Drop the Hold 'Em, police warn bar owners

Police should find better things to do than crack down on bars holding Texas Hold 'Em poker games, an industry group says.

The Royal Newfoundland Constabulary should find better things to do than crack down on Texas Hold 'Em poker games in bars, an industry group says.

The RNC has warned the Dooly's pool hall franchise in Corner Brook to cease and desist with the popular games. The warning follows charges laid last year in Corner Brook against the operators of Union Street Bar & Billiards.

Const. Paul Davis said Texas Hold 'Em and bars do not mix— at least not legally.

"The only way that a betting game of Texas Hold 'Em can be held legally in this province is with a permit or a lottery licence for a charitable event," Davis said.

"My understanding on the licensing regulations is [that] a licensed liquor establishment is not able to obtain a lottery licence."

Marcel Etheridge, president of the Newfoundland and Labrador Beverage Industry Association, said the police should leave the card games alone.

"I don't get where we can waste our policing dollars tracking down citizens— honest decent citizens— getting together, out for a few hours out on Friday or Saturday night," Etheridge told CBC News.

"I suggest if the RNC has lots of free time on their hands in Corner Brook, maybe they can come to St. John's, because we got lots of problems out here."

Three Dooly's locations in the St. John's area advertise Texas Hold 'Em poker games on the company website, although the RNC has not pursued the issued. In fact, Davis was not aware of the games until told by a CBC News reporter.

"It's something that we're quite willing to investigate, now that it's brought to our attention," Davis said.

Etheridge said the police should focus not on busting card games but on what he called real crimes.