Some of the issues at the other businesses that hosted sweepstakes gambling were drug activity and complaints of seniors spending all of their Social Security money on the games. In fact, three drug-related arrests were made in the raid at businesses in downtown Mineral Wells.
But both Christy and Bransom said they had received no complaints about seniors spending their SSI checks nor was there ever any drug activity at either post. Christy said he went out of way to disassociate his post with the downtown gambling store fronts.
“I was approached by one of the gaming places in town wanting to know if we wanted to throw in with them on some kind of united front and I told them, ‘we don’t want no part of you people downtown,’” he said. “We have never broken the law down there and if we’d have been told we were, we wouldn’t have done anything this time.”
With regards to the VFW and American Legion’s right to use machines like those for sweepstakes gambling, Mercer said he wished the law allowed for them to use them, similar to bingo. He added he believes the VFW and American Legion “deserve” to be able to use such machines legally, “But that’s not a decision that I get to make.”
“I wish the state legislature would do something to make this a legal proposition in certain areas for certain venues,” he said. “That’s the problem: we can’t get the legislature to do anything definitive one way or the other because there’s 50 percent of the people that love [gambling operations] and 50 percent of the people that hate them. As it stands right now, that’s why everything is so innocuous and hard to deal with on this stuff, because it takes someone stepping up and doing something to get case law.