Since his retirement, Judge Harold Lee of Arizona has been operating his own personal poker parlor for the past two years. Instead of keeping this operation on the down low, Lee has decided to deliver letters to state authorities advising them of his legal stand. 64 year old Lee claims there is nothing wrong with his poker league and that it is 100% legitimate. More importantly, he’s willing to face charges just to prove it .
Yes, Arizona has many Indian casinos in operation, but Judge Lee feels strongly that these are merely state-granted monopolies. “I would walk into a cell in the morning if I could drag along the amoral Arizona State Indian Gaming monopoly,” he wrote in a letter to the citizens of Tombstone. “If sending an old man to the slammer will help bring down that reprehensible monopoly, great!”
Arizona law generally bans businesses from promoting or profiting from games of chance. Yet the ex-judge has conducted poker parlors since 2005 at public venues in Cochise County. He has talked about the possibility of setting up tourist excursions to poker rooms in Tombstone that would benefit the town’s historical buildings and youth football. Lee claims that social gambling can be great for communities.
Over the years, Harold Lee’s website, ArizonaCardRoom.com has become a bit of a political manifesto on the subject of gambling. Lee has provided numerous arguments in favor of his activity on this website.
News from the Arizona Republic:
Among Lee’s arguments:
• The regulation of gambling should be conducted only by local government. Towns like Tombstone were founded as gaming centers, Lee says, and would thrive again with poker parlors.
He sites an 1881 ordinance as historic evidence and notes that brothers Wyatt and Virgil Earp regularly enjoyed gambling in the Birdcage Saloon.
• The state’s Indian gaming compact authorizes a “wicked, base and evil” monopoly that has enriched “foreign nations,” the tribes, by $2 billion yearly at the expense of Arizona residents.
Lee says the compact violates the Constitution’s equal-protection clause and was adopted as an irrational salve for White man’s guilt after centuries of mistreating Native Americans.
• Arizona laws against gambling are hypocritical because the state operates a lottery based entirely on chance, with far worse odds of winning than poker.
What right does our government have in denying this type of behavior in the first place? This is simply adults having fun in choosing to play a game. Our government imposing these types of regulations simply denies its people some their basic liberties.