So called “eight-liner” machines that look like casino slot machines are popular but controversial in many North Texas convenient stores.
Over the years North Texas authorities have publicized eight-liner raids and seizures.
Dallas Councilman Rick Callahan wants to know why it hasn’t happened lately in his Pleasant Grove area.
“This is really in effect a scourge in my part of town because these people have got anywhere from three to 10, 11, 12 machines in convenient stores,” Callahan said.
Callahan said the strip center at the southwest corner of Scyene Road and Jim Miller Road is an example of what he calls ‘Mini-Casinos’ springing up around Dallas.
Two businesses there had eight machines each Thursday, and clerks at a third business said a row of the machines had just been moved to another location.
Callahan complained to city officials this week about an overall lack of code enforcement in Pleasant Grove, which he claims reduces the quality of life.
“It just holds my area back and I want my area to flourish,” Callahan said.
Past seizures of the machines were the result of cash prizes or excessive profit to the stores.
“It’s difficult to enforce and it’s expensive to enforce,” said Pete Schulte, a criminal defense attorney.
Schulte, a former assistant district attorney and police officer, said he has prosecuted and defended eight liner cases.
“On the criminal side it’s very difficult to prove promotion of gambling so what ends up happening, these cases usually get reduced down to the equivalent of a traffic ticket as long as the owner of the machines forfeits them,” Schulte said. “It all gets determined by how much the prize is worth. If they’re less than 50 bucks, you’re not going to get into an issue.”
But Schulte said the players are often losers.
“They’re doing it because they want to win money. They’re not doing it for pure entertainment value.
And that’s really the focus of the gambling laws is to prevent people from being taken by these type of machines,” Schulte said.
Clerks at the businesses declined to be interviewed Thursday but pointed to signs saying eight-liner prizes are only store credit. They denied anything illegal is happening there. Customers who also declined to give their names said they consider the machines harmless fun.
“Well it’s not OK to me because until casino gambling is approved in the State of Texas, then I don’t think we should have these machines,” Callahan said.