The Titus County Sheriff’s Office executed a search warrant Friday at Star Mart convenience store located at the intersection of Highway 49 and FM 1735 in Mount Pleasant, Titus County, Texas to search for and seize gambling devices or equipment, and implements or instruments used in the commission of the crime, namely gambling promotion, and keeping a gambling place.
This investigation began when Sheriff Ingram received a complaint of illegal gambling occurring at the Star Mart by the use of 8 liners. The complaint alleged that large amounts of cash were being paid to winners. An undercover deputy was sent into the Star Mart and found that they were in fact operating 8 liners in the business and were not following State law. They were paying out cash prizes thus making the 8 liner machines illegal gambling devices and illegal to use in the State of Texas. Store co-owner/operator Moiz M Budhwani was arrested for violation of the Texas Penal Code Section 47.04 Keeping a Gambling Place
An eight liner machine is an electronic gaming machine that resembles a slot machine. Depending on the type of machine, a player “wins” if a horizontal, vertical, or diagonal row of object line up. The machines now come in multiple variants and can include video reel, video keno, video bingo games, and many others. The cost to play a machine, as well as the prize for winning, varies. Over the last ten years, many Texas cities and counties have seen a massive proliferation of gaming parlors that feature these machines.
Prior to 1993, Section 47.01 of the Texas Penal Code clearly prohibited any game of chance that “for consideration affords the player anything of value.” In 1993, the Legislature amended this statute by adding Section 47.01(4)(B). That amendment relaxed the previous standard by making legal:
Any electronic, electromechanical, or mechanical contrivance designed, made, and adapted solely for bona fide amusement purposes if the contrivance rewards the player exclusively with noncash merchandise prizes, toys, or novelties, or a representation of value redeemable for those items, that have a wholesale value available from a single play of the game or device of not more than 10 times the amount charged to play the game or device once or $5, whichever is less.