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Old 03-04-2013, 12:42 PM   #1
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Texas HB 2098 - The Social Poker Gaming Act of 2013

http://www.legis.state.tx.us/BillLoo...3R&Bill=HB2098

This bill would allow for "Social Poker Establishments"

The bill is authored by Ryan Guillen (D) who also co-sponsored HB 222 of 2009.

This puts 2 poker bills in the Texas pipeline so far this session.

Quote:
(6) "Social poker establishment" means a business or
entity that operates a private food and beverage club and poker
services in which:
(A) only registered members of the club may
participate as players in a game of poker;
(B) no person receives an economic benefit other
than personal winnings from a bet made during a hand of poker played
at the establishment; and
(C) except for the advantage of skill or luck,
the risk of losing and the chance of winning are the same for all
participants.
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Old 03-04-2013, 12:58 PM   #2
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Re: Texas HB 2098 - The Social Poker Gaming Act of 2013

Doesn't the establishment itself, if a business, receive an "economic benefit" from membership fees and sales of food and beverages? Also, is the intent that no dealers or waitresses, or anyone else, get wages or tips?

Unless it's only supposed to be free memberships, no paid employees and free food and drinks, I think (B) needs to be changed so there is no ambiguity:

(B) no person receives an economic benefit from the bets made during a hand or series of hands of poker played at the establishment other than the personal winnings of the participating players.

This wording also allows players to have prizes from a jackpot drop (high hand, bad beat, whatever) if they want.
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Old 03-04-2013, 01:00 PM   #3
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Re: Texas HB 2098 - The Social Poker Gaming Act of 2013

Quote:
no person receives an economic benefit other
than personal winnings from a bet made during a hand of poker played
at the establishment; and
I believe that the "economic benefit" would only apply if it where "from a bet". So I think member dues would be completely legal under this bill.

Not sure if the intent of the bill is to have dealers.
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Old 03-04-2013, 01:08 PM   #4
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Re: Texas HB 2098 - The Social Poker Gaming Act of 2013

Quote:
Originally Posted by Thew92 View Post
I believe that the "economic benefit" would only apply if it where "from a bet". So I think member dues would be completely legal under this bill.
Not the way it is written. Maybe if it were changed to:

"no person receives an economic benefit from a bet made during a hand of poker played at the establishment other than personal winnings ; and"

The way it is written now, the sentence parses such that no one can gain any economic benefit except for "personal winnings from a bet". The "from a bet" modifies "personal winnings", not "economic benefit" as written currently.
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Old 03-04-2013, 02:43 PM   #5
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Re: Texas HB 2098 - The Social Poker Gaming Act of 2013

So . . . . . should those of us in Texas take from this Bill that such games are currently illeagal in the State?

I am a little confused what positive purpose proposals like this serve. There must be thousands of poker games each day played in bars, clubs and such. Even so, I have not seen any coverage of raids on the mens locker room, back room at the bar or tuesday night poker points league.

If this Bill passes, it is not going to make my poker life easier, but if it fails I could see unlikely ways it could lead to trouble.

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Old 03-04-2013, 09:06 PM   #6
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Re: Texas HB 2098 - The Social Poker Gaming Act of 2013

Quote:
Quote:
Originally Posted by PokerXanadu View Post
...This wording...
Quote:
Originally Posted by PokerXanadu View Post
Not the way it is written...
...as written currently.
Just an fyi: You're referring to a legislature that "accidentally" put language in concealed carry legislation that made it illegal for on-duty, uniformed law enforcement personnel to walk into bars with their duty weapons (it was later fixed).

Quote:
Originally Posted by DrStrange View Post
...
I am a little confused what positive purpose proposals like this serve. There must be thousands of poker games each day played in bars, clubs and such. Even so, I have not seen any coverage of raids on the mens locker room, back room at the bar or tuesday night poker points league.
...
I'm a little confused also.

It does seem to me that there are far fewer restaurant/bar poker tournaments in my area. I don't know if that reflects a waning popularity of these types of tournaments or if establishment owners have been backed off by numerous Districty/County Attorney statements that holding no fee/rake tournaments are still illegal because it is likely that participants will buy food/drink from the establishment and that constitutes an illegal benefit.

I suspect the legislation is trying to fix that, but as PokerXanadu and others have stated, the language is ambiguous to the point of confusion.
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Old 03-05-2013, 06:51 AM   #7
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Re: Texas HB 2098 - The Social Poker Gaming Act of 2013

Quote:
Originally Posted by sba9630 View Post
Just an fyi: You're referring to a legislature that "accidentally" put language in concealed carry legislation that made it illegal for on-duty, uniformed law enforcement personnel to walk into bars with their duty weapons (it was later fixed).



