Sunday, January 4, 2009


Its amazing the places one walks into and sees eight liners and other types of slot machines.

Regardless of illegal or not.

Comal wants greater power over gambling

By Chris Cobb The Herald-Zeitung

Comal County would like to crack down on illegal gambling, particularly what it can and can’t seize from criminal casino operators. Right now county law enforcement can legally seize items used for illegal gambling, but not the actual property where the gambling is taking place, according to the Comal County District Attorney’s office. In other words, the county can take the slot machines, but not the casino.

Commissioners and County Judge Danny Scheel said the cost of storing gambling machines can be especially pricey, and would like the same authority over gambling forfeitures as they do over other seized criminal property.“It would act as a greater deterrent for criminals, and with the seizure of this property we would get an instant storage spot for the machines themselves,”

Precinct 3 Commissioner Greg Parker said. “When we bust drug dealers, we seize cars, property and other things, so this would really just make sense.”Currently, property used for gambling and organized crime can only be forfeited if the crime being alleged warrants a first- or second-degree felony charge.

An item on the county’s wish list is to lobby the state legislature to allow it to seize contraband from illegal gambling operations for a Class A misdemeanor charge, rather than a felony. It would like the state to give counties the authority to seize entire property, rather than having to find potentially expensive storage space to house illegal machines.

“Gambling is illegal in Comal County, and we need the same authority over those forfeitures as other criminal activity,” Scheel said.