orangeleader.com (Orange, Texas)

November 25, 2012

Vidor proposes regulations for ‘amusement redemption machines’

Tommy Mann Jr.
The Orange Leader

VIDOR — The City of Vidor is taking a new approach to the constant battle against 8-Liner machines.

Vidor city councilmembers recently held the first reading of an ordinance which would allow the city to regulate coin-operated machines, such as 8-Liners, and businesses that provide these type of machines. Lorrie Taylor, finance director and interim city manager for the City of Vidor, said public safety is a big concern with these establishments.

“We are very concerned about the safety of our citizens in many of these places,” Taylor said. “A lot of these places require you to have a pass code to get into and there is usually just one entrance and exit or the fire exit is locked. We want to make sure there are no safety hazards and no fire hazards.”

In order to regulate these coin-operated machines more effectively, the City of Vidor will enforce a license fee for each machine as well as a tax permit fee. The license fee is $800 per machine for each game room on an annual basis, as well as a $15 permit fee each year.

Taylor said several other cities in Texas, such as Raymondville, Sinton, and San Benito, already have similar ordinances.

“We don’t to place this burden of regulating these businesses on the tax-payers,” Taylor explained.

The proposed penalty for ordinance violations would be a misdemeanor with a fine not to exceed $500 per machine per violation for each day the violation occurs. The city may also revoke the license or permit of any person after providing 10 days notice of a hearing and conducting the hearing to determine whether the license should be revoked due to the ordinance violation.

There is also a $25 per machine non-payment fee for the release of any machine which has been sealed as a result of no permit being issued.

Redemption machine applications are available at City Hall, 1395 N. Main St. in Vidor.

Typical information such as a copy of the certificate of formation for the business, names and general info of all people who own 25 percent or more of the game room, as well as corporate officers, property owner, general and limited partners and managers. Background checks will also be conducted on all individuals listed on application.

Also to be included in application are serial numbers of each machine, as well as total number of machines located in the game room. A diagram must also be included of the building, which shows the location of all amusement redemption machines as well as exit doors and signs.

A second reading of the proposed ordinance will be held at the next city council meeting, which is scheduled for Thursday, Dec. 13 at Vidor City Hall.