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   South Carolina Supreme Court tackles the state's real problem: People gambling by playing poker in their own homes

22 Nov 2012 08:47 AM   |   5437 clicks   |   Charleston Post and Courier
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AverageAmericanGuy    [TotalFark]  
Poker isn't really gambling. Better players will beat worse players. There is a definite strategy that isn't based on pure luck like roulette or craps.

22 Nov 2012 08:49 AM
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pinktaco4lunch     
They are just mad they can't tax it

22 Nov 2012 08:55 AM
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clyph     

AverageAmericanGuy: Poker isn't really gambling


Gambling != game of chance.

If you're making a wager on the outcome of some event, it's gambling.

If the outcome of the event is random, it's a game of chance.

Sports betting is not a game of chance. It IS gambling.

22 Nov 2012 08:56 AM
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Nem Wan     

AverageAmericanGuy: Poker isn't really gambling. Better players will beat worse players. There is a definite strategy that isn't based on pure luck like roulette or craps.


TFA addresses this.

22 Nov 2012 08:57 AM
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oh_please     
This wasn't a "get together with your friends" poker night, the SC said that's OK...this was a large scale operation that happened to be run out of a home, and clearly wasn't a one-time thing.

22 Nov 2012 09:03 AM
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Lee Jackson Beauregard     
FTFA: The statute is anti-card, anti-dice and outlaws such long-forgotten games as roly-poly, rouge et noir and draughts.

Umm..."draughts" is how they say "checkers" on the other side of the pond.

22 Nov 2012 09:03 AM
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Dinty Moore's Law     
4.bp.blogspot.com

Disapprove

22 Nov 2012 09:04 AM
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van1ty     
clyph: What do you mean by random?

Odds are somebody is going to get killed driving to work today. Do you consider driving to work today to be gambling, since the death of this person is "random"? Are you not making a wager on an event?

If you invest in the stock market, is that gambling? Does it change if you go to a "professional"?

Should people be banned from buying icecream before the try it, because there's uncertainty as to how much flavour (and utility, and value) the customer will get upon purchasing it? Is this not a wager on the outcome of some event?

22 Nov 2012 09:05 AM
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JohnCarter    [TotalFark]  
There is a difference between 5 friends playing cards while having a few beers and have two dozen folks playing cards at no doubt 4 to 5 different tables. This looks like a residential street (see link). No doubt neighbors called the cops due to traffic.

Link 

Sounds like a small casino

22 Nov 2012 09:07 AM
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LDM90     
Gamblers: Why don't they go after thieves?

Thieves: Why don't they go after drunk drivers?

Drunk drivers: Why don't they go after child molesters?

22 Nov 2012 09:09 AM
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untaken_name     
Look, it's clear that they're not against gambling in South Caroline, it's just that if you want to gamble in South Carolina, you better be gambling in the State-approved way: Link

22 Nov 2012 09:15 AM
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jack21221     
I've always wondered how poker tournaments can be considered gambling, but chess tournaments aren't. Or Magic: The Gathering tournaments. In all these cases, you're putting up money up front to play a game, and the best players will have a better chance at winning the final prize at the end. The actual chips that you "bet" during the poker game have no value. And in the case of M:tG tournaments, there is even luck involved.

So I really don't understand how poker tournaments can be treated differently than chess tournaments or M:tG tournaments.

22 Nov 2012 09:18 AM
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dansutton     
If wagering money is all that is required to constitute gambling, how is eTrade not online gambling in South Carolina?

22 Nov 2012 09:20 AM
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Digitalstrange     
I'll say, I was robbed of $40 dollars just last week because of this insidious problem.

Of course I plan on being robbed again this weekend too.

/I suck at poker. Horrible poker face and too big of a risk taker.

22 Nov 2012 09:25 AM
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vygramul    [TotalFark]  
I don't know the specifics in South Carolina, but generally speaking, your Saturday Night game with the boys is safe. Most of the gambling laws are aimed at people who try to run a business by taking a rake or charging a membership fee or over-charge for snacks and beverages.

