Over 40 Poker Players Caught In Texas Poker Room Raid Get Their Charges Dropped
- A total of 46 poker players in Texas have had their charges and fines dismissed
- The case stemmed from a raid on the Watauga Social Lounge Poker Club with staff also charged
- With the case against them now dropped, players are demanding to have their money back
After months of waiting, players who were charged and fined following a raid at the Watauga Social Lounge Poker Club in Watauga, Texas can finally breathe a sigh of relief after a court dismissed the case against them.
The charges and fines were dropped under a motion to dismiss in the interest of justice filed by the Tarrant County District Attorney’s office.
Poker Players Demand Return of Seized Money
Daryl Gresham, one of the 46 players who opted to await their day in court after being charged with illegal gambling, shared an image of the court’s decision dated April 18. It’s understood the 45 remaining players also had their charges dismissed, but legal proceedings for three other players who agreed to a plea deal in late 2022 will continue.
While Gresham welcomed the dismissal, he said the fight is not yet over. He is asking for the $205,000 in cash that was seized during the raid by officials from the Tarrant County Sherriff’s Office (TCSO) to be returned to the players. Gresham said he is still disgusted that authorities in Tarrant County allowed the raid to happen where players were “robbed” of their money at gunpoint and with cameras cut.
The Watauga Social Lounge Poker Club launched in January 2022 with approval from local authorities. Watauga Mayor Arthur L. Miner even attended the venue’s ribbon-cutting ceremony. However, less than a year after opening, Tarrant County police raided the poker room, accusing it of running an illegal gambling operation.
The raid at the Watauga Social Lounge Poker Club, took place in October 2022 during Day 2 of the $420 buy-in, $100,000 GTD Fall Classic Poker Main Event, resulted in charges being filed against poker room staff as well as players present during the raid who were also fined $360 each. Police also confiscated cash, bank bags, gift certificates, credit card receipts and other documents, and other items of value.
Will the Watauga Case Pave the Way for Poker Legalization in Texas?
Steve Nichols, also one of the affected players, has already accepted the possibility that they may never get their money back, but he’s hoping that Tarrant County also arrives at a similar decision regarding the cases of employees at Watauga Social Lounge Poker Club.
More importantly, Nichols also called for the legalization of poker in Texas so that legal conflicts regarding the operations of poker clubs in the state can finally be avoided.