Public poker busted by police in Iceland

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Long arm of the law reaches out to bust poker in Iceland.

Iceland nearly had its first public poker tournament Saturday in Reykjavik. According to the Iceland Review, it got off to a good start but was interrupted when police arrived an hour into the event.

More than 150 people had showed up to participate, paying ISK 4,000 ($64 USD) to play, but it turns out that fee and gambling itself may be an illegal activity in the nation.

The tournament began at 2 p.m., with Reykjavik police showing up at the scene an hour later. They then returned with a lawyer at 7:30 p.m. to stop the tournament, despite the tournament being down to 30 players already and nearly over.

The police cleared the room and confiscated everything that was used in the tournament including the tables, chips and cards.

According to the police, the tournament was breaking two laws in particular.

The first is a financial law that states that people who gamble for a living should be fined or imprisoned for up to one year.

The second law is the 184th article of Penal Cod No. 19/1940 which says that people who profit from organizing gambling, either directly or indirectly, in facilities they are responsible should be fined or imprisoned for up to one year.

This seems to be news for Sindri Ludyiksson, the tournament's organizer. According to the Iceland Review, he told Morgunbladid that he didn't believe anything illegal had taken place.

In fact, he said the fee collected for the event is no different than that collected from people who play bridge or bingo, which is legal in Iceland.

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