Game room idea....but legal issues. So let's make it a thought problem

grebe

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So, ever since I listened to a podcast that interviewed a poker room owner in Portland area (thinking poker podcast, episode 273) I cant get the idea out of my head that this could work here in Richmond! Expand this idea out to spread other games such as backgammon, chess, and live role playing games, and you could really have something! I have thought of some pretty good ways of making this work.

Only problem is: gambling is strictly controlled by the state of Virginia (NOT totally illegal, as we do have Rosie's, some poker machines, lottery and horse betting???). As of now, to host poker, it either has to be on a private residence not set up to be a regular gaming site, or a charitable organization. (So much for free market, amIright?)

If magically it was legal to have a gaming room, how would you think it would best be set up? Here are some points to consider:
-private club pay for entry, or more traditional casino/poker room
-paid dealer or self dealt
-strictly poker or would you open it up to other games
-alcohol policy....house rules policies
-CHIPS!

***Overall question: If you could design a for-profit gaming room where you would be a regular, what would be that ideal environment?
 

grebe

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-I like the idea of a private club where you pay for entry or membership, as I think that makes it easy to cull the bad apples and dissuade poor behavior.

-I REALLY like the idea of being able to go to a place where I could drum up a game of backgammon for a buck a point or the same for OFC....or a mixed game of some kind....not just the most profitable game that the casino can spread. I also like providing a place where a club can come and rent out a table or room for whatever game they want....like Thursday night Dungeons and Dragons game or whatever.

-I LOVE the idea that self dealt games can still work in some situations. This promotes the ability to host lower stakes games so people can gamble more within their means. Freedom to hire a dealer for games where more security or leisure would still be optional.

-My fantasy is sitting somewhere with an IPA, a deck of cards or a backgammon board and a stack of chips and playing whatever game somebody wants to play across from me for a few bucks. Chips. Cards. A cribbage board. How the F is this illegal in the U.S.?
 

ekricket

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My fantasy is sitting somewhere with an IPA, a deck of cards or a backgammon board and a stack of chips and playing whatever game somebody wants to play across from me for a few bucks. Chips. Cards. A cribbage board.
There are senior citizen centers literally all over America with guys just sitting there like you describe. Drop in on one sometimes and you would be surprised at what you can play - with people that know how to play it right too. Literally make their lives, not just their day, right there.
 

Pinesol13

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In a fantasy world I would:

Run a private club that has a small membership fee. Live music, nice bar, cigars, several poker tables. People come in and play poker for fun, no money so everything is technically legal.

I would also open a store next door that buys and sells poker chips. Curiously they sell 25c chips for 25c, $1 chips for $1, etc. etc.....What's really weird is that they buy back your used poker chips for the same price, plus a 3% restocking fee.

Two totally seperate businesses, no breaking the law here! LOOPHOLE!
 

upNdown

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I can’t imagine a monthly or annual membership fee would work very well unless/until you already had a successful location.
I’d think you’d want to keep it like a casino, with poker and blackjack and a few other pit games. And alcohol. I feel like other games - D&D, backgammon, Magic - have a narrower appeal and a big chunk of those interested might be minors, who you wouldn’t want in a boozy casino.

Are there rooms operating for charity?
In NH, they have that charitable exemption, where the room has to donate something like 30% of their profits to charity. Each week, they donate to a different charity. These places all operate like mini casinos, and it seems to work out pretty well.
 

SpaceMonkey420

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February 21st Im opening a Poker Social Club In California, located Downtown Redding we’d like to get know ya. Brand new venue, three tables of PLO, shuffled by volunteer dealers who make tips only then go, of course my lawyer and an off duty officer will be there, stay tuned for the Grand Opening, your choice is be hip or be square, so wish us luck as were finally coming out of the garage, using Cleveland, HSI but never that mint collectible old school blue and white 90s Las Vegas Vintage Mirage.

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BGinGA

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Before he got heavily involved in poker and moved to Las Vegas, Bob 'Coach' Ciaffone (Roberts Rules of Poker) ran the Cavendish Club in Southfield MI.

It was a private club with open admission (sounds odd), and a number of card, dice, and video games were played there -- often for money. Backgammon, cribbage, hearts, bridge, and Pac-Man were most common, and for non-tournament games, players paid an houly fee to the house. You signed in upon arrival, and paid when you checked out.

Never had any legal problems afaik. I played BG there a lot back in the late 70s and '80s.
 

DrStrange

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Judging by the failure rates in states where card rooms are allowed, most folks will lose their ass trying to run a card room.

Maybe it can be profitable to run an unregulated game with no taxes, no rules and a " fluid" rake structure where the dealer takes what he/she can get. Trying to make this into a profit making business is far harder than it seems. And special skills are almost mandatory - this isn't something where anyone can just make the business work.
 
