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Wednesday, December 19th, 2007

Man Fined $28K

Written by Tom Somach in Poker News

The owner of a New Hampshire bar has been fined almost $28,000 for paying out $332 in illegal video poker winnings.

According to media reports, Eli Sokorelis, 61, of Portsmouth, N.H., pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of gambling, in connection with his having an illegal video poker machine at his State Street Saloon, also in Portsmouth.

A corporation which Sokorelis owns and which manages the bar pleaded guilty to four misdemeanor charges of gambling, the reports said.

All told, Sokorelis and his corporation were fined almost $28,000 for the five violations, the reports said.

The fines will go to the Portsmouth Police Department and the State Liquor Commission, with each entity receiving half of the fine money, the reports said. In addition, Sokorelis surrendered the illegal video poker to authorities, the reports said.

Authorities said that over the course of the past year, undercover police officers visited the bar, played video poker and when they won, received monies, the reports said.

Monies for winning were paid to undercover officers on five different occasions, with the total amount paid out $332, the reports said.

Although video poker is illegal in the State of New Hampshire, the so-called “Live Free or Die” state recently legalized cardrooms so that traditional poker like Texas hold ‘em can be played.

(E-mail Tom Somach at [email protected].)

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