San Antonio, Texas Authorities Seize Eight-Liner Gambling Equipment During Raid

Posted on: September 22, 2019, 04:41h. 

Last updated on: September 23, 2019, 10:32h.

A recent search of a San Antonio Texas illicit gambling operation led police to eight-liner gambling equipment, weapons, cash, and suspected drugs, according to news reports.

Eight-liner gambling machines have been found throughout Texas. Those above were stored in an unused office building in McAllen in 2015. (Image: San Antonio Express-News)

One suspect was arrested Friday night as a result of the search. Additional arrests and indictments are possible.

Eight-Liners (sometimes referred to as 8-liners) are a video device that takes its name from the different ways that symbols can line up for a winning spin. The devices are very popular in Texas.

How do eight-liners compare to slot machines? Traditional slot icons need to match across a horizontal row to pay out. But eight liners pay out when matches are seen in both vertical and diagonal rows.

Sheriff’s deputies and a SWAT team searching the property said they found meth and cocaine. The search came after a month-long undercover inquiry about the venue.

We have seen some links to organized crime, so if you live out here, you know that it’s going to bring an unsavory element with it,” Bexar County Sheriff Javier Salazar was quoted by WOAI News. Often, illegal gambling operations fail to follow local building codes — leading to hazards, the sheriff adds.

Earlier this month, San Antonio police also found an illegal gambling operation — including eight-liner equipment — as they investigated a shooting. On Sept. 6, police kicked in a door to a house and discovered some 20 people gambling.

They also found 30 slot machines throughout the residence. Police located $2,617, too, according to the San Antonio Current.

Elsewhere in Texas, Waco police last week arrested three suspects, seized suspected drugs, and found eight-liner gambling machines during a search of a local smoke shop.

The SWAT team located 19 eight-liner machines and approximately $7,000, police told the Waco Tribune. Some 15 people inside the smoke shop were detained by the police.

Eight-Liners Vs. Traditional Slots

In Texas, eight-liners can provide entertainment, but it is illegal for patrons to get any prize worth more than $5, according to the Texas Standard. Many times, operators try to argue they are following the law by giving out debit cards.

“The operator would say ‘Well, I’m not giving cash, I’m giving $20 worth of groceries. I’m giving a debit card that you can compensate at a local store,’” Cameron County District Attorney Luis V. Saenz said to the Standard.

Eight-liners are found throughout Texas, especially in South Texas. But officials have been cracking down on any illegal use, the news report said.

In February, State Rep. Richard Peña Raymond, a Democrat from Laredo, told the Standard, “You have a lot of eight-liners all over the state of Texas right now.”

There were proposals to legalize eight-liner gambling in local areas. They would be licensed by state officials, as well as by city or county governments.

Texas is losing billions of dollars each year to neighboring states where full-scale gambling with slots and table games is permitted. Louisiana is home to tribal and commercial casinos, while Oklahoma and New Mexico have Native American venues.

Texas Fails to Approve Commercial Casinos

Texas legislators failed to enact a bill earlier this year to approve up to 12 resort gaming venues throughout the state. State Rep. Roland Gutierrez (D-San Antonio), who authored House Bill 3043, told FOX 7, “We have to open up the discussion on gaming. We’re not asking for … casinos on every corner.”

On the other hand, Texas is home to one Native American casino that offers slot machines: the Kickapoo Lucky Eagle. Sports betting in the US continues to expand across the country. A national ban was lifted last year following a ruling by the US Supreme Court. Texas has yet to approve it.