HOUSTON—A local activist who lives in a neighborhood populated by game rooms said he and his neighbors consider the establishments to be a threat.
“Everybody’s looking to see who’s got money,” said John Branch, who volunteers for his neighborhood watch. “They robbed this guy today. They may look next door and say let’s rob that guy tomorrow.”
According to Houston police, there are more than 200 licensed game rooms scattered throughout the city. No one knows for sure how many illegal unlicensed game rooms might be operating just beneath the radar.
Game rooms are considered legal as long as gamblers who win are awarded prizes instead of cash.
But violent crime scenes leave some neighbors feeling like losers.
“Kids can see this and people going into the store can see it,” he said.