Jan 22, 2014 6:30 PM by Andrew Ellison - email@example.com
CORPUS CHRISTI - Residents in Falfurrias are concerned about the growing number of game rooms that keep opening up.
And since game rooms in other South Texas cities have been shutdown for illegal activity, Falfurrias is becoming a destination for those who want to play those machines.
There are 13 game rooms in Falfurrias and most of them are on St. Mary's Street.
Eva Rivas has run a local shop for nine years, and says she doesn't like what's happened to her city.
"So it's sort of like, like a Las Vegas strip down here," she says.
She says the game rooms promote gambling, and in her opinion, it always ends with people just losing their money.
The concern with game rooms in Texas is always the same, are they breaking State law and giving out cash prizes?
The city assured us they don't and that code enforcement frequently checks to make sure they aren't.
But the truth is this is about money. The city makes $400,000 a year from permitting fees for these machines.
Noel Bernal is the City Administrator.
"That accounts for about fifteen percent of our budget annually... It's important to realize that if they weren't here, that could mean a property tax increase potentially," Bernal says.
"We've created a special revenue fund to better account for those revenues, and we've also allocated those monies to about half a million dollars worth of street improvements," Bernal added.
Essentially, the game rooms are the city's third largest revenue source.
We tried to visit some of these game rooms, but for establishments that the city says always operate within the law, they didn't seem to want to talk to us very much.
We got kicked out of two of them.
And it appears that one of them tricked us just to lock us out.
A woman inside told us the manager wanted to speak to us outside, but when we went outside, no one was there. When we turned back around, the doors were closed.