TURMEL GAMBLING PRESS 1975-1989
750815Fr Mr. John Cassells, Ottawa Crown Attorney On Sunday, August 24, 1975 and most Sundays during the winter, a group of friends and I intend to play Las Vegas style Blackjack in my home. The game will be played ranging from one dollar ($1.00) up to whatever maximum the banker chooses. The bank rotates among the players and no player should suffer financially since he need never bank more than he can afford. My attorney, Mr. C.A. Fournier, has assured me that using this procedure we are not violating the Criminal Code. Since I truly feel that what we are doing is legal and harmless, I extend an invitation to the Law Enforcement Agency in charge to visit anytime to ascertain that all of the above conditions exist. This letter is to make you aware of my intentions and to allow you to present arguments against the game or conditions under which you feel the game is fair to all and acceptable to you with regard to the Criminal Code. If you would like to discuss the matter further, please contact my solicitor and arrange a meeting. I will make myself available at any time. Mr. C.A. Fournier Insp. Zukow
750819Tu Mr. John Turmel: I have received your letter of August 15th and note what you say. I am sure you realize that it will not be possible for me to comment on the legality or illegality of any planned operation. John Cassells, Q.C.
770121 Police Raid on St. Laurent Blvd. Blackjack game.
770609 St. Laurent trial before Judge Livius Sherwood.
781210 Judge Sherwood rules "guilty" with $500 fine.
Ottawa Citizen gambler convicted??
780831Th Hamilton Spectator, CP Bad laws make criminals we don't need, judge says The Chairman of the law reform commission of Canada said Friday that thousands of laws in Canada systematically are being ignored because to prosecute offenders would be "counterproductive to what the criminal law ought to be doing." Mr. Justice Antonio Lamer, the chairman, said the thousands of annual prosecutions for possessing soft drugs, chiefly marijuana, are charades. It is difficult to find anyone involved in the cases, often including the police and judges, "who feel that they are dealing with criminals in any rational sense of that very significant word," the judge said. He was speaking at a conference on the Canadian court system sponsored by Osgoode Hall Law School at York University and the Canadian Institute for the Administration of Justice. Mr. Justice Lamer said the existence of tough laws that are not obeyed inhibits the search for more realistic controls. He gave gambling among friends as an example. "I do not think that most people in this country feel that it is morally wrong for a few friends to occasionally play poker for money when the amounts at stake are within reason," he said. I fail to see how being on a cruise ship in Canadian waters or flying over Canadian territory in a plane adds much to the wrongfulness of the act of playing a friendly game of gin rummy for reasonable wager." Mr. Justice Lamer said that "yet citizens doing so are branded by the Parliament of Canada as criminals, having committed an indictable offense and liable to be sent to penitentiary for two years." He said the gap between the act and its prescribed penalty "is a staggering indictment of our official concept of the aims and purposes of the criminal law." There has been insufficient effort to seek judicial solutions in the area where the administration of the state "begins to lap over into the essential core of civil liberties and areas for individual self- assertion," Mr. Just Lamer said.
Hamilton Spectator, CP Gamblers beat law say police OTTAWA -- Police forces across Canada are powerless to fight illegal gambling because of a recent Supreme Court of Canada decision, says a group of police chiefs. Organized crime is doing a flourishing business in gambling, thanks to the court's ruling that a one-night illegal card game does not constitute a common gaming house, the chiefs said. Their comments were made in reports of two committees of the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police released at the association's five-day 73rd Annual convention. "This ruling means that the police are powerless to act on floating, high-stakes games which change location nightly," one report said. "Organized crime can now operate with impunity in this very lucrative activity." The case referred to was the conviction of Harvey Rockert of Toronto and four others on charges of keeping a common gaming house. Police raided an arena while a blackjack game was in progress and the men were fined a total of $7,000. Must be proven On appeal, the Supreme Court set aside the conviction, agreeing with Rockert's lawyers that habitual use of premises with be proven to establish that the place was "kept" or "used" as a common gaming house. This ruling has made the gaming house section of the criminal Code unenforceable, the chiefs said. "This circumstance is particularly attractive to organized crime figures who will now expand their gambling operations with new-found immunity." The chiefs urged the government to strengthen laws against gambling. Other forms of gambling and related crime are also on the increase because of a 1976 amendment to the Criminal Code which legalized slot machines which dispense only free games as prizes, said the chiefs. However, the police chiefs said there is "significant" organized crime involvement in operation of pinball machines and amusement arcades.
780908Fr APPEAL SHERWOOD TO BLAIR ONTARIO COURT OF APPEAL Crown VS John Turmel Justices Jessup, Martin, Blair Appellant's Statement Statement of Facts A card game that was being played was called "Symmetric Blackjack". A rule of this game was that all players had the right to take their turn as the dealer. There was a sign above the card table which read: "Anyone Wishing To Be The Dealer, Can Do So". There was no restriction on who could be the dealer. Although only Ray Turmel, John Turmel and Steve Brinston were the dealers on January 18 and January 21, 1977, the rules permitted each player to take his turn as the dealer and certain people did so on other occasions. No fee was charged to play; no cut or rake-off or percentage was paid to the house and no fee was charged for any services rendered. The rules of the game of "Symmetric Blackjack" ensure that there is no advantage for the dealer. However, an individual's lack of skill may result in the bank having an advantage. The Appellant used the gaming equipment which was in his house to supply different "Monte Carlo" nights in the City of Ottawa. He built the blackjack tables himself and his total investment in gaming equipment was about $900.00-$1,000.00. If during these card games, the Appellant won more often than he lost, this in itself should not convert his residence into a place kept for gain within the meaning of Section 179(1) (a) of The Criminal Code. That the Appellant's activities did not come within the definition of "common gaming house", in that, (a) The bank was not kept by the Appellant and all of the players had an equal opportunity to be the bank; and (b) By the rules of the game the chances of winning were equal, the only variable being the individual skill of the players. It is the Appellant's submission that Parliament intended to prohibit games which by their very nature provided a person with an unfair advantage. Furthermore, Parliament could not have intended to require the skill of each player to be a factor in determining the criminality of an individual, because if it did it would have simply prohibited all games, rather than setting out the circumstances in which games cannot be carried out.
Statement of Law by Allan Obrien In order to come within the definition of "Common gaming house" the place must be kept for some gain whether it be a direct or indirect gain. A person who plays cards at his home and wins more often than he loses is not keeping his house for gain within the meaning of Section 179(1)(a) of The Criminal Code. 10 Cases With respect to the definition of "common gaming house", this section contemplates a situation where an individual or group of individuals has obtained exclusive control of a game such that the rules as established will not permit the passing of the bank from one player to another. There is nothing in the Section which prescribes that the bank shall be kept at some stage of a game by each of the players. R. v. Jowe The Section is not infringed if an equal opportunity is given to all players to become the dealer-banker. It is the responsibility of a player who wishes to become the dealer-banker to provide the requisite funds to enable him to be the bank. R. v. Munroe The intent of Parliament in enacting this Subsection was not to embrace by that definition all games wherein a bank is kept and thereby in effect to prohibit all games of this type. If so, the language following the word 'kept' is mere surplusage. The addition of any such language must be taken to import that a game wherein the bank is not kept exclusively by one or more of the players is not and was not intended to be included within the ambit of the definition. R. v. Jowe In order to enfringe Section 179(1)(iv), possession of the bank must confer on the banker some advantage over the other players in the game. R. v. Munroe The fact that bets permitted in a game are unlimited and the fact that all of the players have the capability of becoming the dealer-banker leads to the conclusion that no advantage accrues to the dealer- banker. R. v. Munroe If by the rules of the game the chances of winning were equal, and the only variable was the skill of the players, the place used is not deemed to be a "common gaming house" within the provisions of Section 179(1) (b) (iv) of The Criminal Code. Furthermore, if the method of the game is not that one or more becomes exclusively the banker, then the chances of the games are equally favourable to all the players. R. v. Hung Lee (1913) 21 C.C.C. 404, 13 D.L.R. 44 That the Appellate Court set aside the conviction against the Appellant and that an acquittal be entered.
RESPONDENT'S STATEMENT by Lucy Cechetto The witness testified that the players received free alcohol and snacks. There was no admission charge and no rake-off fee. Miss Flowers testified that on the evening of January 21st, only the Appellant and Mr. Brinston dealt. No other players dealt. The witness testified, however, that she did deal for 15 minutes in order to practice for Monte Carlo night at Carleton University. During her deal the witness used Mr. Turmel's chips. Miss Flowers testified that it was her belief that anyone could deal. The reason for this belief was that there was a sign in the basement stating, "Anyone wishing to be dealer can do so." The witness testified that there was a discussion about the "you can deal" sign. His understanding --not as a result of any specific statement--was that a player had to have considerable money to do so, that is, he had to have enough cash to redeem the chips if his deal went badly. Someone suggested $2,000 to $3,000 was required. Mr. Stewart testified that in his opinion the dealer would have an advantage because one was dealing with four or five decks and the odds would be in the dealer's favour. The Appellant testified on his own behalf. The Appellant stated that between January 17th to 21st, the game of blackjack Las Vegas style "21" was played at his premises. The witness stated that there was no house advantage to this game. He testified that in the past other persons had occasion to take the bank but that they lost too quickly. The Appellant testified that he was playing the game of symmetric blackjack, a game designed by himself whereby all the people had the right to be the bank. The Appellant testified that he never charged anyone admission or took a percentage because this would make it illegal. He stated that he considered it a privilege if others would come and play with him. The Appellant admitted that it was an advantage for the dealer to play last. He stated, however, that this advantage was totally nullified by the player's options available in the game, provided that the player knows what he is doing and does it properly. Raymond Vincent Markle testified that he has played blackjack with the Appellant in the past. The witness testified that he was offered the dealership but never took it. No minimum was ever set before a person could be the dealer. The witness testified that although he heard the deal being offered to others he was never present when someone other than the Appellant took the bank. Robert Steven Wiseman testified that over the last year preceding the event he was offered the chance to become the dealer and exercised it about 3 -4 times. There was no minimum amount of money required before he could be dealer. Professor Walter Schneider who had been in the mathematics department for seven years and taught a course on gambling with the Appellant as his teaching assistant, was accepted as an expert, based on his knowledge of mathematics and his studies of gambling. The professor testified that in Las Vegas style 21 the dealer is regulated by fixed rules and his playing is not affected by skill or strategy. The player on the other hand requires skill and strategy. The professor was of the opinion that the dealer had a mathematical advantage against the player of average skill and talent. The professor testified that five of his students had conducted studies in Las Vegas. Based on their statistical data the professor concluded that there were far more bad players than good. The professor was of the opinion that there were very few skillful players in Ottawa and herein lay the house advantage. He testified that this house advantage was equalized by a strong player. By a strong player the professor meant a player who was aware of statistical possibilities or had a good computer based strategy. The professor testified that "Symmetric Blackjack" contemplates each player dealing or banking under fixed rules and playing under flexible rules. Each player has and avails himself of the opportunity to both bank and play. With the bank passing from player to player the advantages are truly equal. In convicting the accused the learned trial Judge found that notwithstanding the sign the premises were a common gaming house within the meaning of s. 179(1)(b)(i) because on January 18th and 21st the bank was kept exclusively by Turmel and Brinston and/or Ray Turmel, and not by any other player. The learned trial judge found that the Appellant's Symmetric Blackjack was not the same as Professor Schneider's blackjack because the deal or bank did not pass regularly or in rotation from player to player. Judge Sherwood found that the Appellant's version of symmetric blackjack with few exceptions, left the house or bank with the advantage, and therefore the establishment was a gaming house within the meaning of s. 179 (1) (b) (iv). notwithstanding the sign the bank on January 18 and 21 remained exclusively with the appellant and his associates. It is submitted that the mere placing of the sign and the fact that others had on occasion over the preceding year does not take the appellant out of the operation of s. 179 (1) (b).
