To summarize a letter from an ass. attorney general with the state:
1) Anyone that operates a game of chance or plays any game of chance at which any thing of value is bet shall be guilty of a Class 2 misdemeanor.
2) Gambling is defined in three elements - games in which the players have tendered some consideration for a chance to win a prize.
3) A court or district attorney could also decide that appearance and performance at the tournaments are, by themselves, consideration, even in the absence of the purchase of anything at the bar. (This is where the argument breaks down in some Bar Poker cases, I believe...more later)
4) The AAG seems to abandon the need for consideration to be shown above when he writes "The fact that the poker tournaments purport to be totally free of charge is of no consequence. “It is the character of an activity which determines what it really is, not what the parties choose to call it.”"
5) he further writes "Based upon the foregoing, ... these tournaments appear to be an inducement intended by the bar and restaurant owners to increase and advertise their liquor and food businesses. As such, consideration may be found in either the liquor and food sales at the tournaments, or the players’ appearance and performance at the tournaments, which is a form of advertising as it exposes them to the bar or restaurant. The game of chance element is, of course, the poker game itself, and the payoffs are the prizes won at the tournaments’ end. Therefore, all the elements of illegal gambling exist in these poker tournaments.
This is such contrived horseshit. Notice in #2 that the AAG writes that it is the player that tenders some consideration, meaning something of value, presumably to the operator of the event. He stretched this meaning to be simple one's presence. I guess he considers advertising to be gambling, and why not. The outcome of the action is out of the hands of the player since I am under no obligation to purchase anything while at the bar. All advertisers certainly pay consideration for the ads they place and they hope to win my business. That sounds more like illegal gambling than bar poker. Does that make every business in NC an outlaw?
Lastly, the AAG's opinion is contingent of there being a prize for the player at the end of the tourney. The last few tournaments that I have played in have been totally prizeless which would seem to be legal, even in this AAG's opinion. I guess he will stretch his argument to include a title and pride as a prize of value in his next opinion. So bar poker players of NC, shuffle up and deal as long at there is no prize involved