8-liners shut down in Cameron County

Cameron County officials from the fire marshal TMs office, health and building departments inspected 11 slot machine, or 8-liner businesses, Wednesday " all of them were shut down.

It wasn't because of illegal cash pay-outs, but because of safety code violations which officials said were putting people at risk.

Emergency Management Coordinator Humberto Barrera said the 8-liner businesses need to have restrooms and septic tanks appropriate to their permitted capacity, must comply with the American Disabilities Act to provide access to those with special needs and must be up-to-date with fire, occupancy and building permits.

"We drive by the highway and we see hundreds and hundreds of cars outside these 8-liners, Barrera said. (The question was), ~are the people in there safe? TM"

County Judge Carlos Cascos said it's up to law enforcement to shut down 8-liners for illegal pay-outs, not county departments.

However, by the same token, he adds the county cannot allow them to operate without the necessary permits.

"We're not signaling out anybody, Cascos said. We shut down entities all the time if they are not in compliance with the county regulations, so that's what we're going to do with the 8 liners. They are not exempt, they're not immune from this - we want them to be in compliance."

Cascos said the businesses can reopen if necessary changes are made and permits are obtained.

"We have these safety rules and codes in the books for a reason, Cascos said. We're going to do what we can to enforce them - we're not going to be able to get to all of them, but this is a good first step."

Officials said the inspections will continue to ensure that those visiting the 8-liners are safe.