SAN ANTONIO –
The Bexar County Sheriff's Office is cracking down on dangerous and illegal gambling rings.
Earlier this month, BCSO raided a property in south Bexar County where they found eight-liner video gambling machines, cash, and two dozen people inside.
“An eight-liner is a gambling device that is used in many of these gambling operations we have out in the county,” Sheriff Javier Salazar said. “It's a gambling machine that requires no skill, no physical skill to utilize. It's just a game of chance.”
Salazar says technically, these machines might be OK to have, but it's how people use them that breaks the law.
“The machine in and of itself is not illegal, it's the manner in which its being used and if certain elements of the offense are present that necessitates us coming in and taking action,” Salazar said.
These machines are more complex than just blackjack, poker or roulette; and these rings are becoming a big problem.
“If there's a cash payout 10 times the originally wagered amount, that’s also part of the offense. We are seeing these in increased frequency out in the county,” Salazar said.
The sheriff says rings like the one recently busted in south Bexar County target the elderly on low or fixed-incomes, and take advantage of their situations.
“It is a quality of life issue and quite frankly is something the Sheriff’s Office of years past hasn't targeted to the fullest extent. But we are letting them know we are putting them on notice. This Sheriff’s Office has the skill set. It is a priority and we will be actively enforcing it," Salazar said.
One of the biggest problems with these illegal gambling rings are the conditions at the facilities.
“The fire marshal actually came out and shut the whole building down because it was one big fire hazard. So that’s definitely a safety issue we need to be cognizant of in the community,” Salazar said.
Anyone who thinks there is an illegal gambling ring in their area is asked to call the Sheriff’s Office at 210-335-6000.