Dallas Police Raid on Oak Cliff Gambling Room Brings Relief to Worried Neighbors

Categories: Crime

640px-Slot_machines_Bellagio.jpg
Antoine Taveneaux
The casino in question probably did not look like this.

Community leaders in Oak Cliff's Elmwood neighborhood are happy that an illegal casino has been crippled by the Dallas Police Department, after they spent months putting up with nuisances and threats from it and its patrons.

Elmwood residents first noticed something out of the ordinary was going on at the property in January. That's when the woman who leads the Elmwood neighborhood association's code compliance committee began hearing about increased activity at what she and her neighbors assumed was a vacant building.

"I received a call from the owner of Your Second Look [a salon located near the casino], and she said that she was doing hair late one afternoon and someone walked into her shop and asked her if it was the game room," said the woman, who asked us not to name her because she feared retaliation.

Strings of cars began to pack the streets around the gaming establishment and the salon, first on weekends and then seven days a week. As recently as Father's Day weekend, there were hundreds of cars parked throughout the neighborhood.

Concerned, the woman got in touch with DPD vice.

"They started doing an investigation, but it was a pretty lengthy process, because we started calling them in January," she said.

At least one member of the community tried to take matters into his own hands. Kenneth Denson, president of the Elmwood Neighborhood Association, camped out behind a trash bin to take photos of the casino on his walk home from one of the association's meetings one night in April.

"I didn't realize that where I was positioning myself was basically behind this illegal operation's overflow parking," Denson said, "so people pulled up right behind and saw me taking pictures."

After being spotted, Denson left his not-so-secret shooting spot and attempted to slink back home. A couple of the cars followed him.

"I thought, 'Well, maybe I'm just being paranoid,' so I stopped and smoked a cigarette in front of Hugo's Beer and Wine," he said. "They drove past and I thought 'OK, I was wrong,' but then they turned around and came back and parked at the beer and wine store."

Denson went inside the taco shop next door and called 911 because he didn't want to be followed home. When the police came to talk to the men following him, he scurried home.

"I thought nothing else of it until a couple of weeks later when I went into that beer and wine store," Denson said. "The guy behind the counter told me that the guys from the game room had been looking for me."

Knowing people were looking for him caused Denson to be insistent with police that something needed to be done about the game room soon. Cops told him that they were taking care of it and to go about his normal business.

Eventually cops were able to put together a case based on reports from residents and a confidential informant, says the area's City Council representative, Scott Griggs.

Late Monday night, six months after the initial complaints, Dallas vice cops and officers from the Southwest Patrol Division executed a search warrant at an unmarked business near the corner of Newport and Edgefield avenues.

Police seized 31 8-liner style machines, almost $4,700 in cash as well as documents and monitors from the building, Senior Corporal DeMarquis Black said.

"There's no place for illegal gaming facilities in the middle of residential neighborhoods," Griggs said, "so I'm pleased DPD was able to conduct the raid."

The neighbors are just happy to be moving forward.

"We're really seriously trying to get something going to take our little neighborhood shopping area back," said the Elmwood association member, who has lived in the area for 20 years. "It could be a great area, but it has really gone downhill lately."

Denson was more blunt.

"We're really trying to turn our business district around, and this type of bullshit does not help," he said. "If someone is running an illegal business, we're going to do everything we can to see that they are either arrested for it or at least that the business is closed down."

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35 comments
brooksmcafee
brooksmcafee

Do the police really not know where the gamerooms are around Dallas, our are they too busy ticketing car washers and Dealy Plaza tour guides?

Montemalone
Montemalone topcommenter

Legislating morality does not work.

I just wanna know who's paying whom to keep casinos out of Texas.

When I was a kid, the grocery stores had aisles closed off on Sunday because you couldn't buy toys. Now they sell lottery tickets. There's horses running around in circles in GP.

Are the indians sending checks to Austin?

I think man initially invented the wheel for Roulette.

Decriminalize gambling and hooking.

If people want to spend their welfare checks on something, keep it in the local economy, and let the state get a cut. The cops can still hang out to keep an eye on things so trouble is averted. 

There's a huge empty Walmart on LBJ/NWHwy that would be perfect for a casino.  City wants Redbird Mall to be a success? Slots.

And screw the liquor store lobby, start selling booze on Sunday, and everywhere.

I picked up a bottle of Absolut at Jewel yesterday. Yes, I bought vodka at the grocery store on Sunday morning. Chicago still hasn't opened a casino in the city, but it's legal in the burbs. I don't see the thrill, but plenty of people do. There's jobs in casinos. 

Bible beaters have had their day. My guess is you open a casino in Dallas, and the license plates at the casino would match the license plates in the church parking lot anyway.

cjr_9
cjr_9

I do understand that Kenneth and his husband are new to Elmwood having lived here less than 5 years...but do they understand that this closed down a couple of "Elmwood" owned businesses? Yes, she is a great "code enforcement' person.....At the house next door on both sides, they park on the yard 24/7.   Oh, and my house has been robbed 9 times in 5 years.....  Thank God they don't actually worry about crime in Elmwood.   No, if you don't want something in Elmwood, leave it in your living room.  It will be stolen soon really soon. 

cjr_9
cjr_9

Of course, we have bigger issues in Elmwood than gambling.  My house has been robbed 9 times in 5 years.....but nobody cares about the robberies....they only care about stop signs and gambling. 

cjr_9
cjr_9

Of course, we have bigger issues in Elmwood than gambling.  My house has been robbed 9 times in 5 years.....but nobody cares about the robberies....they only care about stop signs and gambling. 

cjr_9
cjr_9

Of course Kenneth Denson is a new comer to Elmwood; he and his husband being here less than 5 years, and not really understanding neighborhood dynamics.  But most of the neighborhood is disappointed that another local business is closed down as a result of this. Yes, get rid of the illegal things if you need too, but don't close down Elmwood businesses in the process. And No More Stop Signs or I will tag them myself.  

annff69
annff69

Nicely played people of Oak Cliff.

oakclifftownie
oakclifftownie

Glad to see they were able to get things done But I wonder how wise it is to have their names in public because of it ?

holmantx
holmantx topcommenter

8-liners in Galveston County have gone viral.