I'm a little confused also.

It does seem to me that there are far fewer restaurant/bar poker tournaments in my area. I don't know if that reflects a waning popularity of these types of tournaments or if establishment owners have been backed off by numerous Districty/County Attorney statements that holding no fee/rake tournaments are still illegal because it is likely that participants will buy food/drink from the establishment and that constitutes an illegal benefit.

I suspect the legislation is trying to fix that, but as PokerXanadu and others have stated, this language is ambiguous to the point of confusion.
Well, I hope they head them off before the pass and force them at gunpoint to correct the language of the poker bill.

It would be strange to pass a bill which makes it legal for any business to offer a poker game except for any business that charges for anything (food, drink, membership, etc.) or pays wages to anyone or pays rent. Is this a dumb mistake, or an effort by the anti-gambling zealots in disguise?
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Old 03-05-2013, 10:03 AM   #8
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Didn't Perry already stated he would veto all poker/gambling legislation?
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Old 03-05-2013, 11:15 AM   #9
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Re: Texas HB 2098 - The Social Poker Gaming Act of 2013

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Originally Posted by zoomie123 View Post
Didn't Perry already stated he would veto all poker/gambling legislation?
He has in previous years, but I haven't seen a 2013 statement yet.
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Old 03-09-2013, 03:22 AM   #10
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Re: Texas HB 2098 - The Social Poker Gaming Act of 2013

Quote:
The legislation is more of an outline for bringing legal poker to the state. Under the bill, card clubs wouldn’t collect a rake, but they would charge membership fees and profit from food and beverage sales. Poker could be used as a “marketing tool,” Kebort said. Interestingly, in Nevada, which obviously has full-scale casinos, live poker is also thought of in the same way because it brings in customers to play other games.
http://www.cardplayer.com/poker-news...duced-in-texas
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Old 03-09-2013, 07:02 AM   #11
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Re: Texas HB 2098 - The Social Poker Gaming Act of 2013

As a player, this sounds like a nice deal. Not sure how profitable it would be for a room to offer it.
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Old 03-11-2013, 04:38 PM   #12
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Re: Texas HB 2098 - The Social Poker Gaming Act of 2013

A number of folks have asked me to take a look at this statute and the discussion of its specific terms. I apologize for taking so long to do that, sometimes the day job leaves little room for poker work.

And my answer is: it is poor wording, but in the end I think the statute will be OK.

It is absolutely true that, as written, the statute does not make clear whether it is "no person receives an economic benefit [,] other than personal winnings from a bet made during a hand of poker played at the establishment" or "no person receives an economic benefit [,] other than personal winnings [,] from a bet made during a hand of poker played at the establishment." Commas are our friends.

With the first comma in place, it is clear that economic benefits other than hand winnings are not allowed; with another comma in the second place it is clear that economic benefits are allowed, but the only economic benefit anyone can get from a bet is personal winnings.

Interpreting this statute without any commas may cause a little concern, but in the end a COURT interpreting the statute has to interpret the entire statute and avoid interpretations that make the statute meaningless.

In this case is would be very strange for a law to be written to apply to a specific kind of private entity (namely a "Social poker establishment" - which is defined as "... a business or entity that operates a private food and beverage club and poker services") and then prohibit that same private entity from selling food and beverages (to its benefit) if it also offers poker.

Wouldn't it be a lot easier to just provide that private clubs cannot offer poker?

It seems clear that the intent of the statute was to authorize private clubs that can charge membership fees and sell food and drink but, if it offers poker at all, can only have rake-free poker. No BBJs either. This is most likely how both the authorities and the Courts would interpret the statute if it becomes law.

I would also think that this statute does allow for dealers so long as the dealers are paid by the hour and by the house and not directly from the pot (tipping is a tougher question).

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Old 03-11-2013, 05:05 PM   #13
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Re: Texas HB 2098 - The Social Poker Gaming Act of 2013

Thanks, Skall. I hope they take the opportunity to amend the bill language in committee by at least adding the commas. Better to have it clear before passage than face the possibility, even if remote, of needing a court interpretation to clarify it.
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Old 03-11-2013, 05:42 PM   #14
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Re: Texas HB 2098 - The Social Poker Gaming Act of 2013

Thanks Patrick for looking at this.
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