EAST TEXAS (KLTV) - Smith County sheriff's officers recently delivered 50 letters to business owners that operate various kinds of electronic gaming operations.
The sheriff has concluded, after working with the Tyler Police Department, that the operations of the gaming businesses are illegal and violate state law. It seems pretty cut and dry but, since the warning letters went out, several of the business owners have spoken up to say the move will cause layoffs and economic hardship for their employees.
While you want to be sympathetic to those employees – mainly convenience store workers - you just can't feel sympathy for these businesses. Now, this move was not in a response to a change in the law, but rather an increase in the gaming operations.
Perhaps the store owners believed they were or even are in compliance with a state law and if so, need to rally and get some kind of legal defense. But if the primary defense is that the enforcement of the law will result in hundreds of layoffs, it is not much of a defense, especially if the business has been ruled illegal.
There may be very genuine intent on the part of these owners but compliance with our laws is non-negotiable.
Now, the sheriff's office should really be on the lookout in the future to prevent this type of problem from blossoming up in our communities, as this action affected 50 different locations – that's a lot.
It would seem that this would be much less impacting if this issue were addressed immediately when these businesses started to form.