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Charity Poker Slips Police Radar

"California law is rigid and inflexible when it comes to nonprofits and charitable gambling," said Nathan Barankin. Barankin is the communications director for the Attorney General's Office. The problem he is pointing out is becoming a widespread issue that seems to be one the police are more than happy to ignore. In fact, according to a different spokesman for the Los Angeles City Attorney's Office, there have been no cases of police bringing an event up or attempting to shut one down.

There are California churches, school boosters, and other nonprofit groups that are holding what state officials point out are illegal Texas Hold'em poker tournaments in order to raise money. The West Ranch High School in Stevenson Ranch made a healthy $12,000 in October to support the baseball team, and the Make-a-Wish Foundation grabbed an impressive $60,000 in an August tournament that was hosted by Kings star Luc Robitaille.

The Attorney General's Office points out that the charity poker tournaments are illegal and a misdemeanor violation and organizers could face a year in jail or a $5,000 fine.

Barankin remains firm on the subject: "There are no exceptions written into the law. Even if you're not playing for real money, it's illegal."



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