricio County District Attorney says game room owners and operators can continue to gamble with the law if they want to, but it will be a losing bet.
It was the second time in recent months that San Patricio County has gone after game rooms Thursday night, and District Attorney Michael Welborn said it will continue until the game room operators get the message.
Welborn said he has had success prosecuting these cases in the past, and that those arrested and charged have been agreeing to forfeit their assets, machines and money because they know it can all be tied to illegal gambling operations.
"We've had several, numerous, convictions out of the last round, if you would," Welborn said. "Based upon the strength of cases that my Sheriff's Department is making, the attorneys coming in representing these folks are wanting to basically plead them out without even going through indictment."
Four individuals were arrested Thursday night, when the Sheriff's Department raided four game rooms in San Patricio County -- including one game room in Aransas Pass, one in Taft, and two near Sinton. Welborn said he believes people continue to open these game rooms up even after the Sheriff's Department has shut them all down because the businesses are just too lucrative.
As for who owns and operates them, it varies. They come from all over.
"We have people operating businesses locally, but we have a lot of them from basically out of the area," Welborn said. "We have a lot in state, but they're out of the area. We have folks, owners, if you would up in the Houston, Odessa, Lubbock area, and they're just setting up businesses down here; and I don't know why, but we'll find out."
Welborn said those that own and operate illegal gambling establishments face charges of engaging in organized criminal activity. If convicted, they stand to serve up to two years in state jail and fines of up to $10,000.
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