La Feria News

Operation Bishop Raids Carmen’s Arcade in Brownsville


Operation Bishop shut down Carmen’s Arcade today in Brownsville after a mid-day raid.

Carmen’s Arcade had been opening its sweepstakes establishment sporadically even after agencies with Operation Bishop had previously advised them of illegal-gambling activity.

“We’ve placed ads in the newspaper, sent out notices, advised owners and patrons and conducted numerous media interviews about what is deemed illegal-gambling activity as pertains to eight-liner and sweepstakes establishments,”
District Attorney Luis V. Saenz said. “Carmen’s Arcade continued to open in spite of our efforts.”

The Carmen’s Arcade raid, located at 1725 Price Road, resulted in the seizure of 83 computers valued at about $2,000 each. Thirteen citations were issued to patrons – a class C misdemeanor with a fine up to $200. No arrests at present have been made, but some could follow. As per the certificate of occupancy, the listed owner is Thomas Hollingsworth.

According to state law and the Attorney General, eight-liner and sweepstakes businesses that give cash prizes of $5 or more, even if some or all proceeds benefit a non-profit/charity, are deemed an illegal-gambling operation. It is estimated that the eight-liner/sweepstakes industry generates at least $300 million annually. The money is known to leave the County and even Texas.

Operation Bishop – the culmination of an 18-month criminal investigation of illegal gambling in Cameron County – began raids of illegally operated eight-liner and sweepstakes businesses in April. A majority of these businesses haveeither been shut down or closed voluntarily.

Cameron County District Attorney Luis V. Saenz leads the Operation and credits the joint efforts of law enforcement andmunicipalities for its continued success. It is the first operation of its kind in terms of number of agencies working together to curtail what is known as a criminal epidemic in Cameron County.

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