The Slaphouse Doesn’t Always Win: Anaheim Police Break Up Illegal Gambling Ring

Written By Derek Helling on February 19, 2021

Small businesses can be the lifeblood of communities and depend on those communities for their sales.

And the importance of local support became apparent once again in a recent Anaheim furniture store gambling bust.

Dozens of arrests connected to the illegal “slaphouse” came as a result of many people who reside near the store making reports to law enforcement. Those arrests also are part of a larger effort to stamp out illegal gambling in California.

Details on the Anaheim furniture store gambling bust

Earlier this month, Anaheim police arrested around 70 people after a raid on a business near Euclid Street and Lincoln Avenue. The operation fronted as a furniture store.

The officers on site seized multiple gambling machines and firearms. Before the raid, they had been performing surveillance at the site for about two months.

The surveillance began as a result of over 50 separate complaints from community members. Those reports indicated unknown individuals and vehicles on site 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

So far, none of the detained individuals have received formal arraignments. Prosecutors are likely sifting through the evidence and statements in order to ascertain which of the arrestees were most involved in running the operation.

This slaphouse — a slang term for unlicensed gambling operations in which players often slap the gambling machines — is just one of several that officials in California have shut down over the past two years. In fact, one previous bust involved another building that sits very close.

Double-digit illegal gambling busts and counting

Since July 2019, law enforcement officials across the state have cracked down on these illegal gambling operations at a greater rate. In fact, in October 2020, Anaheim police broke up such an outfit in the building next door to the “furniture store” that they raided this month.

That incident also involved roughly 70 arrests. Ultimately, the police charged 25 people with different citations. That included 13 more serious allegations like parole violations and operating a gambling operation without a license.

Many of the busts have found more than just illegal gambling taking place. On top of the seizure of firearms, law enforcement has also discovered illegal drug paraphernalia. Essentially, these slaphouses are natural venues for criminal activity of many forms.

That’s why community members making reports to law enforcement have led to many of these busts. Despite the fact that new operations seem to keep popping up, concerned citizens will act in their own best interest.

Photo by AP / Damian Dovarganes
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Derek Helling

Derek Helling is a lead writer for PlayUSA and the manager of BetHer. He is a 2013 graduate of the University of Iowa and covers the intersections of sports with business and the law.

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