Legislation submitted in advance of the upcoming 2023 Texas legislature will seek to clarify the rules surrounding for-profit Texas poker clubs.
Bill HP 732, Sponsored by Representative Jin-Woo. The proposal comes along with a long-running effort to bring casinos and sports betting to the state.
Wu’s bill aims to address: “A law relating to the prosecution of the criminal offenses of gambling, holding a gambling venue, and possession of a gambling device, equipment, or paraphernalia.” The legislation will include the definition of a “private” gambling space.
“Each jurisdiction now has a different interpretation of what ‘private’ means,” Wu said. sbcamericas.com. “Literally, you can be in one county, which is perfectly legal, step across the line into another county, and now you’re a felon. And in a county like Harris County, where we have 28 different law enforcement jurisdictions, it can depend on who’s chief of police,” she said. He said. This is bad public policy. People should know if they are committing criminal acts or not. We have a whole series of Supreme Court cases about vagueness, about what the intent of the law is, and we shouldn’t impose laws that are too vague for people to follow. So this is where we are.”
Under Wu’s plan, the state’s 254 counties can choose how they want to organize their social poker clubs. Under the current system, many cities regulate poker.
According to the report, Wu said, “Whatever those regulations look like, I don’t care. Having 254 regulations is better than having thousands of regulations. Even worse is the current system where the legality of an action changes over management.”
The bill comes because some poker clubs have been forced to close under different rules in their regions. There are still dozens of card rooms in the bustling Texas poker market.
According to the bill: “Private dwelling means a dwelling that is not accessible to the public and excludes, among other places, streets, highways, restaurants, bars, nightclubs, schools, hospitals, common areas of residential homes, hotels, motels, office buildings, transportation facilities, and shops.”
The law, still in its early form, will not protect past wrongdoing.
The bill states that “changes in the law introduced by this law apply only to offenses committed on or after the effective date of this law.” “An offense committed prior to the effective date of this law is governed by the law in force on the date the offense was committed, and the previous law continues to be in force for this purpose. For the purposes of this section, an offense was committed prior to the effective date of this law if any element of the offense occurred prior to that date.”
If the law is enacted, it will take effect on September 1, 2023.