Canadian charities urge government to legalize poker tourneys

According to the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, non-profit organizations in the province of New Brunswick are urging the government to legalize charitable poker tournaments. Organizers are frustrated that the law prohibits them from hosting poker tournaments as fundraisers, while illegal tournaments at bars and restaurants are being treated unequally by law enforcement officials, with some officers completing overlooking gaming law violations and others cracking down on violators.

Paul Wentzell, chair of the United Commercial Travelers (UCT) executive committee, said, "We believe that's creating an un-level playing field for charities, and the way to solve this issue is to have the province add poker to their gaming regulations just like they do with bingo and other games of chance so that if you wanted to have a charity poker tournament you could."

Wentzell believes poker tournaments provide a tremendous fundraising opportunity for non-profit organizations. The UCT raised $2,500 in a charity poker tournament last year, but had to cancel the event this year when questions as to the legality of the fundraiser were voiced.

New Brunswick law currently holds unregulated gambling to be a criminal offence. Government spokesperson, Vicky Deschenes, revealed, "Texas Hold'em poker is a new trend in Canada, and the government is aware of this and is monitoring the situation."

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