City cracks down on game rooms to prevent illegal gambling

City cracks down on game rooms to prevent illegal gambling

LUBBOCK, Texas -

During the March 26th Lubbock City Council meeting, there will be one final reading on the new ordinances regarding game rooms.

It's illegal to gamble in Texas, but game rooms are not if there isn't cash rewards.

However, during an investigation the City of Lubbock found that several game room businesses don't operate legally.

"It became very clear that they were using it in fact to be like a Las Vegas, like a casino," LPD Assistant Police Chief Jerry Brewer said.

According to the ordinance, police would work with the City Secretary's office during the permit process.

"This new ordinance entrusts us to do a thorough background on the person to see what all the ties are, all the business relationships," Brewer said.

According to Lubbock Mayor Dan Pope, "We'll shut a game room down on a Tuesday and it'll be back in business on Thursday in the same location with a different operator. We just have to do a better job with you know, illegal is illegal."

Between 2015 and 2018, LPD received more than 700 calls to game rooms for alarms that sounded, drug activity or prostitution.

"Over a third of those 700 plus calls that we've taken are to one address in the Briarcroft Center," Pope said. "None of us feel good about that. That's not acceptable we need to solve that problem."

One homeowner near the Blue Room said they're scared to speak up because they fear retaliation. The resident said they lost privacy, saw more suspicious activity and want to build a tall, metal fence for privacy and safety.

According to Assistant Chief Brewer there wouldn't be as many permits given out over the next year, with the new ordinance.

"It's not because we're targeting them. If they're acting within the law, and they follow the procedures and the permit.. they wont have a problem," Brewer said.

The ordinance would hold landlords accountable if problems continued with a tenant. Several regulations, which include requirements for a landline telephone in each game room, full access during business hours and an inspection list of all employees.


 

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