Decision of Justices Jessup, Martin, Blair In the Matter of John Casimir Turmel who was sentenced to a fine of $500.00 or in default of payment 30 days in jail; gaming equipment to be confiscated.; the appeal John Casimir Turmel against his conviction and sentence, This court did order that the said appeal against conviction should be and the same was thereby dismissed, and this court did further order that the said appeal against sentence should be and the same was thereby allowed and sentence varied to a conditional discharge with probation for a period of one (1) year upon the conditions prescribed in the probation Order attached to this Order as Schedule "A". And the court did further order that the Order of forfeiture of gaming equipment should be and the same was thereby quashed and money seized ordered to be returned to the appellant.
780915Fr Attn: Ms. Lucy Cecchetto I think it is obvious from Mr. Turmel's past conduct and his present conduct that he does not wish to contravene the law in the future. However, he is considering the possibility of carrying on a game similar to the Black Jack game that formed the subject matter of the charge. He is considering renting out his services to different clubs or groups that wish to sponsor a Black Jack gambling night. Following the reasoning in the Supreme Court of Canada's decision in Harvey Rockert and Her Majesty the Queen which was pronounced on the 7th of February, 1978, Mr. Turmel would ensure that these evenings were always sponsored at a different location. In light of your awareness of the subject matter and the relevant law, Mr. Turmel has requested that I write to you on his behalf to seek any comments that you may have with respect to any potential illegality in such a proposal. Mr. Turmel is grateful that the Court of Appeal granted him a conditional discharge and he does not wish to do anything that may contravene the law. After review of the Rockert decision it was my opinion that the aforementioned proposal would not be in contravention of the law. On behalf of Mr. Turmel I invite your comments. Allan R. O'Brien c.c. Mr. Thomas E. Welsh, Chief of Police, Mr. John Cassells, Q.C.
781006 Mr. Obrien: In answer to your letter dated September 15, 1978, I must inform you that it is not the function of Counsel at this office to offer legal opinions on the legality or illegality of schemes proposed by members of the general public. You indicate in your letter that you are of the opinion that the new scheme proposed by Mr. Turmel was not in contravention of the law. I am certain that you have explained to Mr. Turmel, and that Mr. Turmel is aware, of possible consequences should your opinion be in error. Lucy Cecchetto Counsel.
780920We Ottawa Citizen, Tom Hill Aced by devil booze. Blackjack addict says game legal, forgot liquor laws John Turmel's plans to start a floating blackjack game ... got off a shakey start because he'd forgotten the liquor licensing laws. The Supreme Court of Canada recently dismissed gaming house charges against Harry Rockert on the grounds that premises must be used more than once before it can be considered a gaming house. Turmel, recently convicted of running a gaming house out of his St. Laurent Blvd. home, invited several people Tuesday to Carleton University's faculty club for what he said would be the first in a series of travelling blackjack games. But he forgot about Ontario's liquor laws, which prohibit gambling in a licensed establishment. So instead of a real money game, Turmel and friends, including Dave Brown, played for fun with cash that had to be returned after the game. He said during a break in the game that he will stage another game elsewhere soon. Turmel has been fighting for two years to persuade police and the courts there's nothing illegal about blackjack. Ottawa police disagreed and in January 1977 they raided Turmel's home, seized $2,000 on the table and charged Turmel with keeping a commong gaming house. The courts also disagreed eight months later when Turmel was found guilty, rejecting his plea that blackjack is a game of skill, not chance. And an Ontario appeal court disagreed two weeks ago when it upheld his conviction. But while he was losing, Harry Rockert had his conviction for the same offence overturned by the Supreme Court. "Mr. Turmel will play the same game he has been playing except that he'll do it in different places," said Allan O'Brien, the lawyer who argued Turmel's case before the appeal court. "On the basis of Rockert, I would say floating games are okay," O'Brien said. The Ottawa Police Department isn't so sure; morality division Sergeant Wayne Cochrane had never heard of the Rockert decision. But he was interested in hearing more about Tuesday's game. Although they had been tipped off by reporters, police didn't show up at the faculty club and would havee found no gambling going on had they come.
780922Fr Ottawa Citizen, Tom Hill Police set to call hand of Mr. (legal) gambler. Police calling bets on Blackjack backer John Turmel is betting he's found the key to legal gambling, but the police and Crown are ready to call his hand. Crown Attorney Rick Mosley waid Thursday he doesn't agree with Turmel that a recent Supreme Court of Canada ruling makes playing blackjack legal as long as the players meet at different locations for each game. And Ottawa police Superintendent Lester Thompson said the ruling won't stop police from raiding Turmel's card parties... Turmel can expect more police attention if he proceeds with plans to use newspaper advertisements to find players for "floating" games, held at different locations. "If he should hold a game, and advertise he is holding a game, we will investigage and lay charges on finding sufficient evidence," Thompson said. Mosley said any protection affoded Turmel by the Supreme Court ruling is offset by an Ontario Court of Appeal ruling which decided that possession of gambling equipment is sufficient evidence to support a gaming house conviction," Mosley said. "John Turmel can't run a blackjack game without some equipment." Despite the Crown's warning, Turmel intends to keep playing blackjack and campaigning to legitimize it. His fight has already cost him a criminal record and now he suspects it may cost him his job. He said he heard earlier this week that he would be fired as teaching assistant at Carleton University. "Actually, I think the publicity upset the university," said Turmel, who helped to teach a gambling course. Mathematicians professor Walter Schneider, his former boss, could not be reached for comment. Turmel's campaign began in 1975 when he told police and the Crown of his plans to hold blackjack games at his home. He hosted the games about once a week for a year and a half before the police raided one.
780923Sa Ottawa Citizen Teaching job lost, Turmel to turn fulltime gambler Undaunted by the prospect of arrest, Ottawa's blackjack crusaader said today he will become a fulltime, professional gambler. John Turmel, who lost his job at Carleton University for holding a well-publicized blackjack game on campus, said he wants to try making a living from power, backgammon and blackjack. Turmel said the Supreme Court of Canada has already ruled blackjack legal as long as players don't meet at the same location more than once. The Crown Attorney disputes that interpretation of the court's rulings, and Ottawa police say Turmel's games will be raided if he proceeds with plans to advertise them in the newspapers. Turmel said he will advertise for players, but police won't find anything illegal going on. "I want to do this clean and legitimately. I have a reputation to protect.~ His boss, Walter Schneider, said today that Turmel's unauthorized use of the faculty club to hold his blackjack game put the university in an intolerable position. "We don't think it the kind of thing the university should lend its prestige to," said Schneider. "If he had done it at the Chateau Laurier, there would have been absolutely no problem." Schneider said he warned Turmel three weeks ago not to use the faculty club, and only learned at the last moment the game would be on campus. "I blew my stack when I found out what was going on." He said he didn't want Turmel as his gambling course assistant as long as Turmel is staging his blackjack crusade. Turmel has been offered the same position in a less-controversial mathematics course, but hasn't accepted.
1979 Ottawa Citizen, Ralph Wilson Gambler attacked, robbed Picture of me looking at my hand in a cast captioned `JOHN TURMEL CHECKS FINGER MOVEMENT AFTER ATTACK' Irv Hoffman said it should have been `LOCAL GAMBLER DISPLAYS LOSING HAND' A professional blackjack game at the Skyline Hotel ended in violence early Saturday when a high-rolling local gambler attacked and robbed the dealer. Dealer John Turmel, who has been running regular "revolving" blackjack and craps games at various Ottawa hotels while campaigning to prove such games are legal, said a tall, heavy-set man attacked him after losing heavily during the eight-hour game. "The guy had been belligerent all evening," Turmel said. "At the very end of the night when everybody had gone he snuck up behind me and tried to mug me." He said the man had been placing maximum $50 bets all night and had been losing heavily. "He wasn't a very good player but he's lost more at other games." Turmel said he decided to call an end to the game at 4:30a.m. Saturday but that the man insisted on playing. "He wanted to have the game prolonged. He offered to call up and have money sent in but I decided to call it since I intend on running games again anyway. "It's not as if I'm running away with his money. He's always to a shot at it again." He said the man game up behind him and hit him on the back of the head with a "metal club." "I got my hand up in time to take the second blow and broke two bones in my hand." Turmel said the man scooped up about $300 from the table, then searched the room and the other players. Ottawa police Saturday had charged a man with assault causing bodily harm in connection with the incident.
790219Mo Ottawa Citizen, Rick Laiken Gambler playing safe, but playing Professional gambler John Turmel is playing it safer these days. Ottawa's answer to Diamond Jim Brady still operates his floating casinos despite past brushes with the law, but now security guards man the doors and roam among the players. "That's why the guards are here," the 27-year-old engineer-turned-gambling-crusader explained at his latest "casino-disco" Sunday night, holding out his swollen fingers. A few weeks ago, one of Turmel's "friendly games" turned sour when a sore loser broke his hand and robbed him of his winnings. "Those are the risks you take, but hopefully, it won't happen again with the security," he said. "Besides, they're all good people here," he added, pointing to the more than 60 well-dressed and apparantly well-heeled patrons in the party room of a Gloucester Street apartment, plunking their chips down at his custome-made craps game and four blackjack tables. Turmel ... has learned to play the cards closer to the chest. Now, admissions to his games is by invitation only, andd they are never held in the same location twice. To avoid Ontario Liquor laws prohibiting gambling in a licensed establishment, it's strictly BYOB (bring your own booze). The security guards Sunday, employees of Grant, National Protection and Universal Security, were even checking identification to weed out underage drinkers. But while he no longer openly invites arrest, Turmel is still running the risk of prosecution. Ottawa police and the Crown attorney haven't bought Turmel's persistent argument that a reecent Supreme Court of Canada ruling makes blackjack legal as long as the games float from location to location. Charges were dismissed against Harvey Rockert on the grounds that premises must be used more than once before it can be presecuted as a gaming house. Turmel says the Rockert decision grants him immunity and he's ready to press the issue in court if necessaary, but he'd rather not -- things are going too well right now. After successfully running six or seven private games since his first dry run at Carleton, Turmel says he's got a growth industry on his hands. He employs 14 dealers part-time, uses $4,000 worth of Las Vegas-imported equipment and now supplies disco music for players who want a break from the tables. And the games are getting bigger. "I've started a whole new tourist industry here. If this keeps up I'll have to hire more dealers -- bring me your unemployed." While the players at the game shied away from the Citizen's cameras and wouldn't identify themselves, most seemed unconcerned the place might be raided at any minute. "We're not going anything illegal here," said Gary, a 25-year-old computer systems analyst who has been to a number of Turmel's casino nights. "I object to the word gambling. They're games of chance and skill. It's better than staying home and staring at a TV set waiting for your Wintario number to come up. You don't even have to play if you don't want to. There's dancing, you meet people, it's just a pleasant evening. "Most of the people you see here, you see in the discos around town," agreed another participant. "No one's pushing you to gamble and you don't see many big losers -- most of the bets are around $5." Turmel said the game was "mostly small action," and after paying for his dealers, security men and sound system rental, he might only just break even. "But the social aspect is good and I'm sure these people are going to come back for more," he said. "You'll notice, winning or losing, they're all smiling." Turmel turned down recently for an application to run a casino at the Ottawa Ex, is planning bigger and better games. "I want to run a casino for 150 people one night. Maybe I'll invite the mayor and some aldermen to show them what the industry is really like."
