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Dwayne B.
Dwayne B., Attorney
Category: Legal
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Experience:  Began practicing law in 1992
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I am a member of a sportsman club. There is some people that

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I am a member of a sportsman club. There is some people that want to play poker once every two weeks. The club does not take a cut. Is this legal?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Dwayne B. replied 1 year ago.

Hello and thank you for contacting us. This is Dwayne B. and I’m an expert here and looking forward to assisting you today. If at any point any of my answers aren’t clear please don’t hesitate to ask for clarification. Also, I can only answer the questions you specifically ask and based on the facts that you give so please be sure that you ask the questions you want to ask and provide all necessary facts.

What state are you in?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
pennsylvania
Expert:  Dwayne B. replied 1 year ago.

Hello and thank you for contacting us. This is Dwayne B. and I’m an expert here and looking forward to assisting you today. If at any point any of my answers aren’t clear please don’t hesitate to ask for clarification. Also, I can only answer the questions you specifically ask and based on the facts that you give so please be sure that you ask the questions you want to ask and provide all necessary facts.

Unfortunately, PA is one of the few states where the statute (Sec. 5513) is written broad enough to even make home poker games illegal. In most states as long as the facility isn't taking a cut or "rake" then it is legal but not in PA.

The pertinent part of the statute says:

(a) Offense defined.--A person is guilty of a misdemeanor of the first degree if he:

...

(2) allows persons to collect and assemble for the purpose of unlawful gambling at any place under his control;

(3) solicits or invites any person to visit any unlawful gambling place for the purpose of gambling; or

(4) being the owner, tenant, lessee or occupant of any premises, knowingly permits or suffers the same, or any part thereof, to be used for the purpose of unlawful gambling.

Unfortunately, the statute doesn't define "unlawful gambling" or "unlawful gambling place" but what it does say is that "unlawful" means "not specifically authorized" and therefore since poker under your facts isn't specifically allowed by the statute then it wold be unlawful.

However, it is also the type of thing that isn't likely to be prosecuted.

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