Top Shelf Poker Room in Flint shut down by county
SMITH COUNTY, Texas (KLTV) - A Smith County business advertising itself as a poker room has been shut down following a raid overnight.
Top Shelf Poker Room is located at 17968 FM 2493. Thursday night at approximately 11:45 p.m., Sheriff Larry Smith said investigators seized gambling paraphernalia, US currency, financial ledgers as well as other documents and electronics believed to be associated with the promotion of gambling.
Smith said over the past several months, investigators, some of whom were working in an undercover capacity, developed probable cause to believe illegal gambling was taking place at the Top Shelf Poker Room.
Smith explained that “even though you donate to charity from the very beginning in the setup of poker, how you pay for it and how you operate it makes it legal or illegal.” He further explained that charging clients for the game to make a profit makes it illegal.
Smith addressed questions regarding why time is taken to investigate simple gambling violations in which there are “no victims” saying “we enforce the law” and “we don’t make the law, we don’t compromise.”
A notice signed by District Attorney Jacob Putman stated the business was in violation of Texas Penal Code Chapter 47 and should cease operating immediately.
“The Texas Penal Code Chapter prohibits gambling in a public place and where a person receives any economic benefit other than personal winnings,” the notice states.
In a phone interview on Friday, Putman said he did not know how the business justified being open.
“Any gambling with economic benefit to the business is illegal,” Putman said. “We’ve seen this in other counties operating gambling rooms, hoping they won’t get shut down and hoping the law won’t be enforced. But this is the first one in Smith County in a while.”
Putman said the shutdown was conducted by the sheriff’s office, in conjunction with the DA’s office.
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