Office of the Attorney General News Release Archive

Wednesday, August 11, 1999


Grant funds illegal Internet, casino gambling and slot machine prosecutions

AUSTIN - Governor George W. Bush today announced a grant to Texas Attorney General John Cornyn for $1.5 million to prosecute illegal gambling in Texas over the next three years.

"This grant will help the Attorney General's office join local efforts to vigorously enforce our state laws against casino-style and online gambling in Texas," said Governor Bush. "If it looks like a slot machine, plays like a slot machine and pays like a slot machine, then it is illegal in Texas. Texans deserve to have our laws respected and enforced."

"Our laws prohibit gambling, and I have sworn to enforce the laws on behalf of Texans. Those who ignore the law or attempt to find loopholes around the law are on notice. My office will vigorously and aggressively prosecute those who violate the law," said Attorney General Cornyn. "I sincerely appreciate Governor Bush's support of our efforts to enforce the law," he added.

With this grant, Attorney General Cornyn will form an Illegal Gambling Task Force. The attorneys and investigators on the Task Force will prosecute all forms of illegal gambling, including Internet gambling, eight liner slot machines, and casinos.

Online gambling has seen a rapid increase with the rise of the Internet. Other states including Missouri, Minnesota, and New York have succeeded in obtaining injunctions against the operation of gambling web sites within their state lines.

Most eight liner slot machine businesses operate as casinos with at least ten slot machines and are organized solely for the purpose of facilitating illegal gambling. Since May 1998, the Attorney General's office has prosecuted sixteen criminal cases involving illegal eight liner slot machines. Of these sixteen cases, eight have resulted in convictions and only two have resulted in acquittals. The rest are pending or are on appeal. Additionally, since January 1st of this year, the Attorney General's office has obtained the forfeiture of hundreds of illegal eight liner slot machines and tens of thousands of dollars in illegal eight liner wagers.

The Attorney General's office is also investigating the casino operated by the Tigua Indians in El Paso. The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that the Federal Restoration Act giving the Tiguas federal recognition prohibits the Tiguas operation of any gambling activity that is not permitted by Texas law.

This grant from the Governor's Criminal Justice Division will fund the Attorney General's efforts to prosecute illegal gambling over the next three years.

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Contact Ted Delisi, Heather Browne, or Tom Kelley at (512) 463-2050