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Poker News: February 10, 2007

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HEADLINE: Poker bills draw lousy hand in Legislature

Poker legislation has had a run of bad luck in the North Dakota Legislature, where representatives have defeated proposals to raise betting limits and increase the number of times charities could offer the game.

North Dakota charities may run poker tournaments but they are limited to two per year for each organization, with a maximum bet of $1. Under those circumstances, few charities are eager to offer poker, said Rep. William Kretschmar, R-Venturia.

Legislation to raise the maximum bet to $5 and allow charities to run two poker tournaments annually at each of their sites was defeated in the House this week.

Rep. Stacey Dahl, R-Grand Forks, said more than 2,000 poker tournaments could result statewide if each North Dakota charity that uses gambling to raise money could offer two yearly poker tournaments at each of their gambling sites.

"This would significantly expand the game of poker, even if it is for a charitable purpose," Dahl said during a House floor speech Friday. The measure to allow more poker tournaments was defeated Friday, 66-26.

Rep. Jim Kasper, R-Fargo, supported the expansion, saying it would make poker tournaments more accessible to the thousands of North Dakotans who would like to play. The present law limits tournaments mostly to the state's larger cities, he said.

"There's a whole lot of poker players in our state," Kasper said. "What we're saying here is ... let the charities in the other locations in our state have their opportunity for their local citizens to participate in a tournament as well."


The bill to increase the number of allowed poker tournaments is HB1264. The bill to raise the maximum poker bet from $1 to $5 is HB1440.

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