Dallas To Consider Enabling Poker Rooms To Remain Classified As ‘Private Game Clubs’

A private game club means a private place that is only open to its members that primarily offers competitive gaming facilities

by - Thursday, December 14th, 2023 2:26

After years of debate and legal challenges, Dallas is exploring a path forward for local poker clubs. In 2019, the city granted a certificate of occupancy to its first legal poker room, Texas Card House, which was later revoked in 2021. The city also revoked the certificate for another local poker club, Shuffle 214, after they appealed to the city’s Board of Adjustment. The litigation between the city and the clubs is ongoing, with the city suing its own Board of Adjustment for abusing its power in restoring the clubs’ certificates.

In response to the ongoing legal battles, the city’s attorney’s office and Planning & Urban Design Department are investigating a potential new land use category for private game clubs, which could include poker clubs.

The proposed definition of a private game club would involve a single accessory use of games played with cards, dice, balls, or other gambling devices, as defined in the Texas Penal Code Chapter 47.

“A private game club means a private place that is only open to its members that primarily offers competitive gaming facilities including games of skill such as ax throwing, darts or shuffle board,” Bertram Vandenberg, interim chief of general counsel for the city attorney said. “Any games played with cards, dice, balls or any other gambling device as defined in the Texas Penal Code Chapter 47 are allowed only as a single accessory use.”

This new land use category could be presented to the Zoning Ordinance Advisory Committee (ZOAC) by January or February.

Council member Chad West asked city staff to look into the possibility of this new land use category in late January. West expressed concerns about the location of these clubs, suggesting that ZOAC could consider allowing them only in the city’s Central Business District. Texas Card House CEO Ryan Crow believes that there is an internal disagreement between City Council members and the city attorney’s office regarding the best course of action. Crow is open to finding a solution that satisfies both parties and hopes that the city presents a tenable proposal soon.

Natasha Lyndon

Natasha has a background in journalism and has worked with some of the biggest brands in iGaming and entertainment.