Legal considerations are a natural concern whenever gaming is involved. Startup Poker 2.0 seeks to conform with all relevant gaming regulations within the jurisdictions it operates.  Startup Haven actively works with legal council to review gaming regulations and adapts the Startup Poker 2.0 game structure and playing dynamics to align with the with the concerns of gaming regulators.

Startup Poker 2.0 Background:

The mission and purpose of Startup Poker 2.0 is to provide an engaging social environment for entrepreneurs and investors to build relationships.

Startup Poker 2.0 is not professional gambling and no profits are derived from any form of gaming whatsoever.  Attendees never pay for the privilege playing at a Poker 2.0 event and 100% of all money committed to the pot by players is returned to the players according to the tournament payout structure agreed to by the players.

All players who join the invitee list are asked to agree to a Code of Conduct, which includes specification regarding the mission and purpose of Startup Poker 2.0.  Any player not abiding by the code of conduct is subject to being removed from the invitee list.

Washington State Gaming Commission Regulations

Full text of the Revised Code of Washington section RCW 9.46.010 can be found here:

RCW 9.46.010  – “Legislative declaration.”

The public policy of the state of Washington on gambling is to keep the criminal element out of gambling and to promote the social welfare of the people by limiting the nature and scope of gambling activities and by strict regulation and control.

It is hereby declared to be the policy of the legislature, recognizing the close relationship between professional gambling and organized crime, to restrain all persons from seeking profit from professional gambling activities in this state; to restrain all persons from patronizing such professional gambling activities; to safeguard the public against the evils induced by common gamblers and common gambling houses engaged in professional gambling; and at the same time, both to preserve the freedom of the press and to avoid restricting participation by individuals in activities and social pastimes, which activities and social pastimes are more for amusement rather than for profit, do not maliciously affect the public, and do not breach the peace.

RCW 9.46.0282 – “Social card game.”

“Social card game” as used in this chapter means a card game that constitutes gambling and is authorized by the commission under RCW 9.46.070. Authorized card games may include a house-banked or a player-funded banked card game. No one may participate in the card game or have an interest in the proceeds of the card game who is not a player or a person licensed by the commission to participate in social card games. There shall be two or more participants in the card game who are players or persons licensed by the commission. The card game must be played in accordance with the rules adopted by the commission under RCW 9.46.070, which shall include but not be limited to rules for the collection of fees, limitation of wagers, and management of player funds. The number of tables authorized shall be set by the commission but shall not exceed a total of fifteen separate tables per establishment.

California State Regulations

The state of California tightly regulates professional, for-profit gaming. However, California law explicitly excludes private card games for which no one makes a profit from the operation of the game, i.e., their is not cost to play in the game and 100% of the money committed to the pot is distributed back to the players. Startup Haven never charges any player to participate in a poker game and distributes 100% of the pot back to the players. The relevant California statute can be founder here. To wit, Section 337j (2)(D) “(2) As used in this section, “controlled game” does not include any of the following: (D) Games played with cards in private homes or residences, in which no person makes money for operating the game, except as a player.”

Oregon State Regulations

The state of Oregon does not regulate social games.  Approval and permitting for social games is the jurisdiction of counties and cities within Oregon.  The following excerpt comes form the Oregon State Police, Gaming Division, web site:

Oregon Revised Statue 167.121, local regulation of social gamesCounties and cities may, by ordinance, authorize the playing or conducting of a social game in a private business, private club or in a place of public accommodation. Such ordinances may provide for regulation or licensing of the social games authorized.

Oregon state regulation define “social game” in the following way:

167.166 (21) “Social game” means:

(a) A game, other than a lottery, between players in a private home where no house player, house bank or house odds exist and there is no house income from the operation of the social game; and

(b) If authorized pursuant to ORS 167.121, a game, other than a lottery, between players in a private business, private club or place of public accommodation where no house player, house bank or house odds exist and there is no house income from the operation of the social game.

Portland permitting for social gaming only applies to specific premisses and not to events generally.  Because Startup Poker 2.0 moves between venues, this permitting approach does not work.  As we only just now launching in Portland, we have not found a work around for this yet.  But we are in active dialog with the City of Portland auditors office to derive a solution that will allow Startup Poker 2.0 to receive a permit or exclude Startup Poker 2.0 from the permitting requirement altogether (which is their stated aim).