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Raymondville officials fast-tracked a new 8-liner ordinance last Tuesday, instituting a new permit fees to $1,000 in addition to $20 fees for stickers for each machine.

Also, the new ordinance requires owners/operators to fingerprint employees, managers and owners, as well as applying for Texas Department of Public Safety background checks. Operators of “maquinitas” must also comply with all state anti-gambling laws, such as limiting prizes to items worth no more than $5 for each play.

The required three readings were waived and the new ordinance was passed last Tuesday.

Employees must wear name tags. The new ordinance, which must be complied with by Feb. 1, gives city officials the option to automatically cancel permits or deny requests for renewal if owners/operators of game rooms fail to comply with the rules, Police Chief Uvaldo Zamora said.

Having had game rooms closed in the past is one way to get an automatic denial, he said.

City Manager Tony Chavez said last Tuesday there are currently two maquinitas operating inside Raymondville city limits.

Maquinitas, or game rooms, must be 1,000 feet from any existing or planned schools, churches, residential neighborhoods and 1,500 feet from any other game rooms.

Signs with four-inch block letters stating “Game Room” and warning in English and Spanish of penalties for winning more than $5 per play as much as $500 for each violation must be posted: “Gambling is a crime. If you win more than $5 per play, you may be arrested and fined $500.”

There are more rules and regulations in the ordinance. If they are not followed, the game room can be shut down.

Hours of operation are from 10 a.m. to midnight Sunday through Thursday and from 10 a.m. to 2 a.m. on Friday and Saturday.