790301Th Ottawa Revue #134, Dr. Walter Schneider This man can make you rich overnight. An inside report on Ottawa's only organized gambling operation. Gambling: is it a game of skill or chance? It had a picture of me at my Blackjack table. If you want to do some casino gambling, you don't need to fly to Las Vegas or take the bus to Atlantic City. Now, courtesy of a man named John Turmel, you can do it right here in Ottawa. Mr. Turmel is running a top-of-the-line professional gambling operation. The female blackjack dealers are every bit as pretty and competent as those in Las Vegas. the croupiers and stickmen run the full-sized Craps game with all the speed, precision and efficiency of an automated Coca-Cola bottling plant. Except for the lack of slot machines, this operation is almost totally indistinguishable from the floor scene at any big casino in Las Vegas. Recently Ottawa revue interviewed Mr. Turmel about his gaming operations. Ottawa Revue: Since many of our readers might be surprised at the size and scope of your operation, perhaps we could start off with a description of a typical night at one of your casino-disco parties? Turmel: At this point, I run roughly two casino-disco nights a month. They take place in a private party room or in a small ballroom at one of the hotels in town. The party will run from about 6p.m. till 1a.m. At peak activity time between nine and eleven) the Craps table handles about twenty people and employs four dealers, while the four Blackjack tables handle up to ten people each and employ six dealers. Two pit bosses, three guards and a disc-jockey round out the staff required to run the show. Bets range from one dollar up to fifty dollars with an average bet of five dollars. Sounds as if you are doing really quite well. Not quite as well as you might think. In the first place, there are lots of nights when I lose the one or two thousand and there is the constant fixed expense of salaries for a dozen employees plus the cost of renting the hall and setting up the disco. The mathematics predicts that in the long run I am making enough to cover expenses and show some profit, but not that much. When I can establish a permanent casino is when fixed expenses will come down and more jobs will be created. How much would you be ahead or behind at the end of the evening. One or two thousand. Do you run any other gaming operations besides the casino discos? Yes. I regularly run Poker and Blackjack out of my home but no Craps. Why no Craps? Because Craps, unlike Poker and Blackjack, is not a game of skill and so would not be legal. I guess that brings us to the most important single question of all. Are these games that you are running legal? Or perhaps more precisely, could you be charged and convicted under the Criminal Code with running a common gaming house? I'm betting that I can't be convicted, but I can always be charged. It turns out that your question really breaks up into two parts. The games I am running out of my home are quite different from the disco- casinos that I'm running on a transient basis. The second case is considerably simpler so I will start there. On Feb. 7, 1978, the Supreme Court of Canada handed down the landmark Rockert decision stating that "a one-night stand cannot be construed as a common gaming house since the activities are not carried out in a notorious and habitual manner." This decision is not as strange as you might think once one realizes how heavily the Canadian Criminal Code leans on the tradition of the old English law. It turns out that when the old English laws were written outalwing gaming and whorehouses (or disorderly houses), it was not because the public felt that gambling ad whoring were evil but that they were loud and noisy and impugned the reputations of the neighborhoods. If these activities were carried on quietly and discreetly, nobody cared. It was this line of thought that the Supreme Court of Canada fell back on. Actually, this attitude is quite modern in thought in that I think most people in our society want to allow other people as much freedom as possible as long as they behave discreetly without bothering others. The games we play in my home differ from the games found elsewhere in town and even Las Vegas. In my game, the player can exercise the option of being the dealer and may take the bank. The rules are equal and symmetric for all and hence the opportunity to win is the same for all. The only advantage one player may obtain over another is through his skill and knowledge of the game. I have been through the courts and have contended for a umber of years that such a game breaks no laws. Mathematicians and computer scientists have agreed that since the early sixties, with the advent of computer-derived strategies, Blackjack was now a game where the player's level of skill was the determining factor in whether he won or lost. One last question. Suppose someone was interested in playing in your game. How would they go about it? Very easy. I am the only John C. Turmel in the phone book and I would love to hear from them. And if there are any really high rollers out there -- here I am boys, come and get me.
If you want to do some casino gambling, you don't need to fly to Las Vegas or take the bus to Atlantic City. Now, courtesy of a man named John Turmel, you can do it right here in Ottawa. Mr. Turmel is running a top-of-the-line professional gambling operation. Except for the lack of slot machines, this operation is almost totally indistinguishable from the floor scene at any big casino in Las Vegas.
They went into the Disco-Casino parties I was runnnig with 5 tables and music on one-night stands. I explained the Supreme Court of Canada Rockert decision of 1978 which stated that a one-night stand was not a gaming house because it did not impugn the reputation of the neighborhood.
790305 I worked on my articles of incorporation for JCT CASINOS INC.
790312 I delivered my buns and bread to an Ottawa restaurant and we'll have a sign up too explaining the benefits of Turmel's Stone Ground Wheatcake. A few days later, I sold my first order of subs today as well as 15 dozen buns to the Carleton Faculty Club. I found out a week later from 2 sub joints that they didn't sell one of my whole wheat sub buns.
I decided to run for Parliament to legalize gambling. I decided to call myself a logical democrat since I allowed people to present their arguments in debate and if they seemed right, then I would logically adopt and promote that point of view till shown one better. I decided to run in Ottawa West against the Liberal incumbent, Lloyd Francis, his Tory challenger, Ken Binks, and the NDP's Abby Pollenetsky. I had to come up with a political program and, of course, decriminalizing victimless crime had to be a major part of it. It would involve streamlining justice. If the courts weren't so full the gamblers, hookers and dope smokers, then the really violent thugs would have speedier trials. Since the courts are clogged, criminals can usually expect to wait many months before their trial takes place. Bail reform lets them back out on the streets almost immediately after their arrest giving them plenty of time to hide evidence and intimidate, threaten or maybe even kill witnesses. If the courts were not clogged up with the drug cases, gambling cases, and prostitution cases, the courts would probably deal with the cases of violence much more quickly. I wanted to free the "non-violent" criminals and spend the $350 million the Liberal Government wanted to spend on new prisons for use on new community centers and get to the root of the problem. If kids have baseballs, they won't throw rocks. Imagine how society would be when protected by police don't have to chase victimless criminals. The only people that would behind bars would be muggers and insane people. We would need less police and guards. I drew up the following platform: GAMBLING: I wanted to let the tax-paying citizen compete with criminals while putting people to work: Hypothesis: Since there do exist, have always existed and will tontinue to exist people who prefer to use their minds when they gamble, there exist, have always existed and will continue to exist people who will play with them. As opposed to the present system where gamblers are labelled criminals, gamblers would be self-respecting citizens. As opposed to them paying no taxes, they would pay taxes. As opposed to spending money on judges, lawyers, police and prison officials, the Government would spend no money on enforcement. As opposed to the present system where criminals have no reason to care about how they hurt problem gamblers, the Government may help the problem gambler. Casino style gambling is an entertainment industry and the quicker we start tyo compete for the foreign tourist dollars, the quicker we put our people to work. On my last trip to Las Vegas, I found that every third tourist was Japanese. Surely we have a yen for their yen too.
PROSTITUTION: The second issue was prostitution. Looking at the employment created when they legalize prostitution instead of having some pimp with a staff of beauty's we have some young business administrative graduate with a tax paying proposal, with sharing employee's. Everyone would be happy except those who would deny sexual satisfaction to people who are ugly or less attractive than them. If a man is willing to pay $50 to someone for his reasons, probably pleasure, and a woman is willing to accommodate someone for her reasons, probable the $50, they are not hurting me, they are not bothering me. If they are discrete and pleasant about it, their conduct does not shock me, for, this has been sincee the beginning of time. It may shock some people but discretion is the key. Yet, my elected representatives are trying to put them in jail. As long as they are not bothering anybody else, I must protest government persecution of these neighbors of mine and I hope that we can all quickly learn that the old solutions have not worked and a new approach may be necessary. We are going to waste an awful lot of policemen's time, courts' time, lawyers' time and people's time. It is the lawyers who create legal problems with people by creating more laws to police. Hypothesis: Since there do exist, have always existed and will probably continue to exist people who can't get sex for free, there exist, have always existed and will probably continue to exist those who will cater to the demands of that market. As opposed to the present system where prostitutes are labelled criminals, they would be self-respecting citizens. As opposed to their not being permitted a place of business and forced into the streets, they would be off the streets and would be discreet. As opposed to there being no medical control, there would be medical control. As opposed to their paying no taxes, they would pay taxes. As opposed to their being at the mercy of their pimps and criminals because we force them to be, they would be unionized and be at the mercy of no one. Unless someone comes up with a new way of getting rid of prostitution, and it hasn't been found yet, and I'm not betting on it, I'd contend that we'll handle the seemier aspects of the industry much more sensibly by learning to live with them.
DRUGS: Finally, drug sales should be so that the people who dispense these drugs will not sell them to our kids. Soft drugs should be available to adults. Seeing how they smoke anyway. Also if I were a parent I would want the sell of drugs controlled by the Government rather than some sleazy pusher. At least we are sure they are not selling it to the kids. This seems to be the only solution. Again it involves the government leaving people alone. Hypothesis: I contend that regulated drug sales is the optimal solution. To relegate the sale of drugs to the criminal element if folly. Contemplate how regulation would affect heroin sales. As opposed to the present system where criminals are in control, we are in control. As opposed to the illegality which allows criminals to sell at exorbitant rates, thereby possibly forcing the addict to resort to crime to finance his habit, regulation would allow the addict to buy from a druggist at reasonable rates, therefore he need not resort to crime and would be able to function normally in society. As opposed to there being an incentive to hook people because of high profits, low profits are of little incentive to hooking people. As opposed to addicts being treated as criminals and forced to go underground, addicts treated as citizens with a problem would become the best advocates of abstinence. Imagine that your child meets Freddy the junkie in grade school. Freddy tells him "I'm a junkie. Look how it's affecting me. Don't do it." The next year, Freddy the junkie, sickly and 10 kilos lighter, returns with the same message: "Look what it's doing to me and I can't stop." Next year, Tommy the junkie replaces Freddy the junkie because Freddy is dead! After the children get to see enough junkies die, they may think twice about trying it. And remember, there's no one pushing it on them. I contend that regulation, education and proof are the best deterrents. How is the system of laws working now? Most teens smoke grass therefore most teens are criminals. Why are we so shocked when lots of them start to act like criminals. They lose respect for a system that brands them criminals for a reason they don't understand. Why don't we empty our jails of the victimless criminals and reserve those cells for violent criminals. Then rather than building $350,000,000 worth of new prisons, we could build $350 million worth of new community centres. Let's spend on prevention of crime rather than on punishment of crime. And it's imperative we start soon.
If you arrest a kid for dope smoking, shackle him with a criminal record and he now can't find a job, you have created your own problem. He might now get desperate and fight back with disastrous results. How about the guy who grows his grass plant in the middle of the Yukon. They can now send up some armed helicopters and bust him. Can't they? Drug laws will look as silly to our grandchildren as prohibition laws look to us now. Kids go into prison as users and come out as pushers. If you don't listen to your kids, they'll write it on the subway wall. ABORTION: I pointed out I preferred prevention instead of abortion by advovating modern birth control methods, the vasectomy in particular. I wrote: I contend that with proper birth control techniques, abortion as an issue need never surface. They now have a 100% effective method calle the vasectomy and technology will probably discover many more. Let use suggest that parents have a clamp put on their little boys tubes only to be reversed when the son is an adult and wishes to produce a child. Odds are that parents will be better prepared to rear a child if they pick the time of their choice. Some will decry that promiscuity will increase. As Hugh Hefner once asked "What's wrong with promiscuity?" Sex, free of danger of conception, may simpoy become a pleasant pastime. A horrifying thought to most moralists. Still, they'd better face their future.
