Controversy doesn't deter charity poker tournament

Today begins the first of day of play for a four-day Texas Hold'em charity poker tournament in Ohio hosted by a company that was blocked from conducting similar events just eight months ago.

Reece's Las Vegas Supplies is hosting an event at the Dayton Convention Center to benefit the Central Ohio Amateur Baseball Federation. In March, the Ohio Attorney General's office blocked them from events, accusing the company of skimming money from charities.

The Attorney General at the time had alleged that Reece's owners took hundreds of thousands of dollars that should have gone to charities through poker tournaments they had organized all around Ohio.

According to Ohio law, all proceeds from gaming must go to the sponsoring charity, except those used to pay for prizes, and only unpaid volunteers can operate the event.

Citing that the state had failed to show clear and convincing evidence that Reece's Las Vegas Supplies had received compensation for operating gambling events for charities, a county judge ruled in favor of the company in June.

In his ruling, the judge said that company owner Reece Powers doesn't dispute that he made good money from the charity events, and even argues that his business would suffer without them, but it is a close call as to whether he or his business received direct compensation for the events.

The company charges rental fees to the charities it works with to set them up with all the equipment they need as well as registration handlers, card dealers and advertising.

The judge determined that reasonable people could argue that Reece's Las Vegas Supplies is being paid for its "expertise" in organizing and operating tournaments, not for actually running them, which would be illegal.

Monica Moloney, acting chief of the charitable law section of the Ohio Attorney General's office, told the Dayton Daily News that the case is still open, and they would be filing an appeal of the ruling.

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