“Price is Right” host, comedian and libertarian Drew Carey is a regular contributor to Reason.tv, the online video channel for the popular libertarian magazine, and in his latest video he reports on how Dallas SWAT carried out a paramilitary-style raid on a poker game at the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1837. Because the VFW post relied on the rake from the games to pay their rent and utilities, as well as for something called “charity,” it has now been forced to close its doors.
Unlike Michael Gracz, who
“Poker is about as American as baseball and apple pie,” says Carey, who was a former US Marine. “It was born here in America. Mark Twain loved it. He’s a great American. Until recently, Supreme Court justices had a monthly game. They’re great Americans. You’d think playing poker in a VFW hall would be about as American as anything you could do.”
Nick Gillespie, the editor-in-chief of Reason adds, “This story highlights the hypocrisy that surrounds gambling in this country. States will gladly take your hard-earned money if you want to play the government’s lottery. But if you sit down with some veterans to play Texas hold ’em you may end up with cops, in full riot gear, busting down your door. No one gets hurt when consenting adults sit down for a game of cards. And there’s no reason for the government to get involved.”
According to Reason, the raid in Dallas is part of a broader move by local police to shut down poker games, arrest players, and seize property – even in low stakes games benefiting charity.
… [I]t’s emblematic of the government’s misguided war on gambling, such as the recently enacted federal ban on Internet wagering. In most jurisdictions throughout the country, consenting adults are banned from gambling — unless of course they want to bet on low-odds games run by the government. State lotteries, that is.
The Dallas VFW case goes to court December 5.