MEDICARE: I get very upset when I think about how many poor people I see with rotten teeth because there's sugar in everything they eat, bread, drinks, canned goods, even peanut butter and bacon. I wonder if they will keep a statistical record of tooth decay as sugar pushers expand into China. How long will it take to hook a quarter of the human race on nutritionless sugar. Pure energy. No nutrients. No food. Just pure energy. No wonder people are burned out at forty and fifty years old. Have you ever considered white bread. First they take the grain of wheat, they strip it of its bran. Medical science has recently demonstrated that bran keeps us regular. Scratch the laxative industry. Bran virtually eliminates hemorrhoidal problems. Scratch suppositories and medical bills. Bran reduces cholesterol in the blood. Less heart disease. It virtually eliminates cancer of the colon, the top cancer killer. Bran helps fight obesity too since it is filling but not fattening and makes the food pass through you so quickly, your intestines do not have very much time to absorb it. Virtually everyone is being fed with roughageless food. A grain of wheat is like an egg. It has a shell like bran, a white like flour, and a yolk like wheatgerm. Wheat germ is sold to people smart enough to realize its importance to good health. What is left is the endosperm sperm. Like the white of an egg, not too useful. They clean it, grind it, pulverize it, until it is pure and white. In that condition, there is the added bonus that the bugs won't eat it since they have effectively removed all the nutrients from it. They sweeten it up with sugar, have the lab add some artificial vitamins and call it enriched. Since there's no bran, they don't get full and they can eat lots. Since it it packs their innards tight like cement, Exlax is now needed to loosen it and keep it flowing. White bread keeps the vitamin industry going, the sugar industry going,the laxative and hemorrhoid industries going, and doctors going because we do not get enough roughage. I'd bet on better nutrition instead of more hospitals. I wrote: Again, a recurrent theme in my arguments is that prevention is always better than cure. We don't need more doctors. We don't need more hospital beds. We don't need more medical technolog even though I approve of medical research. We need less sick people. Bran is an answer. Roughage is an answer. With an adequate amount of bran added to our diet , we can avoid such needless ailments as 1) constipation, 2) hemorrohoids, 3) varicose veins, 4) phlebitis, 5) heart disease, 6) circulatory disease, 7) gallstones, 8) cancer of the colon, 9) appendicitis, 10) diverticulosis, 11) obesity. Here's how bran works from an engineering point of view. It is indigestible fiber. It does not get absorbed by the system. What goes in must come out. Therefore, a greater volume of matter is passed by the system. When white flour and water are mixed, glue is produced. White bread has the same effect in your system. It collapses into a hard constipated mass which is difficult to push through your intestinal system. The food's transit time may be 3 or 4 days. With an adequate amount of roughage, the food does not collapse or become hard but remains soft and smooth flowing. Transit time is cut down to one day and volume is doubled and even tripled. Obviously, constipation is eliminated. No more straining implies no more hemorrhoids too. How does the addition of bran prevent cancer of the colon? The colon, the large intestine, is the septic tank of your body. Waste matter sits in it until elimination. The waste matter contains cancer-causing agents so that cancer of the colon is the greatest cancer killer today. On a low-roughage diet, the carcinogens are spread through a small volume. This small poisonous mass touches the colon wall for great lengths of time and cancer as a great possibility of occuring. On a high-roughage diet, the carcinogens are spread through a much greater volume, hence the poison is much more dilute at the colon wall. Also, the mass doesn't stick around too long. So the addition of bran to the diet has this double effect. Less poison touching the colon wall and for a shorter while! Hence a reduction in the probability of cancer of the colon. How does the addition of bran prevent obesity? The food doesn't stick around long enough to get absorbed. I and all my friends have lost weight since we started eating lots of stone-ground whole wheat bread with bran added! For further explanation of bran's other beneficial effects, read `The Save Your Life Diet' by Dr. David Reuben. In it he presents clear, concise statistical proof of these effects. So there are people out there needlessly wasting our hospitals' time only because no one has taken the time to enlighten them. To free hospitals for those who need them, I engineered and marketed such a bread when the big bakeries refused to do so. Now, bran and stone-ground whole wheat breads are easily available.
NATIONAL UNITY: I'd bet on a United Nations of Earth and not on hundreds of squabbling little nations each with their own nuclear accessories. National unity could be enhanced by trying to devise a system for all nations in anticipation of a United Nations of Earth that would allow for nationalism within a human rights framework. I wrote: As we step into the future, there will surely be a central government of the whole planet. Let's call it the United Nations of Earth. Only once nations have foresaken the concept of the inviolability of borders will there be an effective control over the murderous dictators of the world and no need of armies. Hopefully, such a system will allow all nations to proclaim their national aspirations so long as they conform to the common set of laws. The overlaws will probably concern human rights and protect them in all the member states. I think that to argue over whether separation of Quebec is good or bad is ignoring the real problem. We must attempt to define and demonstrate the system which allows Quebec to proclaim her individuality while safeguarding the rights of all. Right now, people are worried that if Quebec separates, there will be no superior governing body to guarantee human rights and prevent another Idi Amin taking power. As soon as the day arrives when the nations of the Earth accept that such a body must be empowered with the authority to guarantee human rights, that will be the day that all our bickering over the national unity issue will dissipate.
SAVING THE WORLD'S DYING CHILDREN: I'd bet that a massive effort by our unemployed teachers, nurses, farmers and builders to save and educate the world's dying children will earn us valuable international GOODWILL and we have the benefit of the jobs in the meantime. Let it be Canada's gesture in this `YEAR OF THE CHILD.' Canada is surely the safest country in the world. We are friendly with both of the world's superpowers. I therefore can see no logical reason that we should be bullied into buying our share of war machines. I would like to arbitrarily stop buying war machines and put the money to work saving the people who won't survive the final years till the mathematicians take power and divert resources away from destructive efforts to constructive efforts. Game theoretically, our optimal strategy is to start the ball rolling in the saving of the world's needy. To build ourselvews big fences to keep them out ignores the fact that they are arming with the weapons of total destruction. Right not, India has the BOMB. Pakistan is working on hers. Pretty soon, the statisticians predict that the population will explode and just as soon, they will be fighting over what little they have. Or they will band together against their common enemy and come and tear down our walls in their attempt to survive. Either way, they will blow themselves up and us with them. Our BEST BET is to help them to survive. Therefore, our BEST BET is to divert our resources to employing our unemployed nurses, teachers, farmers and builders into a concerted effort to save their dying children and getting a GOOD GUY image at the same time. Of course, if we can't get the Generals to give up their toys, there is another way of increasing the Earth's probability of survival. If we can get the nuclear nations to agree to my secondary plan, we will still have a slim chance. Let all nuclear nations agree that the first nation that slings a bomb will be totally annihilated by the combined arsenals of all the other nuclear nations. This way, the Generals get to use their toys but will only destroy a quarter of the world and not the whole thing. Of course, such a pact would tend to speed up nuclear disarmament. I don't think that ther president of the USA would feel too good knowing that there are 30 different nuclear-armed submarines out there under the control of 30 different minds. I think the `Save the Chilren' strategy is the better one. Not only do we get the benefit of putting hundreds of thousands of our educated unemployed to work, but we solve some of the world's problems at the same time. Seems like optimal strategy to me!
UN DECLARATION OF THE RIGHTS OF THE CHILD The right to affection, love, and understanding. to adequate nutrition and medical care. to free education. to full opportunity for play and recreation. to a name and nationality. to special care, if handicapped. to be among the first to receive relief in times of disaster. to learn to be a useful member of society and to develop individual abilities. to be brought up in a spirit of peace and universal brotherhood. to enjoy these rights, regardless of race, colour, sex, religion, national, or social origin. What a joke! Look at how much steel is tied up in tanks, warplanes and warships. I bet I could find a better use. You see big helicopters rushing in to save the odd distressed oil worker. The technology is there. Haven't you ever wanted to fly a plane or a helicopter? I'd enjoy picking up the dying babies and delivering them home for care. We can mobilize. We can do it if we divert our energy. This diversion will occur over a period of time. The problem therefore is how quickly we can hasten the process. I am simply betting that once all have agreed to the initial conversion, I can probably affect the conversion faster, maybe fastest through a new science, game theory, gambling. The quickest way to put our unemployed back to work is to lend them a tool interest-free and watch them dig their way out. After all, they're your children. Why not give them a break, a chance. Let's loan them some tools. In contemplation of the world saving industry, there would be a lot of work if we decided to go out and save the starving people. This is a savior move. We could offer to evacuate the most needy refugees. What a phenomenal job creating program. We could invite whole cultures to relocate beside us and add pleasant diversity to our lives. The quota numbers are so few, obviously this must be how we whites feel. Maybe after we help relocate all the scared people, we could spend less on war and devote just a little more on the savior project. Let the Pentagon institute "Project Savior" By giving them more money so they can buy more tanks and then order them to use them like tractors. If all major countries would use their tanks like tractors for a month, then next year maybe two months, and then three, maybe we would eventually have people trained in saviorship. We can develop a saviour industry by building shelters, providing food, clothing, education, work. We are creating the right kind of jobs generated a deep self satisfaction in the work world, Well, it looks like our elected representatives have run out of popular causes and are using prostitution as a scapegoat. It seems as if Pierre has decided that he needs a few puritan votes and has decided to push prostitution. He is now pursuing a proven loser strategy, not that he might not be the first to succeed. He very well may succeed but don't bet on it. Joe jumps in and has to agree so that he is not labeled a libertine. Ed wants to go further and put both the hooker and the John in jail.
WAR Did you ever wonder why they are trying so hard to find life somewhere else in the universe? So they will have a reason to arm. Just in case they're like us. The Nuclear problem. I suggest a pact between nuclear armed nations that the nation to drop the bomb, everybody else wastes their whole arsenal on that seat of government. They're that accurate now. Let's see how the system would have worked in the past. Because of inviolability of national boundaries, Idi Amin kidnaps some engineering students and forces them to build him a bomb. The plans are already available. The world sits by. Inviolability of borders means they can't interfere with Idi building a bomb. Back to the nuclear arsenals. Idi gets mad at South Africa and slings a bomb at them. Not only does the rest of the world sling all their bombs back at Uganda but everyone else wastes their nuclear arsenals there too. That way the whole world isn't destroyed, just that quarter of the planet that threw the first bomb. We'll be be so busy taking care of the 200 million survivors and burying the 600 million corpses that died that we won't have any more time to build bombs. Maybe we want to. Right now, we are letting the generals have their toys. We are setting a bad example. Everyone else wants the same toys. The threat of all out annihilation through mutual agreement should be more than enough incentive to disarm. I propose a moratorium on nuclear research and construction until we have no war. Then I don't mind taking a look at this dangerous stuff but so long as man kind is fighting, I would really like a moratorium on weapon-grade nuclear fuel. Only once the interest has been healed and gotten rid of will it be possible for them not to want bombs and then it will be safe to look at energy through nuclear. The state's purpose is to disarm bombs for us. How about not letting them be built? To build them is illogical. I need to know now who is threatening us so we need to build them. About the German occupations of all those other nations. When those soldiers were fighting with a man's wife and children as they attacked his home land, maybe they should have questioned their orders. Fears or loyalty to a false god is no excuse. Game theory says that given the choice of four strategies, if you don't bet on the BEST one, you're a LOSER! BET WITH THE MATH. BE A WINNER. BET ON THE ENGINEER. VOTE JOHN TURMEL!
