Once again we’re left with the troubling question of whether some kind of hallucinogenic drug flows in the water fountains at the Largo Police Department, as Largo police have made a nuisance of themselves by arresting folks on gambling charges for sponsoring Free Poker Games where players can win prizes but don’t buy in by purchasing chips according to press reports.
Free Poker games rotate in many bars and restaurants offering prizes for the best players. The bars and restaurants pay for the prizes not the poker players.
|Cezanne, Card Players with Largo Officer, 1895|
There may be solid reasons for outlawing gambling. But Free Poker is not gambling. Poker is not a game of chance, it’s a game of skill. Especially when I’m playing, then it’s just a matter of time before the other players somehow end up with all my chips.
Florida gambling law can be found at Florida Statutes Chapter 849 which makes it unlawful for any player to play for money or other valuables at any game of chance (with an exception for small home poker games, bingo and bowling tournaments, no I’m not making this stuff up.).
If Pinellas County Prosecutors do not dismiss these gambling charges there’s a Clearwater Criminal Defense Attorney who will wager that a Judge will dismiss these charges making a finding that the Florida gambling law as applied in this case is too broadly worded, that those involved with the Free Poker Games had no intent to break Florida gambling laws and that the Largo Police Department are a bunch of fools.