• 57°

Nederland council says no to poker club operation

NEDERLAND — Interests behind a private poker club failed to secure the support needed for operation in Nederland, ultimately leading to a losing hand for the business.

Nederland City Council members voted unanimously this week to deny a Specific Use Permit requested by LNT Entertainment Company to operate at 3503 Nederland Ave., near 35th Street neighborhood residents.

City Manager Christopher Duque recommended denying the request before the Council took its vote Monday afternoon.

Duque said a public hearing on Oct. 14 concluded with the overwhelming majority of comments expressing concerns and disapproval with the proposed business, especially near a neighborhood.

The Nederland Planning and Zoning Commission met the day after and also recommended denying the special use request.

The poker club needed the Council to grant a Specific Use Permit because Nederland ordinances do not list poker clubs as an approved business model within city limits.

Following this week’s vote, Mayor Don Albanese asked if anyone from the poker club was in attendance. No one responded.

Attempts to reach Lane Helveston, owner of Texas Poker Club in Beaumont, for comment were unsuccessful.

Helveston previously told The News that his poker club in Beaumont, with an atmosphere he hopes to replicate in Nederland, runs like a casual gathering of friends and not a casino.

Although gambling is not allowed in Texas, private poker clubs operate with location owners profiting off membership dues and not through taking a cut of money wagered.

Earlier this month, Helveston said he would work with Nederland officials to find a location away from neighborhood streets and in more commercial heavy districts. Numerous city officials have said such a location could be agreeable to all involved.