|In Canada, a judge has discharged two disgruntled poker players arrested in a sting operation last year without a criminal record.|
Neil Faderson and Rellen Orcullo were arrested along with 55 others after a May police raid on cash games around the western city of Winnipeg dubbed Project Kaleidoscope. The bust involved around 60 officers shutting down illegal games at three local bars along with a condominium where one of the suspected organisers lived.
'Some people are astounded that this matter is in the criminal courts,' said Provincial Court Judge Rocky Pollock.
He urged people to contact their Member of Parliament if they want the laws changed and handed both discharges, which means that they will not have a criminal record after the Crown agreed not to seek stiffer penalties.
In Manitoba, the Gaming Control Commission must license poker games and only certain groups such as churches or charities are eligible to claim proceeds. Faderson is a student while Orcullo is a mother of two running her own food-supply business but police claim the pair were dealers who helped facilitate the illegal games. Faderson and Orcullo admitted that they knew the club owners were taking a rake of between one and three dollars per hand but didn't feel they were doing anything wrong.
'Not everyone in Manitoba likes that if you want to play legal Texas hold-em you've got to go to the game where the rake is going to the Commission,' said Judge Pollock.
More than 50 others arrested in the operation will receive even lighter dispositions after agreeing to enrol in a ‘positive lifestyles’ program run by the Salvation Army. A handful of other players and dealers have elected not to agree deals with trial dates set for the spring of 2009.