On the morning of May 21, 2008, police from a half-dozen state and local agencies, organized by Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott’s office, burst into a series of gambling parlors spread across five Texas cities. As one team fanned out to search the businesses’ corporate headquarters in Dallas, officers noticed a yellow sticky note attached to the computer keyboard of the company’s CEO.
Lavishly funded by an Austin gaming entrepreneur and buttressed by generous political campaign contributions to top state officials, Aces Wired opened its first gaming parlor in 2005. Its executives were convinced they had discovered a loophole in Texas’s gaming laws that would allow the company to operate its slot machine-like “eight-liner” games legally because players were rewarded with redeemable points rather than cash. Three years later, police and state lawyers concluded otherwise.
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This story continues ongoing scrutiny of government by Eric Dexheimer, a Statesman investigative reporter since 2007. His previous coverage has included in-depth examinations of bingo regulation and the state lottery, as well as revealing how local governments profited from illegal gambling.