Daily Progress, Jacksonville, TX

March 25, 2013

BUSINESS CONFIDENTIAL: Gambling Arrest Fallout: Jacksonville police continue to warn residents about the legal perils of playing ‘sweepstakes’ machines in town

Ben Tinsley
Jacksonville Daily Progress

JACKSONVILLE — Gambler beware.

That's the new catchword for any resident tempted to play any games of chance for profit in Jacksonville.

As mentioned in Thursday's Jacksonville Daily Progress, authorities are warning business owners and local gambling enthusiasts to steer clear of “sweepstakes machines.”

Those who choose not to do so, should expect a knock on the door and perhaps even a warrant from Jacksonville Police in the next few days.

This wave of gambling awareness started March 15, when police raided a hidden gambling den downtown, seizing nine gambling devices — a mixture of running video machines, slot machines, and eight-liners.

Since that arrest, information has started to pour into the department about the different types of gambling taking place in Jacksonville.

On Wednesday, Jacksonville Police Sgt. Jason Price emphasized Jacksonville Daily Progress reporter that after a few more days of “grace period passes,” authorities are going to take to the streets to catch gamblers and business owners whose machines facilitate gambling.

“Before we take legal action against anyone, we want to give them a chance to fix things,” Price said. “We understand this is a source of income for them, but we want them to understand it is an illegal source. With the 'sweepstakes machine' you get a prepared card and put it in the machine. But you need to understand, if you put money in and get money out, you are gambling.”


This is a a recent word of caution issued by the Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce: Please contact the Chamber or the  Jacksonville Independent School District  to verify the legitimacy of any company whose employees claim to sell advertising on behalf of either entity.

This caution is specifically in response to reports that a Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex entity is has been calling local businesses and claiming — incorrectly — to be selling advertising for T-shirts and water bottle products on behalf of the chamber or the JISD.

Chamber representatives were emphatic in their announcement that they have not endorsed any projects related to a Metroplex-area company.

To contact JISD, call (903) 586-3661. Or contact Jenifer Newburn , Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce, (903) 586-2217 or chamber@jacksonvilletexas.com


The Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce's continues to extol the virtues of its "Business After Hours" program, which took place earlier this month, March 5, at East Side Elementary School, 711 Ft. Worth St.

As many as 70 people made it to the event, during which Dr. Joe Wardell, Jacksonville ISD Superintendent, won a $100 drawing.

Those in attendance became lucky winners. Alan Etheridge of Luvata received a gift card from Sylvia Mae’s Soul Food Restaurant. Kris Sturrock  of Legacy Hospice won a door sign. Wendi Velin of Nutrition Connection won the prize donated by Cherokee County Extension Agency. Wendi Green of Cherokee County Extension Agency won two tickets to Cherokee Trace Drive-thru Safari. Capital One Bank’s bag was won by Clay Bevel of Love’s Lookout Visitor Center volunteer.

Dentistry for Children donated a Sonicare that was won by Mike McEwen of Cherokee Real Estate. Estefany Aranda of Austin Bank) got the duffle bag and starter emergency kit from Cherokee County Health Department. Austin Bank’s bag was won by David Butler of Peoples Church.

Business After Hours is described as great networking opportunity and a great opportunity to win prices. April Business After Hours will be hosted by Cherokee Real Estate and Jorge Aragon Farmers Insurance and the Chamber cash drawing will be $50.

Questions should be directed to the Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce at 903-586-2217.


The contest for the best cup of coffee in Jacksonville continues. (Jacksonville Joe's is currently in the lead.)

As we have said, the cup of coffee in question  has to be hot, tasty, have lots of caffeine. Email me, and I will place your suggestion on a tallied list.

Once we have a good list, I intend to travel around town, sampling one cup per day. I will ultimately proclaim a winner in this column.

Ben Tinsley, a Jacksonville Daily Progress reporter with over 20 years in the journalism industry, writes Business Confidential, a column designed to help promote and help spotlight the diverse and growing business community of Cherokee County.

Wish to submit ideas? Simply contact Ben Tinsley by emailing btinsley@jacksonvilleprogress.com or call him at 903-586-2236. Tinsley can also be followed on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/bentinsley or on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/ben.tinsley.12