Two cardrooms were raided in Houston, Texas last week, as law enforcement works to crackdown on such gambling establishments and illegal activity. The Prime Social Club and the Post Oak Poker Club were both raided last week by Vice Division officers within the Houston police department. Nine individuals were arrested as part of the raid, facing organized criminal activity charges as well as money laundering.
According to Kim Ogg, the District Attorney, poker rooms are not legal in Texas. The state has decided to change the way they take on illegal gambling by now charging those taking part with money laundering charges as well as being considered engaging in organized criminal activity.
During the raid, officers seized computers along with hard drives. During the raid at the Prime Social Club, a $580 no limit hold’em tournament was interrupted. Players were expecting to compete for $150,000 in prize money but instead, were subject to a police raid.
According to local police, the department is no longer going to tolerate the poker gaming activity. The raids last week are considered bigger ones due to the rooms in question. According to Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo, the poker rooms need to be shut down. If such facilities are in demand, then legislature needs to authorize the gaming option. Until then, the police department is going to do their job and shut the facilities down.
The cardrooms however, do not feel they are breaking the law. The operators feel like they are in full compliance of state laws since the games do not collect a rake. The rooms only take a membership fee and are considered a private club. The operators say they are only facilitating gameplay between the players. The cardrooms feel like they have nothing to hide and are promoting a legitimate business.
It will be interesting to see how the charges play out and who is right, the police or the cardroom operators.