Some South Georgians say it's time to legalize card rooms in the Peach State.
Last week's arrest of 14 top South Georgia business owners, including the former Albany Mayor, In a raid on a poker game, have advocates of card rooms promoting the idea.
Advocates of card rooms say last week's arrests show the popularity of playing poker and other card games and say legalizing them would be a winning hand for Georgia.
Attorney's Mark Phillips and Jay Brimberry say the arrest of 14 South Georgia business owners by the GBI for gambling points out just how popular friendly poker games are.
They question law enforcement busting them. Mark Phillips said "I think it was ridiculous."
The attorneys say these arrests show why they believe it's time for Georgia to legalize card rooms. Both men travel often to Florida to legally play poker there.
Jay Brimberry said "I'm tired of going in those places and on the vehicles half the tags being from Georgia."
Florida's state gaming reports that in the last year the card rooms earned more than 114 million dollars. Their rooms offer various card and poker games under state supervision. Advocates say Georgia card rooms would be a big economic boon creating thousands of jobs.
Brimberry said "With the way the economy is now, it just makes no sense to be busting in doors and arresting people when you got what otherwise would be a good cash cow for the state of Georgia."
Both men say poker is a game of skill more than just gambling and as its popularity skyrockets should be recognized as such.
Phillips said "You have to gauge body language for your fellow participants. You have to know the math. You have to know how many outs you have. "Whether or not even the hand that you are going to try to build could win the pot."
Now both men say they believe last week's arrests show that top quality citizens enjoy playing poker, and that Georgia should legalize card rooms. But they have doubts it will become law soon.
Brimberry said "I would like to think that it would, but I doubt that it will in the current administration. Maybe 4 years from now."
Advocates who say it's time for Georgia to catch up with many other states, and give people the opportunity to play cards without having to worry about going to jail.
Of course Albany has a history of legalized card games. The Radium Springs Casino opened in 1927, bringing people from all across the country. Many people think that would be great for the city again today.
Tuesday, April 20 2010 11:21 PM EDT2010-04-21 03:21:00 GMT
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