A company called The Free Poker Experience LCC is suing New York after the state banned free poker games that the company runs in New York bars. The Free Poker Experience doesn’t believe their Texas Hold’em tournaments should be banned since they don’t charge a buy-in fee. Instead, the restaurant or bar where each tournament is held pays a $60 fee every night.
New York’s reason for banning tourneys staged by The Free Poker Experience is that the tournaments fall under the gambling category since players are taking a risk to win a predetermined prize. The state does not believe in poker odds and has determined that there isn’t really any skill involved; it all comes down to a person’s poker hands.
Because of the prizes that The Free Poker Experience gives to the winners of tournaments – which include seats to big land-based tournaments and cash prizes – New York has lumped The Free Poker Experience in with other gambling activities within the state. New York has even threatened to file charges against the bars or restaurants which host poker tourneys run by The Free Poker Experience; this could result in a loss of their liquor license.
A representative of The Free Poker Experience LCC named Benjamin Scheck is outraged by New York’s decision and said, “The government not only has the right to make laws, they have the right to make silly laws. He went on to point out how the participants of these tournaments don’t risk anything since there are no buy-in fees.
Plus Scheck made the good point that people can bet money on games such as bridge and darts yet not be in violation of any law; speaking on this he said, “Poker, for some reason, has a dirty connotation to it.We need the state to clarify the situation and to unmuddy the waters so that we know what we can go ahead with.”
The main part of the law that Scheck and The Free Poker Experience seem to be in violation of is Section 225.00 which states, “A person profits from gambling activity when, other than as a player, he accepts or receives money or other property pursuant to an agreement or understanding with any person whereby he participates or is to participate in the proceeds of gambling activity.”
Since bars and restaurants which host events staged by The Free Poker Experience are profiting from more sales and customers as a result of the tournaments, they are deemed to be in violation of the law along with the Missouri-based company.