On Monday, the Ballinger police department gave notices to three establishments that were conducting illegal gambling on their premises — Our Time’s located at 200 S. 7th Street, Pic-N-Pac located at 1101 Hutchings Avenue and Short Stop located at 1609 North Broadway.

The businesses had computers for patrons to use for gambling and paid out winnings in cash.

Ballinger Police Chief Stanley Maresch issued a press release stating that three businesses had been given letters informing them that they were to stop the illegal gambling immediately.

The local investigation began after San Angelo had cracked down on illegal gambling a few months ago. Craig Thompson was the lead detective in the San Angelo operation.

“I consulted with Detective Thompson about their investigation into the illegal gambling and he helped us out with information,” Maresch said.

Illegal gambling establishments that closed in San Angelo were looking for other locations to move to and typically outlying communities such as Ballinger are targets for them.

Maresch said that in the Ballinger investigation he sent in an undercover reserve-officer into each establishment who verified that illegal gambling was taking place. People were playing the games on the computers or machines and were being paid out in cash. Once this was confirmed, they delivered the letters to each of the three establishments with the instructions to immediately cease the illegal gambling.

“If they continue with the illegal gambling, we’ll get a search warrant for the premises,” Maresch said in regard to what the next step would be if the establishments did not comply. “That will allow us to seize any evidence such as computers, documents other equipment and even money.”

Maresch went on to say that once that is complete, the police department can file formal charges and make arrests.