Game Room Defense
Houston Game Room Attorneys :: The Law Office of Matthew D. Sharp
If you’re a game room operator in Texas, you will at some point experience some legal challenges. Texas is notorious for its heavy-handed approach in enforcing its gambling laws to the point of sometimes challenging the federal government’s policies.
It has strict laws in place to regulate card games like poker and blackjack as well as slot machines. In that regard, you could be operating in a legal gray zone without even realizing it. The Law Office of Matthew D. Sharp explores some important regulations on illegal gambling and looks at ways of navigating any potential legal landmines.
Texas Game Room Regulations
Chapter 47 of the Texas Penal Code lays out in detail laws that regulate gambling. It’s illegal under the law to:
- Bet on the outcome of a game, contest or performance of a participant in such events. It is also an offense to profit from such an activity. Such offenses are treated as Class C misdemeanors.
- Operate a gaming room or engage in bookmaking for profit. It is also illegal to possess any item of value offered in a bet, promote a game or contest and offer to sell chances on the outcome of such events with the aim of making profits. Such crimes are labeled Class A misdemeanors.
- Use or allow another person to use your premises for gambling with the aim of making economic gains. This is a Class A misdemeanor.
- Use a communication device to transmit betting odds and gambling results. It is also a crime to own or possess such a device. This offense is treated as a Class A misdemeanor.
You should also be aware that operating without a game room permit could see you slapped with a fine of up to $10,000 per violation, with each day of illegal operation being counted as a separate violation.
Defenses Against Gambling Laws
With the aid of a qualified illegal gambling attorney, it’s possible to defend yourself against criminal charges related to gambling. For the above regulations, here are some defenses that can get you off the hook:
- You can prove that gambling occurred in a private place and that no participant made profits from it other than personal winnings.
- You can show that other than individual skill and luck, every player had an equal chance at winning.
- The gambling activity that took place was authorized by the State Lottery Act or permitted under the Texas Racing Act.
- Any device used for gambling was intended to be used in a private set up and the person involved in its handling did not make an economic gain.
- Any gambling device or equipment in your possession was held with the sole intention of being transported to a jurisdiction where the ownership and use of such equipment are legal.
Contact an Experienced Houston Game Room Attorney
Are you facing gambling-related charges? Matthew Sharp is an experienced game room attorney who has fought charges against game room owners, especially poker room owners.
Matthew Sharp and his team have not only thoroughly studied the Texas Penal Code but have also been involved in game room cases several times. This gives them a unique insight into cases so that they can leverage the law in your favor. To learn more about your case and how The Law Office of Matthew D. Sharp can help you win it, do not hesitate to call us at 713-999-4634.