When NewsChannel 11 last spoke with the Lubbock District Attorney's Office they told us about their plans to take immediate action against Eight Liner business in the Hub City. They drafted up a letter, leaving businesses with two choices. Close your business voluntarily or, we'll close it down for you. But as you'll see in a moment, just the threat of getting shut down made these business owners play by the rules.
Lubbock Eight Liner Business Operator, Joe Menaldi, is cleaning up his act. For three years, Menaldi has proudly owned VIP Gameroom and Smokes and Slots. "We want to make sure we're doing it right and until someone tells you you're doing it wrong you don't know," Menaldi says. But when he heard there was a possibility his business could be shut down.. He decided to make a quick call to the DA's office.
"We've been very happy that most of them have taken a proactive approach and contacted us and have said we're honest business people. We want to comply with the law and help us do that," says Assistant DA John Grace.
Menaldi's ordered new machine parts, and he says he'll be getting rid of some of his machines all together. "Because these machines can be programmed differently they are now in the process of reprogramming games to comply with the law or if it can't be programmed to remove it from service," he says.
According to a letter from the state legislature, a person can play an eight liner machine and win a 'prize' with a wholesale value under five dollars. So in other words.. "If you want to play a game for amusement purposes and walk out with a small prize like a stuffed animal that is what the law intends for you to do," Grace says. But Grace says if you're walking out with cash that's considered illegal gambling and it has to stop.
So far, several eight liner operators, like Menaldi,have taken the initiative to do what they need to.. to stay open. "Some of this is kind of a leap of faith that they can make money and continue business within the statute," Grace says. But grace says the DA's office is willing to give it a try. Grace also says for the most part business owners or their attorney's have already contacted him. The ones who didn't should have received their letters by Thursday (2.6).