In October, I testified before the Ohio Casino Control Commission on behalf of the poker community, so to speak. I went there to try to put an end to absurd camera security coverage rules (one camera per table instead of the 2-to-1 ratio), which is a barrier to major poker tournaments, and to plead on behalf of those who work in the casino industry and would like to gamble in Ohio.
Matt Schuler is executive director of the OCCC and Jo Ann Davidson is the chair. While they may not be experts in poker, they feel our pain. They’re looking to grow gaming revenues in the state and are simply enforcing the rules the casinos put into effect. Yes, these rules were written by the casinos in the enacting legislation or in the form of standard practices. It’s fairly simple and misunderstood, even by those working at the casinos.
• Camera coverage is written into the state regulations and standards and was submitted by the casinos to the OCCC and approved by them. Perhaps poker was not consulted?
• On the issue of Ohio casino employees gambling in Ohio, there was some ambiguity on the language written into the state constitution, by Penn National and Rock Gaming as part of the enabling legislation that legalized gaming and set out the four casino locations. The OCCC sent a letter making the ban clear to all casino operators. But what was not communicated well to the dealers was that it was state-enacted in 2010. To get it changed requires a change to the Ohio constitution. I have read it and it’s clear; good luck, my friends.
• The Rio loaned equipment for the Cincinnati World Series of Poker Circuit event so it did not have to buy additional tables. While a pain to put up, it was not an extra $100K in costs to run the Cincy WSOPC.
They took time during my testimony and after to ask many insightful questions. Schuler is a highly capable executive and keenly aware of the needs and wants of poker players. Ultimately, change is at the feet of our casino operators.
OHIO STATE CHAMPIONSHIP: Don’t forget Hollywood Columbus is hosting the Ohio State Poker Championship on Dec. 9-15, including a $50K guarantee championship event beginning Dec. 13. See the ad in our December issue for more information.
RIVERS: The Rivers Casino in Pittsburgh made a change in leadership a few months back and his name is Jim Tinney, who came from the Rio in Las Vegas and is enjoying Pittsburgh.
The poker room at the Rivers Casino is the leader in Pittsburgh, featuring the best action, biggest stakes and best tournaments. The weekly $225 Saturday ($550 for the last Saturday of the month) tournament attracts players from all over the region and regularly has a prize pool of $17K ($27K for $550). Players enjoy the attractive prize pool and structure. The room also offers Wi-Fi and a nice selection of dining and entertainment options for your time off the table. See our Where to Play section in the back of the magazine for promotions.
— Dan Harkenrider hosts the Division of Poker and Chris Moneymaker radio shows. Email him at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter @DivisionofPoker.