Illegal Gambling Raid Raises Questions About What Games Are Legal

By: Sarah Snyder
NewsWest 9

They light up, buzz, and go bling, but if they give you green, they're illegal. 

Games, video slot machines, and 8 liners have flashed across headlines over the past few days. 

The raid in Odessa last week closed down four arcades for rewarding winners with cash. 

We wanted to know which games are legal, and how you can tell the difference.

"When you're retired, you get bored just sitting around and doing nothing," George Wilson, a regular at Silver City, said.

For the past couple of years, George has been making the drive from Big Spring to Midland to play at Silver City.

"It's a lot of fun, you get to meet a lot of good people," Wilson said. "I don't spend a lot of money out going to casinos, this, you get the same effect, but without going broke."

He says for about $25, he gets five hours of entertainment.

"I worked too hard to get a good reputation and I don't want to get it blown because they come in and pay out cash, that's against the law," Wilson said.

But not everyone plays like George. And when the lemons lined up last week for some Odessa adult arcades, it landed 16 men and women behind bars for illegal gambling.

"The ones like Silver City, they try to do it the way they're supposed to do it, but they get caught in the net," Wilson said. "That takes them all down."

"My thoughts were, I knew it was going to happen, because they were illegally paying out cash," Silver City General Manager Tiffany McColley, said.

Silver City is one of five different adult game rooms in Midland. The county recently manned an undercover investigation to make sure everyone was following the rules, and the Sheriff tells us all of the businesses were compliant.

"We actually put the credits onto each individual machine," McColley said. "That's what makes it legal here."

The difference between the machines in Midland and the ones in Odessa is that you can't put money into them, if fact, the owners even covered up the slots.

"We do not put cash directly into the machines, because that is illegal and we do not pay out cash, because that is illegal," McColley said.

The regulars say the games at Silver City are no different than any other video game.

"Everybody likes to play something you win on, whether it's video games or anything else," Wilson said. "And what do you gain from it? I can't do that kind of game, so I come to these games. I understand these games and that's why I come."