ODESSA, Texas (KOSA) – Ector County game rooms could face new regulations starting next year due to an influx of illegal activity.
Thursday morning in commissioner’s court, City of Odessa Mayor Javier Joven requested the city and county work together to enforce stringent regulations on game rooms to create a healthier and safer community.
Some have said driving down Andrews Highway nowadays reminds West Texans of options you might find in Vegas as more game rooms pop up almost every day.
Newly opened Gushers Game Room operates till 7 AM. Owner Brad Boen said setting rules are necessary to stay in business.
“There’s no alcohol served here, there’s no alcohol allowed in. We do our best to watch and maintain that there’s no drugs or illegal activity,” said Boen. “Therefore we have our security if we see that we bounce them out.”
However, the city and county want to create rules of their own. Regulating where a game room can be located, locking mechanism, and limiting the hours of operation to protect and better serve residents in the community.
“1500 from one game room to the other, also away from places of worship, hospitals, senior citizens, daycares, neighborhoods which is most critical and there’s more,” said Joven.
Ector County Sheriff Mike Griffis said since many of these game rooms have been cited for assaults, drugs, and illegal activity over the years, he would like to see harder penalties handed down.
But because of staffing, monitoring them could be an issue.
“We don’t have the time to routinely go in those places but if we could join up with the city or whatever, we would bring some people in and pay them overtime to address situations that may arise,” said Griffis.
After the beginning of the year, the county and the city plans to meet and discuss new regulations they plan to implement in the coming months.
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