790321 To raise money for my campaign, I decided to have a fundraising Disco- Casino and I rented the Nepean Sportsplex.
790327Tu Ottawa Citizen Gambler to test election odds Prostitutes, marijuana users and gamblers have a champion as the federal election begins. John Turmel, the 28-year-old engineer-turned-professional-gambler, announced today he'll run as an independent candidate in Ottawa West. "I've been thrown in jail twice now -- the very concept of being arrested for playing games is odious," he said, promoting his platform for legalized gambling. "Gamblers aren't hurting anyone." He's determined not to be merely a one-issue candidate. Not only gambling, but prostitution and smoking marijuana should be decriminalized as well, he said. "I've got to protect the people that don't have any protection -- the hookers, the dope-smokers and the gamblers," he said. "I got mugged two months ago -- the guy was out on the street the next day because the courts were so slow. If they didn't have so many gamblers, hookers and dopers in the courts, he would have gone to trial right away. Campaign fund raising won't be a problem for Turmel. He hopes to raise money by charging a small admissions fee to the blackjack games he stages. Those paying the fee can use it as political contribution to gain an income tax deduction, he said.
790401 April Fools night raid.
THE GAMBLER'S LAMENT Here I sit broken hearted, Came to play but was soon parted, From my friends that I do know, Enjoy this game as I do so. Now I languish here in jail, Puzzled by my need of bail. I don't know why they oppose, My wish to gamble, no one knows. I don't hurt them, why bust me? It isn't their game, now I see. They allow bingos and tickets bought, But never, never, a game of thought. Bingos bore me, lotteries too, I like Poker, Blackjack, Backgammon, few. I prefer thought, exercise my brain. Playing lotteries would drive me insane. I choose to make use of my mind, And pity those who won't in kind. So I'm in here and they're out there, Yet still I choose to think, to dare.
790402Mo Ottawa Citizen Gambler to reopen game after city police charges Gambler John Turmel, arrested at one of his bi-monthly blackjack games Sunday night, said today he will hold another game Sunday at the Nepean Sportsplex. Ottawa morality officers raided a 20th-floor penthouse apartment at 1405 Prince of Wales Dr. Sunday night and arrested the 28-year-old engineer-turned-gambling-crusader. Turmel, who recently announced his intention to run in the federal election as an independent candidate in Ottawa West was charged with having control of gambling devices. He appeared in provincial court today and was remanded to April 9 for plea. Five of Turmel's employees were also arrested and remanded to the same date. Turmel said his next game would be held in Nepean this weekend and that he would not be having any more games in Ottawa until after this case has been settled. "I've spoken to police departments all around Ottawa and they agree as long as we keep moving, it's okay." Nepean Police Chief Gus Wersch said his force was aware of Turmel's activities and monitors games when they are held in the municipality. "We are taking a close look at each operation and as long as the loopholes are there (in the law), we won't do anything. There is no use going into an exercise in futility or an exercise to inconvenience someone without the laws behind you." Turmel said after his arrest Sunday that he had openly invited Ottawa police to come to his game, but he never expected to be arrested.
Ottawa Citizen Gambler loses bet Professional gambler John Turmel has lost his bet with police that his floating casinos were immune to legal prosecution. He claims his arrest is unjustified; the charge of having control of gambling devices would "make a gin or bridge player guilty because he is using a deck of cards," he said. Turmel said he plans to make his case an issue in the coming federal election.
790407Sa Ottawa Citizen Casino shuffled out of Nepean John Turmel, Ottawa's engineer-turned-gambling-crusader, won't be allowed to operate a casino out of the Nepean Sportsplex. Nepean mayor Ben Franklin said Friday the city won't allow Turmel to hold casino night because it involves "hard gambling." Turmel had been allowed to book and pay for the a room in the Sportsplex several weeks ago because city officials believed the affair was a charitable event using only "funny money." However, after Turmel's game was raided by Ottawa police Sunday night, Nepean realized the planned event involved cash and cancelled the booking. "The Sportsplex does hold casino nights for charitable causes but there is no hard gambling -- only funny money is used."
790410Tu Ottawa Journal Card ballot -- he's gambling on the gamblers' vote picture Turmel with his store-bought "gambling devices" today John Turmel, Ottawa's floating blackjack entrepreneur, had been ordered to stand trial later this year for his gambling escapades. Turmel, who is running as an independent in Ottawa West on a legalized gambling platform, was back at police headquarters this morning after a brief court appearance, this time to kick off his campaign for gambling rights. And he brought with him an armful of "gambling devices" bought at local department stores. Turmel, who claims he is the only gambler "legally incorporated in Canada" was arrested in a morality raid. He runs his casino nights on an invitation-only basis and sets no cover charge or "rake" to play. Sunday, he planned a campaign casino night at the Nepean Sportsplex but city officials got wind of it before hand and cancelled his permit. Nepean Police Chief Gus Wersch says as long as Turmel's activities are legal, his force will not be bothering him. Turmel is basing his case on a Supreme Court ruling last fall that as long as you don't hold a game in any one spot you can not be charged with keeping a common gaming house. Ottawa police, however, broke up his game and charged him with having gambling devices in his possession., a section of the Code which Turmel claims has only been invoked once before and against a gambler who was caught with 10 packs of marked cards. He brought his gambling paraphenalia to the police department today to show newsmen just how accessible the "devices" are to the general public.
790411We Ottawa Journal, Duart Snow Gambler betting on a private hall Roving blackjack entrepreneur John Turmel, whose attempt to hold one of his floating casino nights in the Nepean Sportsplex was refused by city council Tuesday night, says he's now looking for a privately owned hall. He'd hoped to hold a game to raise funds for his campaign in the Sportsplex. But mayor Ben Franklin and city officials cancelled his booking when they learned one of his games had been raided by Ottawa police. They said city policy was to allow casinos only if they used "play money" or were organized for charitable purposes. And despite Turmel's determined plea Tuesday night that his "clean legitimate and decent game" be permitted, council stood by that decision. Although aldermen Al Loney and Al Brown agreed with Turmel's arguments in favour of government regulated gambling, they insisted the decision was up to the federal and provincial governments -- not municipalities. Other aldermen said they believed gambling with cash didn't belong in public facilities like the Sportsplex. Turmel operates his games under a Supreme Court of Canada ruling that a person cannot be convicted of keeping a common gaming house as long as the game is held only once in any single location. As a result of the April 1 raid, Ottawa police charged Turmel with "keeping in a place under his control devices for gambling." He still faces this charge. But Franklin told council Tuesday that Nepean Police Chief Gus Wersch has said police would not lay such a charge, and councillors said Turmel was welcome to rent a private hall in the city.
Ottawa Citizen, Hugh Adami Gambler thwarted again John Turmel, Ottawa's engineer-turned-gambling-crusader, couldn't convince Nepean council Tuesday to allow him to operate a casino out of the Nepean Sportsplex. He took the matter to council after being refused the Sportsplex facilities last week. Ben Franklin had advised Turmel to seek council's approval if he wanted to pursue the matter further. Franklin and five of six aldermen all rejected Turmel's pleas on the basis that the Sportsplex is a public facility. Although none of the councillors disputed Turmel's claims that "everything would be legitimate and honest," Al Loney said "gambling should be regulated by higher government before municipal facilities could be rented out. Franklin said he couldn't see Turmel operating a casino in the Sportsplex because it involves "hard gambling." Following the meeting, Turmel said he would look for private facilities in Nepean to rent for future casinos. He said he wants to impress on everyone, especially legal authorities, that gambling can be legitimate, honest and fun. Turmel had planned to hold a casino in the Sportsplex last Sunday. Unsuspecting officials allowed him to book and pay for a room in the facility several weeks ago because they thought Turmel was holding a charitable event using only bogus money. However, after one of Turmel's blackjack games was raided by Ottawa police, Nepean realized the planned event involved hard cash and cancelled the booking.
790531Th Ottawa Citizen, Tony Cote All cards played in gamblers' row Two well-known Ottawa gamblers player all their cards in an assault trial Thursday and a provincial court judge will decide later this month which one has the winning hand. JRT, a player, was charged with assaulting 27-year-old John Turmel during a gambling evening at the Skyline Hotel on Jan. 20. Turmel, organizer of that evening and numerous others during the past year, told the court he had been handling a blackjack game and a dice game that night when JRT came into the room. "He was surly and repeatedly claimed we were cheating him," Turmel testified under the Canada Evidence Act. "I think he was losing faster than he could steal it back." The operator said the evening continued at the blackjack table until about 4a.m. when it switched to the "crap" table. "I told him the game was over about 4:30 but he wanted to continue to play. I sensed a movement behind me, flinched and got smashed on the back of the head," Turmel said. He told Judge Jack Nadelle that he didn't actually see his assailant but was hit twice more before going to the Civic Hospital where he received seven stitches to close a head wound and a cast on his right had to treat a broken finger. Turmel said that he like to receive publicity "if it is good" and admitted calling the Citizen following the beating he took. A story on the incident appeared in the paper on Jan. 22. Two of Turmel's employees testified that they witnessed the argument between Turmel and JRT and that they had seen blows thrown by JRT. One of the employees said JRT hit Turmel with a 10-inch club before his boss could flee from the room. JRT told a different version of the evening. He told the court he was known all over the area for gambling and had played at all of the big games and had played against Turmel on two occasions. The first time, he said he lost $4,000 and the second, the night in question, he lost about $1,800. He said the argument started because Turmel wouldn't pay off a double win on the crap table. "I had played $400 and he owed me $800 but only paid out $300," JRT said. "I was infuriated because he cheated me. I reached out at him and he fell down and ran out the door, I don't know if he fell down the stairs of what." JRT, 270 pounds and six-feet, three inches, said he didn't need a stick to take care of himself and said that there was no way he would start trouble because he "wouldn't be allowed in any other games."
790609Sa Ottawa Citizen, Neil MacDonald Gamblers aweigh. Beans and bread, Blackjack tables hot in floating casino It was a great evening -- a cruise down the Ottawa River on a muggy moonlit night, music coming out of hidden speakers and a gentle sea breeze playing over the main deck. In fact, the only sour face in the whole crowd by the end of the night was professional gambler John Turmel's as he watched couple after couple walk off counting their winnings. "I guess I lost some this time," he sighed, cashing yet another pile of chips. "But it's still a great idea, isn't it? I'm going to do it again." Turmel, after having been arrested twice for running his mobile card game around Ottawa, has decided a floating disco-type casino is the answer to his problems. Friday evening, he rented a boat at a cost of more than $600, and charged all passengers $10 apiece to take their chances. The evening included a meal of bread and beans, music, a dance floor, and, of course, access to the tables. "If they won't let me do it on land, then I'll damned well do it on the water," he said Friday night, as the 20-year-old wooden craft sailed past the prime minister's residence. "This idea really has potential." But the dancing under the moonlight was the farthest thing from the minds of the 40 or so nouveau riche types who showed up for the cruise. Turmel was running four blackjack tables, and the only movement of the evening was from them to the bar and washroom. The customers had a good reason for remaining at the tables and playing with such intensity -- they were winning. "Ah, it's not going to be such a good evening," sighed Turmel. Turmel said he intended on running the casino until the last customer left -- all night if necessary. He claimed he didn't need a liquor licensee to sell drinks, and said he will make the cruise a thrice- weekly event. Area police forces weren't sure of the legalities involved. Ottawa police said it was a matter for the RCMP since the Ottawa river divides two provinces. A duty officer at the OPP station in Bell's Corners said they onlyt patrol the Ottawa side of the river, but doubted Turmel was within the law. Hull police said the matter was in the hands of the Quebec Police Force, and a spokesman there said he hadn't heard about the casino but would look into it. "I'm pretty sure he has to have a liquor license, and I don't know about the gambling," mused the desk corporal. "Well, we just might have a look..."
790629Fr Ottawa Citizen JRT wins acquittal JRT, charged with assaulting well-known gambling organizer John Turmel, was acquitted in provincial court Tuesday. Judge Jack Nadelle said he felt the testimony of two witnesses in the case, both employees of Turmel, was contradictory. The two men testified that they'd witnesses an argument between their employer and JRT during a gambling tournament. They claimed JRT, a player, had allegedly struck Turmel with a club following a dispute over game winnings. Turmel, the evening's organizer, later required seven stitches to close a head wound, as well as a cast for a broken finger.
