County Commissioners Begin Discussion on Future of Game Rooms

County Commissioners met Monday morning to begin the process for the decision-making of the future of game rooms.
The numerous game rooms we see within the county could soon see a major change. This, after new legislation allows local government to enforce more restrictions to this type of business.

“We here, and the five of you are at the ground floor of something very important in eradicating crime” says John Griffin, who spoke ot the commissioners advocating for the Victoria Bingo Non-Profit Trust.

As of last month, Governor Greg Abbott signed laws to give counties more of a say in how game rooms are regulated.

According to “Local Government Code Section 234”, Commissioners can:

1. Restrict location of game room to specified areas

2. Prohibit game rooms within certain distances of schools, churches or residential neighborhoods

3. Restrict number of game rooms

“We need to answer; ‘is our goal to have no more game rooms in Victoria County is that the goal to run them out of town completely?’ Or to have them somewhere in between the continuum of options?” says County Judge Ben Zeller.

The city of Victoria already has an ordinance in place, which dropped the number of game rooms within city limits from 20 to 2 in early 2019. Now, commissioners suggests those businesses only moved out to the county limits.

“We’re certainly going to continue to include the district attorney, the sheriff’s office, expert legal council in this so everybody will have a seat at the table as we head the same direction in curtailing these illegal game rooms in the county.” adds Zeller.

Law enforcement says illegal activities have caused an outbreak of problems for those running legal game rooms.

“We have grave concerns about the game rooms, so we’re in favor of action, we just need to work out the logistics.” says Victoria Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy Royd Boyd.

As of now, no ordinance has been made, but this discussion has marked the beginning of that process that County Judge Ben Zeller adds will hopefully move rapidly.

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