Violations rack up as 4 more PA game rooms closed

Published 4:19 am Tuesday, March 24, 2020

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Four gaming sites in the city of Port Arthur had their permits revoked and their doors shut for up to two years because of violations during the past week, authorities said.

Port Arthur Fire Marshal Paul Washburn said a Wednesday review of inspections by his office led to revoked game site permits for Lucky Ducky Game Room at 2021 Savannah Ave. and EZ Food Mart at 3948 Ninth Ave.

On Thursday the game site permits for GV&R Bar at 6340 Gulfway Drive and Acres Grocery at 6599 West Port Arthur Road were revoked.

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Basically, this means the person to whom the permits were issued may have been found ineligible to receive another permit for a period of two years. This action does not prohibit another type of business from operating at these locations, Washburn said.

Part of the city’s ordinance on game rooms states how it should operate and that they must be in compliance with building codes, fire codes and other applicable codes.

“There is also a stipulation in there that if they are found to be out of compliance more than twice inside their yearly permit period, their gaming site permit can be revoked,” Washburn said.

Port Arthur Fire Department officials periodically perform inspections, and the businesses cited have had multiple issues.

In early March, Shanghai Game Room, 3919 Gulfway Drive, was ordered to shut its doors due to fire code violations. Since then, its gaming site permit was revoked due to multiple violations.

Here’s a look at the violations from the most recent closures:

  • Lucky Ducky Game Room — Officials went out on six occasions, and each time there was some type of fire code violation, Washburn said.
  • Acres Grocery — Officials went out on six occasions and there were code violations each time, Washburn said. The business had its gaming site permit revoked, but the store can remain open.
  • GV&R Bar — Officials went out on five occasions; twice there were fire code violations and three times there were violations of the game site ordinance in which workers did not have a background check done. Only the game site was shut down, not the bar.
  • EZ Food Mart — Ten visits were made and nine had fire code violations. The last time it was inspected, the store shelves had been moved, blocking the view of the machines. This is a violation of the ordinance in that the machines must be out in the open. Only the game site was shut down, not the store.

Emergency order

The most recent emergency order handed down by Jefferson County Judge Jeff Branick calls for the temporary closure of gaming sites due to the risk of COVID-19.

Washburn said including gaming sites in the order makes sense because the machines and players are in close proximity to each other.