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Houston Approves Strict New Rules for Game Rooms

The rules allow law enforcement to shut down illegal gaming more easily.


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Last month, Harris County enacted a new set of regulations intended to crack down on illegal game rooms. The City of Houston has now entered into a memorandum of understanding with the county to follow those same rules and allow Houston Police and Harris County Sherrif’s Deputies to collaborate. District A Councilmember Brenda Stardig says game rooms are popping up all over the city.

“We need to make sure that the elderly and the poor and every citizen understands this is not an even playing field. They are attracting organized crime to our community. When I talk about root cause of crime in our city, this is one of the root causes,” Stardig said.

The rules require game room owners to register and pay a $1000 annual license fee. They also must permit law enforcement to enter the building, are not allowed to operate overnight and cannot black out or obstruct their windows. District K Councilmember Larry Green says he joined HPD on a sting of an illegal game room.

“At this actual sting we were able to arrest several individuals as well as confiscate tens of thousands of dollars where illegal activity was going on,” Green said.

The new rules are intended to make it more difficult for illegal game rooms to be shut down and simply reopen in a different part of the region.


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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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