Moonstruck Tournament Series at Little Dipper

Join us for great times and great pinball at Little Dipper (304 Main Street, downtown Houston) on Tuesdays beginning April 2! Every Tuesday night of the month at 7 pm except for third Tuesdays (see followup post), we will be playing a three strikes (3X) tournament. Entry fee is the $1 IFPA fee plus coin drop. ($1 IFPA fee may be sponsored in later weeks, I will update as needed.) Venue is 21 and up only.

Parking: On-street parking in the area, unmetered after 6pm.
Transit: Preston Station, METRORail Red Line. Routes 20, 30, 48 bus stop at Congress Street and Main Street. Route 151 bus stop on Congress Street at Travis Street (1 block walk). Routes 11, 51, 52 bus stop at Fannin Street and Preston Street (2 block walk). Route 82 bus stop at Congress Street and Milam Street (2 block walk).

Dates: April 2, 9, 23, 30; May 7, 14, 28; June 4, 11, 25; July 2, 9, 23, 30; August 6, 13, 27; September 3, 10, 24; October 1, 8, 22, 29 (will re-evaluate as November gets closer) [Edit: Currently the IFPA calendar shows only through July 9, this may be due to a limitation in the event submission form. It is being looked into.]

Commissioner’s statement of 2023 March 9 including upcoming rule changes

For the first time in a good long while, a substantial change to the rulebook is in the works. This change required particular care as it involves rules related to some of the core values of the league as I envisioned it, namely legal compliance and citizenship.

In a perfect world, those responsible for making laws at all levels (city, county, state, and Federal) would always get it right and the laws passed would be a perfect implementation of justice as seen by every sane citizen of society. Of course, we don’t live in a perfect world. Every once in a while a law is passed that egregiously and abominably fails in its purpose of implementing justice. Or, an existing law is interpreted or re-interpreted in an egregiously and abominably unjust manner.

Rule 21.1.3 regarding unlawful conduct, and rule 21.3 regarding fugitives and outstanding arrest warrants, were intended to protect the reputation of the Bayou City Pinball League as well as the safety of law-abiding players. However, in the face of egregious, abominable failures of the law, it only makes sense for such failures to be excluded from the scope of 21.1.3 and 21.3. Rule 21.6 is the result, which allows the Commissioner to make exceptions to these rules in such extreme cases as a last resort while we await the repeal, nullification, or more reasonable re-interpretation of such laws.

Effective with the upload of version 2024.03.09 of the rulebook later today, I am invoking rule 21.6 to activate the first two such exceptions (and hopefully the only two for the foreseeable future):

  1. Offenses under Texas Health and Safety Code Chapter 170A (Performance of Abortion), any substantially similar laws of other states, and any substantially similar Federal law(s) if and when enacted; and
  2. Offenses under City of Houston ordinances under Section 20-251 et seq (Charitable Food Services, perhaps better known as the “homeless feeding ban”) and any substantially similar laws of other cities, counties, or states.

I expect these to be the only such exceptions for at least the remainder of 2024 and, of course, it is my hope that these exceptions become obsolete sooner rather than later.


Shawn K. Quinn

Commissioner, Bayou City Pinball League

The new logo and notes on the coming new year

Since I will not be able to fit in an “official” logo reveal party prior to Houston Arcade Expo, this will have to do for the moment.

I would like to meet up with any interested players in mid-November to discuss future plans and my concept for the league to anyone willing to listen and willing to support true player choice for competitive pinball players of all skill levels in the Houston area. I am targeting the week of November 13-19, unless this is too soon after Houston Arcade Expo. The days before Expo will unfortunately conflict with other events, both pinball-related and personal. The week after is the week of Thanksgiving.

For those of you still here, I appreciate the continued support. I realize the start has been much slower than I ever could have anticipated, but I am not giving up.

Houston deserves choice. Houston deserves a quality pinball league for the best people who play competitive pinball.

Houston deserves the Bayou City Pinball League.

Spread the word. 2024 is going to be a spectacular year for the Houston pinball community and I plan to see the Bayou City Pinball League lead the way. Thank you.

Shawn K. Quinn, Commissioner

Commissioner’s statement regarding raffles/illegal lotteries

From my observations, there has been an uptick in the number of so-called “raffles” being run in the local area. This increase is both inside and outside the competitive pinball and classic arcade scene.

Unfortunately, not all of these are legal raffles. Some of them are illegal lotteries, either through willful or wanton disregard for state law. While I am not a lawyer and I don’t consider this to be legal advice, the law is pretty clear if you take the time to read it.

The first requirement under Texas law (Occupations Code § 2002) is that the money has to go to a qualified organization. Usually this is a 501(c) non-profit (not necessarily 501(c)(3) and not legally required to specifically be 501(c)(3)) that has existed for at least 3 years. There are other legally allowed beneficiaries such as volunteer fire departments and volunteer paramedic services.

It is never, ever, legal to raffle off an item and just get put the money in somebody’s pocket without it going through a qualified organization, no matter what the reason. If you do that, you’re running an illegal lottery, plain and simple. It is your right and your responsibility to determine who the qualified organization is. Personally, if I found out after the fact that I bought a ticket for an illegal lottery without realizing it, I would go ask for my money back. If you find yourself in this situation, what you do is up to you, and you may or may not decide to do that.

My authority as commissioner ends outside of the events run under the auspices of the Bayou City Pinball League. I can say that when I wrote the rule book, I did add rule 22.15 for a reason which requires commissioner approval for all raffle tickets sold at BCPL events. Outside of those events, you would do well to assume that something is not a legally authorized raffle without doing your homework and asking the questions.1 Someone running a legally compliant raffle should have no issue with those questions.

There are no legal restrictions on many other fundraisers like silent auctions. There are many other ways to leverage donated items for fundraising if you do not have the help of an organization which qualifies to legally run a raffle.

A large part of the reason I started to Bayou City Pinball League was to help restore the reputation of pinball as a game played by law abiding citizens. I believe this is a worthy goal and this is something that should still be an issue in 2023.


Shawn K. Quinn

Commissioner, Bayou City Pinball League

1Unless, of course, the questions have already been answered in an event annoucement/posting.

[Edited 2023-08-28 to fix speech-to-text glitch and add footnote.]