New City Ordinance to Crack Down on Illegal Gambling 2/13/13
CBS 7 News Reporter
February 13, 2013
Odessa - The Odessa city council has approved an ordinance that will give police the power to crack down on a problem that they previously couldn't tackle, illegal gambling.
CBS 7 actually went behind closed doors today and got a rare glimpse at local 8-liner facilities.
What this new ordinance boils down to is the police department's access to game rooms.
We went around to several game rooms and when questioned if they knew about the new regulations and a lot of them weren't aware. If these facilities are within the law, they have nothing to worry about.
It's a secret world, hidden behind locked doors.
Game rooms are a place where people lose themselves in games for hours, however not all of these places follow the rules.
"Law enforcement has the authority to go in and make sure that things are being done right and to cut down on criminal activity," Sherrie Carruth with the Odessa Police Department said. "It'll regulate things seen and unseen."
Carruth says that's why the police department presented an ordinance to the city council that would allow them inside these facilities and perform inspections.
She says the new rules will protect the businesses that are within the law and shut down the ones that aren’t.
"We're making sure they're not in there gambling. We're here to regulate these businesses like they're supposed to be," Carruth said.
We paid a visit to several known game rooms in Odessa. They're in locations you normally wouldn't notice and they'd prefer it stay that way.
One game room even denied they were a game room saying, "uh...we're a bar."
Some game rooms were happy to open their doors to prove they're following the rules.
"This sticker on this machine is what we pay to the state. I think the ordinance would be a good thing for our city," one employee said.
In 2011 several game rooms were involved in a bust for being illegal.
Establishments we spoke with say they are under new management and following the rules.