Legal Gambling in East Texas
Gambling is illegal in Texas, but there are exceptions.
Many "game rooms" have popped up in East Texas. These consist of electronic machines that work very much like a slot machine. To operate them legally, cash can not be paid out as a prize. There must an alternative prize that is not cash. According to legalbeagle.com, "under state law, the value of non-cash prizes can't exceed $5." There are several other loopholes in Texas' gambling laws that many have taken advantage of.
But other legal gambling has popped up in the state. These are "social clubs" where you pay a membership fee (it can be daily, monthly or yearly) and pay hourly rent on your seat to play card games. The games must be rake free nor can anyone accept a cash tip. Examples of these clubs are Texas Card House, Alamo Card House or House of Cards. One such card playing club has opened in East Texas, Tilt Poker Room in Flint.
Justin Allen and Connor Vrba opened Tilt Poker Room in Flint close to the end of last year according to the Tyler Morning Telegraph. Safety is their main concern. There is a security camera in place along with an armed guard on duty and no alcohol is allowed. So once again, how is this legal?
According to statelaws.findlaw.com, "gambling must be done in a private place, the only person to receive any economic benefit must be winner of the bet, and the chances of winning and losing must be even between all participants (except for individual skill and luck)."
Their poker room works as described above as far as the membership fees and seat rental. In their case, a minimum buy-in of $100 is required to join a game that must be paid up front. They can accommodate up to 54 players at a time.
The only game available as of now is Texas Hold 'Em, but owners Allen and Vrba are open to other card games if enough players can join in.
I am a huge fan of playing Texas Hold 'Em and would love to check this out. If I do, I'll let you know what I think about the experience. For anyone else who loves playing the game, give Tilt Poker Room a try.
They are located at 10972 County Road 140 in Flint. You can also find out more at tiltpokerroom.com.