Gambling in Texas is still illegal. Texans hope that 2023 will finally be the year that the legislature passes several bills to allow gambling in various counties. But, Nueces county may not wait until gambling is legal state-wide to operate game rooms.
In May 2022, the Nueces County Commissioners Court approved new mandates. These new regulations were to become effective on January 3, 2023. They would allow game room owners to apply for permits.
Nueces County has legalized game rooms in the Corpus Christi area. According to David Cook of the Nueces County Sheriff's Office, the law enforcers will not rush to put people in jail for operating illegal game rooms. Instead, the Chief Deputy of the sheriff's office promised to give them enough time to apply for a license to operate their rooms.
Both the Nueces County Sheriff`s Office and the Corpus Christi Police Department love the new mandates. They believe that the new regulations will help eliminate illegal gambling.
New Mandates for Texas Game Rooms
The Nueces County Commissioners Court approved several things. They include:
- Game rooms should apply for a permit from Nueces County to begin operations as a legal room
- ·Each game room should have armed security during gaming hours
- A game room cannot be anywhere near a church, school, or residential neighborhood. Ideally, it should be 1,500 feet away from the mentioned establishments.
- Game rooms can operate between noon and 2 am on Fridays and Saturdays. They can operate between 12 am and 12 pm from Sunday to Thursday.
Game room operators will part away with $1,000 to apply for a license. This fee is non-refundable even when the officials reject an application for a license.
These are some of the things the Nueces County Commissioners Court approved. They voted 5-0 in favor of the new regulations on May 25, 2022. The county also considered input from game room operators, residents, and bingo hall owners.
Apart from approving these mandates, the county also created a new position. This new position under the sheriff's office was designed to help the county implement the new mandates. The room administrator will be responsible for overseeing permits and monitoring game rooms to ensure they comply with new mandates.
Illegal Game Rooms Will be Penalized
A game room has 90 days to complete the inspection process since the first inspection. Once an operator applies for a license, his or her premises will be evaluated to determine whether it qualifies to get a license. The operator has 90 days to implement the necessary recommendation.
Existing game rooms had 30 days from Jan 3 to apply for a license. But, the county is making an exception, giving these rooms until April 3, 2023, to submit applications for a license.
Submitted applications will serve as conditional permits. After April 3, every game room operating illegally will face consequences. For instance, an employee working at these facilities will be charged with a Class A misdemeanor that could attract 12 months in jail and a $4,000 fine.
Obtaining the license will not change the gambling laws. In other words, the new license will only allow game rooms to offer specific games. So, operators found violating the initial gambling laws because they have a license will still face consequences.