Thursday, January 27, 2005

Poker is safe on NC Campuses (within reason)

The following article appeared in The Chronicle (Duke’s campus paper). The gist of the article is that most universities in the Old North State take a pragmatic view of poker on campus. The administrations know it is going on, but as long as the stakes are reasonable, the games can continue.
January 26, 2005Hold 'Em: Duke won't restrict poker
by Saidi Chen

Breathe a sigh of relief, poker aficionados—your beloved games of Texas Hold ’Em are safe.
Although poker tournaments held as charity fundraisers at the University of Pennsylvania and Tufts University have been postponed or shut down because of concerns about the legalities of gambling, the administration at Duke seems to have no such problems. “My office is okay with it. I don’t see us taking a stance to prohibit fun, entertaining activities,” said Larry Moneta, vice president for student affairs.
The Duke University Union-sponsored poker tournament last Friday at the Bryan Center was also free of administrative hassle. “We had no pressure from the University, we encountered no problems and we had no worries about legalities,” said senior Kevin Parker, president of the Union.
Though the Duke Bulletin of Information and Regulations states “it is against North Carolina state law and Duke University policy to gamble,” Moneta said the administration has not been active in enforcing the gambling statute and is not looking to tighten controls on gambling.
“We know that students just gamble for potato chips and raisins,” he said, laughing. “Gambling online with large amounts of money on overseas websites concerns me a lot more than somebody who might be losing $10 in a residence hall in a game of Hold ’Em.”
Duke’s policy seems to be similar to those at other universities where the administration is aware of the growing popularity of poker on campus, but where there are no plans to take regulatory action against the games.
“As far as I know, playing a game of poker is not a violation of law or of most college or university policies,” Dan Nelson, senior associate dean of Dartmouth College, said of local policy.
The definition of what constitutes gambling also varies from school to school and from state to state. “Our policy is that there’s no gambling because gambling is illegal in the state of Connecticut,” Yale Dean of Student Affairs Betty Trachtenberg said.
Dorm room card games, however, seem to be excluded under her definition of gambling. “Students may play cards, they may play poker, and they may play for some money. That would not bother me,” she said.
Still, there are schools that may join Tufts and UPenn in re-examining their gambling policies.
“We’re concerned, as any college might be,” said Ricardo Hall, associate dean and judicial officer at Wake Forest University. “It is something we’re going to be looking at as we revise the handbook this summer to come up with more specific restrictions on gambling.”
For now, however, Duke students can enjoy their poker games without fear of restrictions, as long as they bear in mind Moneta’s warning to “be reasonable and be responsible.”

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