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What’s legal about Poker Run?

-Horse racing & lottery fans question govt’s support of Poker Run
Mr Nick Willis and wife Mrs Monica Willis are fully convinced that the Poker Run activity is conducted lawfully and contibutes towards the tourism sector of the Virgin Islands. Photo:VINO
Director of the BVI Tourist Board Ms Sharon Flax-Mars said the Leverick Bay Poker Run is a tourism-based event that positively impacts VI tourism and its tourism product. Photo:VINO
Director of the BVI Tourist Board Ms Sharon Flax-Mars said the Leverick Bay Poker Run is a tourism-based event that positively impacts VI tourism and its tourism product. Photo:VINO
According to Wikipedia, a poker run is an organized event where participants, usually using motorcycles, all-terrain vehicles, boats, snowmobiles, horses, or other means of transportation, must visit five to seven checkpoints, drawing a playing card at each one. The object is to have the best poker hand at the end of the run. Photo: VINO
According to Wikipedia, a poker run is an organized event where participants, usually using motorcycles, all-terrain vehicles, boats, snowmobiles, horses, or other means of transportation, must visit five to seven checkpoints, drawing a playing card at each one. The object is to have the best poker hand at the end of the run. Photo: VINO
Rev. Dr. Melvin A. Turnbull, who is a Senior Pastor at the Cane Garden Bay Baptist Church, is totally against any form of gambling since he believes the holy bible preaches against any form of gambling. Photo:VINO
Rev. Dr. Melvin A. Turnbull, who is a Senior Pastor at the Cane Garden Bay Baptist Church, is totally against any form of gambling since he believes the holy bible preaches against any form of gambling. Photo:VINO
Poker runs usually require a fee to enter and some for each additional hand; in some events a small part of the fee may go to funding the event, including the prizes, while the rest goes to the event's charity recipient or club treasury. In charity events usually most, if not all of the funds, go to the selected charity. Photo: VINO
Poker runs usually require a fee to enter and some for each additional hand; in some events a small part of the fee may go to funding the event, including the prizes, while the rest goes to the event's charity recipient or club treasury. In charity events usually most, if not all of the funds, go to the selected charity. Photo: VINO
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI – Once again residents of the Virgin Islands have raised concerns about sports and games which they consider to be deeply consumed in gambling and since gambling is illegal in the Territory the view is that Poker Run should not be supported by Government.

“Turn it and twist it how much you like Poker Run is all about playing poker, the cards game and it’s for money and that is illegal in this Territory,” said a concerned resident who asked to be referred to as Fat Man. He added that he finds it strange that the government of the Virgin Islands pumps monies into supporting Poker Run.

A fan of horse racing said, “We can’t bet at we horse racing and we can’t play lotto here but because of their high level contacts the government supports playing poker in Poker Run. I just don’t understand,” said Lenrick W. Penn. “There is no explanation anyone can give me because gambling is gambling and that’s it, no double standards.” Several others with whom this news site spoke to expressed similar sentiments but declined to go on record.

The Leverick Bay Poker Run 2013 was deemed the largest ever since its inception some twelve years ago and, according to the promoter Mr Nick Willis, the event is a legal one under the laws of the Virgin Islands. He explained that it falls under the “Game of Change” that was approved by The Deputy Governor ‘s Office. “On May 10, 2007 the Virgin Gorda Charitable Company was informed that the Governor in Council acting under the authority granted in section 301(8) of the Criminal Code, 1997 has named The Virgin Gorda Charitable Company Ltd as an Organization approved to conduct lotteries and sweepstakes, including raffles in The British Virgin Islands. This allows us to hold games of chance without seeking permission, ” Mr Willis explained.

According to the man behind the popular Leverick Bay Poker Run, the conditions include not less than 90 percent of net proceeds thereof to be used for charitable, sporting or other bona fide community service purposes. Only reasonable expenses such as stationery, printing and advertising costs may be deducted from gross receipts. Within thirty days of which a game of chance is held, a published report of prizes and names of charitable recipients are to be made public and if an event had to be cancelled, steps shall be taken to notify and reimburse patrons.

In a bid to have an explanation given and the reason behind Government supporting the annual Poker Run, this news site spoke with Director of the British Virgin Islands Tourist Board (BVITB) Ms Sharon Flax-Mars who said that she believes the Poker Run is a great event for the Virgin Islands. “It establishes the BVI as a destination that has a diverse product and the event provides great opportunities to showcase the BVI and its power boating aspect. It's an event that shows off different islands, it shows great synergy between the private and public sectors,” stated Ms Flax-Mars.

She noted that categorizing whether it is gambling or not is not within her purview, nonetheless, it is a VI tourism based event that positively impacts the VI and its tourism product.

In an article published on October 26, 2012 Rev. Dr. Melvin A. Turnbull had given his view on gambling. Contacted for his view about the new concern of Government supporting Poker Run, which many consider to be gambling, he said that he had no idea what Poker Run is all about but that he stands by his position in the article previously published. “If Poker Run falls in the same category then my position remains the same. For me, it’s the principle of the bible that I adhere to, what the bible says that's what I say,” commented Rev. Turnbull. 

