Putting it all on green: Potter County Commissioner's Court approves auction of confiscated gambling machines

Putting it all on green: Potter County Commissioner's Court approves auction of confiscated gambling machines
Confiscated machines sit in a Potter Co. storage facility awaiting to be auctioned off; Source: KFDA
Gaming machine buttons show the different lines of betting that was possible; Source: KFDA
Gaming machine buttons show the different lines of betting that was possible; Source: KFDA
An old lot number is attached to a machine; Source: KFDA
An old lot number is attached to a machine; Source: KFDA

POTTER COUNTY, TX (KFDA) - The Potter County Commissioner's Court has approved a decision to auction off 8-liner gambling machines confiscated from illegal gambling establishments.

The revenue generated from a gambling device usually goes back to the house. Now the revenue generated from the auction those machines will be put toward Potter County's general fund.

Potter County used to have their own team that handled eight-liner confiscations, but recently that changed.

"APD has taken over that process now," said Potter County Judge Nancy Tanner. "We were doing it for a while, but now APD is doing it. It is all good. They are shutting them down pretty fast and furious."

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In over a year's time APD has helped to shut down more than a dozen illegal gambling establishments.

In total, the county has confiscated 500 eight-liner machines.

"These are obviously illegal," said Judge Tanner. "Although [some] establishments say they are not. [Those establishments] are going under as we speak, so."

Once the machines are confiscated and sold, the returned profit is redistributed to APD and the county.

"That money can go to helping supplement prosecutors salaries," said Potter County Attorney Scott Brumley. "[The money] is going to helping supplement law enforcement officers salaries, maybe purchasing equipment for law enforcement. The Sheriff's department has a pretty consistent need for new equipment."

Revenue from the sales could possibly reach 6-figures. Judge Tanner says free money is always a positive.

"Anytime we can get an extra $100,000, especially at budget time, that is a good thing," said Judge Tanner.

The removal of machines also helps to cut down other forms of organized crime.

"It's not just going in and putting a few quarters in and getting a prize," described Judge Tanner. "It [has] involved in to a lot of organized crime, and that's where they were having the [biggest] problems."

Brumley has found certain establishments themselves are crime rings.

"If you can prove at least 3 people are engaged in it as organized criminal activity, that punishment can go up to a state jail felony," said Brumley. "[That means] they can do up to 2 years in a state jail."

Judge Tanner says once the machines are sold and gone, they stay gone.

The county has a way of monitoring these devices so they never return to the Panhandle.

"They have a device on them that will let us know if they come back in to the county," said Judge Tanner.

Investigations that shut down illegal crime always help the community by making it safer.

They also help cut down the burden on taxpayers by having criminals help pay for their own demise.

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