The Canadian national police, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police have
been active in the Atlantic province of Nova Scotia recently and are
reported to be investigating some 60 allegedly illegal poker games
in the region.
The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation reported this week that the Mounties are paying particular attention to games of poker being run by local public houses, even where the effort is on behalf of charities. Describing these events as unregulated and unlicensed the RCMP has warned that those involved in organizing the games will have to obtain a permit or run the risk of a criminal prosecution.
The poker players are not themselves committing an offence by playing in the tournaments; it is the individuals and companies that organize and host the gatherings that could face criminal sanctions, or the loss of liquor or other existing licenses.
The exclusive permission of the government's Nova Scotia liquor and gambling regulator is required for any organized poker games that take place outside of a licensed casino environment, the Mounties claim. And according to one officer, the RCMP is also investigating complaints of private gambling operations in residential neighborhoods.
Supporters of the tournaments have counter claimed that the province laws require more clarity on the issue, and allege that provincial government authorities themselves seem confused over what is permissible and what is not.