A handful of gambling hall employees are in trouble after four undercover operations by the Odessa police department last week.
According to a report from the Odessa Police Department, undercover detectives entered the BlueStart gambling hall on East 52nd Street on Wednesday and one of them won $10 after putting $20 into a gambling device. The officer told the employee, later identified as Crystal Alvarez, that they wanted to check it out and she gave him $30.
Under Texas law, gambling halls are only supposed to award patrons prizes and prizes with a maximum value of $5.
The next day, undercover officers also saw another employee paying a customer in cash, the report said. After stopping the woman at a traffic stop, she admitted she gambled $20, won $90 and was paid cash.
Officers seized his earnings, according to the report.
According to the OPD report, Alvarez was arrested on suspicion of engaging in organized criminal activity, a state prison felony punishable by six months to two years in prison. She was released on Friday after posting $3,000 bond. Officers requested a warrant for the other employee, Hui Teng, the report said.
On the same day, OPD reports indicate that undercover officers also entered the Good Game amusement arcade on Andrews Highway.
According to the report, an officer gambled $20 on a slot machine, won $10, and was paid $30 by Hyun Soek Chang.
On Thursday, agents again entered the gambling hall undercover and an employee named Dae Kim paid an undercover agent $35 after the agent gambled $20 on one of the machines and won $15. .
Officers sought warrants against Kim and Chang accusing them of engaging in organized criminal activity, according to the report.
Odessa City Council has tightened its gambling hall ordinance, but Mayor Javier Joven wants the city to stop issuing business licenses to gambling halls. He and the city council are expected to discuss the issue on Tuesday evening.
There are 28 gambling halls operating within the city limits and 35 in unincorporated Ector County.