AUSTIN, TX -- Legal and illegal gambling is on the minds -- and dockets -- of government officials across the Lone Star State these days.
In Amarillo, the 7th Court of Appeals effectively found in favor of eight-liner operators in a high profile case that has dragged on for more than 10 years. In 2001, police seized 42 eight-liners from Mike's Amusement, charging the owner, Mike Lewis, with illegal gambling. Lewis appealed, but he died in 2009 before seeing his son and company win final victory.
Eight-liners are legal in Texas, but cash payouts to winners are illegal. The Amusement and Music Operators of Texas has long favored clarification of the state's law on the matter.
In the state capital, Rep. Senfronia Thompson (D-Houston) filed a bill (HB 2424) on March 19 to permit video gaming by authorized organizations and commercial operators licensed to conduct bingo or lease bingo premises. The measure would create new licensing fees from $50 to $10,000 and impose a state tax of 20% of gross revenues.
Separately, Thompson also filed bills to permit Indian casinos and casinos at racetracks.
In Galveston, a grand jury has indicted six people on felony organized crime charges, pursuant to raids conducted on eight-liner establishments in April 2010.