An excerpt from the article of Reverend Turnbull states, “Now, concerning the question of gambling - gambling may be practiced in many different ways. These include, but are not limited to the lottery, Ponzi schemes or pyramid schemes, pari-mutuel betting, etc. Some forms appear to be quite innocent, and sometimes percentages of the profits are used for a good cause. God’s Word, however, indicates that gambling in any form is contrary to the Will of God for a Believer.

First, gambling or betting puts faith in chance or luck rather than in the care and provision of God. Second, one who gambles seeks to profit from another’s loss. This practice borders on covetousness and stealing. Third, gambling promotes a greedy spirit. It emphasizes getting rather than giving, selfish interest rather than self-sacrifice, and erodes the moral fibre of society” were some of the words of Rev Turnbull.

Efforts to secure comments from other religious leaders proved futile, however, a few persons within the religious community when contacted said that they had no idea what Poker Run was about since they are not followers and are not interested in following it.

“One thing, it’s all about these super speeding on the water and I am not for that and the second thing the word Poker says it all. When we playing poker with cards at home is for fun, when it’s playing otherwise is for money and so if that is part of the Poker Run thing then straight up its gambling and the government has no part, or should I say, shouldn’t have no part in that. What goes for one goes for all,” Allan Ramsay-Malone stated emphatically.

42 Responses to “What’s legal about Poker Run?”

  • Only in the BVI (05/06/2013, 08:28) Like (54) Dislike (0) Reply
    I suppose the Lions Club and the Rotary will have to stop bingo nights and ruffling cars as well.
  • Do Your Research! (05/06/2013, 08:53) Like (57) Dislike (4) Reply
    This is the only event that is NOT funded by the government in ANY way! Please, "Fat Man" do your research! This event isn't nor has ever been sponsored by the Government of the Virgin Islands. However, they allow it because of it's attraction and boost to the Tourism industry. Please go have a seat. I don't know what your issue is.... If you want to talk about gambling and the Government pumping money into it, go talk about Horse racing... because as far as I see, you can't talk about one thing alone, speak about all. The Poker Run is one of the biggest events in the Virgin Islands, you people just don't want to see the place amount to anything. Fussing about petty little things all the time. What age do you live in?? We can't stop everything! The place needs development... WE are FAR behind and losing in Tourism. Please get over it!
    • ------------ (05/06/2013, 09:56) Like (4) Dislike (7) Reply
      'Do Your Research!' is way off base; clueless, I would say.
    • whatever (05/06/2013, 10:26) Like (6) Dislike (3) Reply
      Gov't sponsors and supports this event. They don't just put their banner up because they have a banner. In addition, they pay to promote the Poker Run. I think it's a win win for the virgin islands. Let's face a simple fact you guys had a great Music Fest on that weekend, it's now crap because you decided to remove the persons that started it and made it a huge success. All the black businesses on Cane Garden Bay was making money and hotels on Tortola was full. Now every man jack is up in North Sound Virgin Gorda pushing money by the fist load into the same White Man you complaining about. Stop killing you own people and you will not have to complain day and night about what the white man is doing. 100 people at Music Fest 1,200 at Poker run and growing
    • Wrong (05/06/2013, 11:35) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
      This event IS sponsored by the government! The Tourism office covers many of the expenses for the Poker race. Police, security, signs, music, advertising all paid for from our tax money! So you do your research.
      • boat man (05/06/2013, 17:50) Like (0) Dislike (1) Reply
        pure lies you here chattin, no such thing. them jus starting to show them faces, they were affraid of it like a cat, go sit down boss.
        • 1 (05/06/2013, 22:52) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
          Temper thy emotions
        • @ boat man (05/06/2013, 23:36) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
          that person is talking nonsense. Some of these educated people speak a lot of garbage...the BVI Government through the BVI Tourist Board has always pour big money into this event for almost 5 years now
          • boat man (07/06/2013, 10:26) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
            The Poker Run is 13 years old the last time i check. Its because of embarassment why they are in the pictures now.
  • Hmmm (05/06/2013, 09:05) Like (16) Dislike (2) Reply
    Well i guess Raffles illegal also
    • No (05/06/2013, 13:28) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
      Raffles are legal, however you have to submit a written request to obtain approval to have a raffle.
  • facts man (05/06/2013, 09:07) Like (9) Dislike (31) Reply
    What else is new?????…two standards one for whites and one for blacks? See who control the poker run...and see who control horse racing and the lil ppl who purchase the loto tickets...it speaks for it self
  • . (05/06/2013, 09:19) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    In the B.V.I wrong is right and right is wrong.
    • tell the truth (05/06/2013, 17:16) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      no that is a blanket statement only those we do not like!!!
  • son of the soil (05/06/2013, 09:20) Like (6) Dislike (1) Reply
    This is double standards, i dont care wha a man seh.
  • Realist (05/06/2013, 09:30) Like (1) Dislike (29) Reply
    the only thing real about poker run is "It is White"
  • fowl fighter (05/06/2013, 09:42) Like (2) Dislike (11) Reply
    Them always turning a blind eye to every illegal thing..whore houses, strip clubs, lottery, poker run etc etc
  • apple pie (05/06/2013, 09:47) Like (4) Dislike (189) Reply
    but we done know the NDP loves the w....e people so ayo live wid tis...
    • grrr (05/06/2013, 10:19) Like (7) Dislike (1) Reply
      wow what a comment, especially since most of the ex pats here cant even vote .... go figure !!!
    • man down (05/06/2013, 10:30) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply

      Yes, because Poker run only happens when NDP is in power. You all are so @#$% stupid!

