Several months since it got an operating license from city officials, Texas Card House has been notified to stop operations. The poker room CEO Ryan Crow talked to KTVT, an affiliate of CBS, confirming that he had received a letter directing him to close the poker room.
Omar Narvaez, a city councilman and supporter of the poker room and neighborhood, quoted Dallas City Attorney Chris Caso. He said that the attorney had changed his view of what described card rules according to the law.
While there are two other poker rooms in Dallas, it is still unclear whether they received notices to halt operations.
No Hold’em Games in Texas
While Texas has lent its name to one of the most popular poker variants, the state behaves like blood and water with the poker game. Texas hold’em was pioneered by Doyle Brunson, Johnny Moss, Amarillo Slim Preston, and other Texas road gamblers. Yet, it has been challenging to get this variant in the state.
Coincidentally, it had been challenging to take Omaha poker variants in Omaha, Nebraska. Fortunately, the state is working on it.
For a long time, players in Texas could only play at Kickapoo Lucky Eagle Casino. It is close to the Rio Grande border and the only legal casino in the state until the other two tribes work on more casinos.
For the past few years, several poker rooms have been launched in Dallas, Austin, Houston, Lubbock, and San Antonio. While the poker room operators believe they operate in a gray area, Texas Card House thought it was in the clear.
Crow told KTVT that he had met with city officials many times in 2020 before they could approve his business. Crow noted that he had spent over 21/2 years finding a location the city officials could authorize.
Operating on a Gray Area of the Law
Chapter 47 of the Texas Penal Code indicates that people can gamble privately, including a club. Someone could use this defense if they did not receive economic benefits other than personal earnings. Also, a person can win if they used their skills and luck and that it was 50/50 to lose or win.
Card clubs use this loophole to offer gambling services. The Texas Card House argues that it does not act as the house and thus does not infringe the law. The club charges players per hour to play poker games.
‘Some Hidden Agenda’
In July last year, Cara Mendelsohn spoke to Spectrum News. She is a Dallas City Councilwoman. She expressed her interest in becoming the City Attorney to look at the legal position of poker clubs in Dallas.
Mendelsohn noted that somebody was making money from the whole issue. She confirmed she was not an attorney but expressed her understanding over the entire situation that some people were making money off of poker. She noted it could be in alcohol sales, food sales, renting a chair, and others as means to make money off of poker.
She continued to say that it was not illegal for a poker game to happen in somebody’s home because only players make money off it. Meanwhile, Crow plans to appeal the decision saying that Texans would always play poker.
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