By BRAD KELLAR
The Commerce Journal
The Hunt County Sheriff issued a warning Tuesday, letting businesses and some fraternal organizations know they need to shut off and remove their 8-liner machines.
“We just gave them a notice of two weeks,” Ramdy Meeks said, noting that deputies intend to seize the illegal gaming equipment from multiple locations across Hunt County.
“We’ve got several in Greenville, a few in Commerce and some in Quinlan,” Meeks said.
In the notice, Meeks noted how his office addressed the problem of illegal game rooms and 8-liner machines being used illegally during his first year in office, with several game rooms shut down and dozens of the machines being seized.
“However, our ongoing investigations and our regular system of follow-ups have yielded information that some establishments within Hunt County have moved these machines back into their business and/or organization,” Meeks said.
In June 2010, Toi Nguyen entered a guilty plea to a charge of engaging in organized crime and was placed on probation, was fined $2,500; and forfeited his interests in a 5.8-acre tract of land that included the VFW hall in Quinlan.
A total of 68 gambling devices, along with gambling paraphernalia and $5,540 in gambling proceeds were seized in March 2009 from the Triple Jack game room on State Highway 34 South in Cash, which was raided by the sheriff’s office on the night of March 21, 2009.
Meeks said the machines are cropping up again all over the county and not just in game rooms.
“Some of them are in convenience stores that have put in one or two of the machines for their customers,” Meeks said. “Some of them are fraternal organizations that are doing it for their members.”
The operation of 8-liners isn’t necessarily illegal in Texas. There is an exception for games which award non-cash prizes to winners, as long as the prize value does not exceed $5, or 10 times the cost of a single play on the device, whichever is less.
Meeks said there are plenty of the machines which are being operated illegally, adding it doesn’t matter is the business or organization is inside a corporate city limits or not. In addition to issuing emails about the upcoming actions, Meeks said his deputies will be hand delivering the information to each of the businesses and organizations ahead of taking any action against them.
“You have two weeks in which to remove these machines,” Meeks said. “Failure to do so could result in arrests, seizures of property, etc.”
Anyone with information concerning where the machines are being operated is being asked to contact Lt. Tommy Grandfield at 903-453-6813.