The host of a house poker game that was held among friends and acquaintances owes me hundreds of dollars. Unknown to participants, the host himself shortchanged the cash pool because he played with hundreds of dollars worth of chips without paying.I ended up being the one who didn't receive all of my money after cashing out when the game was over. He verbally stated and texted that he was going to pay me at a later date. We negotiated that I was to be paid within a month. It's been 2 months, and after many saved text conversations stating he had the cash I was owed, I have yet to be repaid and he continues to dodge me. Many states home poker laws deem that everyone must a fair chance at winning. He not only violated this aspect but also stole from me, by withholding the earnings that I amassed from all of the players throughout the night with my investment of $100 (buy-in). I am considering filing a small claim. The kicker is, that the bill that made home poker legal in my state has expired, and not been renewed..Am I legally entitled to the money owed to me in any way, and would filing a claim be a waste of time?
2 Answers from Attorneys
This debt is completely unenforceable as a matter of law, as a gambling debt. While the host has committed a crime (or more than one crime, perhaps), so have you, so the law leaves you without a civil remedy.
You have no court remedy in Maryland where such games are illegal.
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