Re: HB 3186 Update

by , Mar 27, 2007 | 4:14 pm

***It will remove the limit on the number of tables an establishment may have and significantly lower the asset requirement on bars to apply for a permit to a monthly gross receipt of $7,500.***

Mike, just playing devil’s advocate here … but $7,500 seems low. I mean I can see why ho-hum bars might want an electronic poker game in their establishments. But if any ole bar could open up a poker room … yeow, is that really a good thing?

Poker players aren’t big drinkers, we know. Yet every so often a drunk person shows up at a poker room to test their impaired skills. Good fun. But that person, even while drunk, is choosing to go to a poker room, and if he gets his ass handed to him, he understands why. But what’s going to happen when a drunk guy in a bar stumbles into a poker game … not because he is a player, but simply because he is drunk? If he ends up getting cleaned out on a really really bad beat levied by a slow-rolling asshole … well, that’s the kinda thing that could lead to someone getting shot! We are in Texas, after all.

Full disclosure: I say this as someone who would love to run a brand-spankin’ new poker room at The Lodge and/or elsewhere. Suspect this law would be financially beneficial to a guy like me.


3 Comments to “Re: HB 3186 Update”

  1. Tim B.

    that was my first thought as well… removing the restriction on the number of tables is fantastic, but i think the reduction in financial requirements is a little much. in fact, $7500 is SO small, i strongly suspect that is a typo… surely they meant $75,000? i mean… damn, what kind of bar DOESNT do $7500 gross a month? just about ANY business with a b&m location that is capable of staying afloat will do that kind of monthly gross, if for no other reason than youd have to to pay the lease/utilities/staff/insurance/etc…

    no, thats gotta be $75k…

    something else occurred to me though, when thinking about the whole “liquor license” requirement thing… does this mean that someone who wants to open a poker room has to first open a bar, run it as a bar for however long it takes to do a month of minimum gross (or whatever the requirement ends up being), and THEN put the tables in (and probably almost completely eliminate the “bar-specific” parts of the business)? that seems like a pretty big hassle to me… definitely better than nothing, but i dont see why the ideas of “bars” and “poker rooms” have to be tied so directly… i dont think there should be a direct, mandatory, dependent relationship between “bars” and “poker”… and i certainly dont think it benefits the cause of legal poker to have this relationship cemented in the minds of the rather conservative texas voters.

  2. Lavigne in Austin

    good discussion.

    the liquor license requirement is in there because there is are already rules governing the vetting and location of establishments with liquor licenses under TABC. That cuts down on some of the administrative cost of the legislation.

    Dan, it seems to me that drunks are an equal risk at any place with a pool table, foosball table or ms. pacman machine. plus, the establishments, if they feel this is a worry, will be able to legally hire off duty law enforcement, or even call the cops on a problem maker. something underground rooms can’t do now without a risk of being found out.

  3. Tim B.

    i understand the administrative rationale for the must-have-a-bar-to-have-a-poker-room… but youve got to consider that the folks we have to sway in texas for this to have a chance are likely NOT going to see that as a big concern… what theyre going to see is the direct and mandatory connection between alcohol and gambling…

    additionally, your response doesnt address my other question: suppose i want to open a poker room. i dont own a bar. how do i open a poker room? am i correct in understanding that i would have to open a bar or restaurant temporarily before i can open a poker room? and not just any old bar, it would have to be a SUCCESSFUL one before i could open the room! i would have to invest in, manage, and operate a business i have no interest in just to be able to convert it to a completely different business later.

    i think the TABC is the right administrative organization to handle the poker licensing. theyve got the people and experience for the job. but i think it makes a lot MORE sense to expand their scope into an alcohol and gaming administration, with distinct licensing for gaming-related businesses, than it does to create a direct and mandatory dependency between poker and alcohol.