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Online Poker News Archives - January 19, 2006

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Copyright © 2006 CBC News

January 19, 2006

Charities want poker fundraising to be legal

Non-profit groups in New Brunswick are asking the province to legalize charitable poker tournaments.

Unregulated gambling is a criminal offence, but poker players don't have any trouble finding a game. At least two bars in Saint John are openly advertising poker tournaments.

Saint John police officers will investigate complaints about illegal gambling but Sgt. Pat Bonner says they haven't received any. "We get other interests that really capture us more than someone playing cards."

Meanwhile, Codiac RCMP are investigating complaints about Texas Hold'em poker games in bars in the Moncton area, and anyone who organizes a poker tournament in Fredericton can expect a visit from the city police.

This uneven enforcement is what bothers Paul Wentzell of the United Commercial Travellers service club. "We believe that's creating an unlevel playing field for charities, and the way to solve this issue is to have the province add poker to their gaming regulations just like they do with bingo and other games of chance so that if you wanted to have a charity poker tournament you could."

The Canadian Red Cross last week got $21,000 for hurricane relief from a Texas Hold'em tournament in Moncton.

Red Cross official Cathie Desborough would like to see the province clear the air on the validity of poker for charity fundraising. "We are the recipients of donations from the Atlantic Lottery Corporation and other casinos," she pointed out.

The province says it is aware of the issue and is reviewing its gaming policy.

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