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If I didn't live in VA:

-I would opt for a private club; maybe something similar to a moose lodge. It's what I'm used to and I wouldn't be looking to make a ton off money. Bar would be a must; mainly because I'm too lazy to go to my car to drink...LOL.
-paid dealer or self dealt. I'm indifferent. I think if it were dedicated dealer, they would need to make their money on tips as opposed to me paying them.
-strictly poker or would you open it up to other games
-alcohol policy. Is this a real F'n question...LOL. Probably similar to Moose Lodge where the house sells beer and wine and members can bring their own hard alcohol (with me selling the mixers). Really just looking to keep the ABC agents out :)
..house rules policies. I would default to well established rules such as WSOP rules.
-CHIPS! No chips...only electronic poker tables.


HAAAAAAAAA, just kidding. I would see if I could find a way to get some Paulson chips made. If not, would get some CPCs made.
 

Coyote

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My dream club, which is not possible here (or, possibly anywhere) would be non-profit, i.e. making some profit to achieve initial investment amortisation, and then profit going to charity. Just poker card room. No games of chance.

It would be a members' club, requiring one current member's recommendation and an annual/monthly fee to join, as well as an official criminal record transcript to step in (for foreign visitors, this could be bypassed by a single-day entrance card, upon the recommendation of two current members).

Marginal profit (to recoup the investment, and then to charity) would come from membership fees, selling alcohol and a very low rake (smth like 4% - capped) upon cash-out, on winners only, so that no losers pay anything. Tips for dealers and waiters only in a special box; not on tables.

Stakes would be directed just to educated proletarians :D("middle class"), starting from .50/.50 up to 1/3 absoluete max.

:rolleyes::rolleyes:
 

dennis63

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Very interesting post, and interesting ideas.

So there was a kid in Delaware several years ago who simply "opened" the Delaware poker room in a large space on the second floor above a Buffalo Wild Wings restaurant outside of Wilmington. He taught poker and blackjack, had about 10 tables, and basically ran a cardroom. He sold soft drinks and snacks, and players could order from the restaurant downstairs and they'd bring it up.

Not sure what kind of state license he got to do this, but he also ran a dealer school in a warehouse at another location.

After a few months, the state gaming commission got wind of this and served him with a "cease and desist" order. It was in the paper, and there was some sympathy for him running what was essentially a fun place.

He must have been very politically connected in a state that has only one functioning political party. If I opened this business, they would have raided me, seized my tables and chips, and put me to work making license plates.

In the end, he cut a deal where non-profits can use their twice-a-year charity gambling event permits at the poker room. There's always a sign there indicating which charity, volunteer fire department, etc., benefits from tonight's game.

I'd say "private club" is the way to go with your idea. I've played at two such places in my state. One was the social hall of a police fraternal organization. Nobody seemed to give a crap that we were playing poker at the club poker table. The players cashed out quietly after the game.

There's an incredible club-type game room in the first floor of the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel called "The Spare Room." No poker or gambling, but just about every other type of game -- board game, card game, even a two-lane antique bowling alley -- and a good bar. The downside: Prices look like a boutique on Rodeo Drive.

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The Spare Room, Hollywood, CA​
 

SpaceMonkey420

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I made a video last month on three types of donations allowed in poker social clubs. Being professionally edited now, I wasn’t going to post this publicly, however if interested I will post it once it’s done.

Bottom line it details three ways to collect at games. Door entry fees, hourly rates, or single donation chips returned back to dealer from every pot, swapped only after the cards see a flop.

Stay tuned and Thank you Greg for modeling the candid pre-video editing shot, we used Cincinnati not those chips from China that just sit collect dust and ultimately rot.

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abby99

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Envision a gaming school with a small tuition charge, a lab for practice sessions, and lab fees based on usage. Sort of a private club with instructors.

(Not serious)
 

allforcharity

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If magically it was legal to have a gaming room, how would you think it would best be set up? Here are some points to consider:
-private club pay for entry, or more traditional casino/poker room
-paid dealer or self dealt
-strictly poker or would you open it up to other games
-alcohol policy....house rules policies
-CHIPS!

You forgot security.
 

chicubs1988

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Assuming all of the legal issues are squared away, my big question would be: "How private of a club do you want it to be?" Me personally, I would want to keep it relatively small at first and only have close friends and associates involved. Charge a membership fee that goes towards paying for chips, tables, chairs, etc...Limit the number of guest players members can bring so that things stay manageable, but you still get an influx of new people who may become members. This is all assuming that the focus of the club is the social/fun aspect, as opposed to running it with the intent of operating a business.
 

scaredmoney

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They have some of these in TX. You pay a daily membership fee then hourly for how long you play. It's always evolving some have specific tip chips you can buy some do not allow tipping, some let you tip with your cash game chips. A few places let you pay for your hourly rate at the end some places make you pay up front. You an buy monthly or yearly memberships for a discount too vs. daily rate. Some rooms have been open for years in Austin, Houston, and San Antonio. Harder to keep them open in the Dallas area. It seems like the closer you are to a casino in a neighboring state the higher the probability of it being shut down.
 
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