Monday, April 2, 2007

Public Hearing On Poker Bill Tommorrow

Bill Would Allow Live Poker to Be Played in Texas

A bill that would allow poker to be played publicly in Texas will have a public hearing in Austin tomorrow. The bill is currently in the Texas House Licensing and Administrative Procedures Committee, which will decide whether to move it forward or kill it.

The bill, sponsored by Democrat Representative Jose Menendez of San Antonio, would allow poker to be spread by licensed public establishments, would regulate the game to ensure public safety and fairness, and would officially recognize poker as a game of skill in Texas.

If the bill makes it through committee and eventually receives enough votes to make it a law, two types of poker licenses would be made available: charitable and commercial. Also, an operation license assigned to the building would be needed to legally hold both commercial and charity poker games.

A commercial operator would be allowed to have only four tables at a time. Pari-mutuel establishments would be allowed to have more, but the exact number hasn’t been decided yet. The bill would also allow electronic poker tables, such as the PokerPro touch-screen table, to be set up.

The bill would allow tournaments up to $100 (with a $30 fee). Table stakes will be established by each individual operator.

The game would of course be taxed in Texas, with 50 percent of the tax dollars going directly to municipalities, counties, and nonprofit organizations that provide benefits to the homeless population. This includes sheltering services, medical care, and renovating existing shelters.

The public hearing takes place sometime after noon tomorrow (April 3), in the Licensing and Administrative Procedures room E2.156. Depending on the public witnesses and how the hearing goes, the committee could move the bill forward, kill it, or do nothing tomorrow.


2007-05-14: Legislative Technicality Kills Texas Poker Bill (Haley Hintze, PokerWire)

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