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Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Slots and Poker

As reported by the Providence Journal: "If Massachusetts puts video slot machines in its racetracks near the Rhode Island border, Lincoln Park and Newport Grand would stand to lose about $100 million a year, which in turn would cost the state over $60 million. [Casino City Times]
Well, gee, what a surprise. Fact is, with more slots as well as casinos coming to New York, VLTs progressing, though uncertainly, through the legislature in Maryland, and slots already approved for Pennsylvania (and with non-racetrack VLT parlors a part of the plan for all three states), the entire Northeast corridor is heading towards being one big casino, and one has to wonder about the supposed windfall for racing that slots is supposed to be for these jurisdictions in the not too distant future. They may have missed the riverboat.

- Meanwhile, as states move to greatly expand legal gambling, in some states you can’t legally play poker, even if you’re not playing for money, as reported by The New York Times in a front page story today (free registration req’d).
In Illinois, the liquor commission has issued $500 citations to at least four bars, two of which advertised tournaments but never held them. In California, the Department of Justice has declared that even tournaments in which no money is bet require a gaming license - and there is a moratorium on new licenses.

In Texas, a lawyer for the state prosecutors' association contends that playing for any prize - even points to be redeemed later for T-shirts or trips - is illegal, and the attorney general is expected to issue an opinion on the matter in May.
"You want to play a game for fun? Perfectly legal," said Cliff Herberg, chief of white-collar crime at the Bexar County district attorney's office in San Antonio. "You want to start buying chips for $50 and you're playing for a trip to Las Vegas? That's gambling, and it's illegal. People say, 'Well, we're doing it for charity.' Doesn't matter. You can't be a charitable drug dealer, and you can't be a charitable gambler."
Texas, I’m not surprised; but even in blue California and Illinois?