Willacy County slashes number of 8-liner permits

SEBASTIAN — The eight game rooms squeezing into this rural community might be running on borrowed time.

Under a tough new ordinance, Willacy County commissioners plan to slash the county’s number of eight-liner arcades to three.

After years of complaints, commissioners last week approved the ordinance to regulate game rooms in the county’s unicorporated areas.

Effective immediately, the ordinance gives law enforcement authority to inspect game rooms for violations and those cited for violations will be required to shut down.

The ordinance includes a grandfather clause which allows Sebastian’s eight game rooms to continue operations. But it also requires them to apply for permits to operate eight-liner machines.

Sheriff Larry Spence said even building code violations might be enough to force some to shut down.