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Police cracking down social media gamblers

News

STARR COUNTY, Texas – Illegal gambling now has more eyes on it than ever, especially from law enforcement. With more people forced to stay home there has been a boom in people gambling on social media.

Now, Starr County officials said that it is cracking down not just on the organizers but the players as well.

“If you take a game of chance and keep money from it, you’re gambling and it’s illegal in the state of Texas,” said Starr County Attorney Victor Canales.

Organizers are making up to $10,000 a day creating fake loterias, raffles, and pyramid schemes.

Police are now investigating online games after a person stole thousands from players who signed up.

“What started this, the catalyst of this was there was an individual on Facebook that was going to do a raffle at 100 numbers at $75 a pop. Well you had 100 people buy into it and that totals out to $7,500. That individual took all their money through Venmo and PayPal and then shut down their account. No raffle was done,” said Canales.

Canales emphasized winning these types of online games can be extremely rare since the organizers set up who is going to win. That person is typically a close friend who they can later split the profit with, Canales added.

Both gamblers and game organizers will be prosecuted on gambling charges. A participant could face a fine up to $500. The organizer could be punished with two years in jail and a $4,000 fine.

Only non-profit organizations like churches can participate in raffles legally, twice a year.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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