Pick a card, any card.

June 19, 2010

Is a “poker run” considered gambling?  

Is such activity legal in Florida and if so, does it require permitting, licensing, and insurance coverage?

Do poker runs designed to generate income violate 501c3 nonprofit status fundraising guidelines?

Moreover, does the Grand Lodge of Florida consider poker runs to be gambling? 

A random sampling of thoughts on (un)Masonic conduct and gambling include:


“The mere running of a pool or billiard table is not a Masonic offense. If there is no gambling or sale of liquor in connection with the business, a brother so engaged who is elected Senior Warden may be installed. But in contemplation of Masonic law, the practice and the understanding between the parties who play the game of pool or billiards that the losing party shall pay for the game is gambling, and if the owner of the table has knowledge of such practice, he, too, would be guilty of unmasonic conduct.”


the judgment of whether liquor, card playing, smoking, and gambling are evil is a personal decision between a Brother and his God and a democratic decision of each local Lodge.


Gambling has also created its share of problems. Habitual gambling has always been unmasonic and we find in the Ancient Charges that, “A Mason must be no common player at the cards, dice, or hazard.” In recent years, it has become commonplace to see many reputable organizations turn to indirect forms of gambling such as bingo, lotteries, drawings, etc. , as a means of raising money, so it is only natural that some of our brethren have looked toward these means to raise money for some worthwhile project. Freemasonry, however, has stood firm against this tide and no Lodge or individual Mason can promote or take part in any such gambling activity for the benefit of any organization of Masons or where the prerequisite of membership is that the person be a Master Mason.

Brothers in the know, please advise as good Masonic fellows should be equipped with a full house of knowledge lest the joker run wild. 

But then again, the likes of  felon James Anderson “Jimmy” Foster and his ilk, who with comfort placed monetary bets as to another brother’s fate, likely can’t be bothered with rules. 

However, it’s a safe bet that Foster never thought he’d reap a permanent ousting. 

Priceless, it is. 


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