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Friday, February 15th, 2008

Poker Coming, Maybe

Written by Tom Somach in Poker News

Poker in all forms has been illegal in South Carolina for over 200 years, but that may be changing.

A bill that would allow charity poker events to be held in churches in the state passed its first hurdle Thursday when a State Sentate committee approved it, according to media reports.

Specifically, the proposed legislation would let churches and other non-profit groups host card and other casino games to raise money, exempting them from South Carolina’s 200-year-old law that prohibits dice and card games, the reports said.

Though the law is rarely enforced, poker’s rise in popularity has led to a few arrests recently in large cash poker games, the reports said.

If you’re in South Carolina and your favorite kind of poker is Omaha or H.O.R.S.E. or pai gow, you may not like the new bill.

That’s because, according to media reports, the bill lists just three types of poker that will be legalized for charitable purposes: five-card draw, seven-card stud and Texas hold ‘em.

“It’s a money-making opportunity,” said State Senator Brad Hutto.

The governor of South Carolina, however, opposes all gambling in all forms, so if the bill makes it to his desk, there’s about as much chance of him signing it as there is of=A0 Britney Spears being named Mother of the Year.

“The governor has a history of opposing any expansion of gambling for any purpose,” said Sanford’s spokesman, Joel Sawyer.

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

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