Texas deciding on legality of certain gambling machines

texas betting news march 2024

Updated March 3, 2024By Chris Boline
texas betting news march 2024

In the Lone Star State, there could be an unprecedented new ruling coming down the pipe when it comes to the state of gambling there. Per a recent report, in a groundbreaking legal battle, the State of Texas is facing off against gambling machines in a case that could set a precedent for the future of such devices in the jurisdiction. The hearing presided over by the 336th District Judge in Fannin County, marks the first time a Texas court is deciding the legality of these devices. Moreover, as noted in the article, Texas law explicitly forbids chance-based gambling machines. However, skill-based games circumvent existing restrictions and remain permitted despite their similarities. So, if these skill-based machines are potentially set to win a landmark hearing in Texas then the court’s decision could have wide-reaching implications. 

In this article, SBS will be going over what to look for from the latest gaming news coming from Texas and also some more notes about the state of Lone Star wagering. 

Skill games in Texas remain a hot topic in the state

As noted in the same article, the legal scrutiny follows a county-wide seizure of gambling machines in March last year, impacting several locations. Fannin County District Attorney Richard Glaser and local law enforcement initiated the seizure, contending that the machines violated Texas gambling regulations. Moreover, another report revealed that the central question in this hearing was whether the 35 confiscated machines were skill-based or chance-based. Glaser firmly believes these machines operate on chance, making them illegal. If successful, the state plans to seize the machines and their proceeds. Such a move could also lead to more seizures, making business owners reluctant to invest in these devices. 

Per the same report, the ongoing legal battle mirrors a similar case in Pennsylvania, where a recent court decision deemed that skill games were legal. The decision caused significant backlash from the gambling sector. These entities claimed these devices were exempt from gaming taxes and oversight, threatened regulated operators, and posed a danger to the public due to non-existent player protection measures. 

Per the same article and other outlets, these machines circumvent existing laws in some regards. While Pace-O-Matic, the company behind the devices, asserts that its game has been deemed legal in other parts of Texas, this hearing is the first instance of a court making a definitive decision. Joe Brown, a member of Pace-O-Matic’s counsel, argues that the games were meticulously designed to comply with Texas law and are, in fact, skill-based. 

New precedent is being set with a skill-based ruling

Noted in the article, as the debate neared its conclusion, Fannin County District Judge Laurine Blake ruled that the game devices were skill-based and legal. Thus, she will be issuing an order for the return of the seized property. This landmark decision could potentially impact similar machines across the state, setting a crucial precedent for the future of gambling devices in Texas. 

While the hearing has not concluded, the ruling signals a likely victory for skill games. Similar cases across the USA highlight the need for proper regulation. Treating them similarly to slot machines would solve most issues. However, bringing them out of the legal gray area and ensuring jurisdictions can collect taxes and enforce proper control. 

Pace-O-Matic case making history in Texas

As noted in another report, Fannin County District Judge Blake indicated her initial decision last month on the controversial products. Her ruling marks the first time a Texas judge has weighed in on the issue of whether such games/machines are legal, according to a Texas broadcast news station. Of course, as noted above, the ruling could impact other courts in Texas on similar cases. Moreover, the attorney representing the company, Brown, argued the games are skill-based and legal under Texas law. In some other counties, prosecutors and local police also have agreed the machines are legal. 

As referenced above, last year, Pennsylvania games of skill secured a major legal victory when the state’s Commonwealth Court upheld a lower county judge’s ruling. This concluded the terminals commonly found in restaurants, bars, convenience stores, and private clubs aren’t illegal gambling devices. The Commonwealth Court was reviewing an appeal of Dauphin County Judge Andrew Dowling’s conclusion reached in March. That found the skill games don’t violate the state’s Gaming Act or Crimes Code. Dowling ordered the skill-gaming machines state police previously confiscated to be returned, along with any cash seized from skill-gaming operations. Also, last year Virginia skill games once again became illegal after the state’s highest court issued a ruling overriding a lower court. 

Even more notes and info about Texas wagering

After you are all squared away regarding the latest news and notes coming from the world of Texas wagering, make sure to check out the wide variety of resources for you at SBS. Of course, for even more information on the topic at hand, our sports betting in Texas guide has you covered with all of the latest updates and rumblings from the state. On a separate note, if you are interested in maximizing your bets (and who isn’t), then make sure to check out the best bonus betting sites rundown. Here you can find a catalog of the latest and greatest welcome bonus offers available to you. Finally, for those on the go, the best betting apps breakdown is a must-read resource where you can learn more about the nuances of mobile betting and how you can always stay on top of the action. 

About the Author

Chris Boline

Chris Boline

As a devout aficionado of sports, Chris Boline has carved a career within the athletic realm. A skilled scribe, he boasts a decade-long portfolio that encompasses coverage of the NBA G League, the Los Angeles Chargers, football in the Mountain West Conference, and basketball.
Beyond his professional pursuits, Chris is deeply invested in his community and dedicates his leisure hours to serving on boards, collaborating with community organizations, and cherishing the company of loved ones.

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