Aggravated Robbery at Illegal Gambling Center in Texas

Texas is living in a dichotomy, or a series of reversals—depending on who is looking at it. In the 19th century, poker halls and saloons were all over the Lone Star State, because Texas truly represented the Wild West. In addition, Texas businesspersons had to compete with towns across the border in Mexico, which allowed all forms of gambling. However, when social reforms and Prohibition began in the first quarter of the 20th century, the state reversed course, and became very conservative with regard to gambling.

Having said that, Texas has more illegal gambling parlors than any other state in the United States, and there are times when illegal gambling parlors are robbed. The remoteness of the state in places, as well as the dense urbanization in Texas’ largest cities, has led to the explosion of gambling parlors. Often, the police officials do not find out about the gambling parlors until something happens—such as earlier this month.

The Crime

Robbery crimeWeslaco, Texas is in the middle of nowhere. Just to the north of McAllen, Texas, the area has more tumbleweeds and cacti than people. There are about 75,000 people in the entire rural county. However, apparently there is enough cover that an illegal gambling hall was able to rake in money from the residents of the town as well as the surrounding areas. At one in the morning the day after New Year’s, sheriff’s deputies were called to a robbery. Victims of the robbery told deputies that they were playing on slot machines in a small fabricated building when three men wearing masks and carrying guns walked in. the men took all of the money from the gamblers and ordered everyone out. The men quickly grabbed all of the cash from the bank area that they could, and then they left. The sheriff’s deputies had no idea how much money was taken, and neither did the witnesses. They could only tell police what was taken from them personally. In addition to money, the men took phones and jewelry from the victims.


The sheriff’s department stated that until the robbery, they had no idea there was a gambling establishment at the building, but this is not a surprise. All over Texas, police officers have been finding establishments dedicated to gambling either by stumbling onto them or in the course of investigating a crime. The illegal gambling institutions take several forms. Some of the businesses are located behind an existing business. Police have found some illegal sites in abandoned warehouses and dilapidated residences. Games have ranged from illegal slot machines to poker games, to dice games to sophisticated mahjong and pai gow poker houses. 442

Can Texas Stop the Gambling?

texas gamblingThere are many people in Texas that believe gambling needs to be stamped out wherever it is occurring illegally, because illegal gambling houses breed crime. If that were the case, then the recent robbery in South Texas would seem to be evidence of that. However, some legislators in Texas point out that rather than wasting law enforcement money to try to track down and stamp out all illegal gambling, Texas should regulate. The legislators point out that trying to regulate illegal gambling in the state is nearly impossible because of the sheer size of the state. Texas is the second largest state in the United States, and it is twice as large as Germany.

While the entire situation of illegal gambling in Texas is quite murky, it is clear that Texas must also make a decision about whether or not to continue to ignore the illegal betshops—or not. It is not as easy as it sounds. It remains to be seen whether or the Lone Star State can make a decision about gambling—either legal or illegal.

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Thomas McCoy was born in Bethesda, Maryland and studied finance at the Kogod School of Business at American University in Washington D.C. before heading to New York and a job as a forex trader on Wall Street. Successful enough to launch his own, online forex trading platform, Thomas has long had a keen interest in the places where the worlds of finance and technology meet. As a prolific blogger, Thomas considers himself an expert on cryptocurrencies, casino asset restructuring, and emerging technologies set to change the way people do business.