|The Poker Revolution is a non-profit membership organization comprised of professional and amateur poker players. TPR’s primary purpose is to provide competitive earnings opportunities for past, current and future members of TPR; to protect the integrity of the game; and to promote the positive aspects and expand the reach of the game in the United States of America and other countries.|
TPR has created an exciting, new paradigm for professional poker tournaments in Arizona by using a different -- but comparable -- method of compensating players as traditional “cash prize” poker tournaments.
Utilizing the same skill-based gambling exclusion as commercially-viable amusement gambling destinations such as Chuck E. Cheese, Dave & Busters, and Peter Piper Pizza, TPR is presently poised to bring the Arizona Poker Tour (“APT”) to third-party venues (sports bars and restaurants) throughout Arizona's cities and towns that do not locally prohibit poker or excluded gambling activity authorized by state law.
Amusement gambling poker tournaments do not threaten to invoke the poison pill clause of the State-Tribal monopoly because ARS 13-3301(1)(d)(iii) and (iv) have both been State laws prior to the passage of Prop 202 in 2002. The poison pill clause explicity carves out “gambling that was legal” at the time that the Governor agreed to “zone” professional poker to the moribund BIA reservation casinos. Those predatory gambling venues only have poker rooms in 8 of Arizona's 15 counties... and outside of Maricopa county, poker rooms typically are 1-5 table minimalist affairs.
TPR has successfully registered a traditional “cash prize” poker tournament with the Arizona Attorney General’s office as intellectual gambling. This multi-day championship event would conclude each season of the Arizona Poker Tour. The successful registration of this event follows the organization and structure of the US Open Chess Championship conducted August 1-9, 2015, at the Arizona Biltmore. The ADoG told Schnaubelt in an e-mail that the USCF event "does not fall within Arizona's statutory definition of illegal gambling", which is facially fraudulent, omissive, misleading and misrepresentative.
Three previous attempts to register The Arizona State Poker Player of the Year as an intellectual amusement gambling tournament were declined.
"The REAL Arizona State Poker Championship" received the "green light" letter from the Arizona Attorney General's office on August 5, 2015. The previous and pending registrations, as well as the exchanges between TPR and the AG's office, can be found here. The acceptance letter and registration form both warn that telling people directly or indirectly that the event has been reviewed, authorized or accepted by the AG's office is not to be done... we question what if? What's the penalty?
Poker as Amusement Gambling in Arizona
Since the 2012 federal court opinion issued in NY vs. DiCristina declared that poker is predominantly a game of skill, TPR has been diligently trying to organize and register an annual championship event pursuant for games or contests of predominantly skill. Three separate registration attempts from 2013 to 2015 have received no response or a decline letter. In 2015, the decline letter came with an explanation, that "not every participant who pays the entry fee receives the prize pool".
This bizarre interpretation of the statutory language "the money paid to gamble must be part of the establish purchase price for a product" comes from the Attorney General’s office defining "product" as "prize pool", when TPR contends that the "product" is the conference event, which includes the privilege of competing in the tournament. Surely this must be the manner and method that the US Open Chess Championship is lawfully conducted.
TPR’s interpretation of the law seems to be common practice and public policy reflects this in the number of chess, scrabble, bridge and other mind sport tournaments where a fee is required and a cash prize pool is divided among the winners. Arizona’s constitution forbids creating any law that grants any class or group special privileges or immunities that aren’t available to all classes or groups. If chess players can participate in the 116th US Open Chess Championship, with a $49 membership plus a $149 to $190 Main event buyin and a projected $50,000 cash prize pool based on 500 entries, then why can’t players of the predominantly skill game of poker do the same? What excludes the US Open Chess Championship from being conducted at the Arizona Biltmore from illegal gambling activity, racketeering, and conspiracy?
Chess tournaments with dozens of affiliate USCF clubs in Arizona conduct USCF-sanctioned, even promoted for $5,000 prize pool events are larger, offering fee-based tournaments that advertise and promote "75% to 90% returned" via cash prize pool, where 10-25% is used/kept by the organizer. The USCF targets Arizona children with their chess for money gambling competitions, offering special $25 K-6 US Open championships, possibly exposing kids as young as four and five years old to their first competitive gambling experience.
If this type of competitive gambling works as excluded gambling for chess players then Arizona poker players have the constitutional right for the same protections, immunities or privileges that the law provides for chess and chess players... and if it doesn't, the US Open Chess Championship targeting K-6 with illegal gambling at chess is far more of a public danger than an adults-only private card club barely open 6 months after the owner sunk $30K into the facility before getting raided by ADG and railroaded into court and forced into accepting a plea bargain and now he's got a class 6 "attempted promotion of gambling" felony on his record. Just ask Mr. Talerico who owned and operated Aces Cracked. And this is just one of a dozen similar stories of cardroom operators who got raided by ADG to protect the tribal interests over professional poker exclusive to the BIA reservations, while other skill gambling, like chess, goes unmolested by the Indian Gaming thug police.
Phoenix New Times Article “US Open Chess Championship is Illegal, Poker Advocate Contends” by Ray Stern.
TPR Press Release that lead to the above article "AZ Poker Players Demand Same Protection Chess Players Enjoy"
Two Plus Two PPA Poker Legislation Forum Discussion here.
Red Hot Pawn Chess Forum Discussion here.
The Poker Revolution
All legal opinions or statements regarding facts of law, as well as personal opinions, whether expressed or implied by TPR or any of TPR’s members, including those expressed in this document, are made under the disclaimer that TPR and it’s members are not lawyers and all third parties are encouraged to obtain their own legal advice and research to assist in formulating their own opinions.
Site revision history: 06/18/15, 06/08/15, 01/11/15, 08/12/14, 08/02/14, 07/09/14, 05/19/14, 04/22/14, 07/26/2013