Charity 'poker runs' will have to fold

Discussion in 'Texas Bikers' started by another viewer, Dec 28, 2005.

  1. Charity 'poker runs' will have to fold
    Attorney general rules motorcycle clubs' events are illegal gambling

    Copyright 2005 Houston Chronicle Austin Bureau

    AUSTIN - Motorcycle clubs that stage "poker runs" for charity will find
    2006 less bountiful because Attorney General Greg Abbott ruled Tuesday
    that such fundraisers amount to illegal gambling under Texas law.

    Poker runs typically have a participant paying a registration fee or
    have the motorcycle rider purchase cards or hands at various rally
    points. At the end of the run, a cash prize is usually awarded for the
    best hand, the second-best hand and the worst hand.

    Abbott ruled that a poker run with cash prizes would amount to a lottery
    under state law. He said an organization that kept part of the proceeds
    for charity would violate the state's prohibition on gambling.

    "Even if the contribution goes to a charitable cause and the nonprofit
    organization will pay prizes from other money, a participant pays money
    for the chance to win a prize," Abbott said. "Thus we conclude ... the
    nonprofit organization would become a custodian of a bet in violation
    (of the state Penal Code)."

    The ruling will broadly affect motorcycle organizations across Texas. At
    least seven have posted poker runs on the Internet through March.
    Charitable poker runs in the past year have been hosted by motorcycle
    clubs as well as police and fire departments around the state.

    The poker run that prompted Abbott's opinion was organized by the Blue
    Knights Texas XXXI chapter to raise money for Galveston County Deputy
    Sheriff Michel Roy, who was injured in April when his squad car collided
    with a drunken driver's vehicle.

    The Blue Knights is a motorcycle club consisting of active and retired
    police officers.

    The club's advertised run said riders could buy hands for $10 each with
    no limit on the number of hands that could be purchased. At the end of
    the run, prizes would consist of $700 for the best hand, $200 for the
    second-best hand and $100 for the worst hand.

    Event drew complaint
    Galveston County Criminal District Attorney Kurt Sistrunk said he
    received a citizen complaint on the poker run the day before it
    occurred. He said he called Blue Knights officers and asked them to call
    the event off.

    "There was no getting around it, in my estimation, they would be
    violating the law if they pursued that event," Sistrunk said.

    Blue Knights chapter President D.J. Alvarez said after that call, the
    club continued with the poker run, but canceled the cash prizes.

    Alvarez said only three or four riders backed out of the Blue Knights
    run that weekend, but he said Abbott's ruling will have a serious impact
    on charitable poker runs across Texas.

    "You have poker runs every weekend," said Alvarez, a lieutenant in the
    Galveston Police Department. "They're all for cancer organizations,
    charitable organizations."

    He said they are especially useful in raising money for injured police
    or firefighters.

    "Where in a matter of three hours can you raise $5,000?" Alvarez said.

    'We can get around it'

    While Abbott's ruling specifically addressed the Blue Knights' poker
    run, Sistrunk said he reads it to outlaw all such fund-raising
    activities by nonprofit groups.

    "They're going to have to come up with a different way of collecting
    money," Sistrunk said.

    One of the biggest poker runs in the Houston area is sponsored by
    Competition Motorcycles of Pearland.

    Owner Jesse McCulley said his run is meant to promote motorcycling, with
    all the money being paid out in prizes. He said he understands that
    makes it legal because no one benefits but the riders who participate.

    McCulley said Abbott's ruling will negatively affect charity events if
    there are no cash prizes for poker runs.

    "Some people are going to come out of the kindness of their heart," he
    said. "But let's face it, if you cut out that little piece of cheese at
    the end of the trail, participation is going to decline."

    Sputnik, chairman of the Texas Motorcycle Rights Association, who does
    not use a last name, said he does not believe Abbott's ruling marks the
    end of poker runs.

    "We can get around it," Sputnik said. "We can give trophies, and we can
    give cash money on the side."
    another viewer, Dec 28, 2005
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  2. another viewer

    Bill Walker Guest

    The "poker run issue" was in the open during the regular legislative session
    which opened in January.. One case had already been opened in west Texas by
    a District Attorney, there.. She contended the runs were illegal and was
    prosecuting one of the clubs in that area.. Her case was being batted around
    for a while..

    TMRA 2 never addressed the issue as far as I know.. There are few, if any ..
    poker runs that are promoted for personal gain.. Most of them have a worthy
    cause to contribute to, and the winners usually donate their winnings to
    that cause..

