As the good weather springs upon us, many will use this opportunity to fundraise for a good cause. One of the more popular fundraising efforts is called a “Poker Run.”
Poker Runs usually involve large groups on motorcycles or other motorized vehicles where an entry fee is required to participate. The participants travel to a number of locations, usually bars, collecting a single playing card at each establishment. At the end of the run, the player(s) with the best hand wins a prize.
Traditional “Poker runs” are illegal because it’s gambling.
Gambling involves three elements that all must be present.
- Consideration - it must cost to play.
- Chance -the game must be based predominately on chance.
- Prize - the player must be able to obtain something worth value if he or she wins.
- If an establishment knowingly participates or allows a poker run, the bar can face fines or in extreme cases, lose its license.
- Participating individuals can also face potential charges or fines.
- Poker Runs are illegal if conducted at a licensed liquor establishment but can take place at locations like parks or individual homes as long as prizes are not awarded.
- A legal alternative at a liquor establishment would be a roving dart tournament where a participant throws a dart at each location and the person who throws the best score wins a prize at the last stop. Games of skill, like darts, are legal.
- An individual can donate money to the cause and participate just for fun. No prizes can be awarded.