ILLEGAL GAMBLING BUSINESSES

46-year-old Nathan Nichols entered a guilty plea in reference to operating illegal gambling businesses.

The criminal charges stemmed from an investigation initiated by the Corpus Corpus Christi Police Department Narcotics and Vice Division, with assistance from the FBI and Homeland Security Investigations.   

Nichols was the co-owner of two local gambling businesses, both facilities containing illegal gaming devices.  The establishments contained sweepstakes games which patrons operated by using computers and monitors, rather than casino-style equipment.  The games are software-based and function as traditional slot-machine games or “8-liners.” However, the action of the slot-machine reels is simulated on a computer screen rather than on mechanical reels. Those playing the machines place bets before each spin and receive winnings in cash. 

State Law dictates that an individual cannot win a wholesale value available from a single play of the game or device of not more than 10 times the amount charged to play the game or device once or $5, whichever is less.

Through their investigation, NVID Investigators requested and served an evidentiary search warrant at a residence belonging to Nichols.  The search warrant was a culmination of an extensive, long-term investigation into the illegal gambling businesses.  During the course of the evidentiary search, evidence of stolen government property was located.  Homeland Security Investigators, along with the U.S. Army Criminal Investigations Division led the investigation of the stolen Government Property. 

All charges were prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney’s with the US Department of Justice.  During prosecution, Nichols admitted to operating illegal gambling businesses in Corpus Christi.  As part of his guilty pleas, Nichols agreed to forfeit a total of $2,185,218.73, which were combined proceeds from his illegal activity.  Sentencing has been set for June 21, 2022, before U.S. District Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos.  Nichols faces up to five years in prison for each conviction. 

Nichols has been and will remain in custody, pending that hearing.

Corpus Christi Police Department Narcotics and Vice Division intends to continue their efforts to investigate illegal gambling businesses in the near future.

Game rooms who afford a player an opportunity to obtain, and players who accept anything of value, will be charged accordingly.  A violation of keeping a gambling place (47.04), possession of a gambling device (47.06), or promotion of gambling (47.03) are Class A misdemeanors; each punishable by up to one year in jail and/or a fine of up to $4,000.  

The Corpus Christi Police Department continues to collaborate with our local, state and federal partners to investigate and combat illegal gambling.  Investigators will continue to enforce all Texas gambling laws, which will help accomplish our mission to reduce crime, reduce the fear of crime and to improve the quality of life in our community.

The Corpus Christi Police Department will work alongside the Nueces County District Attorney’s Office to aggressively enforce all gambling related offenses. 

Through our partnerships, we can accomplish an enhanced positive impact not only on crime, but also on a variety of issues that impact our community.