Man speaks about the dark side of 8-liners

Man speaks about the dark side of 8-liners

It's a $300 million dollar industry.

Cash flow funneling in and out of the Rio Grande Valley all generated through 8-liner game rooms across Cameron County.

An ex-employee spoke to Action 4 News on the condition of anonymity and said playing comes at a price.

"People going bankrupt, you know, losing everything because of these game rooms you know I TMve seen it to where you see these people coming in a brand new car and four months later they are getting rides," the man said.

This ex-employee calls it an addiction.

Some people are playing as much as 14 hours inside the game rooms.

At times, sompe players get desperate and ask others for money in order to try and recover what they've lost.

This man said at times, he saw some people losing thousands of dollars.

"The first of the month is a good indication of when the busiest time is its obviously low income people on welfare social security," he added.

But on Friday night, five 8-liner establishments in Cameron County were raided for illegally paying out cash.

Under Texas state law, only prizes or as little as $5 dollars in cash can be paid out.

Investigators said these places prey on a certain group of people.

"We TMve gotten phone calls where people are missing for two or three days and after a long search for these people, we find that the poor and elderly man or woman have been at an eight-liner for the past two or three days sleeping in their car, said Cameron County Emergency Management Coordinator Humberto Barrera.

The ex-employee said the 8-liner arcades know how to entice people and keep them there.

"Are the machines rigged, he asked. You want to go to the newer ones because they TMre a lot looser. They pay out more so the people become addicted and want to keep coming back and then they start paying out they start tightening them up."

He said it TMs a scary environment where corruption does exist.

Why do workers stay?

He said its simple, jobs are hard to find and when you're struggling to make a living he added you will take employment, where you can get it.

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