Garden Grove Police Busts Illegal Gambling, Arrests 19 People

California police made multiple arrests of people allegedly dealing with illegal gambling operations at a private home in Garden Grove.

Gambling House Found while Executing Search Warrant

Responding to complaints made by the surrounding community, a search warrant was executed in the evening of June 9 for a residence in the 10000 block of McMichael Drive, near Brookhurst Street, which led to 19 people being detained.

As part of the search warrant, the police seized a dozen gambling machine consoles and a handgun found at the residence, Garden Grove Sgt. Troy Haller outlined. Machines will be held as evidence and once the case is resolved legally, will eventually be destroyed, the police officer added.

According to him, the city is regularly attracting illegal gambling operations, between 10 and 15 per year, involving a variety of clients, both male and female, and from all skin colors.

Indeed, illegal gambling operations have been going on for years in Garden Grove and nearby Westminster and Santa Ana, which are in close proximity to Little Saigon, where such underground operations are known as slaphouses due to players slapping buttons while playing.

People who were found by the police during the raid while playing the gambling machines are typically arrested on suspicion of misdemeanor illegal gambling violations, while those running the illegal gambling business will face felony charges, Sgt. Haller continued. He also noted that some of the people arrested on Wednesday also have outstanding arrest warrants.

Illegal Gambling Machines Pose a Serious Threat

The issue of illegal gambling machine was recently addressed by the American Gaming Association (AGA) which released a report seeking to warn about the threat such operations pose to consumers, the industry and local economies.

In its “Skilled at Deception: How Unregulated Gaming Machines Endanger Consumers and Dilute Investments in Local Economies” report, AGA outlined that such devices had not gone through the same rigorous scrutiny as licensed operators have and as such they posed a threat to consumers.

Also related to criminal activities such as drug trafficking and money laundering, illegal gambling machines usually lead to fraudulent outcomes as they are tilted in favor of the house, AGA concluded, requesting regulatory intervention to tackle the threat posed.

Illegal gambling machines seem to be a nationwide issue and the arrests made by the police in California are the latest in a series of attempts to clamp down on the lucrative business.

In May, police and federal officers in Nicholasville, Kentucky, tipped off by concerned citizens, executed search warrants on two local businesses, one used cars dealership and a local convenience store, and found 7 and 15 gambling machines at both locations, respectively, while 4 people were arrested for dealing with gambling operations without having the proper licenses.