CBC News has reported that another Texas Hold'em tournament has been shut down by the Manitoba Gaming Control Commission. According to the Canadian news company, the Eastman Poker Tournament was being run by five rural Manitoba bars as a fundraiser for a new outdoor skating rink in Lac du Bonnet.
Slated to take place this Sunday in Beausejour, the event was canceled at the last minute after police issued written warnings to organizers advising the tournament was illegal. Participants paid a buy-in of $20 to compete in the tournament, which was to award a first place prize of $1,000.
Under Manitoba law, any establishment that charges an entry fee, offers a large prize pool, and stands to gain from running a poker event is considered illegal. Eastman Poker Tournament organizer, Ritch Nally, wasn't aware charity poker events fell under the same statute, and was disappointed with the sudden turn of events.
He said, "As far as we were concerned, it's still a grey area, but … my lawyer felt that it was a very safe bet that we can put on the tournament. [But] I certainly wouldn't risk getting charged."
"Just imagine if we were willing to donate money and play Monopoly. It's because it's poker and it has the illusion that there's something sneaky going on," he concluded.
This is the second poker tournament to be shut down by provincial authorities in Manitoba this month.