Two illegal gambling houses busted in Arizona
The Arizona Department of Gaming has been busy in Phoenix
We’re only a week into April and barely into the second quarter of the year and the Arizona Department of Gaming (ADG) already has its hands full. It has busted two illegal gambling operations in Phoenix since February and, while the shutdowns are meant to protect consumers, what they reveal is a larger problem with gambling laws in the state.
Following an investigation that ran for seven months, the ADG raided Toso’s Sports Bar & Grill in February. Someone had tipped off the ADG that illegal gambling was taking place – perhaps someone who had a bad night wagering – and the gaming department started watching. It finally swooped in after determining that there were two types of gambling activity at the restaurant. Employees were accepting money and issuing payouts on sports wagers and the other involved illegal video gaming terminals that offered poker and slots. The suspected ringleaders could face Class 5 felony charges.
In the most recent raid, two billiard halls that cater to Phoenix’s Asian residents were busted for running Dragon Games. These are a relatively new type of multi-shooter fishing game that requires players to put money up first. Each fish is worth a certain amount of points and the person who earns the most points takes the cash. This was definitively the largest raid so far this year, with over $1 million seized between the two billiard halls.
For all the attempts lawmakers undertake to prevent gambling, their efforts are futile. Gambling has always existed and will always exist, no matter how hard the activity is tried to be blocked, and states like Arizona would do much better embracing the activity, regulating it, protecting consumers and capturing revenue, instead of fighting a losing battle that is less productive than banging one’s head on a brick wall.