No more bucks for crib

Lo­cal clubs pull card tour­na­ments off the ta­ble for fear of los­ing their liquor li­cence

North Bay Nugget - - FRONT PAGE - PJ Wil­son

From Septem­ber to June ev­ery year for the past six years, Su­san Ro­chon fol­lowed the card tour­na­ment cir­cuit around the area.

Some­times the games were held at the Elk’s Lodge. There were tour­na­ments at Branch 23 of the Royal Cana­dian Le­gion and Branch 599 in West Fer­ris, the 406 Squadron Royal Cana­dian Air Force As­so­ci­a­tion and other ser­vice clubs from West Nipiss­ing to Restoule.

“Al­most ev­ery Sun­day there was a crib tour­na­ment some­where,” Ro­chon said Fri­day.

“It was a place to go on Sun­days. But now all of a sud­den I’m stuck at home.”

Lo­cal ser­vice clubs which had been host­ing card tour­na­ments have been told by an Al­co­hol and Gam­ing Com­mis­sion of On­tario in­spec­tor they could lose their liquor li­cences if they con­tinue those tour­na­ments.

“We didn’t know it was il­le­gal,” Larry Ranger, sec­re­tary-trea­surer of the Elk’s Club in North Bay, says after a visit from the in­spec­tor ear­lier this year.

“We were the first ones in­volved,” Ranger says. “They told us they were il­le­gal.”

The card tour­na­ments – crib­bage, eu­chre and bridge – are classed as “games of chance,” and are il­le­gal if play­ers are charged a fee to play or awarded prizes.

The games are not rec­og­nized by the prov­ince as events, which can be li­censed.

“There was one go­ing on pretty much ev­ery week­end,” Ranger says, with the tour­na­ments be­ing hosted at dif­fer­ent venues around the area.

“We did this over six or eight years, and so did ev­ery­one else.”

The Elk’s Club, as have oth­ers, have stopped the tour­na­ments com­pletely.

The tour­na­ments weren’t big money-mak­ers. Ranger says the Elk’s Club “never made any money on this,” with the en­try fees go­ing to pro-rated prizes.

But what is go­ing to hurt, he says, is the loss of 50-50 draws also be­ing held at the tour­na­ments, as well as sales of Ne­vada tick­ets.

those events “prob­a­bly col­lected $300, $400 at each tour­na­ment, and that’s what we gave to the char­i­ties.”

Mary Mar­quette at branch 23 says mem­bers and vis­i­tors can still play the games, “but they can’t play for money.”

“It was just a pleas­ant, plea­sure for peo­ple,” Mar­quette says. “It wasn’t big money. It was just an en­joy­able af­ter­noon.”

and for the Le­gion as well, there wasn’t a big pay­off.

“the ladies aux­il­iary pro­vided lunch, and that’s what made money.”

but since the visit from the in­spec­tor in July, those events have been can­celled.

“We were told that we should get le­gal ad­vice on it,” Mar­quette says. “We can’t af­ford a lawyer. We were told it was il­le­gal and if we con­tin­ued we could lose our liquor li­cence.

“We’re not in­ter­ested in go­ing to jail. I don’t look good in or­ange.”

“I don’t un­der­stand what’s driv­ing it,” says Mark Mont­gomery, a re­tired po­lice of­fi­cer with the North bay Po­lice Ser­vice.

“If what they are say­ing is true, why wait 45 years to say some­thing about it? Why can’t we have it as a li­censed event?

Mont­gomery says the tour­na­ments “pro­vided peo­ple – mostly se­niors – an af­ter­noon of be­ing out so­cial­iz­ing” and gen­er­at­ing rev­enue from food and re­fresh­ments to the venue.

“I was with the po­lice for 32 years here and never once did we (the po­lice) go to a venue over these games,” Mont­gomery says.

“What has changed?” a tour­na­ment with 80 to 100 peo­ple could bring in $250 in food sales and an­other $150 in re­fresh­ment sales, Mont­gomery says

Since the tour­na­ments were canned, he says, there might be 20 peo­ple out, bring­ing in $90 in food sales and $25 in re­fresh­ment sales.

an agco in­spec­tor vis­ited branch 23 on July 24, and ad­vised the branch to seek le­gal coun­sel be­fore their crib for bucks event sched­uled for aug. 18.

the branch has con­tacted re­gional com­mand, which ad­vised all branches to stop the events while it looked into the is­sue.

Mont­gomery has sent an e-mail to Nipiss­ing MPP and Min­is­ter of Fi­nance Vic Fedeli “with a copy of the Le­gion let­ter ex­press­ing my con­cern about what was go­ing on and the im­pact this would have on the Le­gions and other or­ga­ni­za­tions.”

Mont­gomery also con­tacted the agco, which re­sponded that it “does not reg­u­late tour­na­ments such as crib­bage, eu­chre, etc.

“crib­bage is not a li­censed game that is rec­og­nized by the prov­ince or the mu­nic­i­pal­ity. card games are not li­cens­able events and we rec­om­mend that you seek le­gal coun­sel for ad­vice.”

Fedeli re­ferred ques­tions on the is­sue to the agco.

“I miss it,” ro­chon says. “Where else can you go on a Sun­day af­ter­noon for $10?”

and it wasn’t al­ways about the cards, she says.

“It was the friend­ship. the laugh­ter,” she says. “they al­ways made you feel wel­come. It was the fun part of it. get­ting to know peo­ple, their fam­ily, ‘how’s your son?’”

PJ Wil­son/the Nugget

Jamie Broughton, left, Mark Mont­gomery, Su­san Ro­chon and Tina Mont­gomery en­joy a friendly game of crib­bage, Fri­day. Lo­cal ser­vice clubs have been ad­vised that pop­u­lar card game tour­na­ments are il­le­gal and that if they con­tinue to host them are in dan­ger of los­ing their liquor li­cences.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.