Crackdown on game room gambling pending city council vote

The Beaumont City Council could soon pass an ordinance to fight illegal gambling linked to the gaming machines known as 8-liners.

If passed, some of the new rules would require any business operating an 8-liner to face harsher zoning laws, permitting requirements and must provide access to law enforcement.

A majority of the 40 or so operating "game rooms" in Beaumont that house 8-liners, operate as private clubs. The businesses keep their doors locked during the day and only allowing patrons on their list inside, keeping law enforcement out.

Senior Assistant City Attorney Sharae Reed said that's the main reason the ordinance should be considered.

"This ordinance was brought to our attention by the police department," Reed said. "We thought it would be a successful tool for them, it's not meant to criminalize a business, it's meant to legitimize existing businesses."

Jake Plaia is the owner of Plaia's Inc. which operates and leases 8-liners to bars and convenience stores that legally operate them. Plaia said this ordinance would discourage those owners from using his machines, even though they wouldn't't be used in game rooms.

"It would require them to get a permit from the city and be subjugated to the same rules of a game room, one or two games does not make it a game room," Plaia said.

The Beaumont City Council is expected to vote on the ordinance in the next couple of weeks.


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