SB 866

84(R) - 2015
Senate Intergovernmental Relations
Senate Intergovernmental Relations
Intergovernmental Affairs

Vote Recommendation

  • Neutral
  • Neutral
  • Neutral
  • Neutral
  • Neutral


Larry Taylor

Bill Caption

Relating to the regulation of amusement redemption machine game rooms in certain counties.

Fiscal Notes

No significant fiscal impact to the State or local governments is expected.

Bill Analysis

SB 866 seeks to expand the applicability of Sec. 234.132 Local Government Code on game rooms to Galveston county. Currently the law regulating these game rooms only applies to Harris county and a county with a population of less than 25,000 that is adjacent to the Gulf of Mexico and within 50 miles of the border (Willacy County).  This would allow the county to enforce existing laws related to “8 Liner” gaming machines. The county currently lacks such authority.

Vote Recommendation Notes

Based on new information that our original analysis did not consider we are retracting our opposition to this legislation and moving to a position of neutral on SB 866 and SB 1210 which are the same except that they apply to different counties.

Our larger point on the current state of gambling law in Texas remains. There are many things that are illegal or highly regulated under the auspices of gambling which can reasonably be considered to not be gambling such as raffles and bingo games. We would contend that the 8 Liner games (the target of this legislation) that pay out gift cards to restaurants or retail stores fall into this category.

There is a major distinction between the afore mentioned items and the type of full scale gambling that is considered by many to be destructive to society. The former should not be regulated in the same way or to the same degree as the latter.

While there is a place for limited regulation, Texas’ gambling laws are confusing and difficult to reconcile which leads to a major consistency problem on this issue. The state treats certain games differently under the law than other games based on differences that are highly technical and in our view nonsubstantive. More significantly, the state holds a monopoly on running lotteries which are far closer to actual gambling than the 8 Liner games this legislation addresses. If the state contends that gambling is destructive and should be banned, the state should get out of the gambling business itself.