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Is poker legal?

Discussion in 'Home Poker and the LAW' started by Trihonda, Apr 2, 2013.

  1. Trihonda

    Trihonda Well-Known Member

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    I'm in WI, and gambling is not legal. We do have a lottery and Indian casinos. However, if you look online, websites claiming to know each states gambling laws say that it's illegal...

    However, I know a number of bars that run monthly cash tournaments, and there are other advertised tournaments around as well... How can this be? Doesn't anyone worry about getting busted? Does The "LAW" care?

    I tried to equate it with this analogy...

    Jaywalking is illegal! If you jaywalk across a street without traffic, it has no community impact, thus no one cares. However, if you jaywalk across a busy highway and cause a 10 car pile up, it has a bigger effect on the community, and people will care...

    Any thoughts?
     
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  2. rowlin

    rowlin Faux Clay Nation

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    Laws vary by locale, as does enforcement.

    In general, charging admission or rake is usually illegal.

    There is a section on the site called Home Poker and the Law. It may be a bit dated, but there is some good info there on the subject.
     
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  3. grandgnu

    grandgnu Well-Known Member

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    Just because something is illegal doesn't mean people won't try it.

    Here in CT our Indian Casinos have a major monopoly on gambling activities. Yet about 15-20 minutes from my home a pool hall had been hosting Saturday night tournaments with 60-70 players competing with a $50 buyin, selling them food & alcohol and also having cash games as players busted out.

    In addition, they started hosting cash games throughout the week with dedicated dealers and charging a rake, and eventually got caught by the liquor commission and told they couldn't have their license and host the poker games.

    I guess liquor commission and someone from the ATF showed up around 11pm on a Saturday evening when the final table was going plus some cash tables, and made them stop, although they didn't confiscate the players money, since they aren't the gaming commission I guess?

    Rumor was that another guy who runs games in various locations in the area ratted them out to increase business to his games.

    Either way, it sucks that our state governments hand out monopolies and restrict our freedoms to play. Especially when their usual excuse is that they're doing it to "protect" us from problem gambling or whatever, but then expect us to shell out money on lotto and scratch tickets which have far worse odds than poker games. :razz:
     
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  4. guinness

    guinness Degen Gatekeeper
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    When Card Player announced they were going to do legal articles, state by state, in future issues regarding home games (written by attorneys) I was pumped since NH was the first one they did (not sure if they cancelled the series though).

    What I got from the NH article was that it was a grey area if non-raked home games were illegal. You can argue either/or in a court of law and be correct based on the LOLegal verbiage. The one nugget I took out it was that no one in the history of NH has been arrested for a home game. That's pretty much all I need to know to care about it.
     
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  5. dennis63

    dennis63 Well-Known Member

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    In January, 2009, I did a state-by-state list for Chiptalk. I researched all the states by reading their specific laws online, and contacted a few states' gaming enforcement officials when the law wasn't clear in their state.

    http://www.chiptalk.net/forum/general-articles/57109-poker-peek-state-home-poker-game-laws.html

    Wisconsin, like my home state of Delaware, has statutory law that makes gambling at home illegal, and prohibits all but state licensed gambling. (That means casinos, but it can also mean licensed card rooms and charity events.)

    Mostly, the state just wants to tax winnings.

    Delaware grants a "one day" gaming license to any charity that is tax-exempt. (I think each charity gets two licenses per year from the Gaming Enforcement section of the State Police.

    There is a booming economy wrapped around this, as our local fire companies will buy and sell their assigned licenses to one another for around $1,000 each, and a poker room, otherwise banned from operating, will give the space to the licensed charity for the evening, advertise the event, and rake the game.

    The reasoning behind prohibitions on home games sound absurd, as long as everyone is like Thomas Jefferson -- thoughtful, intelligent, sportsmanlike, and observant of the rights of his fellow man.

    In real life, people are more often like Homer Simpson or a guest on Jerry Springer. If those folks were left to gamble at home, there would be many more stabbings by idiots arguing over whether a straight beats a flush for a pot worth $7.
     
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  6. SixSpeedFury

    SixSpeedFury Well-Known Member

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    This is exactly why they allow it. Money in their pockets, none in ours.
     
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  7. links_slayer

    links_slayer Master of the 3-Putt Par
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    I play with 3 cops in our neck of the woods on a semi regular basis. Just don't make a big spectacle out of it (neon sign in your front window saying "Poker Room Now Open; Immediate Seating" and you'll more than likely be fine.

    ^not legal advice.
     
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  8. Trihonda

    Trihonda Well-Known Member

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    You do? Sweet, I play with a cop, and one of the assistant district attorneys on occasion. :happy:. I imagine no one will be prosecuted at these games.


    What agencies do the cops work for?
     
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  9. links_slayer

    links_slayer Master of the 3-Putt Par
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    1 Local, 1 County, 1 State
     
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  10. dennis63

    dennis63 Well-Known Member

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    There was once a regular game in a town near where I live where a well-known judge sat in from time to time. (Too rich for a low-ranking guy like me.)

    I always thought it ironic that if it got busted on a night he was working (and not playing), the other players would be brought before him for arraignment.
     
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  11. TKE4LIFE

    TKE4LIFE ChipTalk.net Supporter
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    NC poker is awesome. home games are the norm. Not legal but neither is making a right hand turn with out your signal light on ...whatevs
     
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  12. JeromyinWV

    JeromyinWV ChipTalk.net Supporter
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    Every state varies and many of them will have permits or exemptions for charities. I used to play at a fraternal organization that had tourneys a few times a year for charity. They sold food, booze and had cash games afterward. I asked them why they didnt have it more often and they said they were only permitted 4 a year. Many places will also have bar leagues, Indian casinos are on soverign land and don't really fall under state laws. They make their own so that's why many states only have/had Indian casinos.
     
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