Major Bust at Mid-City Bar for Texas Hold 'Em Tournament - WAFB 9 News Baton Rouge, Louisiana News, Weather, Sports

Major Bust at Mid-City Bar for Texas Hold 'Em Tournament

A well-known Mid-City bar is facing more than $10,000 in fines and could lose its liquor license. State alcohol and tobacco control agents raided the bar and grill on Government Street known as "Phil Brady's" for allegedly conducting one of those popular Texas Hold 'Em tournaments.

Though Phil Brady's was not breaking the law, operators of the bar are in trouble for allegedly violating a relatively new executive order which prohibits bars from advertising or helping conduct poker games. It went into effect in late August and this is the first time ATC agents test it in Baton Rouge. It's an order which says bar owners violate their liquor license when they help conduct forms of gambling.

"Giving people chips, advertising the game, collecting the money, holding the money," is what ATC attorney Brian Dejean describes as violating the ordinance. "Making sure that the game stays on time... We found timers in these games, as well, providing card tables as opposed to using regular tables. All of these things are facilitating a gambling operation in the premises of a licensed alcoholic beverage outlet, and that's not what the permit is designed to do."

Dejean says before the new executive order, agents had to prove the game was illegal -- that the bar was getting a cut. Dejean says that wasn't the case at Phil Brady's. However, Dejean says the bar did profit because 29 of the people there were playing poker and only two were at the bar.

"One of those patrons was an undercover ATC agent, so right there you had one person in the bar not participating in the games. So, you can see the significant impact it has on a business' sales for the night to have this game going on."

And the concern is, according to Dejean, games like these could easily become illegal. "Nobody's watching the chicken coop, so to speak, so the foxes can run loose if they so desire."

Dejean says, so far, the owner of Phil Brady's faces 117 violations and that number will likely go up. According to Dejean, the minimum fine for each violation is $100. Do the math, and that's more than $11,000. Also, depending on the severity of the violations, the bar's liquor license could be suspended or revoked.

9 News made several attempts to contact Phil Brady's, but our calls were not returned.

The head of ATC, Murphy Painter, will likely be the one to hear the case since Phil Brady's did not break the law. Painter will conduct a hearing where he'll hear all of the evidence in this case and the owner will have a chance to defend himself. Then, Painter will decide the amount of fines and whether or not Phil Brady's license should be suspended.

Reporter: Avery Davidson

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