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The racino opened in the summer of 2005 as a place to bet on local races and simulcast races, and to play video lottery terminals. ((Bill van Asperen/CBC))

Texas hold 'em poker can now be played at the Charlottetown Driving Park Entertainment Centre, since the racino section of the centre is now equipped to host the card games.

More than 20 Islanders have been hired as dealers for the four tables that opened Monday. Poker will be available six days a week.

"For Atlantic Lottery this is a first. This is the first time we've offered live table poker in any of our facilities or any of our products across Atlantic Canada, and we wanted to make sure we could do it certainly in a fun, but more importantly regulated, in a social responsible way," a lottery corporation spokesman said.

The corporation's vice-president of social responsibility and communications, Mike Randall, hastened to add that none of the racino's approximately 600 employees will be allowed to play poker there.

"This is one of those things where somebody could say you're best friends with the dealer, so they're going to affect the outcome. We are ensuring that that can't happen by not allowing any of our employees to play," Randall said.

Texas hold 'em is a popular poker game that's currently played in bars throughout Prince Edward Island.

Provincial Treasurer Mitch Murphygave the go-ahead for Atlantic Lotto to host Texas hold 'em last December. Randall said the corporation has not received approval for blackjack or any other casino games, because it hasn't asked for them.

The racino opened in the summer of 2005 as a place to bet on local races and simulcast races, and to play video lottery terminals. In March, the province gave permission to add slot machines. Texas hold 'em is the first approved card game.

The announcement was made on the same day the Consumer Association of Canada was calling for an RCMP investigation into the Atlantic Lottery Corporation because some lottery retailers are winning 10 times more often than the public.