22 Nov 2012 09:26 AM
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phalamir     

van1ty: clyph: What do you mean by random?

Odds are somebody is going to get killed driving to work today. Do you consider driving to work today to be gambling, since the death of this person is "random"? Are you not making a wager on an event?

If you invest in the stock market, is that gambling? Does it change if you go to a "professional"?

Should people be banned from buying icecream before the try it, because there's uncertainty as to how much flavour (and utility, and value) the customer will get upon purchasing it? Is this not a wager on the outcome of some event?


Ahh, I see you finally passed enough courses on the 20th or 30th try to qualify as a sophmore.

And "random" in gambling means that you cannot know the result to any level of certainty (excepting it will occur within the bounds of the possibilities of the game). For instance, roulette is "random". Set-up properly, no one can tell what slot the ball will fall in. You can make some sort of prediction based on probability, but you cannot know nor influence the next result. Likewise, craps is random, since nothing you can do (legally) can influence the next throw. However games of "skill" allow the player(s) to manipulate the results (though, admittedly, indirectly). For instance, in poker, your betting/bluffing/intimidation efforts can change the outcome of the game by making people fold (or not fold when you are confident you can beat their hand). While the next card to be played is as random as can be devised within the confines of a deck of cards, people who are better at the phychological and/or mathematical aspects of the game tend to win more than, say, me.

One way to look at it is thus: You can thoroughly describe the probabilities of the ball landing in any slot in roulette. And you can then look at who bets on what, and say who is most likely to win. But those percentages hold exactly the same whether the bettor is James Bond or Lottie Smith (though considering the old girl isn't obsessively betting the same number over and over while drinking a shiatty girl's martini, I would actually expect her to win more often). You can also thoroughly describe the probability of any particular card coming up next in poker. You can describe the probability of any particular hand held by a player winning the round. But that doesn't determine the winner of the hand as mechanistically as roulette does - because I can bluff my opponent with the better hand into folding, or raise him higher than he wants to go - well, not open-faced, poor-ass me, but you get the point

22 Nov 2012 09:32 AM
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generallyso     
Let freedom ring!

22 Nov 2012 09:33 AM
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Bit'O'Gristle     
The South Carolina Supreme Court reinstated guilty verdicts against five Charleston-area poker players who challenged a state gambling law that is more than two centuries old.

/What really is pitifully apparent in all this is that the state doesn't have a moralistic problem with gambling, they just want a cut of the money. This was obviously a game between friends, they weren't shuttling strangers in and out like Circus Circus. Just another sad example of one more of our rights getting trampled on.

22 Nov 2012 09:33 AM
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phalamir     

jack21221: I've always wondered how poker tournaments can be considered gambling, but chess tournaments aren't. Or Magic: The Gathering tournaments. In all these cases, you're putting up money up front to play a game, and the best players will have a better chance at winning the final prize at the end. The actual chips that you "bet" during the poker game have no value. And in the case of M:tG tournaments, there is even luck involved.

So I really don't understand how poker tournaments can be treated differently than chess tournaments or M:tG tournaments.


Do you use money to influence the path the game takes in chess* or MtG?

* though the variant the Doctor was playing with the electrical charges might count as gambling

22 Nov 2012 09:35 AM
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untaken_name     

phalamir: Do you use money to influence the path the game takes in chess* or MtG?


Um, you don't use money to influence the path the games takes in a poker tournament. The chips have no monetary value. The prizes are determined by place, just like in chess and m:tg tournaments.

22 Nov 2012 09:38 AM
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Britney Spear's Speculum     

oh_please: This wasn't a "get together with your friends" poker night, the SC said that's OK...this was a large scale operation that happened to be run out of a home, and clearly wasn't a one-time thing.


Lets see how many people

♪Can't read the♪
♪Can't read the♪
♪No they can't read the farkin' article♪

22 Nov 2012 09:40 AM
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A Shambling Mound     

LDM90: Gamblers: Why don't they go after thieves?

Thieves: Why don't they go after drunk drivers?

