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If someone wanted to hold a poker game for money amongst friends

Resolved Question:

If someone wanted to hold a poker game for money amongst friends in a public venue (e.g. restaurant or bar) in CA, what are the risks to the venue and what are the risks to the game organizer? What if it is a PRIVATE room in a restaurant? Is it legal? What if they are playing with chips, no money on table? I was also told that if a portion of the money goes to charity, it's ok....
Submitted: 7 years ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  LADYLAWYER replied 7 years ago.



The positives of poker fundraising are currently trumping the state's laws regarding gambling, forcing the government to remind groups that these functions are currently illegal in California. According to a two-year-old law, the state justice department has, and can, put an end to these activities. According to the law, a business owner or poker game organizer can face one year in jail and a $5000 fine. The 2003 state law, which was originally designed to curb card club's take on pots, unfortunately includes language that "controlled games," such as poker, especially Texas Hold'em, can only be played at licensed card rooms or tribal casinos.


Playing poker with just chips, and no money, is legal.

Edited by LADYLAWYER on 10/1/2009 at 12:42 AM EST
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
I need just a little clarification: if the venue isn't taking any of the money, is it ok? Also, I am still unclear: if no money goes to the house (venue) and a portion goes to charity, is it legal? Poker falls under "games of skill."
Expert:  LADYLAWYER replied 7 years ago.



No, if any money is played for or changes hands, it is illegal.

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