An illegal gambling crackdown is currently in the making for the McLennan County and the City of Waco. Both city and county leaders have joined forces to forge legislation which is set to impose a stricter regulatory regime on so-called eight-liner game rooms.
McLennan Country Judge Scott Felton made a commentary on the above-mentioned game room operations, which are currently unlawful, saying that local leaders wanted the eight-liners out of the county. Yesterday, Waco City Hall hosted a meeting of the McLennan County/City Intergovernmental Relations Committee, at which elected officials discussed the collaborations that would keep the controversial operations away.
Less than a week ago, local commissioners expressed their willingness to discuss and consider a proposed piece of legislation which would make it possible for Texas voters to decide the fate of eight-liner gaming machines. Currently, gambling services are not legal under the existing regulatory framework of the state, so slot-like machines are only allowed to operate in Texas in case that they do not offer cash prizes.
Now, Mayor Kyle Deaver revealed that all council members disapproved of seeing some eight-liner operations being illegally run in the district. He did not deny the fact that there may be some legitimate operations, but the majority of the machines are harmful and dangerous to local communities. Mr. Deaver further revealed that some measures have been proposed at the meeting, including McLennan County to another group of counties which has already been allowed to regulate eight-liner operations. He, however, explained that game rooms are not easy to control, which is the reason why they are willing to join other cities and counties.
Legislation Is Still in Pre-Filing Stage, City Officials Say
Waco City officials have further revealed that the local legislation is in the pre-filing stage for the time being. The leaders of the Waco City and McLennan County would take the matter to state representatives and would ask them to roll out an appropriate piece of legislation over the upcoming legislative session.
Mayor Deaver said that city officials remain hopeful that they would get help with the legislature in the spring of 2019.
On the other hand, the Executive Coordinator for the Waco City Manager’s Office who brought up House Bill 78 – Ashley Nystrom – urged both the commissioner’s court and the city council to give them support resolutions at their next meetings. As mentioned above, the House Bill 78 would leave local voters to decide whether to allow eight-liners or not. Ms. Nystrom further explained that county and city officials are not standing against the proposed piece of legislation but confirmed that they will be looking to a different approach.
Another piece of legislation could also be reviewed apart from House Bill 78 – the House Joint Resolution 12.