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Gambling laws vague

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Even though Jay Sadlowe, a senior majoring in political science, said he regularly plays poker at his friends’ homes, he’s still not sure about the legality of his activities.

“We always play [poker] at random places,” Sadlowe said. “And we usually start at $50 a hand.”

Even if it were illegal, he said, he and his friends would continue to play since they have never worried about their “poker nights” being a problem with the police.

When it comes to gambling, UA students are not exactly sure what is illegal, but not knowing the laws have not stopped students from taking part in the gambling trend.

Alabama’s state law says any person who risks valuables on a contest’s outcome with the understanding they may win something valuable is guilty of gambling. Gambling with dice or cards in a “public place” is illegal, but gambling in a private residence is not.

Alabama’s “public place” gambling law is so broad, however, that it confuses students.

“I’ve been told the law says you can play poker in your own house, but I’ve also been told the law says you can’t have a poker table in your house,” Sadlowe said. “Why would you be able to play poker, but not allowed to have a poker table?”

The law states that places used for gambling and places where Judi Poker Online gambling tables and devices are kept for play are declared common nuisances, and injunctions can be used to quash the activity.

Although students say gambling has become a big trend in Tuscaloosa, Tuscaloosa Police Lt. Greg Kosloff said gambling has not become a recurring crime in the area.

“It hasn’t been a big problem,” he said. “We’ve only had a couple of reports of people gambling.”

Kosloff said one of the gambling reports police have received was someone who was bookmaking.

State law also says anyone who places bets or enters pools in which money and other valuables may be won or lost because of a prizefight or other contest is subject to a misdemeanor punishment that ranges from a $25 fine to 60 days hard labor.

Andy Milazzo, a senior majoring in finance, said he worked for a bookie last year and was not worried about getting caught for doing something illegal. Milazzo said he was not worried because most of the people he took bets from were fraternity members or students around campus.

He said the only time he got a little uncomfortable with his booking job was when he had to go collect money from men in Birmingham who he said were mostly bartenders and men who worked in restaurants.

“I wasn’t worried because we were just a small campus book,” Milazzo said. “We weren’t a big threat since there are much bigger books around.”