Eight-liner gaming is once again back in the news, this after a raid by Nueces County Sheriff's Deputies at a gaming operation Thursday night in Driscoll. The deputies arrested two Ruby Barrera, 37, and Beatriz Cedillo, 37, and charged them with engaging in criminal activity, their bond has been set at $5,000 each. During the raid, The deputies discovered more than 50 machines promising both cash and gift payouts. Rewards of that type are illegal in Texas and considered gambling.
Of course, 8 liner game rooms are not exclusive to Nueces County. Friday, our Mike DaSilva checked on several game rooms in San Patricio County. There are game rooms all over South Texas and that's definitely the case in San Patricio County.
Friday we went to two of them off of Highway 77 around Odem and witnessed two very different reactions.
The first game room we dropped by said they have nothing to hide. Those in charge telling us that they've been in business 13 years and they've never made cash payouts. They say they only give out groceries and toiletries worth no more than $5.00 as prizes. When we arrived, nobody left the game room and they were happy to talk with us. Then we went to another game room in San Patricio County and encountered a very different experience.
One source telling us that the game rooms in San Patricio County take in between $10,000 to $20,000 on Friday and Saturday nights. The source, familiar with the business, telling us the 8 liner game rooms in San Pat do make cash payouts.
We went to talk with Sheriff LeRoy Moody to see what was being done about this, but we were told he had to leave to go to an appointment. Meanwhile, the County Attorney David Aken says 8 liner investigations and prosecutions can be complicated.
"An 8 liner machine can be there right there in front of you and it's not illegal in itself, it's illegal in the manner in which its used," says Aken.
David Aken says both the County Attorney's office and the District Attorney's office both stand ready to prosecute illegally run 8 liner establishments, if cases are presented to their offices.
We should mention that San Patricio County does not issue permits to game room operators, unlike other counties who charge a game room permit fee and charge and make money by the machine on an annual basis.