Bluford Lewis Clary has pleaded guilty to one federal charge of operating and running an illegal gambling ring that spanned five cities in Texas and one city in his home state of Oklahoma.
Electronic slot machines used in operation
Most forms of gambling are prohibited in Texas, including sports betting and online casinos. Commercial casinos are also outlawed, which is why authorities continue to discover illegal gambling operations across the state.
Clary operated Red Room Gambling Room in Childress. According to the indictment, at least four other people helped him manage the operation. Authorities say Clary and his team made over $2,000 a day from the operation. The game rooms contained several electronic slot machines, which are illegal in Texas.
Police first discovered operation in 2018
Clary was first identified by law enforcement in 2018. During an undercover operation, which involved state and federal law enforcement personnel, illegal activity was found to be going on at Red Room.
At one point, an undercover officer was able to go into the location, gamble at one of the machines and get paid out in cash for their winnings. Surveillance of Clary intensified after that.
Later that year, Clary was seen carrying a bag with him when entering and leaving the Red Room. Police say he was then seen carrying the bag at locations in other cities. Clary was stopping at other suspected gambling sites in Quanah, Memphis and Pampa.
Hundreds of thousands of dollars seized
Officers followed his path, then sent in undercover agents to confirm the illegality of the gaming rooms. That led to federal and state law enforcement seizing more than $600,000 across the region. Those busts took place in the following areas and led to a massive cash seizure:
- Derrick Game Room in Pampa, TX: $6,508 seized
- 13124 La Cresta in Piedmont, OK: $171,107
- Lucky Arrow Game Room in Quanah, TX: $12,190
- 1511 McCollough in Pampa, TX: $1,490
- Red Room Gambling Room in Childress, TX: $39,084
- Ruby Red Game Room in Memphis, TX: $2,001
- Texas Tea Game Room in Muleshoe, TX: $8,768
- 14600 Westlake Drive in Piedmont, OK: $386,668
In addition to the money seized at all of the locations, Clary also forfeited more than 100 motherboards from eight-liner slot machines, 27 SD cards and 13 hard drives.
Clary faces up to five years in federal prison as well as a fine up to $250,000.
Raids of illegal game rooms a priority of police
These types of busts and raids on illegal gambling sites in Texas continue to be a priority for law enforcement. Not only is the act of illegally housing an illegal gambling operation against the law, but these places have become hubs for organized crime. In addition to illegal slot machine-type games, there are oftentimes stolen cars, stolen weapons and drugs at these locations.
In West Texas, there was a raid of seven separate illegal gambling sites on Nov. 16. The raids led to 24 arrests for charges such as illegal gambling, drug trafficking, illegal weapons, prostitution and conspiracy.
There have been dozens of more raids across Texas over the last year.