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Poker News: December 19th, 2008

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Copyright © CBC

HEADLINE: No French allowed at Saskatchewan casino poker tables

An English-only rule at the card tables in Saskatchewan's government-owned casinos sends a bad signal to visitors, the province's francophone association says.

At Casino Regina and Casino Moose Jaw, if poker or blackjack cards have been dealt, the only language allowed is English, a rule that two French-speaking players were recently informed of by a dealer.

The francophones were told there was a concern there could be collusion. But the ban on languages other than English is something the Assemblée communautaire fransaskoise — the province's francophone rights association — isn't happy about.

"It certainly doesn't send a very good message to tourists and visitors in Saskatchewan who are here, with a desire to spend some of their money in our casino and they don't have the right to speak any other language but English," said Michel Dubé, president of the organization.

Even though Canada is officially bilingual, Saskatchewan isn't. That means the province can legally enforce the rule at government-run casinos.

"It's widely accepted in the gaming world to have a designated language," Saskatchewan Gaming Authority spokeswoman Angela Gordon said.

"By designated we mean all players at that table clearly understand the language. And we have these rules in place to protect the integrity of the game and the safety of our players and our staff."

In Quebec, dealers are expected to be bilingual, so both languages are accepted.

In Manitoba, at least one casino allows for a French-only blackjack table on weekends.

However, Gordon says until there's a complaint or a request for another language, the English-only rule will remain.

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Article downloaded from the World Wide Web on December 19th, 2008

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