The owner of the Social Club in Texas, US, Joe Vongkaysone, faces multiple charges, including participating in organised criminal activity, keeping a gambling place, and promoting illegal gambling. The 49 players that were present at the time of the raid were fined $360 each. The final day of the club’s poker tournament was when the raid took place.
The Watauga Social Club, one of the largest “social poker” clubs in the state of Texas, was raided by Tarrant County law enforcement on October 9. The operation on the suburban Fort Worth club, carried out with the assistance of the Watauga Police Department, is the latest in a string of takedowns targeting social-poker clubs around Texas.
Local Dallas-Forth Worth news outlets obtained the most recent information from Tarrant County court documents. In the immediate aftermath of the Sunday afternoon raid, a number of players and employees of the club were arrested or issued citations related to the club’s poker games. According to the update, ten people, all employees or management of the club, were arrested on charges of various illegal gambling activities. The 49 players that were present at the time of the raid were fined $360 each.
Joe Vongkaysone, the club’s proprietor, is charged with participating in organized criminal activity, keeping a gambling establishment, and encouraging unlawful gaming. The legality of such social-poker clubs has been a topic of debate in the state.
There was more than $200,000 seized
The raid was timed to coincide with the final day of the Fall Classic Poker Tournament, which was advertised to have a $100,000 guaranteed prize pool, and actually built a $132,000 pool. The prize pool funds made up most of the money that was seized as a result of the raid.
Before the raid, the Tarrant County Sheriff’s Game Room Regulation Unit launched an investigation in which undercover agents were assigned to play inside the club. Tables, cards, computers, televisions, and other items were seized during the raid.
The raid and illegal-gambling allegations have not been commented on by the Watauga Social Club. There is a notice on the club’s Facebook page acknowledging that it is closed at the moment. There is a message that reads as follows.
The Watauga Social Lounge is temporarily closed.
$200k cash and all of the W.S.L equipment were seized by the Tarrant County Sheriff Game Room Regulations Department.
If you are a member who received a citation, please send your contact information to firstname.lastname@example.org. We will have a meeting on Monday with an attorney for legal representative for all tournament players who receive a citation from the Tarrant County sheriff’s department, and to get back the $132,840 that belongs to the tournament players.
We would like to apologize to our members, our staff, the poker community, and to the city of Watauga.
We appreciate the love and support you have given us. We are hoping to open back up soon.
The Facebook image is from the Watauga Social Club.