790824Fr Ottawa Citizen, Rick Laiken House has big edge WHEELS OF FORTUNE P.T. Barnum was slightly off the mark when he said there's a sucker born every minute -- at the Ottawa Ex, it's more like every 12 seconds. That's how long it takes to spin the wheels of fortune that are separating hundreds of midway patrons from their cash. With the help of professional gambler and mathematics whiz John Turmel, The Citizen found you'd be better off investing in a snowball concession in Hell than trying to strike it rich on "crown and anchor" style games. In fact, if you can break even after an hour of play, you'd be beating astronomical odds, the 28-year-old engineer-turned- casino-operator estimated after we turned him loose on the midway Thursday with $50. He lost it all within an hour. It's not that the wheels are maachanically fixed by the operators, explains Turmel. There is simply a built-in mathematical advantage for the house. Here's how it works: The typical crown and anchor game has six symbols -- crowns, anchors, hearts, spades, diamonds and clubs. Suppose each of six players put $1, the maximum bet at the Ex, on each symbol. With each spin of the wheel, thee are three basic possibilities. If the wheel comes to rest on a slot with three dissimlar symbols, there will be three winners and three losers. If the the wheel points to a double symbol, say two hears and a club, the player with a bet on hears wins $2 and the club better wins $1. The house pockets the other four players' money. If the wheel stops on a triple symbol, one gamblers wins $3, the other five pay the house. Turmel says the house's precise advantage varies with the madeup of the wheel, but as a general rule, the operators have a whopping 28 per cent edge of the players. "That means for every dollar bet you put down, on average, you can kiss 28 cents goodbye. What happens is the house robs Peter to pay Paul and rakes in a chunk almost every time the wheel spins." A gambler in a Las Vegas casino playing craps would only be up against a 1.36 per cent house advantage, according to the pro. And the long the players bet at crown and anchor, the more likely they're going to lose, he added. "A guy just betting 25 cents a time could easily lose $18 an hour," Turmel said plotting the figures on a hastily-sketched graph. "If you bet 100 times, the odds of winning or breaking even are 665 to one," he calculated. "If they played 170 times, only one out of 35,000 people (10,000 more than the Ex attendance Thursday) would break even. A variation of the crown and anchor theme using a wheel depicting a horse race, gave the house an even higher edge -- 37.5 per cent, said Turmel. "The house collects $3 for every $8 bet -- that's the kind of odds that would set any casino operator's heart aflutter," he laughed. "They can't lose." Turmel has been fighting court battles for years to prove his floating blackjack games are games of skill, not illegal games of chance. "How can they let something like this go on and then bust me for playing blackjack?" By the time he started testing his calculations Thursday, Turmel was so certain he was going to lose he was fuguring out how fast the money would go. Choosing the horse race game first, he decided to bet $1 on each of two numbers on each spin of the wheel, figuring he would lose $20 in 26 spins. He got lucky -- it took 32 spins before a smiling carnie pulled in all of the money. In 32 spins, he had won only 10 times. Had he quit after his eleventh bet, Turmel would have made $6, but after that it was downhill almost all the way. "That's the way they hook you -- there's just enough wins involved to keep you in the game and sooner or later you're going to lose."
790921 RYAN TRIAL PROVINCIAL COURT OF ONTARIO Crown VS John Turmel Judge Ryan Dear Regina: I've been charged with section 186.1b in that I kept and used gambling devices. I'd like to point out every friendly poker game in the country keeps and uses gambling devices and could become target for any clown attorneys who feel like pressing the charge. The chairman of the Law Reform Commission of Canada, Mr. Justice Antonio Lamer, best sums it up when he says "thousands of laws in Canada are systematically being ignored because to prosecute offenders would be counter productive to what the criminal law should be doing. It is difficult to find anyone involved in the cases, often including the police and the judge, who feel that they are dealing with criminals in any rational sense of that very significant word. The existence of tough laws that are not obeyed inhibits the search for more realistic control. I do not think that most people in this country feel what it is morally wrong for a few friends to occasionally play poker for money when the amounts at stake are within reason. Yet, citizens doing so are branded by the Parliament of Canada as having committed an indictable offense and are liable to be sent to the penitentiary for two years. The gap between the act and its prescribed penalty is a staggering indictment of our final concept of the aims and purposes of the criminal law. There has been insufficient effort to seek judicial solution in the area where the administration of the state begins to lap over the essential core of civil liberties and areas for individual self assertion." This is one of those laws that would enable the clown attorneys to waste our money while resources are scarce elsewhere. They might be closing down pool halls and golf courses next. Bingos, lotteries even Monopoly games come with gambling devices. I remembered gambling with marbles when I was a youngster. Even bridge and gin are often played for a stake and use gambling devices. And how about games of the future like backgammon with the doubling cube. It seems illogical to suppress games that allow the player to use his intellect and promote games that don't. And gambling devices are everywhere. The nature of the gambling device is of utmost importance. I contend that the only gambling device was the deck of cards. Cards are the only devices needed to operate a blackjack casino. All other types of equipment have a non-essential nature. There is no fundamental difference between blackjack played with dollars on a kitchen table with the cards dealt from the hand and blackjack played with chips on a felt covered table and cards dealt from a shoe. Any apparent difference is simply a matter of luxury. The only gambling device is the deck of cards. Since under the same section that the Crown is trying to use on me it is illegal to buy, sell or import gambling devices, I immediately restocked my casino with gambling devices of a nature and sufficiency to continue casino operations as before. The stores supplying such devices seem to be in flagrant violation of section 186.1b as I would seem to be in that I did buy the devices from them. (see A2) I attempted to lay charges against Sears, Wilsons, the Bay and Leisure World with a justice of the peace, Mrs. Miller. She refused to charge the stores and sent me to the crown attorney. (see A3). I approached the crown with the information about the stores. he refused to consider my argument that the sale of 'professional gambling cards' poker chips and books on gambling implied that the devices used as advertised had to be in violation of the same section that he had charged me with. Even the Chiefs of Police of Canada, at their annual convention in 1978 concluded that: "police across Canada are powerless to fight illegal gambling because of a recent Supreme Court decision. Organized crime is doing a flourishing business thanks to the Court's ruling that a one night illegal card game does not constitute a common gaming house because habitual use of the premises must be proven to establish that the place was kept or used as a common gaming house. This ruling has made the gaming house section of the criminal code unenforceable and the police are powerless to act on floating high stakes games which change location nightly. Organized crime can now expand their gambling operations with new-found impunity. (see A4) If organized crime could do it, I had hoped that they would let me too when I offered to declare taxes on casino earnings and assured them of the integrity of my game. I incorporated a casino under the name 'JCT CASINOS INC.' (see A5) I instructed my attorney, Mr. Allen O,Brien, that in the future I would operate my games on a one night floating basis. He initiated a correspondence with the crown attorney's office, (see A6) informing them that my game would conform to the law as defined by the Supreme Court of Canada and bemoaned by the Chiefs. The Crown responded with a "no comment", an answer they tend to use quite often. (see A7) Even in view of the statement of the chiefs, on April 1, 1979, twenty gentlemen, eight ladies and myself were raided. None of the gamblers was charged since gaming house laws couldn't be used. Of the gambling devices charge, the mayor of Nepean, Ben Franklin, told city council on April 4, 1979 that Chief Gus Wersch had indicated that police would not lay such a charge against me and that I was welcome to rent any private hall in the city. (see 8A). Earlier, chief Wersch had told the mayor and the press that his force "was aware of Turmel's activities and monitors games when they are being held in the municipality. We are taking a close look at each operation and as long as the loopholes are there in the law, we won't do anything. There is no use going into an exercise in futility or to inconvenience someone without the laws behind you." (see A8 b) Why inconvenience me? Consider that in 1974, I learned that Las Vegas style blackjack was a fair test of skills as is the game of poker. To understand why, we must do a mathematical analysis of the games and what makes them similar. Mathematics distinguishes between two classes of games; fair ones and unfair ones. Fair games include all those games of skill where the good gambler can win in the long run or those games of luck where he has a fair chance of winning. Unfair games include all those where there exists an unfair mathematical bias inherent in the rules of the game or where there is a rake-off taken. Roulette, craps, baccarat, crown and anchor, bingo and lotteries all have the mathematical bias in the rules. Examples of rake-off are dollars raked by a house in poker and interest raked by the banks in real life. Let's examine how the law treated gambling games in the past by using the example of raked and non-raked poker. Police have always taken great pains to prove that in the course of a poker game, someone was taking a rake-off or had an unfair advantage. For the game of poker to be considered illegal, this unfair mathematical bias had to exist. So the law clearly distinguishes between legal and illegal gambling activity and this distinction resides in the notion of fairness as defined by the lack of mathematical bias in the rules. It is this unfair advantage that the code clearly attempts to suppress and some day may rid us of interest which causes inflation, unemployment and misery. In the past, blackjack was thought to be unfair because there was no known winning strategy. With the advent of computers and advanced game theory, now there are lots. Logically it should be accorded the same legal status as non-raked poker, bridge and gin rummy. The law accepts the last three as legal but has failed to keep abreast of developments in gambling technology that have no drastically changed Canada's gambling environment. Once blackjack has been accorded proper legal status, the casino industry will be economically feasible. The problem with running a poker casino is that a rake-off is necessary to pay for the cards, chips and employee time. But a rake-off violates the gaming house laws and without the rake, the industry couldn't survive. The beauty of blackjack is that while it is a game of skill, some study and practice are necessary to attain a true advantage. Fortunately for the industry, the majority of the players at the table are not likely to be skilled enough to consistently beat the house because they are not likely to have studied hard enough to beat the house. Since blackjack, unlike poker does not need a rake, employees can now be hired to provide a service and the industry should still succeed. Blackjack seems to be breaking no laws unless the use of the cards is judged to be a still valid crime. Only, I ask why poker is treated any differently? So back in 1975, I realized that the casino industry was here to stay unless they made up new laws. Before playing though, I consulted with several attorneys who agreed that I was breaking no laws when I played in my home. I then wrote to the Ottawa crown attorney, Mr. John Cassells and inspector Zukow of the Ottawa police morality squad informing them of my lawyers' opinions and asking them theirs. (see A9) I received no reply from the police and the usual "no comment" from the crown's office. (see A10) Since neither the police nor the crown seemed to have any objection, I trusted my lawyers' opinions and my mathematics and we played in my home for a year and a half until Jan. 22, 1977. That night, the Ottawa police raided my home and confiscated all of my money and my gambling equipment. They charged me with keeping a common gaming house. In court, on June 10, 1977, before Judge Livius Sherwood, the Crown's attorney managed to prove everything that I had written them in my letter. Mr. Jones, a crown witness testified that "in other games there was a rake-off and there was no rake-off in Turmel's game." Oct. 7, 1979, I presented mathematical evidence that showed that the rules of the game of blackjack were identical for all the gamblers playing the game and that their level of skill determined who