|Live poker is being used to tempt people into North Carolina’s only legal gambling hall. The Harrah's Cherokee Casino is planning to add poker tables early next year, joining the world-boom in the game.|
The casino, owned by the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Nation, says it would not take a cut of the poker action - a crucial distinction, allowing Harrah's to initially offer the game despite state law permitting only video-based versions.
Governor Mike Easley, who has authority to make changes to the state's agreement with the tribe, said through a spokeswoman that his office is aware of the interest in live poker.
At the same time, the Governor's Office acknowledged that live poker might not be subject to the state's jurisdiction. If the house doesn't take a cut, the issue would fall to the National Indian Gaming Commission. Its spokesman, Shawn Pensoneau, said no request has been received from the tribe. If one is, he said, it would be screened to see whether the plan complies with state and federal laws.
And the casino’s internet site reflects the uncertainty – a boast of 24 tables coming soon with the chance to play Texas Hold ‘Em, a version of poker that has become popular because of televised tournaments – already seems somewhat premature.