Several sports bars and grills located in Tampa Bay, Florida offer their customers an opportunity to play poker and enjoy poker leagues. The poker leagues are free and most people view the gaming option as a way to have fun and stay entertained, as wagering is not allowed. However, the local police do not feel the same way and a local poker league was recently raided and arrests were made.
According to the Tampa Bay Times, last Saturday afternoon, police in Largo entered Louie’s Grill and Sports Bar and interrupted the monthly Texas Hold’em tournament. The tournament had 140 players participating and police told the players to place their hands on the table. The raid was part of an investigation which agents were calling Operation Cracked Aces.
The owner of the Nutz Poker League as well as five employees was arrested during the raid, and accused of working for a gambling house. The restaurant owner was also served with charges, for running a gambling house. Tim Hood, a player in the league commented: “It was something out of a bad movie, with masks and guns out. They made everyone feel like we were really criminals.”
The Nutz Poker League is one of three major leagues available in the bay area. The league is completely free and the arrests were a huge shock to players. The players were insistent that they do not pay to play and the games are not of a gambling nature. Despite what the players say, the state laws interpret the games differently.
It will be interesting to see what happens in this case. Will those arrested be able to use their argument that the games were free to play with no wagering or will the state come up with their own information to see the charges through? Only time will tell and we will stay on top of any information of this incident as it is released.
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