Letters to the editor: 08-05-2013

August 5, 2013 

GAMBLING LAWS

Idaho's gambling statute, 18-3801 states: "Gambling means risking any money ... upon lot, chance ..., including ... poker ... But does not include: (1) Bona fide contests of skill ..."

Wyoming's gambling statue (6-7-101) states: "Gambling means risking any property for gain ... upon lot, chance ..., but does not include: Bona fide contests of skill ..."

Almost identical definitions, with the exception that Idaho found the need specifically to include "poker."

Idaho's gambling statute was enacted many years ago. As worded, it is a crime in Idaho to play cards, golf, bunko, or even fill out NCAA pools, if money is risked. The statute is outdated and unfairly broad.

With regard to poker, a game of skill, Idaho's statute is inconsistent, in that it includes poker, yet excludes contests of skill.

Wyoming authorities apparently agree that poker is a contest of skill, since poker is played openly in Wyoming taverns.

Idaho should, at the very least, amend the statute to eliminate poker from its definition of gambling. If our legislators decide not to act, then law enforcement should simply ignore the inconsistent, and unjust language of the statute, and allow our citizens to play poker.

BO DAVIES, Meridian

GAMBLING ARRESTS

I am a patriotic, God-fearing, tax-paying citizen of Idaho and have worked hard my whole life. I have raised my children to respect authority, love one another, help others and to treat people as they would want to be treated. I have always been proud to live in our great state and have done my best over the years to be a productive member of the community.

Recently, our state government has decided to hand out dozens of misdemeanor gambling citations to citizens who were caught engaging in the most despicable of activities imaginable - voluntarily playing poker with one another.

Personally, I look forward to the social interaction and networking that come with a gathering of card players.

We are social creatures by nature, and many find these gatherings to be an enjoyable outlet from daily problems and stresses that we all face in life.

I did not receive a citation, but am embarrassed that our government (of, by, and for the people) is attempting to make criminals out of many good people because they chose to play poker. It's just not right.

LOU PICCIONI, Eagle

GAME OF SKILL

I saw recently that several local citizens were given gambling tickets for playing poker. This is confusing because poker is a game of skill, which is excluded from Idaho's definition of gambling.

Almost daily, we can watch poker on television, such as ESPN's World Series of Poker. Some players have been elevated to celebrity status because of their skills, yet poker players in Idaho are considered by some to be criminals. What Idaho authorities fail to understand is that poker is a game of skill.

Bookstores have shelves full of books discussing poker strategies, such as "SuperSystems," by Doyle Brunson. Mr. Brunson hasn't made a living playing poker for more than 60 years because he is lucky. The amount of money you win or lose playing poker is directly related to the decisions you make. The more good decisions you make, the more money you will win in the long run. The successful players are skilled at what they do.

Pure gambling is the Idaho lottery, which requires no skill whatsoever. The citizens of Idaho should have the right to play poker, just as they play the lottery, without being persecuted by our government.

BRENT ALAN BECKER, Boise

ANYTHING GOES

Anything goes. That's the mantra of today. If you want to make a huge cut into your property, bring in a bobcat to move lots of dirt, and create a "cliff" that a child could fall off and be injured. The City of Boise will call it a "neighbor dispute."

Even though a building permit is required, don't worry about it. Just go ahead and do it, and the city will do nothing after the fact. Why pay for a permit when you can do as you wish with no repercussions? Got a project that will create lots of dust? Don't worry about it. A city representative will just come out and "talk" to you afterward.

Remember that as a property owner you have no recourse, unless you are doing something illegal and/or it requires a permit. If you are creating the problem, it seems you have all the rights. On the receiving end? Not so much. So my advice is do as you please. Anything goes.

KEVIN MANESS, Boise

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