gambling

Van’s Grocery on Avenue A (top), Shanghai Amusement and Lala Gift Shop

As five Beaumont businesses prepare to answer charges related to illegal gambling following an October 2014 raid, other local proprietors charged with violating a Beaumont ordinance are saying they had no idea the ordinance applied to them or, in some cases according to the city attorney’s office, that such an ordinance even existed at all. 

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Last week, The Examiner revealed the problem of numerous illegal gambling dens spreading throughout the area and their negative impact on the community, particularly gambling addicts and the area’s most vulnerable residents. But the poor and the elderly are not the only ones affected by the area’s saturation of game rooms, which are filled with machines known collectively as eight-liners. Legitimate owners of legal businesses also suffer.

Not-so-booming business

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Several months of investigation by Examiner staffers have revealed a saturation of illegal casino-style gambling outlets in Southeast Texas, with some game room owners grossing $3 million or more in unreported earnings a month. Dozens of game rooms have been identified all over the Golden Triangle, raking in thousands of dollars a day in proceeds for the business owners, and paying out cash under the table to patrons. Still, local law enforcement officers say they are limited in what they can do to stop it. 

The problem

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