Eight-liner gaming machines, which are similar to slot games, are currently in operation within the state of Texas. It is unclear as to if these games are legal or illegal based on state law. Players use these games for entertainment, and they are quite popular. The games do not offer prizes of more than $5 and to get around the state laws, some operators offer groceries or shopping cards as prizes instead of cash. New legislation was recently introduced to provide more clarity involving these gambling style games.
Two New Bills
In the past, legislation to regulate eight-liner games have failed to pass into law. Representative Richard Pena Raymond has now introduced not one, but two bills, to clarify the legal standing of such games. House Bill 647 and House Joint Resolution 37 are now on the table.
The joint resolution would see an amendment made to the constitution that would be voted on this November via a referendum. With HB 647, the legislation will come into play if voters approve the amendment connected to the joint resolution.
The legislation only regulates the games if they pay out a prize of $5 or less. The games cannot pay out over $1,500 based on the bills. Anyone who operated such machines and paid out a prize over $1,500 and less than $20,000 could be sentenced to jail time.
If a game pays out even more money, from $20,000 to $100,000, then it would be considered a third-degree felony. The legislation says that payouts of over $100,000 would be considered a second-degree felony.
Raymond feels that the legislation is a good compromise, and it leaves it up the communities to offer the eight-liner games. a justice precinct or election from a municipality on eight liners would overrule an election within a county. An election in a justice precinct would overrule an election in a municipality if the precinct is in the boundaries in the municipality.
Seizing the Eight-Liner Games
There are eight-liner games found in many areas of Texas including the southern region of the state. in January, police completed two raids where 88 illegal machines were seized. The raids took place in Hood County. The machines are often placed in game rooms and corner stores and in general, people in Texas live about 15 minutes from such machines.
In an odd turn of events, even the crooks are getting in on the seizure action. Last year, individuals went to a gas station in the Houston area and claimed to be from the Texas Gaming Commission. They took the machines from the establishment and no doubt, used them for their own gain.
All of this action involving the eight-liner games comes at a time when Texas has been considering legalizing sports betting and casino gaming. Legislation has been introduced but it has not moved forward and doesn’t appear to be moving forward any time soon.
It will be interesting to see how the legislation moves forward and if it will be enough to clearly clarify the eight-liner machines or if there will still be some gray area involving the games.