Police screw up sets poker players free in Baltimore

Prosecutors have dropped charges against 80 poker players arrested in this month's raid of the Owl's Nest poker club in Baltimore because police quoted the wrong statue when charging the accused.

When Baltimore police busted up a Hold'em game at the Owl's Nest poker club on November 2, arresting 95 and seizing more that $25,000 in cash, it was touted as the biggest gambling raid the city had seen since Prohibition. Media outlets across the nation posted the story, which saw 80 players, 9 dealers, and 4 managers charged with gambling, and 2 waitresses charged with selling liquor without a license. It was reported that those arrested could receive up to one year in jail or a $1,200 fine. This is no longer the case, at least not for the poker players.

Charges were laid under a subsection of the law that sates a person may not "keep, rent, use or occupy" a building for the purpose of gambling. Unfortunately for police, prosecutors revealed that a different subsection which prohibits a "bet, wager or gamble" should have been used against the players. The dealers, managers, and waitresses, on the other hand, can and will be charged under the aforementioned statute.

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