Is Poker Legal In Colorado ?
Legality of poker in Colorado:
In People v. Wheatridge Poker Club, 194 Colo. 15, 569 P.2d 324 (1977), the court held that poker playing for money in a social club that derived its profits solely from yearly membership dues, a set "per chair" fee, and in which members were brought together through advertisements and promotions for the sole purpose of gambling was not incidental to a bona fide social relationship.
In Houston v. Younghans, 196 Colo. 53, 580 P.2d 801 (1978), however, the court determined that poker playing for money among friends at the home of one of the players was incidental to a bona fide social relationship.
More recently, in Charnes v. Central City Opera House Ass'n, 773 P.2d 546 (Colo. 1989), the court held that a fundraising event which featured gambling was incidental to a bona fide social relationship based on the fact that the event was limited to participants who, although not necessarily friends, were brought together for the common purpose of raising money and not solely for the purpose of gambling.
Although each of these decisions necessarily is fact-specific, from them we can conclude nevertheless that the phrase, "incident to a bona fide social relationship," refers to a game or wager which is made available to participants who have some legitimate common relationship to one another other than to engage in gambling.
For example, a typical office sports pool, although all participants usually are not friends, would likely fall into this category by virtue of the shared business purposes of the office employees.
Hence, the critical inquiry is whether the participants here came together for any shared purpose other than gambling.
See Charnes v. Central City Opera House Ass'n, supra (raising money for the Opera House Association); Houston v. Younghans, supra (existing social friendship); People v. Wheatridge Poker Club, supra (no shared purpose except gambling).