would win or lose. Judgement was rendered on Oct. 20, 1977. Notwithstanding the judges' statement "a poor player has a probable loss rate; a good player using sound computer based approach has a possible win rate". he concluded that since only a few players other than myself chose to take the bank and that since there were few skilled players other than myself, I stood to gain from a definite advantage over them and was found guilty under three sections where this gain was a factor and the last which said that the chances of winning were not even for all Note that if one sits in a poker game with old pros, the chances of winning are not equal. Yet that fact doesn't convict a poker game. The judge made no distinction between fair advantage derived through skill and un unfair one derived from a mathematical bias. I appealed and was heard on Sept. 8, 1978, in the Supreme Court of Ontario before Justice Jessup, Martin and Blair. That court quashed the clauses that dealt with any gain but again upheld the conviction on the grounds that "the chances of winning were not equal for all." Again, I point out that this is true of all games of skill so why do they treat poker, bridge and gin differently? They were kind enough to mention that there had never been any hint of impropriety in my operation and they did order the return of my money and equipment. Why return it to me if the mere possession of the said equipment was a violation of my probation by being the crime that I'm now accused of? Unfortunately, the crown had instructed the Ottawa police to dispose of my equipment before I had launched the appeal. I've had to sue in order to have the Order of the Supreme Court obeyed and have my equity returned. I thought that those orders had more clout. (see A11) At this time, the Rockert decision came down and I felt that with the statement of the Canadian Chiefs, I didn't have to pursue the issue any longer. I thought that I was finally rid of the old gambling laws that were shackling the industry. Just like in Alberta, thousands would get jobs that would last the next century. Even though government hasn't yet regulated the industry, I feel confident that after four years of post-graduate study as the teaching assistant of Carleton University's gambling course, I can set an example for the industry as a whole. There are people making their living all across Canada with gambling devices and my only defense is that if the law is abrogated for everyone else, then I hope that it's abrogated for me too. Sincerely yours, John C. Turmel
790922Sa Ottawa Citizen, Tony Cote Decision reserved in gambling case A Provincial Court judge has reserved decision until Oct. 17 on whether a self-admitted Ottawa gambler should be convicted on a charge of having gambling devices in his possession and control. During his trial Friday, the proceedings at times turned into what can only be described as the next best thing to a three-ring circus. Throughout the day, spectators in the packed court room commented loudly on the evidence, often laughing out loud. Just prior to the noon hour break, Judge Bernard Ryan evicted a woman described as Turmel's secretary after a remark was made within his hearing on the kind of justice available. Turmel was conducting his own defence and on numerous occasions he strayed from legal questioning to make statements of his own and had to be cautioned by Ryan. George Dzioba started his case by tendering as exhibits four blackjack tables, decks of cards, chips and numerous other gambling devices seized by police during the raid. The trial became bogged down at that point in the definitions of gambling, skill and what constituted gaming devices. Turmel admitted to gambling, saying he was incorporated in the Province of Ontario as JCT Casino Inc. The purpose of the company was to play games such as blackjack, he told the court. He also readily agreed that the devices police had taken were used for gambling. Turmel admitted he had operated the game on a number of occasions in Ottawa and the area. "Have game, will travel," was his comment. Those admissions and the wrangling took the morning and before adjourning for lunch, Ryan told the spectators, many of them standing, that no one would be admitted for the afternoon session unless they had a seat. The proceedings became more orderly in the afternoon when Dr. Walter Schneider, a gambling professor at Carleton University, took the stand as an expert witness. When asked if blackjack was a game of skill or chance, the doctor said "what has been known is that there are computerized strategies in which a human being can learn with a great deal of effort ... to give him a considerable edge over the dealer. Schneider said that games such as craps, a dice game, are strictly games of chance. he said that on a curve, a craps player could expect to lose 1.4 cents on every dollar. "A top player in blackjack would be just the opposite," he said. "Of course, his best gamble is not to play." (at craps) He said that for a blackjack player to learn the systems, it would require a lot of self discipline and that it would take about six weeks working at least two hours a day to learn them. In his closing speech, Turmel alluded to the fact that he had gone through a previous gambling trial in which his devices had been seized and that the Supreme Court of Ontario had ordered them returned to him. He also mentioned that similar items could be purchased at almost any store in the city. The Crown pointed out that the gambling laws were primarily intended to stop gambling from being run as a business, "egven though blackjack may be a game of skill." The judge replied that by using the dictionary definitions of the Criminal Code, it made "anyone who played a simple game at his home guilty."
Ottawa Journal, Dave Evans Gambler says he believed crap game legal Lessons in gambling odds, felt blackjack tables and complaints about Ontario gambling laws dominated the trial of Ottawa gambling entrepreneur John Turmel in provincial court Friday. Acting in his own defence, Turmel argued he was no more guilty of the charge of possessing gambling equipment than anyone who brings a deck of cards to a poker game. Assistant Crown attorney George Dzioba argued before judge B.T. Ryan that the important distinction between Turmel's itinerant blackjack operation and a pick-up card game among friends is that it is a business. The intent of the Criminal Code provisions against gaming is to prevent such activity, Dzioba argued, pointing to Turmel's tables, dealing boxes and locked cash boxes as evidence of the business nature of his games. Ryan reserved judgment in the case until Oct. 17. Turmel was in charge of a four-table by-invitation-only blackjack game on April 1, 1979, Ottawa police witnesses told the court. Turmel admitted he has run several blackjack games, that he has a company incorporated to run casinos, and that he hopes to build up a casino business when gambling is legal. He said he believed his game was legal, that it had no "rake-off" to the banker, and that he had sent invitations to the police department. City police Sgt. Mike Seed, who attended the game as a player to observe the proceedings, said about 30 persons were playing at the tables when other officers arrived with a warrant. He said he obtained his ticket by answering a newspaper advertisement, and telling Turmel he worked for an insurance company. ` In cross-examination, Turmel tried to ask Seed and other police witnesses who had ordered the raid why a move had been made against him but not against others providing cards to a gambling game. However, on several occasions, Ryan ruled his questions irrelevant to the case. When he questioned the fairness of the law itself, the judge told him he would have to "take that up with the legislature" of Ontario. Ryan told the court the heart of the case was whether blackjack is a game of skill or chance, since it is the latter that falls into the definition of gambling. Turmel called Carleton University mathematics professor Walter Schneider, who testified that strategies can be learned which put a player in a better position to win in the long run that the "house." Schneider admitted, however, the house, or banker, often comes out ahead because many players are not equipped with a good strategy. He said that with six week's hard work of two hours a day many people could learn the strategy. Turmel argued that his rules are fair because, unlike Las Vegas, his games give anyone the chance to be banker or dealer, if they wish. Five dealers have also been charged in connection with the case.
790924Mo Ottawa Journal Correction A headline error in Saturday's Journal had Ottawa gambling entrepreneur John Turmel saying he believed crap games were legal. In fact, Turmel, acting in his own defence, argued blackjack was legal.
791018Th Ottawa Citizen, Tony Cote Gambling crusader sentenced Self-proclaimed gambler John Turmel was convicted in provincial court today of possessing gambling devices, and was sentenced to a $200 fine or 14 days in jail. Judge Bernard Ryan told the 28-year-old Turmel while handing out the sentence that there was no doubt Turmel's activities were above-board. "This is a victimless crime. No one seems to have been hurt. I must reluctantly indicate that the elements of this offence have been proved," Ryan told Turmel before advising him not to hold any more games before appealing the conviction. Turmel has been running a one-man campaign to have gambling legalized and has held several gambling events in the Ottaw area. He indicated he would appeal the conviction.
791019Fr Ottawa Citizen, Greg Bannister Gambler loses in courtroom Blackjack test John Turmel was found guilty of keeping a common gaming house yesterday in a test court case which considered whether blackjack is a game of skill or a game of chance. He was fined $200 by Judge Bernard Ryan and invited to appeal the decision "if you feel this court is wrong." Turmel, an advocate of legalized gambling, indicated he would appeal the decision of the provincial court judge. Judge Ryan told court he was satisfied the material found at the game was professional Las Vegas style blackjack equipment. Turmel argued he was no more guilty of the charge against him than anyone who brings a deck of cards to a poker game. He also argued that blackjack was not a game of chance but a game of skill and therefore not illegal. He did not dispute any facts concerning the equipment. Turmel also admitted running the game. Judge Ryan told Turmel he felt blackjack as he played it, was probably a game of skill. The Judge said he had been very impressed with Turmel's knowledge of the game and the mathematical theories behind the game. He said he thought Turmel, with his knowledge, would probably be barred from Las Vegas casinos because of his skill at the game. He termed Turmel's arguments "very persuasive" but concluded in the end that blackjack to the average individual is a game of chance and therefore against the law. He also said the community was not yet prepared to accept legalized gambling and until that changed he had to enforce legislation which forbids gambling. Judge Ryan said he would not consider a jail term or a heavy fine in the case because the blackjack game was conducted fairly with no effort to cheat anyone. He called it a victimless crime. He also said he realized Turmel "feels strongly about his right to conduct a blackjack game and he is testing the law on the point." Five other persons were remanded to appear in court on Nov. 1 on charges of aiding the running of a commong gaming house.
Ottawa Citizen, Tony Cote Convicted gambler may go underground An Ottawa man convicted of possessing gambling devices claims the only thing left for him to do is take his games underground. John Turmel was reacting to a decision in provincial court that resulted in a $200 fine or 14 days in jail. At his trial, Turmel tried to prove that because blackjack was a game of skill it didn't fall under the definition of gambling. Judge Bernard Ryan disagreed and registered the conviction. Outside the court Turmel vowed he would appeal the decision within two weeks, "all the way to the Supreme Court of Canada if I have to." If Turmel had been found innocent, it would have made it almost impossible for police to make arrests on gambling charges and get convictions. An earlier decision ruled that for someone to be convicted of keeping a common gaming house, the operator had to hold the games at the same location a number of times. The decision tied the hands of police in laying charges because gamblers began holding their games at different locations each time. Turmel has operated numerous floating blackjack games over the past year, including one in a boat in the middle of the Ottawa River. He has proclaimed often that gambling should be legalized in Canada and made this view part of his platform during the May 22 federal election when he ran as an independent candidate in Ottawa West. Before passing sentence, Ryan said he wasn't considering jail or a heavy fine as requested by the Crown. "There was evidence he feels very strongly about his right to gamble and there is a long-standing feud between him and the authorities. He is testing the law. This is a victimless crime. No one seems to have been hurt." Ryan said Turmel could appeal the sentence and should do so before considering any more games.
800523 Ottawa Citizen, Bob Marleau Brothers crap out in local hotel raid Police said that about twenty five women and men were in the room at the time of the raid. Turmel was charged with possession of illegal gambling equipment, inducing people to play with dice, and keeping a common gaming house. Both were scheduled to appear in court on Monday.
