Lufkin City Council on Tuesday approved a zoning ordinance impacting the operation of game rooms.

Previously, the city’s ordinances did not address the permitting and operation of game rooms, according to City Planner Scott Rayburn.

“Cities and counties throughout Texas have had a substantial increase in game rooms in the last few years,” Rayburn said. “Along with this increase, has come an increase in crime and citizen complaints. There has been a fine line between the use of game rooms strictly for recreation and the use of game rooms for gambling.”

Last month, Lufkin Police Department seized slot machines from six for-cash gambling locations. In the months leading up to the seizure, the Department had responded to the gambling locations 132 times for an armed robbery, drug activity, fights in progress, stolen vehicles, theft, burglary, assaults, terroristic threats, and criminal mischief.

In a planning and zoning board meeting last month, the board decided that by limitig game rooms use and location within the city and requiring a special use permit, the city will better be able to prevent many of the adverse effects.  

The zoning ordinance states that a game room could be allowed under a special use permit in light and heavy manufacturing zoning under the following terms:

  • All game rooms shall be limited to hours of operation between 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Sunday.
  • No game room shall be located within 300 feet of a residential use or a residential district or within 300 feet of a church, synagogue, other house of worship, school, daycare, or hospital or within 2,000 feet of another game room.
  • Doors must remain unlocked during the hours of operation.