Derry tournament organisers handed conditional discharge

Derry tournament organisers handed conditional discharge

Thursday, 31 March 2011

Two brothers who organised an illegal £20,000 poker tournament have each been given a two-year conditional discharge after a hearing at Londonderry Magistrates Court yesterday.

Brothers Paul and Terence Quinn admitted organising an illegal £20,000 tournament in 2009. The pair, neither of whom were licensed, charged players a £150 pay-in fee, a £20 registration fee, and a buy-in fee of £80.

According to a report from BBC News, the pair's defence barrister, Mark Reel, said his clients did not conceal their activities and had discussed the matter several times with the police. Despite this, the police raided the city's River Club and seized £20,000, €4,000, playing cards and playing chips as well as closed circuit television recordings.

The seizure of the £20,000 had caused the pair “serious problems” as irate poker players understandably wanted to know where there money had gone. Mr Reel said that there had been a lack of a definitive answer from the Police Service of Northern Ireland's legal department.

Paul Quinn told BBC News, "We do not have the money. Some of the punters have been angry - they think we have got the money."

The confusion appears to have arisen after a Court of Appeal ruling that said that poker was a game of skill and chance whereas the brother considered it just a game of skill. Running a tournament in itself wasn't illegal but paying dealers and charging an entry fee was.

District Judge Barney McElholm ordered police to return a computer and a mobile phone to the brothers as well as almost £800 in cash. The £20,000 prize pool remains in the hands of the police though until a Proceeds of Crime Application has been made.

The judge also said that he accepted there was a lot of confusion at the time about the relevant legislation relating to such a poker jackpot.

Tags: Poker News, Derry, tournament, organisers, handed, conditional, discharge