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Issue Date: Vol. 43, No. 3 / March 25, 2003 - April 24, 2003 , Posted On: 4/7/2003


AUSTIN, TX - (Posted April 7) In a unanimous ruling, the Texas Supreme Court decreed on April 3 that awarding gift certificates to winners of eight liner games is the same as paying off in cash, and that eight liners that offer such prizes are therefore illegal gambling devices. Writing for the court, Justice Wallace Jefferson said: "We hold that an eight-liner that rewards the player with cash [is illegal], even if that cash is used only to play another machine." Eight liners that award only plush or inexpensive novelties appear to be permitted under the ruling.

The ruling clarifies the status of the slot machine-style video games after years of controversy and confusion. In recent years some lower courts had said eight liners with big prizes (gift certificates) were permissible under state law, and certain cities had licensed the devices. However, the state attorney general's office and many district attorneys held they were illegal.
Texas law enforcement has reportedly seized more than 2,000 eight-liner machines, about $500,000 in cash and $58,000 in gift certificates during the past five years.

Topic: Ahead of the Times: Music and Games

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