Drunk drivers: Why don't they go after child molesters?


i.imgur.com

22 Nov 2012 09:40 AM
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Aeon Rising     

phalamir: Ahh, I see you finally passed enough courses on the 20th or 30th try to qualify as a sophmore.


You sound like a smug prick, and it is plain you were in such a hurry to finally get some use from your previously wasted education that you paid far too much to obtain that you totally missed his point.

Read it again without the desperate drive to prove you didn't wast your education.

22 Nov 2012 09:41 AM
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Flakeloaf     

JohnCarter: There is a difference between 5 friends playing cards while having a few beers and have two dozen folks playing cards at no doubt 4 to 5 different tables. This looks like a residential street (see link). No doubt neighbors called the cops due to traffic.


Ding. It may also have annoyed the local legitimate businessmen's organization, who would prefer to keep certain types of card games in certain places.

22 Nov 2012 09:43 AM
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talkertopc     
FTA: "The Supreme Court also found that it is not illegal for people to play a casual game of poker in a private residence, but it is illegal to play in a "house of gaming." The antiquated statute doesn't clearly describe the difference between a private residence and a "house of gaming." ... "Mark Powell, communications director for Attorney General Alan Wilson, who prosecuted the case, said the high court found that because the definition of a private residence in the statute is so vague, cases about gambling in private residences will be decided on a case-by-case basis."

I wish the article mentioned what made them decide the residence qualified as a house of gaming. Did they advertise and allow in uninvited strangers? Did they charge entry or take a commision?

FTA: "They are cowards," Chimento said of the justices. "They don't have the guts to bring the law into the 21st century." But, he said, he's happy that people who are not looking to make a profit can play poker in their own homes."

Does that mean that the home owners were making a profit in this situation? If so then I don't see a problem here. I'm ok with legal gambling but not with unlicensed and unsupervised casinos.

22 Nov 2012 09:44 AM
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NIXON YOU DOLT!!!!!     

oh_please: This wasn't a "get together with your friends" poker night, the SC said that's OK...this was a large scale operation that happened to be run out of a home, and clearly wasn't a one-time thing.


This. Courts tend to frown upon thinly veiled attempts to skirt the law on technicalities. Happy the CJ admonished the legislature to fix the law though!

22 Nov 2012 09:45 AM
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AtlanticCoast63     
....Speaking to you from Columbia, SC this AM -

I think part of the problem here is that within the last month or two a try to bring back the hated video gambling parlors was swatted down hard and (to certain members of the political establishment) embarrassingly. Right now, pretty much any form of gambling except for the lottery is in the crosshairs.

22 Nov 2012 09:47 AM
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A Shambling Mound     

talkertopc: Does that mean that the home owners were making a profit in this situation? If so then I don't see a problem here. I'm ok with legal gambling but not with unlicensed and unsupervised casinos.


Yeah this bothers me a bit as well but I'm too lazy to do any further research. Seems to me that if they can prove they weren't making any money from the venture things would be a bit different, but even non-profit businesses that aren't gambling-related can run afoul of the law if they aren't careful and I'm not surprised they've gotten attention for this.

22 Nov 2012 09:49 AM
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NIXON YOU DOLT!!!!!     

jack21221: I've always wondered how poker tournaments can be considered gambling, but chess tournaments aren't. Or Magic: The Gathering tournaments. In all these cases, you're putting up money up front to play a game, and the best players will have a better chance at winning the final prize at the end. The actual chips that you "bet" during the poker game have no value. And in the case of M:tG tournaments, there is even luck involved.

So I really don't understand how poker tournaments can be treated differently than chess tournaments or M:tG tournaments.


Because in the 19th century, the protestants convinced us that playing cards, specifically, were evil, and one step away from being a serial rapist or something. Seriously, playing cards was seen as the fast track to HELL!

22 Nov 2012 09:50 AM
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Warlordtrooper     

clyph: AverageAmericanGuy: Poker isn't really gambling

Gambling != game of chance.

If you're making a wager on the outcome of some event, it's gambling.

If the outcome of the event is random, it's a game of chance.

Sports betting is not a game of chance. It IS gambling.


Unless the sport is rigged then how isn't it a game of chance?

