Texan Sets Fire to Gaming Machine After Losing, Gets Shot by Irate Gambler

Posted on: November 26, 2021, 09:03h. 

Last updated on: November 26, 2021, 03:48h.

A woman in Houston, Texas set a gaming machine alight Wednesday after a losing streak, according to police. She was subsequently shot by a fellow gambler who was waiting to play it next.

Texas gambling
Police surround the grocery store in north Houston where the woman was shot, Wednesday. She is in stable condition in the hospital. (Image: KTRK-TV)

Lieutenant Larry Crowson of the Houston Police Department (HPD) said the unnamed woman began pouring lighter fluid over the machine at around 2:30 pm Wednesday after becoming enraged with it. It was stationed in the MVP Food Store in the Kashmere Gardens area of North Houston, according to the local ABC affiliate KTRK-TV.

Her actions sparked an argument with another unnamed woman, which spilled out into the parking lot. Eventually, the second woman pulled a gun and shot the first woman in the abdomen, Crowson said.

The first woman was then taken to the hospital, where she is reported to be in stable condition, according to the Fort Worth Star-Telegraph.

The second woman fled the scene of the shooting. But police say they have her name and were attempting to locate her. As of Wednesday, she was still at large.

Police said the women were known to one another, but they did not say how.

The manager of the grocery store was able to extinguish the fire.

Wait, Aren’t Slots Illegal in Texas?

“Las Vegas-style” slot machines are prohibited in Texas, although slot-like electronic bingo machines are permitted at the Kickapoo tribe’s Lucky Eagle Casino in Eagle Pass on the Mexican border.

The US Supreme Court has agreed to hear a case that could guarantee the gaming rights of the state’s two other federally recognized tribes.

The torched terminal was most likely an 8-liner or a sweepstakes machine. 8-liners, so-called because of their eight paylines, usually offer tickets that can be redeemed for merchandise as prizes.

That’s because cash prizes are illegal under state law. Prizes must have a wholesale value of no more than $5, or ten times the cost to play the game.

This is known as the “fuzzy animal exception.” A 1993 Texas Supreme Court ruling clarified that amusement games that award low-value prizes or tickets were legal.

Breaking the Law

Meanwhile, sweepstakes machines eliminate the stake to conform to the law. Players are awarded time on the machines for “free” with the purchase of a product.

But some businesses push the boundaries of the law, and raids by law enforcement are common.

Last year, a group of thieves embarked on a crime spree, stealing 8-liner machines. The resourceful crooks would turn up at stores and gas stations, claiming to be from the non-existent “Texas Gaming Commission.”

They told the business owners the machines were against the law and would have to be confiscated.