Poker Hits the Heartland

Poker Hits the Heartland
By: Ryan Tate
Cape Girardeau, MO - You can find a Texas Hold 'em game on television almost any night of the week. Now you can find a Texas Hold 'em game just about any night in the Heartland. Six nights a week for the next month there will be a poker tournament at a Cape Girardeau restaurant or bar.
"Everyone wants to play poker," Drew Witvoet said. "I don't think it's a fad." Witvoet runs a Cape Girardeau restaurant and owns a company that specializes in organizing Hold 'em tournaments at restaurants.
According to the Paducah's Better Business Bureau and the City's Chamber of Commerce, officials tell me they haven't heard of similar things done in their restaurants or bars in their town. According to the a Carbondale city developer, it's a similar story. Cape Girardeau Mayor Jay Knudtson says no one has complained to the city about the games going on in town.
The reason it's legal is because no money changes hands. Players play for free, accumulating points for future prizes. The business benefits by having people in the establishment buy drinks or food. According to Cape Girardeau County Prosecutor Morley Swingle, the definition of gambling is "the crime of gambling is not being committed because nobody is being required to risk anything in return for a chance to win."