Craig Eiland is asking Attorney General Abbott’s opinion about whether a constituent — not Tilman Fertitta, Eiland says — can host card games at a resort. Here’s how the card room would work: The resort would provide the physical space of a card room and the dealers for the players. Dealers would not be paid out of any resort funds, but would be encouraged to tip dealers at their own discretion. Overnight guests in the hotel would not be charged for playing in the game, but for others the hotel could charge a “modest” fee of $25 to $40. Players could choose the nature of the game — limit or no limit. The resort would not make a profit. It would provide soft drinks and appetizers. No alcoholic beverages would be served but players could bring their own alcoholic beverages, unless doing so would result in a ruling against the card room. [The opinion request continues] The law provides that a person commits an offense if he knowingly uses or permits another to person to use as a gambling place any property under his use or control, or rents such property with the expectation that it should be so used. However, Eiland points out, It is an affirmative defense if the gambling occurred in a private place; if no person received any economic benefit except for personal winnings; and if, except for skill or luck. the risks of losing and the chances of winning are the same for all participants. * * * * There was a previous effort to legalize poker parlors in Texas, and my recollection is that Perry killed it. Personally, I see nothing wrong with card games that are professionally run — I play tournament bridge myself, though not for money. But I wouldn’t last five minutes at a poker table.
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