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Gaming Rooms Take a Hit

The city of Houston wants to put a stop to illegal back-room gambling. As Houston Public Radio’s Laurie Johnson reports, City Council is crafting an amendment in an attempt to make it harder for game rooms to operate. Houston Police officers estimate there are as many as 400 gaming rooms in the city. Gaming rooms […]

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The city of Houston wants to put a stop to illegal back-room gambling. As Houston Public Radio’s Laurie Johnson reports, City Council is crafting an amendment in an attempt to make it harder for game rooms to operate.

Houston Police officers estimate there are as many as 400 gaming rooms in the city. Gaming rooms often house dozens of video gaming machines, known as 8-liners. Because of an unintended loop hole in state law, these machines aren’t illegal, although gambling on them is. Houston Mayor Bill White says there’s too much gambling in Houston and it’s leading to more crime.

“One of the problems is that those kind of establishments in the neighborhoods attract a lot of other activities, including narcotics and they become magnets for crime when you have that much cash in the neighborhood.”

The proposed city ordinance would make it harder for gaming rooms to operate in secret. The ordinance calls for untinted uncovered windows, unlocked doors, game room signs and unrestricted access for law enforcement officers. Council members hope the new rules will be prohibitive enough to force gaming rooms to move out of the city. Laurie Johnson, Houston Public Radio News.

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Laurie Johnson-Ramirez

Laurie Johnson-Ramirez

News Director

Laurie Johnson-Ramirez leads news coverage for Houston Public Media across broadcast and digital platforms. Ramirez is a native Houstonian who started her career at Houston Public Media in 2002. Before becoming News Director, Ramirez held the position of Executive Producer for Daily News, leading daily and breaking news coverage, helping...

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