Posted on: May 20, 2022, 08:05h.
Last updated on: May 20, 2022, 08:23h.
A Cincinnati poker club has confirmed it will shutter next week after municipal officials revoked its zoning permit, The Cincinnati Inquirer reports.
The Action Factory in Sycamore Township initially received a green light to operate. But officials changed their minds three days after it opened on March 26.
Co-owner Corey Albertson said he received a notice from the zoning office informing him the club operations were violating state laws. In Ohio, individuals are prohibited from facilitating a game of chance for profit or operating a gambling house. Albertson was told Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office intended to raid the premises.
He contends the Action Factory is legal because it’s a private club that does not take a rake from its poker games. Instead, it charges membership fees and “promotes a hobby.”
Albertson has sued the township and the sheriff’s office. He wants a judge to declare his business legal and award him damages.
“I have sustained a total loss of my business, the use and enjoyment of my leased property, and my business has sustained reputational harm that cannot be repaired,” he said.
The Inquirer learned of the club’s impending closure via the township’s law director, Lawrence Barbiere. He said he believed the closure would be permanent, at least at that location.
But Albertson isn’t bagging up his chips just yet.
We do have intentions to reopen at an unspecified venue in the area, outside of Hamilton County, in the near future, and will keep all of our members in the loop as those plans become more tangible,” he told The Inquirer.
Zoning administrator Skylor Miller granted the club a permit in February, according to the lawsuit. But Miller later consulted with Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters and Sheriff Charmaine McGuffey.
They determined that even though Action Factory was not taking a percentage of the pot, it would still be profiting illegally from a game of chance.
Deters and McGuffey have asked the judge presiding over Albertson’s lawsuit to declare the club’s operations illegal and order it to close.
Lt. Matthew Guy from the sheriff’s office told the Inquirer the Action Factory is registered as a for-profit business and appears to be operating as one. It has hired staff, including armed security and masseuses, in the manner of a commercial operation, he added.