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Restaurant Bar Busted for Gambling

Jack’s Sports Grill in Post Falls, Idaho, was the scene for some illegal poker play last Wednesday night. The local police detectives busted an illegal casino-version Texas Hold’em poker tournament at the restaurant bar on Ross Point Road after a police informant reported that payouts were involved. The bust came after Steve and Jackie Parker, the owners of the restaurant, were warned, and several anonymous tips were given to the police. Lt. Greg McLean headed the investigation and initial casino style bust.

‘We spoke with the owners back in November when they were in fact planning to hold a tournament, and we advised them that if a payout was involved that was a violation of state law,’ McLean said. ‘But we still received information that there continued to be payouts at these tournaments. It’s our intention to educate, but if education is ignored that’s when enforcement takes place,’ said the informant. Under state law, gambling is only gambling if it is a game of chance. But when money is involved, it becomes illegal gambling. McLean said about 70 players were signed up for the tournament, which had a $5 buy-in. McLean commented that the restaurant owner and ‘casino host’, Steve, openly admitted to paying first and second place winners. The picture looked too much like a casino and not enough like a friendly game of poker.

Most of the players involved had no idea they were violating the law. Because poker has become such a popular game in the US, and around the world, it is easy to see how a game of skill and a game of chance could be considered the same thing. Casino poker is fun for many people, and fans who live in areas like Post Falls find it difficult to hop to Vegas whenever they get the itch to play. Casino life is coming to the small towns of America, but with a major price. Until the gambling laws are sorted out among the different states and the federal government, more news stories like this one will be making headlines in the near future.

OCA News Editor

Jenny McKinnley is OCA’s financial correspondent. After spending years on the trading floor in both NY and London, she offers insight from the inside out on world financial news and events.