BISHOP, Texas — Seven game rooms were raided Friday in the City of Bishop along Highway 77 as police try to crack down on illegal game room activity.
The raids happened simultaneously right around 4 p.m. Friday afternoon. Hundreds of eight-liners were seized and at least two people were arrested.
One of the arrests said to be an armed man who was impersonating a security guard at one of the establishments.
Edward Day, Chief of Police for Bishop, said that the game rooms have been a topic of interest for his department for a long time.
"All of these locations have been on our radar since the day they opened," Day said.
One of the locations raided was operating out of an old gas station just yards away from Bishop High School. Day said that while Friday's raid led to two arrests, he said there could be even more.
"A lot of these places were engaged in various organized criminal activity, we had gambling offenses, we had unlicensed premises and we also had some security personnel that were not licensed," Day said. "They were impersonating security guards."
He added that some of them were even carrying weapons.
"They were carrying firearm's, in fact, one of them was a convicted felon," Day said.
In all, over 200 machines were impounded, and $145,000 in fines were issued. The raid comes as Nueces County Commissioners recently voted to wait until after November elections to figure out how to provide oversight of game rooms and prevent criminal activity.
"They operate under the premise that they are for amusement only, once they pay out they are committing an offense state crime of gambling," Day said. "We know that most of these places are paying out and that is why so many people frequent them, and spend as much money as they do."
The machines were made inoperable so that they cannot use them again without going through a court.
As for the patrons inside, their names and information were taken down by law enforcement and then let go. The chief gave one final piece of advice for anyone looking to open shop.
"If you are going to come here and open an establishment like that and yo are going to gamble and break the law we are going to come after you," Day said.
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