Two social poker clubs, Post Oak Poker Club and the Prime Social Poker Club, came under the radar of Houston authorities for violating the state’s gambling regulations. The authorities conducted raids at the venues arresting nine people for the alleged violations.
They have also seized ledgers, laptops, and gaming equipment. It was a joint operation of the District Attorney’s Office’s Money Laundering Division and the Houston Police Department Vice Division.
It has reported that the accounts of the two business houses have also been frozen as the authorities have alleged that a significant amount of money has been moved through these accounts.
While there are several social poker clubs in the Houston, some try to skim through the loopholes in the existing regulations. The current laws allow gambling in private space with the condition that no other person is benefitted by hosting the gambling activity, except those who take home the winnings. This means that any social poker club or venue which is charging for facilitating gaming is violating the laws.
Following the arrests, Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg, explained: “Poker rooms are illegal in the State of Texas. We are changing the paradigm regarding illegal gambling by moving up the criminal chain and pursuing felony money laundering and engaging in organized crime charges against owners and operators. Players are not being targeted.”
In his statement to the press, Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo asserted that they couldn’t allow gambling in disguise of social poker.
“It drives organized crime and fuels other criminal activity,” he added.
Gambling is illegal in Texas, and the state is amongst the most anti-gambling states in the country.
However, on Wednesday, Texas lawmakers approved a bill that calls for legalizing fantasy sports. The house agreed that fantasy sports should be seen as a game of skill rather than a game of chance.