Police raided a bar in the state of Georgia on September 11 at 5:00 a.m., suspecting it of allowing a non-profit organization to illegally play a poker game on its premises. Fox 5, a local news channel, reported that there was a Royal Flush Bar & Grill search warrant in Duluth. The authorities arrested five workers and 13 clients at the bar.
Still, Gwinnett County Police Department’s Vice unit collected gambling gadgets and $50,000 in cash. The bar’s staff is facing illegal commercial betting charges, and the customers are facing betting charges.
The police are hunting for three people linked to the entertainment joint. One of its attorneys stated on the phone that the bar has only one owner.
Georgia’s Gaming Regulations
The southern U.S. state has strict poker laws, a few legal bar poker clubs, and charity poker clubs. Nevertheless, poker players can easily access land-based card rooms.
A Royal Flush representative stated that the people caught are innocent, and their reputation is tarnished in vain. He hopes to appear in court in a few days to sort things out.
Royal Flush ran as a bar and restaurant despite leasing part of its land to a nonprofit organization in the Peach State. It hosted a variety of games like low-stake poker. Yet, the state’s gambling regulations prohibit non-profit organizations from running raffles.
What is a Raffle Model?
Clients paid Royal Flush a $20 per hour seat fee, a close resemblance to how Texas’ poker rooms run. However, the bar and restaurant tried to operate the rooms following Georgia Code 16-12-22.1
Section A states that only nonprofit entities under the Internal Revenue Code’s Section 501(c), or schools, tax-exempt churches, support groups, or a nonprofit organization that the sheriff has approved can run raffles.
Royal Flush’s legal representative believes that the bar’s raffle model is legal. So, the customers’ and workers’ charges will be cleared.
Georgia code adds that a raffle is a procedure or scheme in which one or several prizes are shared among individuals who have been promised or paid for a winning opportunity. It includes door prizes to persons in activities or meetings whose admission cost is less than the expenses of similar activities that lack prizes.
Royal Flush started offering poker games this year and tried to use the raffle exemption. Its initial model categorized poker as a game of skill that requires a player to pay to get a winning chance, unlike slot machines that have random chance.
Little Kings and Queens charity used this business model, but it failed as it faced felony charges in June 2022. Yet, Royal Flush’s representative stated that law enforcers didn’t follow the law in their gambling operation as they drew guns in the early morning search. He adds that the arrested individuals are scared as they are uncertain about their fate.