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Joe Francis: Hollywood Poker Is 'Perfectly Legal'

6/23/2011 1:00 PM PDT BY TMZ STAFF

"Girls Gone Wild" kingpin Joe Francis -- who was named as a player in the Tobey Maguire poker scandal -- is adamant the card games are "perfectly legal" ... and he can back it up!

062311_joe_francis_video
Francis was leaving Katsuya in Hollywood last night ... when he told us the legendary Hollywood games have been going on for "quite a while."

Joe also claimed he had a lawyer research the law about private poker games and found out, "As long as [the games] are between those few [players] and there's no house that takes a commission ... all these games that go on in Hollywood are perfectly legal."

TMZ spoke with powerhouse poker attorney Marc Zwillinger -- who reps the interests of poker players including through the Poker Players Alliance -- who backed up Joe's claim ... telling us, "Private home games in California are not illegal where there is no 'house.'"


37 COMMENTS

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16.

SiouxCityBoy    

The games are legal as long as there is no $ fee or % taken for payment of food or beverages or use of room or location.

"Buy-in" or pot value has no bearing on legality.

All winnings must me declared to Calif as income also to the IRS.

Sometimes players have been known to use "IOU's" in lieu of cash. In a case where there was an IOU holder the wiring of cash to that person's account by the IOU giver would be appropriate.

Bankruptcy courts often look at payments made by the Debtor for the previous 12 months. If the payments were inappropriate or illegal then such payments are sometimes ordered to be recovered. An example would be a gift of $10,000 to each family member within the 12 months prior to BK declaration.

The BK trustee is fishing.

Good Luck Toby!

1156 days ago
17.

3Storms    

Joe Francis is a low-life in every last conceivable way, and anyone who takes legal advice from him is a raging idiot.

1156 days ago
18.

yoyoma    

i'm guessing the IRS might have a little something to say about any amount over $10,000 changing hands and not going through them...nice try joe.

1156 days ago
19.

Fallopia Lopez    

TMZ, rather than fact-check Joe Francis (the LAST person from whom I would EVER take advice), why not ask the attorney in the FIRST place in connection with the original story? Hint: it's called JOURNALISM.

1156 days ago
20.

Ginger    

Maybe the poker games are legal, but what about Uncle Sam? Are these guys paying taxes on their winnings?

1156 days ago
21.

JoeFrancis    

I think people here are confused, this is TMZ not the NYT. Don't skip college, mmkay.

1156 days ago
22.

joni    

from the looks of things no one here is an expert on the topic but i have my two cents to toss in. there seems to be confusion on what a "buy-in" is and an entry fee.

from what i understand the legality of a poker game comes into question when there are entry fees paid by each player; these fees go to the house. the buy-in only goes to the prize pool.

there was never any mention that tobey or the others paid entry fees ONLY that buy-ins were made. so going by that it sounds like the attorney francis consulted with was right. these were legal games.

what i don't get is why so many ppl automatically assume that tobey's winnings didn't go through the irs. why is that? is it because that is what the majority of you would do?

tobey and the other defendants in this case are not being sued by the irs. who is to say that maguire didn't consult with an attorney about paying taxes on his winnings.

if there is a new report saying the irs is after him then talk about it then. right now that has absolutely nothing to do with the current situation.

1156 days ago
23.

Me    

Why are people saying Joe is lying or that TMZ should check the fact's and not believe Joe? Did you even read what they wrote?

TMZ spoke with powerhouse gambling attorney Marc Zwillinger who BACKED UP JOE'S CLAIM.

1156 days ago
24.

anni    

OK you bunch of nuns, back off. People like to gamble. It is fun and hurts no one. No one breaks legs anymore, you must have Credit, therefore a Credit Card and you establish your own limit online before you place your first bet. The bets are simply placed for you, that is the service provided. You cannot bet more than you have, without approval.

1156 days ago
25.

Me    

anni less than a minute ago OK you bunch of nuns, back off. People like to gamble. It is fun and hurts no one. No one breaks legs anymore, you must have Credit, therefore a Credit Card and you establish your own limit online before you place your first bet. The bets are simply placed for you, that is the service provided. You cannot bet more than you have, without approval.
__________________

This has nothing to do with online gambling. Read the article and try again.

1156 days ago
26.

gd45    

Anni.... your dumb, so just stop typing.

Also, to the people going after the winnings of these games, good luck..... I highly doubt that they can prove how much money won by each came from this criminal, so are they gonna have to fork over all their money to check it??? I doubt it.

This criminal was actually pretty smart because having that many high end names involved usual means a mistrial, or a case going in their favour. Everyone knows judges, and juries in LA are sissie's who would never convict a big star cause they are the only people keeping Cali's **** economy afloat.

Watch this guy got off on a technicality and be straight back into these games by then end of the year.

1156 days ago
27.

travcm    

I have scanned through the comments here and found all of them brainless, except for Joni's (about an hour ago). So let me save all of you some time. Read that comment and skip the rest of the idiocy.

1156 days ago
28.

Physical Graffiti    

OK, so it's not illegal, but not reporting your winnings to the IRS IS illegal, so make sure you do that, k Joe?! lmao!

1156 days ago
29.

Chris    

NAC, you do not have to register as a professional gambler to deduct losses. Every single taxpayer can deduct losses to the extent of winnings. The problem with these high dollar games is recording proper winnings.

Yes, I'm a tax guy.

1156 days ago
30.

AT0505    

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pwqXNKPAmTI

Check out what this man did as a responce to all this.

1156 days ago
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