Nederland City Council passes on discussion concerning business’ gaming machine request

Published 5:42 pm Monday, April 18, 2022

NEDERLAND — The Nederland City Council called off a public hearing late Monday afternoon concerning gaming machines, citing a recent Texas courts ruling that declared the business model unconstitutional according to state law.

The announcement took most of the audience by surprise at Nederland City Hall, where a small crowd of those in favor and against had gathered to voice their opinions.

Sometimes called eight-liners, the gaming machines are not supposed to advertise or distribute cash prizes for winning players.

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Monday’s scheduled public hearing was supposed to be the first time a business owner’s intent for machine placement triggered the discussion phase in the city approval process.

Bulldog Express, located at 1113 North Twin City Highway, met initial requirements, including correct zoning and mandated distance from other landmarks.

However, Nederland City Attorney Jesse Branick suggested council members postpone the issue.

“There has been a case out of the second court of appeals holding this particular machine unconstitutional,” he told the audience.

“At this particular time I would hate to move forward with this particular matter.”

Branick said the case is in limbo and could take more than a year to resolve.

“At this particular time, the second court of appeals out of Fort Worth has considered this to be unconstitutional to have any 8 liners, gaming machines or whatever else,” he said.

City Manager Chris Duque acknowledged a lot in the audience Monday were there to speak on the request.

“The request for the machines is postponed,” he said. “It is on hold until it is resolved, possibly further by the Texas courts system.

“The request that has been submitted is not moving forward at this time because the courts have ruled it unconstitutional. Unless the courts make some sort of change in that ruling, this issue is, for the time being, closed.”

Nederland City Council members ultimately voted unanimously to postpone the issue.