“Legal” cardroom in Missouri raided, shut down
The poker room was operating in a legal grey area
Missouri law enforcement officials borrowed the Texas rulebook on gambling activity and have shut down a “legal” cardroom operating in Springfield. Police raided the venue and arrested its owners, arguing that it didn’t have the right to operate. However, as has been seen in Texas – whose cardrooms have suffered a similar fate – the cardroom was actually complying with laws, sort of, by not taking a rake from the games. It was operating off the same membership-fee model that has been attempted in other states, including Texas.
Based on a single complaint from a “concerned citizen,” police raided and shut down The Club House. The facility had only been in operation for a couple of weeks and three people who either owned the facility or were involved in its operations were carted off to jail.
A statement from the Missouri State Highway Patrol explains, in part, “Search warrants were executed also at the business owner’s residence in Southwest Springfield and two local banks, for accounts associated with the business. The search warrants were the result of an investigation conducted by the Missouri State Highway Patrol’s Division of Drug and Crime Control and Springfield Police Department. Seized as a result of the warrants were gambling devices, records, and proceeds from illegal gaming operations.”
Like Texas, Missouri outlaws gambling if the facilities take a portion of the table action. However, cash games are typically allowed. By turning to the membership model, poker clubs have been sprouting up, charging a fee to become a member and leaving all gaming money on the table. While this is technically legal, law enforcement in different jurisdictions have decided to interpret their own version of the rules and are targeting different clubs.
In the case of Texas, there are a number of similar clubs operating, but police only acted on two. This led many to suspect that the shutdown was more politically- motivated than based on legal precedent.