22 Nov 2012 09:50 AM
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Mad Tea Party     

JohnCarter: There is a difference between 5 friends playing cards while having a few beers and have two dozen folks playing cards at no doubt 4 to 5 different tables. This looks like a residential street (see link). No doubt neighbors called the cops due to traffic.

Link 

Sounds like a small casino


Hardly a casino. The local home poker tourney I play at draws 5 tables of players every week.

22 Nov 2012 09:53 AM
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trappedspirit     

Rufus Lee King: The South Carolina Supreme Court:

[download.xbox.com image 850x477]


A jury is now a court? Oh, wait, you wanted to make S.C. sound stupid.

22 Nov 2012 09:56 AM
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KrispyKritter    [TotalFark]  
adults engaging in adult behavior? we'll have none of that.

22 Nov 2012 10:03 AM
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jack21221     

phalamir: Do you use money to influence the path the game takes in chess* or MtG?


No, but you don't use money to influence the path the game takes in tournament poker, either. The only money involved is the entry fee and the prizes. You're wagering valueless chips, and the goal of the game is to accumulate every chip.

22 Nov 2012 10:12 AM
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Valiente     
Funny, I would've said incestuous rape.

22 Nov 2012 10:19 AM
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BarkingUnicorn    [TotalFark]  
South Carolina's law:

SECTION 16-19-40. Unlawful games and betting.

If any person shall play at any tavern, inn, store for the retailing of spirituous liquors or in any house used as a place of gaming, barn, kitchen, stable or other outhouse, street, highway, open wood, race field or open place at

(a) any game with cards or dice,

(b) any gaming table, commonly called A, B, C, or E, O, or any gaming table known or distinguished by any other letters or by any figures,

(c) any roley-poley table,

(d) rouge et noir,

(e) any faro bank

(f) any other table or bank of the same or the like kind under any denomination whatsoever or

(g) any machine or device licensed pursuant to Section 12-21-2720 and used for gambling purposes, except the games of billiards, bowls, backgammon, chess, draughts, or whist when there is no betting on any such game of billiards, bowls, backgammon, chess, draughts, or whist

or shall bet on the sides or hands of such as do game,

upon being convicted thereof, before any magistrate, shall be imprisoned for a period of not over thirty days or fined not over one hundred dollars, and every person so keeping such tavern, inn, retail store, public place, or house used as a place for gaming or such other house shall, upon being convicted thereof, upon indictment, be imprisoned for a period not exceeding twelve months and forfeit a sum not exceeding two thousand dollars, for each and every offense.

The title and a literal reading say that it's unlawful to PLAY the games named in (a) through (g) whether there's betting or not, with the exceptions named in (g) when there is no betting. Betting on a game you're not playing is also prohibited.

So skip the arguments about chance vs. skill, poker v. MGT, etc.

22 Nov 2012 10:24 AM
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dready zim     

LDM90: Gamblers: Why don't they go after thieves?

Thieves: Why don't they go after drunk drivers?

Drunk drivers: Why don't they go after child molesters?


child molesters : You have a good point, why aren`t they going after us? Is it because we look after their kids and give them spiritual guidance?

22 Nov 2012 10:42 AM
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untaken_name     

dready zim: LDM90: Gamblers: Why don't they go after thieves?

Thieves: Why don't they go after drunk drivers?

Drunk drivers: Why don't they go after child molesters?

child molesters : You have a good point, why aren`t they going after us? Is it because we look after their kids and give them spiritual guidance?


It's that, true, but it's also because they're rich and/or famous.

22 Nov 2012 10:45 AM
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stiletto_the_wise     

BarkingUnicorn: South Carolina's law:

SECTION 16-19-40. Unlawful games and betting.

