California Police Continue Gambling Raids on Alleged ‘Slaphouses’

Posted on: February 13, 2021, 01:16h. 

Last updated on: February 13, 2021, 09:29h.

Some 70 people were arrested this week after a police raid on an alleged illegal gambling joint operating as an “slaphouse” in Anaheim, Calif., according to local news reports.

Gaming machines and firearms were seized, police said
Anaheim, Calif., police officers prepare to raid an alleged gambling joint shown here. Some 70 people were arrested. (Image: KCAL)

Several gaming machines and firearms were seized from the site on Wednesday, police said. The business allegedly fronted as a furniture store.

When police first entered the operation, suspects at the scene broke windows to escape from the store and ran across the street to scatter, KCAL, a local TV station, reported based on a video they viewed.

The raid came after police surveilled the furniture store for two months, according to the Orange County Register newspaper.

Authorities recently obtained a search warrant. SWAT officers and other personnel then descended on the enterprise.

Police told the newspaper they had gotten over 50 recent complaints about the business they searched on Wednesday. It was described by authorities as a “24-hour a day operation every day.”

Slaphouse Explained

“Slaphouse” is the term used to describe an illegal gambling operation found in a residence or business, KABC, another local TV station, explained in a recent report.

The name relates to players “slapping” the controls on some of the games.

Slaphouses are often hidden in abandoned businesses or operate using a storefront of a seemingly legitimate enterprise.

Often, they are sources of related criminal activity, police have reported.

Neighboring Alleged Slaphouse Raided in October

During an October raid, Anaheim police apprehended about 70 people at an alleged slaphouse located next-door to the one raided on Wednesday. Some 25 of them were later issued citations in 2020, such as for alleged drug violations or gambling charges.

Thirteen were booked at the Anaheim Detention Facility for more serious offenses, including warrants, parole/probation violations, and gambling violations, Anaheim Police Sgt. Shane Carringer told back in October. Their cases were forwarded to local courts.

That storefront was vacant, but formerly was a hydroponics business, police added. Police seized over two dozen video gaming machines and electronic gambling tables in October. Currency was also seized from that alleged gambling joint.

Carringer noted that three handguns were found at the suspected gambling site, as well as a “variety of drugs and drug paraphernalia.”

Officers used flashbangs to initially startle the crowd. The business was described in October by KCAL as a “shuttered storefront for an out-of-business hydroponics shop.”

In January 2020, the Long Beach Post, another California newspaper, reported that several illegal gambling operations appeared in the Long Beach region over 12 months. They were found in a vacant dollar store in Zaferia and an old thrift shop in North Long Beach, the report added.

Between July 2019 and January 2020, local police closed eight different alleged illegal gaming sites, the Post said. Visitors were apprehended.

Elsewhere, in Texas last month, two police raids in Hood County led authorities to seize 88 illegal eight-liner gaming machines, according to KXAS, a Fort Worth TV station.