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Charity Poker Slips Police Radar

14th of November 2013

According to a spokesman for the Los Angeles City Attorney's Office, police radar seems to ignore certain misdemeanor crimes, namely charity poker events.

In California there are churches, school boosters, fire departments and other nonprofit groups that are holding what state officials point out are illegal Texas Hold'em poker tournaments in order to raise money. Two examples are the West Ranch High School in Stevenson Ranch making $12,000 in October to support the baseball team, and the Make-a-Wish Foundation raising $60,000 in an August tournament that was hosted by Kings star Luc Robitaille.

The Attorney General's Office points out that the charity poker tournaments are illegal and a misdemeanor violation and organizers could face a year in jail or a $5,000 fine.

"California law is rigid and inflexible when it comes to nonprofits and charitable gambling," said Nathan Barankin, who is the communications director for the Attorney General's Office. "There are no exceptions written into the law. Even if you're not playing for real money, it's illegal."

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