Fire Department Finds Gaming Machines in Church
It turns out that it not just Kiwis that will go to great lengths to enjoy their favourite pokies. Fire fighters in the US state of Texas got a real surprise when they responded to a fire at a church late in November. Not only were there no flames, but when they entered the property, they were confronted with over 100 gambling machines.
Building Has a Shared Tenancy
The firemen discovered the pokies and Video Poker machines when they entered the church and contacted the Harris County Deputies. Although several people were detained in handcuffs no charges have been laid.
The church's Pastor, Anthony Scott, shared his dismay at how the situation has been handled. The church shares the premises with another business, which utilizes half of the building, as the church is unable to afford to rent the entire building. The landlord put up a wall that splits the building and completely separates the two entities. The Pastor has said that the church and business are in no way affiliated with each other, and that he had no idea about what the other tenant does.
The Pastor has said that he is appalled at the way the story has been made public. It has been made to look as if the church is involved with potentially illegal gambling.
Gambling in Texas is highly regulated, and players have very little choice when it comes to placing bets. The state allows lottery, horse, and dog race betting. Certain Native American tribes who have permission to operate the facilities on reservation land run the only casinos in the state. To enjoy a Vegas strip experience, players need to visit the Kickapoo Lucky Eagle Casino.
Investigation is On Going
The investigation is still on going, and the church has been unable to provide any details regarding its neighbour. In a statement from the Harris County Sheriffs Office delivered by Thomas Gilliland, he said that the listed address of the property is the same as that of the church. The telephone number listed when the fire department was contacted is linked to the churches address however; he did concede that it is unknown whether another business is renting space on the premises.
According to Texas law, only real-money gambling is illegal. Law enforcement reported that it had not found any money and therefore the facility may not be illegal and was not breaking any laws.