I counted 6 on two blocks in Bacliff.  Several hundred are scattered across the county.  Seriously, they are everywhere.  So many in fact I called the Galveston County Sheriff's Department, the TDPS, Texas City cops, and emailed the Attorney General's office to ask why these gaming operations are out in the open.

The answer:  While the gaming operations are illegal, the machines are not.  And they are expensive.  And they are leased, not owned.  Once seized they have to be transported and stored in climate-controlled space.  

The county and cities and the state have been repeatedly sued by the lessors of the machines for damage.  The cost of which exceeds the fines by far.  So down there they let 'em operate.

It's an amazing situation down there and I am surprised we don't see them everywhere in the rundown areas of our town.

You can spot them like a porn shack on a highway.  

The place is always packed with cars and trucks (ha!) . . . no matter the time of day.

lftay
lftay

People want to gamble. It would be better to legalize gambling and then tax it rather than send all our gamblers to OK and LA or force people to deal with shady characters operating illegal businesses.  Or is the government just trying to protect its (lottery) turf?

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin topcommenter

Surely Archie and Arthur were tipped off before the raid

JSSS
JSSS

Both the quantity and quality of articles/posts is shrinking. Almost not even worth checking Unfair Park any more.


"The guy behind the counter told me that the guys from the game room had be looking for me."

Griggs said, "so I'm pleased was able to conduct the raid."

ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul
ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul topcommenter

If you are going to conduct an illegal activity, the primary rule is to not attract attention to yourself.

wcvemail
wcvemail

First! And first to wonder if Caraway's father was a patron at this place.

wcvemail
wcvemail

@cjr_9

If you vote the same way you post, repeating four times, then you could elect yourself or pass any ordinance you want.

bvckvs
bvckvs topcommenter

@oakclifftownie 

Ken was quick to talk to reporters after the bust.  It may not have been the most self-defensive thing to do, but it was his choice.

holmantx
holmantx topcommenter

@lftay

these things don't attract James Bond in a tuxedo with a babe in an evening gown at his side.

They attract the lowest common denominator in society.  And they get robbed - a lot.  And the patrons get into fights - a lot.  Lots of killing goes on in those places.  

Gambling destroys neighborhoods.

It's why we shove them into neighboring states.

Go hang out in Shreveport and it will answer all your questions as to why we don't have them here.

Old fat chicks in spandex on oxygen bottles.

bvckvs
bvckvs topcommenter

@JSSS 

It's a community blog, for Christ's sake.

secretburrito
secretburrito

@JSSS 

You left out "DPD".

 "so I'm pleased DPD was able to conduct the raid."

unclescrappy
unclescrappy

@wcvemail Obvouisly not, are they would have been safe from any police action or would have at least been alerted ahead of time because of Dwayne Caraway. 

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin topcommenter

@holmantx @lftay For every fat chick in spandex on an o2 bottle, there are 4 texans over there gambling.  While I agree that it does bring bottom feeder out, we send way too much money over the border to LA and OK.  And anyhow, our lottery has way worse odds than any of those slot machines the southern baptists think are the devil

JSSS
JSSS

@bvckvs @JSSS No, it's a blog run by the DO with posts by reporters. It's not too much to expect them to proofread their posts. I won't criticize a commentator for errors like that, but professionals should be professional.

AeroRazavi
AeroRazavi

@ScottsMerkin @holmantx @lftay Legalized gaming in TX won't stop money from going to OK or LA.  If you live in McKinney or Denton, OK is probably a more convenient drive than to Lone Star Park (a potential casino location) or DTD or DTFW (other potential locations.  If you live in Longview, LA is probably more convenient than a DFW casino. 

bvckvs
bvckvs topcommenter

@JSSS @bvckvs 

re:  " It's not too much to expect them to proofread their posts."

Yes, it is.

wcvemail
wcvemail

@ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul

Yep, although they're good at detecting counterfeit currency, not surprising given the amount of cash they see.

In the late 1990s, there was a golden opportunity for those with high-quality printers to create funny money, because the anti-counterfeiting technology had not then caught up to public availability of such printers. I figured I could run off a batch of 20s and 50s (modest and low-profile) on linen paper, buying some drinks and dances, getting the change and getting out. Never had the nerve, though.

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin topcommenter

People only go ro thackerville or durant or any other gambling outpost bc of gambling. Put it in their backyard, and really why would you step foot in those towns again. Shreveport is a shithole outside the casino district.

SGLP
SGLP

People in McKinney will go downtown before they go to OK...do you really think casinos in OK would compete with what would be found in Dallas/Ft. Worth?! Also, weigh the options of outside entertainment; Uptown, Greenville, Deep Ellum, even Bishop Arts, the Stockyards...

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