  • man down (05/06/2013, 09:54) Like (5) Dislike (1) Reply
    Churches play bingo and have raffles as well so I think betting on horse racing should be legalized. Why pick on the Poker Run though just because it's successful, ran by white and don't need a dime from Government to be successful? Come on man. Even the schools participate in Raffle and other forms of gaming. Don't pick on one pick on all.
  • Janet Williams (05/06/2013, 10:06) Like (15) Dislike (0) Reply
    Mr. NDP government, please update the Country on the status of the pra-muntral legislation?. Where is it?
  • grrr (05/06/2013, 10:17) Like (13) Dislike (2) Reply
    Why does this all eventually come down to Black V White ... There was all kinds of people out on boats that day enjoying a wonderful day out. Dont we all wish to promote tourism here and see it flourish, as it benefits everyone?? This promotes the BVI as a fun destination, shows off several Island and places, or is everyones eyes shut to the fact that the Islands are pretty tourist free right now., and 90%of the money goes back into the local community, if you think you can do better, to promote our fabuolous Islands or generously give back to the community, those of you who are complaining about it ... go out and do it !!
  • The 4 horse men (05/06/2013, 11:03) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    That is why them should legalize paramutel betting.
  • Virgin Gorda Man (05/06/2013, 11:05) Like (4) Dislike (1) Reply
    Only because its in Virgin Gorda and sucessful all of a sudden it a problem. Cane Garden had one with 6 boats and only 4 make the rounds. Virgin Gorda had over 150 boats and counting. Its a great event and we should have about three events for the year like this. How much boats Spring Regatta has and how much Government put into it.

    We dont want Government money for poker run ok you can put it in the schools and hospital/clinics.

  • vicious (05/06/2013, 11:17) Like (4) Dislike (0) Reply

    i wonder wish set of a**es have concerns about poker run, horse racing etc.. everything that is some what enjoyable in the BVI always has to be questioned. And them want to know why is so much crime on this island.

  • bvi (05/06/2013, 11:29) Like (17) Dislike (1) Reply
    Leave the Poker Run thing alone. It is a good thing. People had a wonderful time and already looking forward to next year. Black or White, Yellow or Red, I see lots of different shades of people. But guess what? We are all human beings, equally created. Stop the noise.
  • shark (05/06/2013, 12:27) Like (8) Dislike (2) Reply
    These so called church pastors here in the B.V.I are so disgraceful.its alright for them to collect people money in church,they don;t pay any taxes,they do nothing for the community they live they are always they first to criticized,if a man wants to gamble so be it,the same money that is acquired by gambling if this person was to give it all to the church would they accept.
  • yes (05/06/2013, 12:36) Like (5) Dislike (1) Reply
    I agree with you "grr" black white blue pink red was at the poker run. People need to know and understand the laws if the bvi. If we continue with this black and white talk we won't get no tourists at all
  • Fed Up (05/06/2013, 13:29) Like (5) Dislike (3) Reply
    leave the f!!!!!! poker run alone if u people don't like certain thing jus move from here
  • big man (05/06/2013, 13:34) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
    Does the director of tourist board have to be at every event?
  • for ever young (05/06/2013, 16:59) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
    Very good reead vino and very important question.....but I going poker run next year
  • Disgusted (05/06/2013, 18:58) Like (3) Dislike (1) Reply
    Just reading the racist remarks in this thread is truly disgusting. I'll be spending my vacation elsewhere. The BVI is just a nasty,racist society who thinks everything should be handed to them. Disgusting.
    • Jah Live (05/06/2013, 22:29) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
      Double standards and the breakdown of the rule of law must become a priority. We have to lead that effort because it’s one of our biggest national problems that requires the most urgent attention.
  • ...... (06/06/2013, 10:12) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    Fund raisers and Para-mutual betting are TOTALLY DIFFERENT.... fund raisers are towards a cause with a gift given as a token of appreciation of their patronage.... Para-mutual betting is where the outcome of a particular event ONLY benefits the person betting... do you all ever sit down and think these things thru?!?!?!
  • mary j (06/06/2013, 11:27) Like (0) Dislike (1) Reply
    To have a change in the society there must be an informed set of citizens who will NOT depend on the propaganda of the government of the day, but rather all adhering to the clear standards of the Bible


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