The TCH Dallas Court’s Upcoming Ruling May Impact the Future of Texas Poker

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In March, Texas Card House Dallas won a crucial appeal with the city Fit advice after the revocation of the poker room occupancy certificate. But six months later and CEO Ryan Crow and his team are still waging a legal battle that could soon put the Lone Star State poker clubs on notice.

A summary judgment in a lawsuit involving two opposing groups of city officials was set to be released on Wednesday, but the judge ruled the case would go to trial instead. Raven said PokerNews a trial date has not been set, but expects it “to be in a few weeks and I should know more in a few days.”

Only the media and lawyers will be allowed to attend, which means there will be no jury and it will be up to the judge to decide the outcome of the case. Crow said he hoped local Dallas media would show up to cover the trial.

One way or another, Crow predicts that this case will eventually end up in the Texas Supreme Court. If the city’s top building inspection official, David Session, wins a lawsuit he filed against the Dallas Board of Adjustment, the card room owner will be ready to appeal. If the reverse happens, and Crow is confident it will, he thinks the opposition will continue their fight down the legal chain, “without a doubt.”

How the poker room ended up in a legal battle

In the state of Texas, gambling is illegal, but there’s a loophole in Texas Penal Code 47.04which allows poker clubs to operate as long as there is no “economic profit other than personal gain” from the games.

One way to ensure that a poker business in the Lone Star State is operating illegally is to remove rake from cash game pots. So halls across the state operate as social clubs and earn their money by charging membership and seat fees instead of collecting rakes. Still, there are lawmakers in Texas who argue that card rooms such as Texas Card House, which operates four poker clubs across the state, receive an “economic benefit” even if rake isn’t part of the model. commercial.

This is precisely why some politicians, not just in Dallas, have continually fought to shut down poker rooms. At TCH Dallas, city building officials approved Crow’s social poker club business model in 2020, and he’s stuck to that business plan ever since. The following summer, however, some residents objected to the opening of another card room in Dallas, which later caused city officials to reconsider their views on the legality of poker in Texas.

In January 2022, the Crow poker club has been hit with a certificate of occupancy revocation. He kept the room in business while filing an appeal, which he won in March. But that wasn’t the end of his legal battle with the city as Session then filed a lawsuit against the board of fit.

“The decision of the Defendant’s Board of Adjustment was unlawful and constituted an abuse of power because the Board of Adjustment acted arbitrarily, unreasonably and without reference to guiding principles,” the lawsuit said.

Texas poker player Peter Kim shared a video of the March vote (see below), which ended 5-0 in favor of Texas Card House.

Impact on all Texas poker rooms

Poker has exploded in Texas in recent years, and rooms across the state are popping up every month. Even poker pros like Doug Polk and vloggers Andrew Neeme and Brad Owen got into the business. The trio has The Lodge Card Club near Austin, the largest hall in the state.

Despite the tax revenue the state collects from dozens of poker clubs across Texas, there are those in power who want them gone. The ongoing lawsuit against Texas Card House Dallas could potentially have a negative effect on poker in Texas, Crow acknowledges.

If the City of Dallas were to take this case to the Texas Supreme Court and win, it would set a legal precedent for poker in Texas. Right now the law is open to interpretation, but an unfavorable ruling against Texas Card House would make poker illegal in Texas, as Crow explained, and it could mean that rooms across the state would eventually be shut down. .

That said, the poker room owner is confident in the case his lawyers have presented and thinks he’ll come out on the safe side of this decision when all is said and done.