“Eight-liners that provide cash prizes are against the law, and the law needs to be enforced,” [State Sen. Dan] Patrick said in a statement. “Without oversight, illegal game rooms become hot spots for crime.”
Patrick noted that there have been a number of shootings in and outside of game rooms recently.
“The state cannot just look the other way anymore,” he said. “The law must be enforced.”
[State Rep. Patricia] Harless, who authored a failed bill in 2009 on illegal eight-liners, agreed officials shouldn’t effectively sanction illegal activity by collecting a fee without making sure the businesses operate within the law. “They shouldn’t be able to collect a fee on something that is considered illegal,” she said.
But Harless said there hasn’t been much of an appetite for tougher eight-liner-related legislation in recent sessions of the Legislature. “It’s not a very popular concept,” she said. Too many businesses with legitimate games could be affected if lawmakers pass a measure, she said.
Again, I pronounce myself largely agnostic on the issue. I will say, however, that given the counties’ concerns about the cost of enforcing the anti-eight-liner laws, legislators who are unhappy with their lack of action ought to pony up the resources to help them do something about it. Otherwise, Patrick and Harless ought to accept the fact that they’re just prioritizing and making decisions based on their capacity.