Thirty-eight poker players have failed in their court bid to have just over £23,700 in jackpot money seized by the police following a raid on an illegal game almost two years ago returned to them.
In a reserved judgment at the Magistrate's Court in Londonderry yesterday, District Judge Barney McElholm said the poker players were unable to prove ownership of the jackpot money which was found dispersed “in pots and pools” when the police raided the River Club in John Street in Derry on the night of December 20, 2009.
As a result of the ruling, the money will be lodged in a Home Office account under the Proceeds of Crime Act.
Mr McElholm said the rules of the Christmas jackpot poker classic were unclear and it seemed as if anyone could have walked in off the street and entered the game.
The judge said the poker tournament was “clearly illegal” under Gaming and Lottery laws.