Texas: Poker Clubs in Dallas Area Face Difficult Choice

Texas: Poker Clubs in Dallas Area Face Difficult Choice

Dallas City poker rooms

The Dallas City Council wants to make it completely legal for members-only clubs to operate poker by giving them a unique land-use consideration that would only be given in certain situations. But that would only be true inside the city limits, and according to Texas law, it wouldn’t change their legal standing.

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At the end of the previous month, the Dallas City Council made a motion to direct its staff to draft language for a special land-use categorization that would specifically apply to poker clubs. They do business in an area that is rather ambiguous from a legal standpoint.

Except in very limited circumstances, commercial poker games in Texas that feature real-money buy-ins and cash prizes are prohibited by the state’s gambling law.

In spite of this, more than fifty card rooms are open for business every day across the state. Dallas is home to a significant portion of them. Because they are not accessible to the general public, they are in compliance with the law.

Instead of taking a cut of the winnings from each game’s pot, the clubs profit from the membership fees they charge their customers.

This cut is called the “rake,” and casinos collect it in states where poker rooms are legal.

The legal argument is that the law should not be concerned with the activities that take place within these private clubs while their members are present.

During the event, it is completely up to them if they want to make some friendly bets or play a game of poker.

On the other hand, this line of reasoning can only go so far. A certificate of occupancy had been canceled for one of these card rooms by the City of Dallas in February 2022.

The city government didn’t think that the Texas Card House was a private place, so the business had to move. The Texas Card House filed a lawsuit against the city, but it was ultimately unsuccessful.

Despite this, the Texas Card House has filed an appeal of the decision. It is allowed to continue operating while the appeal is being considered. However, with the implementation of this new ordinance, it is possible for both sides to avoid the conflict altogether.

Dallas Poker Clubs Have Two Options

Poker clubs in Dallas would basically have two options once the new land-use categorization is finalized: accept the terms of that categorization, or hope that lawsuits work in their favor.

Accepting the terms of that categorization is the easier option. Because the wording of the new regulation is still being worked on, it is currently unknown which modifications the card rooms will be required to make in order to be eligible for the classification.

It seems likely that the purpose of the new code will be to make it possible for nightclubs to continue operating under their current economic models while still meeting the requirements to qualify as private venues.

However, the state legislature, which is located in Austin, could still have something to say on the matter.

Gene Wu, a representative for the state of Texas, pre-filed a measure towards the end of 2017 that would make the definition of a private area in this context more clear.

In the event that it is codified into law, it might put some poker rooms in jeopardy.

Due to the fact that state law takes precedence over local legislation, this would be the case even in Dallas. Dallas is looking for a solution because the state has not provided it with any such direction. However, it’s possible that this is merely a band-aid solution.

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About Lou De Aguila

Lou Aguila is a news and feature writer for Golden Casino News. For over a decade, Lou has published news and featured articles for some of the most reputable sports betting and online casino sites in the world, including BetNow.UK, VegasOdds, and BWin. Apart from being a hardcore live casino punter, he also covers sports stories in North American leagues from time to time.