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Tarrant grand jury indicts 22 in gambling case

FORT WORTH -- Twenty-two people were indicted this week in Tarrant County in connection with Aces Wired gaming centers, which authorities allege were illegal gambling operations.

Company officers and employees were included in the felony indictments filed Tuesday for charges that ranged from engaging in organized crime to tampering with evidence.

Aces Wired has been in an ongoing legal battle with state authorities since the state raided the company’s gaming rooms across Texas May 21, including three in Fort Worth.

Company officials argue their 8-liner machines complied with state gaming laws.

Nine indictments were also issued in Bexar County where another gaming center was located.

Gordon Graves, the president of company’s board, and CEO Kenneth Griffith were indicted in both counties.

Paul Coggins, the company’s attorney, said in statement that the charges were unfounded.

“The Company studied applicable state and federal law, Attorney General Opinions, appellate court decisions, and complaints of law enforcement -- all to stay within the law,” said Coggins, a former U.S. attorney. “This is a publicly traded company governed by law abiding business leaders.”

Aces Wired officials say the machines are legal because they do not reward players with cash or gift certificates, which is illegal in Texas. Instead, players accumulate “prize points” on cards similar to debit cards that can be redeemed for merchandise at certain retailers.

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott has called the stored-value cards non-binding.