Ex-mayor's fight to keep 'sweepstakes' game room open not over

Game room

The May 3rd arrest of Pat Ahumada and subsequent state seizure of his property inside the Goldmine Sweepstakes in Brownsville has financially crippled the former mayor. "It's been very difficult because they took away my livelihood," he said. Cameron County District Attorney Luis Saenz has been in open war with gambling establishments who pay illegal cash prizes under Operation Bishop. Ahumada has been charged with promotion of gambling and will be in court July 24th to try and get back 67 high dollar computers used at his sweepstakes. He doesn't believe his computer sweepstakes violates Texas gambling laws as with illegal 8-liners. "There are two different systems, one is entertainment the other is gambling," he explained. "One is based on the definition of paying out cash based on randomness of play. The sweepstakes is based on a predetermined finite pool of guaranteed winners." Ahumada isn't alone in his quest to continue doing business. The owners of the Longhorn Sweepstakes in Port Isabel, which was also raided May 3rd, are taking their case to the court of appeals after a state district judge recently denied them their property seized during Operation Bishop. Their attorney, Juan Guerra, says it's the first sweepstakes-related appeal in the state. "The legislators have tried to make it illegal because there's a loophole that keeps them open," he said. "Under the loophole, until the legislators decide they want to close the loophole, the sweepstakes are legal whether we like it or not." DA Saenz compares sweepstakes to "lipstick on a pig." But Ahumada and others say they plan to challenge the interpretation of the law in the higher courts. Click here to join Ryan Wolf TMs Facebook PageClick here to follow Ryan Wolf on Twitter