What are 8-Liners?
8-Liners are a type of video device named for the different ways that symbols can line up for a winning spin (i.e., three vertical, three horizontal and two diagonal). 8-Liner machines are very popular in Texas. But, they have come under scrutiny from law enforcement authorities. This is due to certain operators violating gambling statutes. Some establishments have been using these as nothing more than video slot machines. This has led to run-ins with the authorities. The important thing to know about 8-Liners is that they cannot pay out cash prizes to customers, or noncash prizes exceeding $5 in value.
Illegality of 8-Liners in Texas
Gambling is illegal in Texas. So 8-Liners, which require payment to play, are legal only in certain jurisdictions, and only then if they award solely points redeemable for game play, or in some cases non-cash merchandise valued less than $5 or ten times the amount charged to play the device, whichever is less. This limits the excitement and appeal for customers. When 8-Liners do not comply with these limitations, they are classified as gambling devices.
What are Sweepstakes Machines?
Properly operated sweepstakes machines avoid the problems of 8-Liners. They do this by making it more clear that there is no pay to play involved. Customers never purchase entries into the sweepstakes. Instead, they are given entries free with the purchase of a product promoted by the sweepstakes. This is an important distinction. Sweepstakes are free. If a person charges anything to play, it is not a sweepstakes, it is gambling.
When customers enter sweepstakes, they need to find out whether they have won. They do this by logging into a computer at the establishment. This is the sweepstakes machine. It differs from the 8-Liners because it is not dedicated to just one game. It can run hundreds of different sweepstakes games. This way the results can be presented in a variety of different ways. People may prefer to see something that resembles their favorite Vegas-style game like a slot machine, roulette wheel, or cards. But the game theme chosen and the results of the play have no effect on the ultimate result of the sweepstakes entry, which is pre-determined.
For sweepstakes in Texas, the maximum prize amount is up to $50,000.00.
Running a Sweepstakes Bar in Texas
There are many different ways you could run a sweepstakes bar. What you choose depends on your personal goals. In certain counties, you may still be able to find 8-Liner machines, BUT THEY ARE PROBABLY ILLEGAL. ON THE OTHER HAND, PROPERLY OPERATED SALE-BASED SWEEPSTAKES ARE LEGAL. The key is doing business with a company that complies with the law, which many do not do.
All you need to add to your existing bar setup is a control area. This is where your employees will be able to manage the machines and handle payments. Since the machines are in fact personal computers, you have a lot of flexibility in how to arrange them in your bar. It all depends on the kind of atmosphere you’d like to create.