Dallas Official Sues Civic Agency for Allowing Poker Club to Remain Open

08:12
10 May

A Dallas public official is suing a civic agency for allowing Texas Card House to remain open after the city attempted to shut down the poker room. David Session, the city’s interim building official, filed a petition against a city board of adjustment to reverse a March ruling that allows the club to stay open after local government decried all such businesses as illegal.

Previously, all poker clubs in Dallas had been given permission to operate but the tide looks to be turning throughout the Lone Star State with many officials and law enforcement disagreeing with this interpretation of the law.

“Defendant Board of Adjustment’s decision was illegal and constituted an abuse of discretion because the Board of Adjustment acted arbitrarily, unreasonably, and without reference to guiding principles.” Andy Messer and Tom Brandt, attorneys representing Session, refused to comment last week, as did Dave Neumann, chairman of the Board of Adjustment.

Is Gambling Illegal in Texas?

On the whole, gambling is viewed as illegal in the state of Texas, but with one provision which has allowed the live poker club scene to flourish in recent years.

Card games that take place in a private place, and don’t pay any economic benefit to the host or players other than winnings, were previously said to be operating within the law. All players must have an equal chance of winning, with the exception of luck, giving poker free rein under these terms.

The clubs all appear to operate under the model of charging membership or access fees to complement profits from food and beverage sales with tips not covered under any legislation.

The issue that has caused this murky legal situation is the ambiguity over who can receive economic benefit from the poker games.

Everything was going swimmingly well for the poker clubs until residents in north Dallas protested against plans for a new club to open in the neighbourhood. Dallas officials reexamined the legislation and did an about-turn claiming they misunderstood the rules previously.

Some poker clubs in Dallas have now had residency certificates revoked and new clubs wanting to open for business are having their bids rejected. Currently, there are three ongoing lawsuits in Dallas County District Court challenging this new interpretation of the law.

It is unclear what the prospects live poker clubs in Dallas have for the future. Texas Card House might have kept its certificate of occupancy but Champions Club and Dallas Poker Club lost their appeals.

We await news on how Texas Card House gets on in its fight against the city of Dallas.

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