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Refugio County leaders: eight-liner machine owners will comply with law

By Keldy Ortiz
April 5, 2013 at 6:04 p.m.
Updated April 4, 2013 at 11:05 p.m.

An eight-liner machine at 5 Star Gameroom in Refugio. The machine was the topic of discussion in a  Friday morning workshop during the Refugio County Commissioners Court. The discussion centered around making sure the game rooms in the county are  in compliance with Texas law, which prevents using the machines for illegal purposes.

Refugio County Commissioners on Friday assured community members that eight-liner machine owners in the county will comply with state law.

At a special meeting, county leaders said that in some towns, proprietors are using cash to reward winners of eight-liner machines instead of noncash merchandise prizes and novelties that state law allows, said Refugio County Judge Rene Mascorro. Proprietors also violate the law when they exceed the legal standard for a payout.

"We want proprietors of the game rooms to make sure they follow state law," Mascorro said.

He said eight-liner machines - which resemble a video slot machine in a casino - are designed for amusement, are in several game rooms in Refugio County and can operate so long as money is not being given to winners.

Precinct 1 Commissioner Ann Lopez said Friday's meeting was a start to letting the community know what's going on.

"We're not here to punish anyone," said Lopez. "We're here to enforce the law. Some people do use it for entertainment."

Members of the community have raised concerns about eight-liners being used illegally, Mascorro said. While he said he could not ban the machines, he wanted the community to know game room owners will follow the law.

Mark Blaschke, 53, of Woodsboro, agreed game rooms should not be outside the law. He said he's heard people are playing the machines and being rewarded illegally.

"If they work within the law, that's fine," Blaschke said. "That's all we're asking. I don't want them to work outside the law."

Refugio Police Chief Andy Lopez Jr. said he is aware of the concerns and is looking into those matters.

"We do spot checks," he said. "We're always walking into those game rooms. If there is an allegation, we have to substantiate it. It's like any crime."

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