If any person shall play at any tavern, inn, store for the retailing of spirituous liquors or in any house used as a place of gaming, barn, kitchen, stable or other outhouse, street, highway, open wood, race field or open place at

(a) any game with cards or dice,

(b) any gaming table, commonly called A, B, C, or E, O, or any gaming table known or distinguished by any other letters or by any figures,

(c) any roley-poley table,

(d) rouge et noir,

(e) any faro bank

(f) any other table or bank of the same or the like kind under any denomination whatsoever or

(g) any machine or device licensed pursuant to Section 12-21-2720 and used for gambling purposes, except the games of billiards, bowls, backgammon, chess, draughts, or whist when there is no betting on any such game of billiards, bowls, backgammon, chess, draughts, or whist

or shall bet on the sides or hands of such as do game,

upon being convicted thereof, before any magistrate, shall be imprisoned for a period of not over thirty days or fined not over one hundred dollars, and every person so keeping such tavern, inn, retail store, public place, or house used as a place for gaming or such other house shall, upon being convicted thereof, upon indictment, be imprisoned for a period not exceeding twelve months and forfeit a sum not exceeding two thousand dollars, for each and every offense.

The title and a literal reading say that it's unlawful to PLAY the games named in (a) through (g) whether there's betting or not, with the exceptions named in (g) when there is no betting. Betting on a game you're not playing is also prohibited.

So skip the arguments about chance vs. skill, poker v. MGT, etc.


If I read 16-19-40(a) correctly, it outlaws:

Magic the Gathering (cards)
Dungeons and Dragons (dice)
Settlers of Catan (dice)
Solitaire (cards)
Monopoly (dice and cards)
Uno (cards)
Boggle (dice)
Parcheesi (dice)

South Carolina, you're officially crazy.

22 Nov 2012 10:49 AM
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AliceBToklasLives    [TotalFark]  
So from what I've gather from FTA, this is - or ought to be - basically a zoning issue.

22 Nov 2012 11:08 AM
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Cataholic     

talkertopc: I wish the article mentioned what made them decide the residence qualified as a house of gaming. Did they advertise and allow in uninvited strangers? Did they charge entry or take a commision?


Protip: When the article includes a link to the text of the actual court ruling, one may find it helpful in learning the pertinent parts of the story that the journalist was too lazy to report on.

22 Nov 2012 11:09 AM
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Vito Andolini     

phalamir: One way to look at it is thus: You can thoroughly describe the probabilities of the ball landing in any slot in roulette. And you can then look at who bets on what, and say who is most likely to win. But those percentages hold exactly the same whether the bettor is James Bond or Lottie Smith (though considering the old girl isn't obsessively betting the same number over and over while drinking a shiatty girl's martini, I would actually expect her to win more often).


Really? Betting the same number over and over has the exact same chance of betting any other type of number - 1/38 each time.

22 Nov 2012 11:13 AM
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kyuzokai     
I've played in a couple of these type games (in South Carolina, no less). Here's the thing:

There is NOWHERE nearby to play anything close to serious poker in SC. Playing with your buddies on Saturday night isn't the same as playing in a tournament against guys you don't know. If you want to get an idea of how good your play is, you need a tourney like this. SC has nowhere for you to play. So, some guy and his group of poker buddies decides to host a tourney. Friends tell friends about it, group of regular players agree to go, and the seats are filled. Now, the guy throwing the gig has all the hassle of organizing the event, gathering the cards/chips, dealing with parking (and neighbors complaints), and possibly providing food, snacks, and drinks, etc, so I think it's natural that he would want to rake a small amount off the prize pool (I wouldn't begrudge him skimming $100 or so for his trouble). If the tourney is successful (i.e. fun, NOT profitable), he might host it again, but it's usually only once every few months.

This is not really an 'unlicensed casino'. Nobody is going to get rich from it (well, only temporarily at least, depending on your definition of "rich"). It's just a bunch of guys who want to test their poker skills, with no viable way to do so otherwise.

22 Nov 2012 11:23 AM
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ggecko     
To begin, here are some boobies for no apparent reason:

3.bp.blogspot.com

Ok, I've lived in SC for over 20 years. The irony abounds. We used to have video poker parlors, the parlors pushed the rules/laws so they got outlawed. The reason they got outlawed is the state came up with laws (and used old laws from 1800s) about NO GAMBLING. That SAME YEAR we got a state run lottery. Yeah, lottery is 100% gambling (by definition) where video poker, while a form of gambling, really isn't gambling by the state's wording (it is not a total game of chance).

