Nueces County Commissioners will hold off on implementing regulations at local game rooms until next year.
On May 25, Nueces County Commissioners voted to approve new game room regulations that would go into effect on Oct. 1.
During Monday's County Commissioners meeting, County Attorney Jenny Dorsey and County Clerk Kara Sands asked that the effective date be moved to Jan. 2, 2023, which is the first official business day in January.
One of the new regulations would require game room operators to apply for permits at the County Clerk's office, run by Sands, but Sands explained her team can't help.
She explained starting Oct. 1, her staff will be "all hands on deck" dealing with the upcoming November elections and trying to get ballots out.
Dorsey then explained that in the last few months, her office has been working on what the applications would look like and how game room operators would access them. Her employees were also looking at application samples from other jurisdictions.
She said her team is working on making the applications user-friendly. The process takes a lot of man hours.
In the end, Commissioners voted to enforce the new regulations on Jan. 2. Game room operators will have to pay a $1,000 non-refundable application fee and Sands said that fee doesn't guarantee a permit.
Once a game room is approved for a permit, they will only be able to operate between noon and midnight, Sunday through Thursday. On Fridays and Saturdays, they will be allowed to remain open from 2 p.m. until 2 a.m.
Game rooms won't be allowed to operate within 1,500 feet of a school, church, or neighborhood. All game rooms will be required to have armed security. At least one window in front of the building should be clear and allow an unobstructed view of all machines.
"There's no policy passed by the court that legalizes gambling in this county," Dorsey said following the vote. "Just because the policy has passed, doesn't make gambling legal in the county."