City to begin applying fees on eight-liner machines

Posted 6/9/20

The Madisonville City Council, during its regular meeting Monday, voted to begin charging operators of the so-called “eight liners,” a type of slot machine, $15 annually for a city permit authorizing their use.

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City to begin applying fees on eight-liner machines

Posted

The Madisonville City Council, during its regular meeting Monday, voted to begin charging operators of the so-called “eight liners,” a type of slot machine, $15 annually for a city permit authorizing their use.

“It would apply to any machine like a gaming machine where the player gets a reward,” Madisonville Police Chief Herbert Gilbert to council members. “They already need a state sticker.”

Gilbert said officers visited many locations offering eight liners to check for the required state permit.

“To my surprise, they were already in order with the state,” he said, later suggesting that perhaps the operators will comply with city permitting as well. Local permitting would help the city get an accurate count of the number of eight liners in the city, as well as giving law enforcement a tool to help ensure there are no offered cash payouts, which would violate Texas anti-gambling laws.

According to the Texas State Law Library, Texas law forbids gambling devices, such as eight-liners, from awarding cash prizes. “However, there is a part of the law — commonly referred to as the "fuzzy animal" exception —that allows operators to award prizes that are worth less than $5.”

Gilbert said he has heard of violations of this law.

“We’ve had reports of pretty much high-level gambling at times,” Gilbert said. “There are a lot of people throwing their money away.”

The city’s permit stickers are in the development stage, he said. The permit fee was set by statute.

“The state can only charge $50 a year (for a permit) and we can only charge a quarter of that, or $15,” Gilbert said.

The ordinance allowing the permits was already on the books, approved by an earlier city council.

Also during Monday’s meeting, organizers of a planned June 20 march that will serve as an alternate to the traditional Juneteenth parade made steps toward city approval.

April Ford, one of the organizers, said the march – which also intends to acknowledge current protests against police violence – will begin downtown, go around the square and eventually end at the Juneteenth Center at 113 W. Trinity St. Organizers expect between 100 and 150 participants.

After presenting to city council, Mayor Bill Parten directed the organizers to work with City Manager Camilla Viator to make application for a permit.

“Personally, I think this is a very good thing,” Parten told organizers. Viator said TxDOT has already agreed to let the march occur on State Highway 21.

Traditional Juneteenth parades and other ceremonies have been cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, so Ford said the June 20 march would be in lieu of those as well as recognizing the nationwide protests and more.

“Love is the ultimate message for it all,” she said.

During his departmental report to council Monday, Director of Public Works Kevin Story said the department plans to open the Splash Pad at Lake Madison Park on Tuesday. The attraction will have some new features, such as a tidal bucket and expanded canopied areas.

Story also took a moment during the meeting to recognize the work of employees of the Public Works Department during the pandemic.

“I’m not taking anything away from the police, medical workers or first responders, but I’ve got 14 other heroes in the back,” he told council members. During the lockdown, he said, no employees missed work and responded to every water leak or other need as usual.

“Camilla asked (what would happen) if (public works employees) got coronavirus. Well, we’re going to go out and fix water leaks with coronavirus.”

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