Gotta love cheesy investigative journalism.
But it’s the hypocrisy of the whole thing that really gets us…
Unlike other states, no big charity poker busts have made the news in Georgia. That will likely change thanks to Fox‚Äôs I-Team investigative team (apparently, there is an I in "investigative journalism), headed by poker+charity-hater Dale Russell (at left). In fact, we’ve already seen one such casualty in just the past day.
Grinch Russell went to a number of hold‚Äôem games around town, starting off his story at an Elk‚Äôs Club that was hosting a fundraiser hold‚Äôem event where 10% of the $50 entry went to charity. Winner‚Äôs didn‚Äôt receive cash, but pre-paid Visa cards. If any money went to charity, it’s tough to tell. Admittedly, this opp looked a little shady, but the majority of charity hold’em games around town are very much on the up and up.
For example, the norm would be in the form of a Shriner that Russell interviewed named Mike Fencil. Shriner Fencil held a charity poker tournament because it raised more money than knocking on car windows at stoplights. He even got the OK from a Gwinnett County Prosecutor named Gerald Blaney to host the event. But from here, Russell cuts to our Attorney General, Thurbert Baker, who tells us, ‚ÄúPlaying poker for money is gambling. And Gambling in Georgia is illegal.‚Äù Really Thurbert? I suppose our state lottery then isn‚Äôt a form gambling? And don‚Äôt all of those proceeds go to educational programs, which certainly would be a form of charity? How exactly is this different than hosting charity poker tournaments to benefit hurricane disaster relief, cancer, or children‚Äôs charities? Where’s the consistency in the law?
But Dale Russell, who clearly was that hall monitor you hated in grade school, digs further when finding multiple locations‚Äîincluding synagogues‚Äîholding these hold‚Äôem events. Russell says (as he walks through our state capital building), ‚ÄúWe found these illegal games all over the city as if somebody passed a law saying, ‚ÄúYou can now gamble in Georgia. Only, that didn‚Äôt happen.‚Äù
Later, Attorney General Baker says, "…any time you’re gambling in the state of Georgia, it’s illegal." Um…you can gamble in Georgia. Go to any gas station in the state, buy a scratch off or lottery ticket. What’s worse is the lottery feasts on low-income minority men. Charity hold’em fundraisers typically bring in a different demographic. Makes a lot of sense, yes?
We’re later warned by the Chief of Covington’s police deptartment that anyone playing poker in a charity event or bar is breaking the law and could be arrested. Over the past two years, there have been 232 gambling arrests in 20 metro ATL police departments, or 6 arrests per deptartment/per year.
That will likely increase now thanks to poker-charity-hating Dale Russell and Fox News.
Needy children, hurricane victims, and all sorts of other charity beneficiaries thank you.
Tune in next week as Dale Russell clubs a few baby seals and makes fur coats out of puppies.