Illegal Gambling in Amarillo - KFDA - NewsChannel 10 / Amarillo News, Weather, Sports

02.04.07

Illegal Gambling in Amarillo

You saw it right here on NewsChannel 10.

The Colts beat the Bears to become the Super Bowl kings of '07.

Chances are you or someone you know bet on tonight's big game even though it is illegal in Texas.

But, we found people in Amarillo who still roll the dice no matter how high the stakes.

Tonight, a NewsChannel 10 investigation-- high stakes gambling under the radar...

Blaire Arvin has the story.

We've all heard about 8-liners lately...

But there's plenty more illegal gambling in the cards in Amarillo... as NewsChannel 10 uncovered it's a vicious cycle...

And often, a tough crime to crack.

The cards are on the table...

And tonight, betting's in the spotlight.

Scores of people rolling the dice making big illegal wagers.

Whether by back-street bookies or out in public.

It's all very illegal.

"It's a lose, lose situation," says "Jerry," who's battling a gambling addiction.

This area man knows that first hand.

Big time gambling almost ruined "Jerry's" life.

He's still battling with the addiction.

"It gives me a high, it gave me a high," he says.

He's not the only one.

NewsChannel 10 tracked down several people in Amarillo with gambling problems.

But "Jerry" wanted to speak out.

He started gambling young.

It was innocent...

Then...

"It just continuously got worse," he says. 

Like a game of Monopoly gamblers are putting it all on the line, hoping to come out with more. But for a lot of them, including "Jerry," in the end they wind up in the hole, or with nothing at all.

"I was about $115,000 in debt from gambling ... it cost me my family, my wife," he says. 

Amarillo Police hear stories just like this.

"My unit is tasked with investigating gambling cases," says Lt. Erick Bohannon. 

Probing the crime when tips come in.

"Well known people who are flaunting their houses for card games poker games... money's on the table person on the table taking a cut off the bets," says Bohannon.

Those who aren't flaunting, according to police, can be harder to catch.

But that doesn't mean... officers are not up to the challenge.

"There's always a possibility that we could be out looking our own selves to see what's going on," he says.

What's going on in a 40-billion dollar a year industry in the U.S.

An industry that's illegal in Texas.

But continues to win people over.

"I will think about it until the day I die probably," says "Jerry." 

Especially on big betting days like this.

"There's going to be a lot of money lost , families tore up, houses loss, cars loss, jobs lost, its gonna cost them ... I guarantee it," he says.

The punishment for gambling depends on the height of the crime.

As for "Jerry," he's started a support group.

You can find that information at this site -- http://www.gamblersanonymous.org

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