Sunday, November 25, 2007

Little Rock Poker League Raided

One of the more curious poker news items in recent days was the raid last Sunday night on the Little Rock, Arkansas, location of the National Poker Challenge. The raid took place at about 9 pm and seems to have been done at the behest of the president of the Little Rock-based Family Council, Jerry Cox. Yes, that's another one of those Focus on the Family, "Any fun that we don't approve of must be abolished", wacko-right wing organizations.

It's of course of special interest because the National Poker Challenge was one of a growing swarm of "free poker" outlets nationwide. The NPC also has operations in Oregon and in Memphis, where it is headquarted, and went ahead with opening up in Little Rock despite receiving warnings from the city attorney there that the planned operation was likely going to be perceived as illegal. The NPC responded that it had received several legal opinions that it was on solid legal ground, and went ahead and opened anyway.

So what does a modern, rightest American government do when faced with any sort of sociopolitical legal challenge to its authority?

Yep, S.W.A.T. teams.

Little Rock indeed responded by sending in the heavy hitters and conducting a sweeping raid. It seems like Cox, the aptly named Family Council president, also had his special in, because he just happened to be driving by the place when the raid went down and witnessed the equipment being hauled out and the room's owner and employees being placed under arrest. They were charged with felonies, too, which is of course what you'd expect from such a heavy-handed operation. The raid was intended to get rid of the perceived problem by any means necessary, not to bother with any sort of reasonable legal discourse. And of course, by filing felony charges and keeping the equipment seized and unavailable, the unacceptable behavior is dealt with, legal or not.

I've been to Little Rock. Spent several days there, a few years back. My general impression is that Little Rock sucks.

This just reminded me again, as to why.


CSuave said...

Very similar event happened in Ohio about two years ago. This free league was in a bar. Swat came in guns drawn and put people on the floor from what I was told. They were all charged with illegal gaming. In Ohio the law states that gaming is constituted by risking something of value for a potential to win something of value. Well it was a true free league and you risked nothing to play. But the prosecutors thought they were being pretty slick. Bunch of Big Slicks that is. They claimed the players were risking something of value..... their time!!!! Well for the 20some players that took it before a judge, the charges were all dropped and the judge was upset with the prosecutors. Finally someone in law with a little common sense.

Anonymous said...

I was part of an investment group that spent a lot of time and energy over many months meeting with NPC corporate and we were looking to be the first group to bring this franchise into Georgia, but the legal grey area was an issue we were never comfortable with and I am glad the process stalled shortly before the Arkansas raid. It's unfortunate though, the concept is solid and a hit with nearly every poker player who has participated at their facilities.