City considering tighter restrictions on arcades

Odessa City Council will consider several measures to curb the proliferation of gambling halls, including limiting the hours of operation and the locations where they can operate.

The Council will consider the proposed order changes during its working session.

“With the police department, we are making these recommendations because playrooms aren’t even addressed in our zoning ordinance,” said planning director Randy Brinlee. “A lot of these places operate 24 hours a day, there are no regulations.”

Under the proposed changes, arcade hours would be limited to 8 a.m. to 11 p.m., Monday to Thursday, and 8 a.m. to midnight Friday to Sunday.

Earlier this year, several residents cited the growing number of gambling halls in Odessa as a major concern during a town hall meeting with Mayor Javier Joven.

At the time, Joven promised residents that he would work with the city’s legal department and administrators to address their concerns.

Joven could not be reached for further comment on Monday.

Revised ordinance would prohibit gambling halls from being located within 1,000 feet of another gambling establishment, church, educational facility, public health facility building or the boundary of a residential zoning district, Brinlee said.

An exemption will be granted to all gambling operations which can provide proof that the business operated on the same site, and under the same name and ownership before December 1, 2021, according to the proposed amendment changes.

New playrooms will only be considered in areas already zoned for light industrial and heavy industrial areas. Businesses will also need 30 paved parking spaces and one space for every 100 square feet of area over 2,000 square feet.

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