Bar owners challenge state in gambling raid
By Mike Petersmpeters@greeleytribune.com
A battle is quickly brewing between the owners of Rafferty’s Bar in west Greeley and the state agencies that arrested five of their patrons for gambling.About 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Greeley police, the Colorado Bureau of Investigation and the Colorado Liquor Board conducted a raid of the bar and arrested five people on misdemeanor ganmbling charges.Greeley police spokesman Sgt. Joe Tymkowych identified the people who were arrested as:• Kevin P. Raley, 43, Windsor, a table dealer;• Timothy Oullette, 45, Greeley, table dealer;• Mary Lynch Paiz, 57, Greeley, game manager/coordinator• James R. Vaughn, 39, Evans, table dealer• Branden E. Waddle, 30, Greeley, game manager/coordinator They were all booked into the Weld County Jail on charges of professional gambling, then released on $3,000 bond.But the owners of the popular Greeley nightclub said the state officials were out of line with the raid.“This was a poker club” said Rafferty’s co-owner Rich Miner. “The house didn’t take a cut of the money, we didn’t force anyone to buy drinkds, we made sure we met all the state requirments.”The club plays on Tuesday and Sunday nights, Mibner said, and everyone who joins is required to read the by-laws, which qualify it as a club. “There was nothing secret about it,” Miner said. ‘It was on our website and we had posters in the bar.”Miner and co-owner Steve White cited a state law defining “social gambling” as legal if the people have a “bona fide social relationship.” The men say the club members were themselves a social organization, so they met the requirements of social gambling.But, according to Mark Couch, spokesman for the Colorado Department of Revenue, for gambling to be conducted in a place where liquor is sold is illegal in Colorado. “If they have a Colorado liquor license,”Couch said, “games of chance are not allowed.” The exception, of course, are the Colorado towns that allow legal gambling.