Texas Poker Room Ordered To Fold

Written By Nicholaus Garcia on February 8, 2022
A Poker Room In Texas Plans To Fall

Mear months after receiving city approval to operate, a Texas card room is being ordered to fold. 

Ryan Crow, CEO of the Texas Card House, received a letter stating his permit to operate in Dallas, Texas, had been revoked by city attorney Chris Caso.

 Is poker legal in Texas?

For those who aren’t quite sure, poker rooms in Texas operate in a grey area.

Chapter 47 of the Texas Penal code states:

“It is a defense to prosecution” if “the actor engaged in gambling in a private place [which includes a club]; no person received any economic benefit other than personal winnings; [and] except for the advantage of skill or luck, the risks of losing and the chances of winning were the same for all.”

In simplistic terms, Texas poker rooms are not allowed to operate as “the house,” much like traditional casinos. Card Clubs like Crow’s instead charge players by the hour to be present at the venue. 

At the Texas Card House, players are charged $13 an hour to sit at a table. 

In recent years, poker rooms have popped up all over the Lone Star state, including Austin, Houston, San Antonio, and Lubbock. However, the legality of each room would be on a case-by-case basis.

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Is this the end for Dallas poker rooms?

Crow told CBS-11 he spent a couple of years searching for a proper location to establish his poker empire. 

“We spent about 2-and-a-half years trying to find a location that we could open that the city approved of,” Crow said. 

City councilman Omar Narvaez, who represents the neighborhood Crow operates in, had this to say:

“I think it’s unfair that all of the sudden all of these COs (certificates of occupancy) for all these card rooms have suddenly been revoked. Unfortunately our city attorney has decided to change the idea of what he believes constitutes card rules according to the law.”

Crow and the other owners of the business plan to appeal the decision. 

Are there any legal options for Texans?

Fortunately for those wanting to play a hand of legal poker, there is one option available in the state. However, customers would need to travel down to the Rio Grande border near Mexico. 

The Kickapoo Lucky Eagle Casino, on the Kickapoo reservation, is the only legal casino in Texas

Photo by Gelner Tivadar / Shutterstock.com
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Nicholaus Garcia

Nick has had stints in Chicago and Washington, D.C., writing about politics, financial markets, and sports betting. He graduated from Texas Tech University and completed his master's degree in journalism at Columbia College Chicago.

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