Now we have these sweepstakes parlors all over, basically you are buying computer time with a chance to win a prize. The state has a hard time outlawing them as if they do, they would have to go after any company that gives away prizes (and some say that could even affect things like coupons or BOGO sales as you have to make a purchase to "win" a better prize or "win" another item).


But my input on these "friendly games" in homes, they aren't just a group of buddies sitting around playing quarter/half poker. Many guys have bought these huge Texas Holdem tables, they set up a gambling room in their home, they ADVERTISE on places like Craigslist, strangers come to the house to play and the stakes can be in the thousands of dollars. They truly are gambling halls. THIS is what the state goes after, it isn't them going after that group of buddies having fun. The busts in my area are the cops seeing the posts on Craigslist then they go to the homes.

The other danger of these types of parlors is, since there are no rules and regulations, they have found where the "house" uses stacked decks, video cameras to see cards, mirrors, they have friends of theirs that work the tables with them, etc...


So, IMO, legalize it and regulate it and get some nice tax revenue.

22 Nov 2012 11:28 AM
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Feral_and_Preposterous     
I used to host a weekly game. It was a small one or two table event. To keep everyone from getting bent out of shape when they lost we kept the stakes small, but big enough that people actually tried to win and not just play like total morons. We usually played for $10, tournament / sit-n-go style with payout at 50%, 30%, 20%. We'd start with $3,500 in chips and I'd give them an extra $1,000 chips for a 1$ donation to the house. The house money helped to defer the cost of booze (for shots), snacks, toilet paper and asundries. Most people brought their own booze and food, but the shots usually came out of my liquor cabinet (at least a few rounds). I was definitely not making any money from the house money (the poker was where I made money). First place averaged $50-$70 payout, I suppose. Every now and again we'd play a $20 or $100 buy-in game, but the whole point was congregating with friends; if we wanted a big game there were casinos 45 minutes away. I don't see how a state that has casinos should shunt small house games like ours to the big dogs (who are ALL about taking profits and NOT about friends and rock-and-roll and football on TV).

In my opinion there's nothing wrong with a game like that (or even bigger). If it's a small game where everyone takes turns dealing--then I don't see why it's anyone's business but that of the players. I can see if you're providing dealers and taking a rake--how it could go the other way. I think the test should be: is the house taking a percentage of the money being played. All kinds of clubs have up-front dues to cover operating expenses, etc., so I don't have a problem with the house charging something to cover expenses, so long as they're known up front.

B b but taxes... [meh.]

22 Nov 2012 11:43 AM
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Martonio     
Maybe if they could play online LEGALLY, this kind of stuff wouldn't happen...

22 Nov 2012 11:44 AM
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mrsirjojo     
Does the submitter think the addition of the phrase "in their own homes" makes the preceding OK, regardless?

Like nothing one does is their own home, with no other parties involved, should be illegal? Cooking meth, buying child brides, hacking... etc?

22 Nov 2012 11:47 AM
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downstairs    [TotalFark]  

stiletto_the_wise: If I read 16-19-40(a) correctly, it outlaws:

Magic the Gathering (cards)
Dungeons and Dragons (dice)
Settlers of Catan (dice)
Solitaire (cards)
Monopoly (dice and cards)
Uno (cards)
Boggle (dice)
Parcheesi (dice)

South Carolina, you're officially crazy.



Yep.  You are correct, sorta.  You can play all of these in your house.  But not at a bar, or on a highway, or in the woods.  Ok, this law is officially weird.

22 Nov 2012 11:48 AM
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Feral_and_Preposterous     
And yes, I know that type of game is different than the one in the case at hand. But still, if some douchebag cop got a hard-on for me or someone in my game: they could come in and bust it just as they could a game advertised on Craigslist or a game where the house was a true "operation".

22 Nov 2012 11:48 AM
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seventypercent    [TotalFark]  
Well, playing poker in your own home is pretty much like pooping on the baby Jesus, I'd reckon

22 Nov 2012 11:49 AM
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