Poker legend Chris Moneymaker is closing a card room he opened in Kentucky. Moneymaker opened the room this past fall.
Moneymaker, the 2003 World Series of Poker Main Event champion, opened a social poker club in Paducah, Kentucky, located near the Illinois-Kentucky border. Paducah is a small town of roughly 25,000 residents. The room wasn’t charging a traditional rake, as prohibited by state law. Moneymaker, who lives in Mississippi, filed to register the business in June.
The poker room was called Moneymaker’s Social Club.
According to PokerNews, the poker club closed because it received legal threats from local authorities. The poker room had “received approval from the then McCracken County Attorney Sam Clymer. But Clymer’s replacement, Cade Foster, has reversed course on the decision to allow Moneymaker Social Club to continue spreading poker games,” the report said.
According to the report, the Moneymaker could have been charged with gambling-related crimes if he didn’t move to close the room. A deal was reportedly struck with the town to avoid prosecution.
“We had grumblings last week that the (district attorney) was going to press charges, and it could have gotten myself and some of my staff in trouble potentially,” Moneymaker told PokerNews. “So, on the err of caution, we decided to shut it down.”
“(Before we opened) we went and talked to the county attorney, Sam Clymer, and he wrote a big, nice long 10-12 page document saying that everything that we’re going to be doing in the room is completely, 100% legal,” Moneymaker added.
Moneymaker expected to operate a long-term business with about 10 poker tables in the establishment. The card room was located about two hours by car from Nashville, Tenn.
For now, Moneymaker plans to keep the business open as a pool hall. It’s unclear if he can find a way to bring poker back to the social club.
Gambling is highly restricted in Kentucky. The Bluegrass State has no Las Vegas-style casinos, and it is in the minority of states without sports betting. However, it does have legal horse-race gambling and slot-style parlors.