    This governor and the attorney general were both surprised and somewhat
    shocked in January when the number of motorcyclists converged on Austin to
    participate in the opening of the legislative session.. Neither of those two
    have ever been friends of motorcyclists nor have either of them advocated
    for anything to benefit bikers..

    The comments that this thread has attracted are mostly generated by people
    who've never advocated or supported any efforts to lobby for or force
    legislation to benefit motocycle enthusiasts.

    I'd give odds that the Poker Run issue will be addressed by some of the
    clubs and groups that have actively participated in government .. Those
    advocacy groups may be strong enough to accomplish the task.. In the
    meantime, we'll have to live with the law as it is, until it can be modified
    or changed.. While the state government administration is in our Capitol,
    that may not be possible. That means that many of the incumbents will have
    to be replaced and those organizations that are fighting for all our rights
    should be supported .. Lead.. Follow... or, Get the Hell out of the Way..

    Bill Walker
    Bill Walker, Dec 28, 2005
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  3. another viewer

    RL Guest

    This $#*! really sucks.
    I'll be bringing this up at the next TVA Chapter 3 meeting, on Jan. 8th.
    Thanks for the report.

    Sunny - IRPK, ISRA #7123
    Texas Veterans Assoc., Chapter 3
    '02 XVS650A "Deerslayer"
    '99 XVS650A - Joe's "Deerslayer Too"
    RL, Dec 28, 2005
  4. another viewer

    Iggy Guest

    Much like yourself and TMRA2, Billy-boy. How does lobbying AGAINST DUI
    checkpoints help motorcyclists...or any other citizen for that matter? Oh,
    but I forgot, you did lobby FOR a designated ATV playground, didn't you?
    Bravo for "forcing" that're a fucking idiot.
    Iggy, Dec 28, 2005
  5. another viewer

    ShadowHawk Guest

    This is old news, and has been discussed here on several
    times over the last 2-3 years... I belong to another club that received an
    official letter from the Texas AG 3-4 years ago because we held a "marble
    raffle". They called it gambling, but along with the letter, they said
    that if we were to advertise it as a "fundraiser" instead of "raffle" then
    we'd be in the clear. We still hold the same event monthly.. it's just
    called a fundraiser, now, in our newsletters instead of a "marble raffle".

    As before.. semantics...

    Rex S.
    ShadowHawk, Dec 29, 2005
  6. : I am sorry your club had to raffle some of their marbles away. One normally
    : tries to play with all the marbles.

    Now Beemer, you've been reading this group long enough to know that most of us
    here aren't playing with all our marbles.
    George Pollard, Dec 29, 2005
  7. another viewer

    Jon Guest

    Really... keep all forms of gambling illegal in Texas so we can
    continue to cross the border into Louisiana or Oklahoma and boost their
    revenues instead.
    Jon, Dec 29, 2005
  8. another viewer

    Bill Walker Guest

    Well.. heck yeah.. Poker Runs, all those illegal bingo games at various
    churchs.. Dang.. some of these deals are even raffling off shotguns and
    rifles to potential terrorists, etc.. Just because the money is earmarked
    for worthy causes and/or the less fortunate among us, doesn't deter the
    courageous AG in his ever vigilant crusade against heinous crime that preys
    on society..

    Abbott came into office with the pledge to root out crime and to put a stop
    to all those frivolous lawsuits by capping the amounts of damages the
    injured party can receive.. hmmm.. Fortunately for him, at the time he sued
    over his own injuries that has confined him to a lifetime in a wheelchair,
    there wasn't an enthusiastic AG in office to cap his own damage suits..

    Yessir.. between our AG and our governor, all Texans can rest easy in the
    knowledge that such men are looking out for every consumer and taxpayer in
    our state..

    Bill Walker
    Bill Walker, Dec 29, 2005
  9. another viewer

    Iggy Guest

    Nice of you to delete your buddy, Billy-boy's, comments that were being
    replied to. He's the one that brought up the "lobbying" aspect of it. But,
    we've come to expect the disingenuous from the Walkers and their
    *sock-puppets*. <chuckle>
    Iggy, Dec 29, 2005
  10. another viewer

    Iggy Guest

    It's actually "Cogito, ergo sum". I'm glad to see that you realize you're a
    fucking idiot, as well. Sad that your Latin comprehension is as poor as
    your use of internet slang terms. Stick with what you know....kissing
    Billy's's what you're good at! :)
    Iggy, Dec 29, 2005
  11. another viewer

    Iggy Guest

    You're's always good to be able to laugh at one's self.

    LOL thanks you
    Awww, wassa matter? I seem to have touched a nerve. <chuckle>
    Iggy, Dec 30, 2005
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