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Thursday, January 31st, 2008

Red Hot Poker (Dealers)

Written by Tom Somach in Poker News

Poker dealers at casinos in the Canadian province of Quebec are red hot about new devices at the casinos that make the dealers expendable.

According to a report in the Montreal Gazette, a Canadian newspaper, three unions representing croupiers at Quebec casinos have filed a formal complaint against electronic poker machines that were recently installed at the casinos, saying the machines are illegal. =A0 Loto-Quebec, the Canadian agency that operates the casinos, says the new electronic poker machines are classified as slot machines and don’t need dealers, but the unions say while a slot machine is a game of chance, poker is a game of strategy and chance, which gives poker a different legal classification, the Gazette reported. =A0 The unions are angry about 43 electronic, dealer-free Texas hold ‘em machines that were installed on January 18 at three provincial casinos: 25 at the Montreal Casino, 13 at the Lac Leamy Casino and five at the Manoir Richelieu Casino, the Gazette reported.

The machines each feature 10-person tables, touch-screens and automated card dealing, although there are no actual dealers, cards, chips or cash involved, just computerized re-creations, the Gazette reported.

The new electronic poker machines are not just showing up in Canadian casinos.

Last year, the machines, which were invented by an American company, began appearing at casinos throughout the United States.

In some places, the devices have provided a perfect loophole to anti-poker laws.

In Pennsylvania, for example, where slot machines are legal but poker rooms are not, the machines have been placed in slots casinos to allow patrons to play poker.

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

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