“Nonprofit organizations and other groups that choose to host poker games to raise money or as a social event are walking a fine legal line, local law enforcement officers say.
Texas hold ’em, a community card game that has increased in popularity in the last few years, is illegal when a monetary bet is made — no matter the reason for the tournament, according to the Wisconsin Department of Justice.
“It’s a great idea and great fundraiser; you just have to do your homework to make sure you aren’t doing anything illegal,” said Carol Elliott, chairwoman of the Arts Council of South Wood County’s governance committee.
After months of legal research and planning, the May 4 inaugural Do You Feel Lucky event and Texas hold ’em contest in Wisconsin Rapids allowed her group to draw a younger crowd, she said.
State statutes define a bet as “a bargain in which the parties agree that, dependent upon chance even though accompanied by some skill, one stands to win or lose something of value specified in the agreement.”
Even giving away a prize could potentially cause legal problems, said Thomas Eagon, Portage County district attorney.”
Wisconsin Rapids Daily Tribune (07/29/07)