McKinney poker club closes rather than face criminal charges over … – Dallas News (blog)

The private club opened Sept. 15 in a shopping center off Lake Forest Drive. It was promoted as a social club where people could play poker and other games. In its first month of open enrollment, the club had registered more than 500 members. 

FTN Poker is the latest and believed to be the last card club in North Texas to shut its doors. Two other poker clubs in Plano and one in Dallas have closed in recent weeks after contact with police. At least two other clubs that had planned to open in those cities have since canceled their plans.

“I believe we operated within the law,” said Wheeler, citing similar clubs in Austin and Houston that have been operating without issue. 

“Clearly someone out there interprets the law that it’s OK,” he said. “I wish I knew what was different.”

Such clubs rely on a section of state law that offers a defense against prosecution when gambling is in a private place where no person receives an economic benefit beyond personal winnings and the chances of winning or losing are essentially the same except for the advantage of skill or luck.

Curtis Howard, Plano Police Department’s senior legal adviser, said he has gotten “a bunch of calls” in recent months from people interested in operating a poker room.

“The model we have seen that seems to be popular falls under illegal gambling,” he said. 

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