Online Poker at The Poker FatherOnline Poker - - "Keep your friends close, but your Poker Friends Closer" Online Poker - - "Keep your friends close, but your Poker Friends Closer" The Poker Father Online Poker Site

Online Poker News Archives - December 7, 2005

(Click Here for the Latest Online Poker News Stories)

Copyright 2005

December 7, 2005

State, dog track at odds over poker



The Melbourne Greyhound Park is taking a chance, but the Texas Hold 'Em tournaments will continue when a new $5 million poker room opens there today.

Officials of the Melbourne facility -- and other tracks across Florida -- think they have found a way to get around the state's recent efforts to ban certain forms of the popular poker tournaments.

However, they appear to be at odds with the state on the interpretation of rules for tournament poker. State regulators have issued an advisory opinion, indicating what the track is doing may not conform to Florida statutes.

But track officials say they will continue their tournaments for now -- and it could take state legislation, an administrative hearing or a lawsuit to clear things up.

Under state regulation, pari-mutuel facilities like horse and dog tracks and jai alai frontons can have poker rooms -- as long as they get local governmental approval and as long as the maximum bets do not exceed $2, with a maximum of three raises per round.

Where things get confusing is in poker tournaments, in which the winnings can be higher than a basic one-table poker game.

The Melbourne track hasintroduced a system in which players buy into the tournament for a total of $45 -- of which $13 is the house entry fee and $32 goes toward the prize money.

The chips in the poker tournaments themselves have a face value of a fraction of a penny, so that the individual games do not to exceed the state-mandated betting limit.

But the top finishers in a tournament -- the ones with the most chips when the event ends -- win prize money that can exceed $1,000, depending on how many people are entered.

John Niebler, manager of the poker room at the Melbourne Greyhound Park, said he thinks what his facility is doing complies with state rules.

But David Roberts, director of Florida's Department of Business and Professional Regulation's Division of Pari-Mutuel Wagering, feels differently, according to a letter sent to Niebler's track and others.

Niebler said it could take an administrative hearing or a class-action lawsuit by the facilities that operate poker tournaments to resolve the issue.

In the meantime, he said the poker tournament will continue in Melbourne.

Roberts' memo on the issue "is only an opinion at this point," Niebler said, adding that if the track's overall poker license was threatened by an official ruling, the tournaments "would stop immediately"

It's all a question of how the rules are interpreted, park officials say.

"Card rooms may hold poker tournaments as long as they operate within the parameters of the statute," said Meg Shannon, communications director for the Department of Business and Professional Regulation.

Niebler said his track had suspended poker tournaments for three weeks after state regulators cracked down on how tournaments were run at two other facilities, but resumed them Nov. 27 after revamping how the chip values are handled.

Poker tournaments alone bring in about $25,000 a week in revenue to the Melbourne track's poker operation -- almost one-quarter of the $108,000 to $110,000 a week in total poker revenue there.

The track introduced poker in January, and today will be moving the operation to an expanded area there.

VIP guests attending a grand-opening party Tuesday night to mark the debut of the new poker room generally felt the tournaments should be allowed to continue.

"I think the rules are ridiculous," said Harry Kinsella of Suntree. "Why not have controlled gambling? We're dealing with mature adults here. There are a lot of gambling entities that don't pay taxes, who they should go after."

Bonnie King, assistant director of the Space Coast Office of Tourism, said the poker operation "is great for tourism. It's another way our county can offer a variety of activities. It's good for our area. It adds diversity for our visitors."

"This place is so beautiful," said Pat Honeywill of Merritt Island. "People like to come here because it gives them hope. Every round, they can have a winning hand."

"A lot of people enjoy this type of entertainment," Brevard County Commissioner Ron Pritchard said. "This place is very clean, very classy and well-appointed. It's enticing."

And it adds jobs to the local economy, according to Pat Biddix, general manager of the Melbourne Greyhound Park.

"We created 100 high-paying jobs, where people can make $40 to $60 an hour in tips," Biddex said.

"We have over 220 employees at the track. The place looks fantastic with gold leaf and gorgeous chandeliers. It's not Las Vegas, but it's the sharpest thing Melbourne has ever seen."

Contact Balancia at 242-3647 or

Downloaded from the World Wide Web on December 7, 2005:

(Click Here for the Latest Online Poker News Stories)


Online Poker Offers you CANNOT REFUSE

Last Updated:

Online Poker Offers YOU CANNOT REFUSE!

Help The Poker Father and WIN $100


Click here to play!



play online poker



The - Online Poker Site The - Online Poker Site The - Online Poker Site
The - Online Poker Site

Online Poker | Poker Bonus | U.S. Poker | Poker News | Poker Games | Casino Games |Poker Rules | Poker Tips
Poker Strategy | Poker Books | Poker Movies | Poker Banners | Partners | Poker Supplys | FreeRoll Poker
Poker Lessons | Poker Glossary | Security | Who We Are | Link Directory | Contact Us | Site Map

Didn't find what you are looking for - try Google, Open Directory Project or Yahoo! Directory is an independent online poker information website not affiliated with any poker room.
Copyright © 2005-2011 The Poker Father Online Poker Site - All Rights Reserved.

The - Online Poker Site