Texas Legislator Wants To Empower Each County To Decide On Poker Legislation

Last Updated on December 6, 2022 Author:Juan Blanco

Democratic Rep. Gene Wu and PokerSummary

  • Texas Rep. Gene Wu’s House Bill 732 seeks to amend Texas Penal Code 47.04
  • He clarified he isn’t pushing for a poker ban, contrary to what was being suggested in media reports
  • Wu says his primary goal is to allow each county to determine the legality of poker

A Texas lawmaker who recently put forward a Bill regarding the operation of poker rooms in The Lone Star State has made it clear he isn’t pushing for those establishments to be shut down.

Democratic Rep. Gene Wu, who represents District 137, admitted he made a mistake in the filing of HB 732 and is now considering resubmitting a bill to rectify the errors.

HB 732 Not Meant to Ban Poker

Under Texas Penal Code 47.04, gambling is allowed only if it is held in a “private place”. Since collecting rake is illegal in the state, card rooms adopt a club membership model whereby customers are charged membership fees or seat fees to be able to play. Poker room owners have been following this setup ever since, allowing them to operate “legally”.

However, the “private place” provision in the law has been continuously debated up to this day, with some believing that poker clubs are violating the rules.

Wu aims to address this by replacing “place” with “residence”, which essentially puts existing card rooms throughout the state at risk of being closed down. This has been the main subject of media reports over the past few days, and now Wu has clarified it wasn’t his intention to prohibit poker in Texas. He also didn’t blame the media for drawing such a conclusion as they were merely basing their reporting on the Bill that was filed.

Each County Must Decide on Poker Regulation

Wu said his main goal for tabling HB 732 is to enable individual counties to decide whether or not poker should be made legal in their respective jurisdictions. The Bill would also make sure extensive background checks are carried out on poker room operators by counties that choose to regulate the game. Card rooms could continue to run as social clubs, and collecting rake would remain illegal.

Wu reiterates that he is in favor of a comprehensive legalization of gambling across the state, though he also acknowledged that would be hard to achieve as Texas has generally been opposed to gambling.

Meanwhile, Wu’s Bill could prove irrelevant if the ongoing legal battle between the Texas Card House and the city of Dallas reaches the Texas Supreme Court. The state’s highest court has the power to ultimately decide whether or not poker is legal in Texas regardless of the business model being followed.

Juan Blanco

Juan Blanco


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Juan es uno de nuestros redactores principales de Póker de nuestra página en español para usuarios tanto de España como de Latinoamérica. De la misma manera, colabora con nuestra web en inglés, redactando diferentes noticias relacionadas con el sector del póker para lectores de Estados Unidos, Reino Unido, Canadá o Australia.

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