- Legal States
Fiona Simmons March 14, 2023 3 min read
Texas Poker Rooms Branded as Organized Crime in New Lawsuit
The lawsuit alleges that poker rooms located in West Texas are forms of public nuisance and operate as organized criminal groups
A recent report by The San Antonio Express-News found out that Chicago-based lawyer Mark Lavery has decided to go after card rooms, challenging what he considers to be their illegitimate operations. He is mostly going after the properties in his area, including the Card House in San Antonio, which are part of a larger trend in the state.
Dealing Away with Card Room’s “Illegal” Status
Card rooms, Lavery contends in his lawsuit, are mostly relying on gray area legislation which does not quite clear them to operate as a legitimate business but, then again, it doesn’t stop them completely. That is unless Lavery’s lawsuit succeeds.
The lawyer wants to challenge the Texas Penal Code’s Chapter 47, which allows some wiggle room for interpretation in cases when these types of games are taking place in “private spaces.” But what has been an exemption for games held between friends at home, is now quickly turning into an excuse to launch card rooms in Lubbock, Dallas, Austin, Houston, San Antoni and well across the state, argues Lavery.
The card rooms too are clever about their business. They do not charge rakes from the pot, which would be far more lucrative but also put them in the cross-hairs of authorities. Rather, they ask for an entry fee, and let players to their own devices. Of course, not everyone disagrees. Hosting such card rooms has been somewhat beneficial to the state as well.
An otherwise black market has now dipped its toe into the light, and the clubs themselves are keen to pay taxes lest authorities shut them down.
More Bad Than Good Comes of Gambling
Yet, Lavery remains adamant that the evil that comes out of these establishments far outweighs any perceived good. He contended that unregulated gambling could lead to serious problems, such as gambling disorder, breaking up relationships, or even suicide, explaining:
The public nuisance also harms loved ones, like Plaintiff, who are survivors of suicide by loved ones or are harmed by dealing with financial problems of loved ones exploited by criminal gambling like this one.Mark Lavery
Lavery has been very consistent in his objection to gambling. Texas, a state that is shy about undertaking any legalization attempts has seen the Chicago lawyer take on various forms of gambling entertainment, including but not limited to fantasy sports betting, sports betting, and other forms of the industry. He has most recently objected to lobbying attempts by Las Vegas companies to build a casino resort in the Lone Star State.
Although Fiona doesn't have a long-spanning background within the gambling industry, she is an incredibly skilled journalist who has built a strong interest in the constantly growing iGaming network. The team at GamblingNews.com is glad to have her on our roster to help deliver the best stories as soon as they hit. Aside from writing, she loves to dabble in online casino games such as slots and roulette, both for her own enjoyment and also as research to better improve her understanding of the industry.
Poker March 14, 2023