Odessa Residents Push For County Game Rooms To Shut Down 9/19/13
September 19, 2013
Odessa - With 12 game rooms now closed in the city of Odessa, one popular activity is booming once again. Odessa Bingo serves the community by giving a portion of their earning to charities in the area. Odessa Bingo says that when the game rooms were open, spending went down by 50 percent ultimately hurting their charity donations.
Employees at Odessa Bingo say that after yesterdays raid, they immediately saw an increase in attendance. Now a foundation chairman at Odessa Bingo says he hopes Ector County will follow in the cities footsteps and ban all game rooms, in city and county.
“The charities have suffered so much that at this point, this year they are losing a lot of money,” said Foundation Chairman at Odessa Bingo Mark Merritt.
Other than the lottery, Bingo is the only licensed “game of chance” in the state of Texas and a popular one at that. Odessa Bingo operates with more in mind than just making money.
“Odessa Bingo helps out with four charities,” said Merritt.
With illegal game rooms becoming the new popular hang out due to them being able to give out larger prizes, these local businesses were going in the red. However it all changed when a dozen game rooms were shut down Wednesday afternoon.
“Some of them that we haven’t seen in months, they were like well you know we are here because they’ve shut down our game rooms,” said Odessa Bingo Assistant Manager Criselda Galvan.
But for those like Merritt, although the recent raids were a huge step in the right direction, he wants it to continue into the county. “It’s illegal gambling operations. That’s like any other illegal activity in Odessa or the County, you would hope that those things would be taken care of, that’s what law enforcement is for.”
CBS 7 reached out to Ector County Sheriff Mark Donaldson who said he could not confirm of any investigations happening in the county but sends a firm warning to many to watch out.