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Establishing A Card Club

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What Are Card Clubs?

"Card clubs," also called "card rooms"or "card houses" are places where people can come to play a limited selection of card games for money. Such businesses are typically open to the public or a portion thereof.

What Types Of Gambling Are Allowed In Card Clubs?

Card clubs only allow gambling with card games, and each state varies on which ones are permitted. Generally, most card clubs allow various types of poker and black jack. Coin-operated machines such as slot machines are prohibited in card clubs.

How Do I Legally Establish A Card Club?

Each state has its own rules on how to establish a card club, and some counties provide further restrictions. In most cases you need to obtain a license or permit from the city where you want to open your card club. The chief of police generally decides whether to grant or deny your request.

What Are Some Of Things I Need To Know Before Filing A Request For A Card Club License?

Card clubs are very similar to casinos regarding the governing rules and restrictions. Although the requirements will vary depending where you live, some of the most common things that must be listed on an application are:

  • Business Status of Applicant: Applicants must specify whether they are an individual, a sole proprietorship, a partnership, or a corporation.
  • Application for a Pointholder's Permit: A pointholder is any individual who has an interest in the revenue or profits of a card club. Applicants must list all pointholders and their personal histories.
  • Application for a Key Management Employee's Permit: A key management employee is an individual with the power to direct operations or direct supervisory and general employees of a card club. All such employees must be listed, along with their personal histories.
  • Description of the Games to be Played
  • Description of any Other Types of Business to be Conducted on the Premises
  • Statement of the Applican's Experience with other Card Clubs
  • Description of the Security Measures to be Taken

What Happens If I Am Caught Running An Illegal Gambling Business?

Running an illegal gambling business is a violation of federal gambling law and carries steep penalties. Individuals that own or manage such businesses may be fined, imprisoned for up to 5 years, or both.

Can I Still Be Prosecuted For Gaming If I Have A License?

An applicant who has legally obtained a card club license may not be prosecuted for running his card club according to the terms of the license. Slot machines may still be seized by the police as they are illegal in card clubs. Additionally, running operations not allowed by the license may result in the license being revoke or its holder being criminally liable for misuse of the license.

Once I Obtain A Card Club License, May It Be Revoked?

A card club license may be revoked or denied because of any of the following:

  • the applicant's withholding important information on his application
  • the applicant's making material false statements on his application
  • the operator's willful operation of a gambling site without a license

Do I Need An Attorney Experienced In Gaming Law?

If you wish to obtain a license for a card club, you should consult with an attorney that knows the gaming law in your city and county. Since license requirements can vary so much from area to area, and an experienced business attorney will be able to properly instruct you on what is required to obtain a card club license.

Photo of page author Ken LaMance

, LegalMatch Law Library Managing Editor and Attorney at Law

Last Modified: 05-17-2018 08:21 PM PDT

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