I've been running the Friday Night Poker Club games at Conquest for a while now, and this years would make the fifth.
However, it seems there may be problems. There are two Poker games run at Conquest, mine (which is silly) and the Poker Challenge (which is a "real" poker game).
The issue is that the entry fee to the convention and games may be considered a wager. If so, then it falls under the state laws on gambling which means Conquest could be sued over running it. It's unlikely that the law-suit would succeed, but it would still be a hell of a lot of expense that the con can't afford.
The important thing is the term "may
be considered a wager". The legislation in question is still fairly new and as a result has a hell of a lot of grey areas.
Liz rang me this morning to chat about what was going on in addition to sending me an email. If we assume they are gambling events, then it would cost $40 per event to get the permits, and all these events would have to be held at a different venue as that venue would be classed as a "Casino" for the purpose of the event. There is no way the convention can afford all the extra expense to do it this way, so that's not an option.
There are three options at the moment as they see.
First option, is to run them as they are, and hope that everything goes ok. Second option is to run them as they are but don't charge for them. Third option is to cancel both games and not run them.
Option 2 is not really a feasible option as those entry fees are what allows the con to keep running every year. Running events and not charging for them are not really an option.
That leaves run and hope or cancel.
As far as I am concerned (and from talking to Liz, as far as she is concerned) the entry fee is not a wager. As I said before, the entry fee is not for the game, it is for venue hire. The only difference between playing those games at Conquest and playing them at home is the venue. Better venue and all the social aspect is what you are paying for, not the game itself.
However, if it ran and someone sued, Conquest might not survive, even if they won the suit (which is most likely).
The plan was to have the Conquest flyer out for Arcanacon, and they really don't want to have listed events on it that may end up having to be canceled, especially if the are determined to be "illegal" events, so they're running around at the moment trying to work out what the hell is going on. Liz is doing a marvellous job at the moment sorting all this out, and I really appreciate here at times like this.
So, as a result this is a warning to everyone reading this: Friday Night Poker Club: Heroes Edition
and Poker Challenge 2008 may need to be cancelled, and there isn't anything I, Brendan or the Conquest organisers can do about it.
I hope not, but it might happen.