800719Sa Ottawa Journal Magazine Ottawa's gambling crusader Ottawa's John Casimir Turmel has a list of gambling charges against him, but he's not deterred and you can bet he's dedicated to legalized gaming. By Paula McLaughlin When John Casimir Turmel looks you in the eye and tells you he's going all the way to the Supreme Court of Canada to fight the latest batch of gambling charges against him, you tend to believe you can bet on it. Turmel, a professional gambler who runs roving "gaming parties" in the Ottawa area, vows he's going to beat the rap and just might bring down a sacred cow (the banking system) in the process. The 29 year old, Carleton University graduate in engineering says he hasn't been deterred by the four police raids, three robberies and six trials he's endured in connection with his gambling activities over the past year. I'm still going strong," he grinned, referring to the bi-monthly "gaming parties" he operates in various hotels, community halls and restaurant basements in the national capital area. (A gambling session at a disco-casino-boatride are on the recent agenda). His latest run-in with the law and the episode which may send him to the Supreme Court occurred May 24 when he was arrested at a game he was operating in the Talisman Hotel. He was charged with keeping a common gaming house and possession of gaming devices (cards, card tables, dice, poker chips). I'm going to fight this every way I can, and if I bring the banks down with me, all the better." WILL FIGHT RULING Turmel, who thinks he's the only incorporated professional gambler in Canada, maintains that banks are much like casinos except "they charge interest on their chips." In a poker game, he maintains the chips are issued "simply and strictly limited to the wealth that is brought into the game." On the other hand, interest charged by the banks fuels inflation which leads to all kinds of economic woes, he insists. Turmel, who has conducted his personal crusade for legalized gambling and against the banking system for several years, advocates an interest free, cashless society. To back his beliefs and to ward against thieves, no cash changes hands at his parties. Before the game, players-by invitation only-make deposits in a bank account in Turmel's name. The deposit slip is used to "buy into" the game and winners' cheques are paid out at the end of the night. He says he plans to fight the gaming house charges on the basis of a Supreme Court ruling that a person can't be convicted of keeping a common gaming house as long as the game is held only once in any location. "The banks are involved in gambling games much the same as mine, only they're stationary, so why weren't they charged?" he asks. BARRED FROM CASINOS He also says that if he can be charged with possession of playing cards and dice, the department stores, drug stores and variety shops which sell the items should be charged too. He's fought-and lost- similar charges on three previous occasions. Turmel is up front about his gambling abilities. "I'm good, he concedes. "It's tough to beat the game, but I'm a professional and can do it." The key to winning is counting the cards and knowing the probability of winning every time you bet. The size of your bets are crucial, too" he adds. He claims he has been barred by several Las Vegas casinos because of his winning ways. LIST OF GAMBLERS "Gaming parties" go on in Ottawa all the time, he maintains. Besides his own gambling sessions- where few patrons take him up on an offer to become the "bank" and let him play against them- he plays two or three times a week at various locations in the area. He says the Nepean and Gloucester police monitor his games, but don't lay charges. It's another story with the Ottawa Police, however. He has a list of about 170 "local members of the gambling fraternity" whom he invites to his games to play blackjack, poker, backgammon and "a few dice games." He's selective about who can play and says he runs an "open, honest game." He once won $39,000 over a 24 hour period in an Ottawa game and lost most of it a while later when "I naively played a couple of guys with crooked dice." The players who are invited to his games "come from all sorts of backgrounds," he says. "There are people who run their own businesses, housewives, clerks, even a couple of millionaires." There are a few players in town who "can win or lose tens of thousands of dollars in a night and it barely phases them," he adds. Most non-professional players lose a unit an hour on the average, he says. "For example, if a person is placing $1 wagers, on the average he'll lose $1 an hour. If a person is betting $100, he'll lose about $100 an hour. Obviously, I try to play the $100 player more often than the $1 shooter." He also says the reverse formula is true for him. "On the average, I would win a unit an hour." STARTED YOUNG He does have his bad nights, however, and there are occasions when he comes out the loser. "That's obviously the exception rather than the rule," he says. Turmel took up gambling as a teen-ager. "A couple of my school mates were playing poker and I sat in on a game. I've been playing ever since." He says gambling paid for all "my excess spending money" at Carleton University. He decided to switch goals from becoming an electrical engineer to a "money systems engineer" (professional gambler) when he started making $20 to $50 an hour at the gaming tables. He enjoys playing poker, blackjack and backgammon (for money) but the most exciting game at the moment is "trying to fix the banking system." RAN FOR OFFICE To press his stand, Turmel has made several bids for public office. Although Lady Luck has never come his way in the political game, he claims to have set a record for being a candidate in three federal elections in the course of one year. He entered the May 22, 1979 election in Ottawa Centre riding as a independent candidate. Nine months later, he was back on the campaign trail under the Libertarian banner. He even threw his hat in the ring in the federal by-election in the Quebec county of Frontenac called after the untimely death of one of the original candidates in the riding. Turmel admits he's a more successful gambler than a political warrior, and still jokes about how he garnered more votes in Frontenac than on his home turf of Ottawa centre. I'm going to cash in my political chips yet," he's willing to bet.
800930 Ottawa Citizen, Lewis Seale Gambler asks court to ban loan interest John Turmel had his day in court Monday and came equipped with a blackboard, a felt covered table with sunken chamber for poker chips, a plastic ship and a tomato. Turmel was there to ask for a restraining order forbidding the BoC to charge interest on loans. Justice T.P. Callon listened quietly to Turmel's 50 minute presentation on how to end unemployment and inflation by banning interest and then reserved judgment. Turmel used to tomato to illustrate production and the blackboard for the charts and formulas to show how he believes interest makes the rich become richer and the poor become poorer. The chips were to dramatize his point that anything can be used as a medium of exchange but they were also a reminder of his claim that bank Governor Gerald Bouey is keeping a common gaming house. His arguments followed Social Credit lines and he said later he would seek that party's leadership at its November convention in Calgary. He also plans to run for mayor of Ottawa.
801002 Ottawa Citizen Gambler loses bid to outlaw interest John Turmel said Thursday the SCO has turned down his bid for an order forbidding the Bank of Canada to charge interest. Citing the gambling provisions in the Criminal Code, Turmel likens interest to a fee charged for the use of chips (money) in a game (industrial activity) and charges that it leads to "genocidal inflation and unemployment. Mr. Justice T.P. Callon ruled he did not have jurisdiction in the case, Mr. Turmel reported. Turmel describes himself as a professional gambler but he is also a perennial candidate for political office as he preaches his Social Credit views on money. He said Thursday that he has not given up on the courts and would consult a lawyer about further moves he could make.
810724 Ottawa Citizen, Bob Marleau Crown rests case in gambling trial Gambler John Turmel became John Turmel the lawyer defending himself at his trial for operating a common gaming house. Turmel and his brother Ray are charged with two counts each of operating a poker and blackjack parlor in the basement of Tomorrow's restaurant which was raided June 2 and June 8 by Ottawa police. Turmel faces minimum 3 month jail term if convicted. The Crown closed its case with testimony from two witnesses during the start of the trial which will continue on Aug. 31 with Turmel presenting his arguments. In testimony, Ottawa Police Sgt. Mike Seed told the court he had received a written invitation from Turmel to attend the JCT Casinos at 8p.m. June 2. Seed said he attended the event and watched for 2 hours as 42 guests mingled and played blackjack and poker. Turmel introduced him to the gathering as a policeman. The event was raided shortly after 10p.m. and Turmel and his brother were charged. A similar event was raided on June 8 and the Turmels were charged again. In cross-examination, Turmel asked the officer if he had at any time witnesses more than 10 playing at a single table. "No," said Seed who had told the court earlier that though 32 persons actually participated in the card games, no more than 7 players were at any one table. During cross-examination of O.P.P. Cpl. Peter Thompson, Turmel had to withdraw his question when he asked whether, under the Criminal Code, a game with under 10 people is legal. Judge Patrick White said the question was for the court to decide. It doesn't make sense that the knowledge of Cpl. Thompson should not be relevant. He is the guy who must decide if he is to bust a game and he must decide if he thinks it is criminal or not.
811006Tu Ottawa Citizen, Bob Marleau Gambler to appeal sentence Professional gambler John Turmel has been released from jail pending the outcome of an appeal against his sentence last week for operating a gaming house. Judge Patrick White offered Turmel the choice of 3 years probation during which time he had to abstain from any "illegal gambling" or 21 days in jail with a $500 fine. Turmel chose prison and filed an appeal from his jail cell. "The Crown was very helpful in forwarding appeal papers to the Ontario Court of Appeal in Toronto," Turmel said Monday. He was released Friday after spending 4 days in jail. Turmel, who has become something of a legal gadfly in his brushes with the law, acts as his own lawyer. No date has been set for the appeal hearing for the 30 year old man's third conviction on a gambling charge. The charges against Ray Turmel were dismissed. The gaming devices trial will be held in February.
820109Sa Ottawa Citizen, Dave Brown Brown's Beat To John Turmel, the professional gambler and perpetual candidate. He also plays good accordion. He spent a large part of Christmas Day at St. Vincent's Hospital, entertaining on all five floors. Nurse A.B. Armstrong was on duty and says his visit was appreciated by all.
820127We Ottawa Citizen, CP Tom Van Alphin Turmel won't bet on appeal Professional gambler John Turmel won't take bets on his chances of winning an appeal on a 3 week jail sentence for operating a gaming house. "The courts don't have a scientific system like poker," the Ottawa man said Tuesday outside Toronto's Don Jail. Turmel, 30, was to appear today in the Ontario Court of Appeal, but he said he would have to wait until next week for the case to be heard because the Crown Attorney need more time to prepare. He was released from jail after serving 4 days of a 3 week sentence last year. Police charged him following raids June 2 and June 8 in the basement of Tomorrow's restaurant on Bank St. Turmel's defence after both raids was that his operation was safeguarded by Section 188 of the Criminal Code, which exempts the sections Turmel was charged under -- 185 and 186 -- when the winner of any bets is playing with 10 players or less. Police said they saw 42 guests mingling, playing poker and blackjack in one of the incidents. Turmel was sentenced to 21 days in jail with a $500 fine or 3 years probation during which he had to abstain from any illegal gambling. He chose to serve the sentence.
820209Tu Ottawa Citizen, Bob Marleau Gambler will wax musical Local gambler John Turmel won't have to serve any more time in jail, an appeal court ruled last week. Instead, he'll probably be playing his accordion. Turmel was convicted in September of keeping a common gaming house and given the choice of 3 years probation with no gambling or 21 days in jail with a $500 fine. He chose the fine and jail but appealed the conviction and sentence to the Ontario Court of Appeal. Last week, the higher court upheld the conviction but changed the sentence to time served, 1 year's probation and 100 hours community service. In an interview Monday night, Turmel said he told the appeal judges he wants to use his musical talent with the accordion to entertain people, rather than waste his time in jail. The Crown did not object. "I will be talking to my probation officer about the possibility of entertaining prisoners," Turmel said.
860330Su Ottawa Herald , Dandyman Turmels hope to have hands full at poker tourney On the subject of time flying, it's been a year already since John C. Turmel launched the initial Ottawa Regional Hold'Em Poker Tournament. This year's championship will be held at 11:30 April 26. Except for The Sunday Herald, the media coverage was the only disappointment as everything else went off smoothly" Turmel said. They're hoping for 40 entrants. "If we get 40 players at least, we will have a prize of $16,000 and a chance to send the Ottawa champion off to test his or her skill in Las Vegas in the $1 million World Series of Poker." Last year's runner-up, Denis Cardinal, is expected to be back also. The Turmel brothers, it should be noted, receive nothing for their efforts. Said Turmel: "I do it because I love the game, nothing else." To enter, send a cheque for $400. Mmmmmmmmmm, only $400 to enter and a shot at $1 million American. I wonder if `Ol Red Suspenders' Marky Parky, our beloved publisher, is interested in backing a good horse?
860504Su Ottawa Herald, Dandyman Liston crowned Hold'Em champ "I think it would be only proper if you gave special thanks to the Ottawa Police Force." Unlikely words, when you consider the source: one John Turmel, organizer of the second annual Ottawa Regional Hold'Em Poker Tournament as he spoke about Sergeant Allen, one of Ottawa finest who kept a close eye on the get-together. The winner of last Saturday's tournament was 49-year-old Bill Liston. Liston outlasted a field of 13 competitors on his way to the first prize of $2,500. The amazing circumstances that surrounded Liston's victory included the fact that he was down to his last $175 in chips. His two opponents in the final round were Dixon Warren (the eventual runner-up) and Pierre Drouin, who ultimately finished in third place. Neither of them could cope with the determined challenge of Liston. Among the finalists who received cash winnings was an unheralded long shot by the name of Harry Coenraad, who finished a surprising fourth and with any luck could have advanced further. The rest of the field that finished in the money were Irvin Hoffman (5th), Malcolm MacVicar (6th), Roger Latour (7th), Mike Pitcher (8th), and Brian Dodsworth (9th).
860817Su Ottawa Herald, Dandyman Ex's wheels of fortune often stop on bankrupt It's impossible to be a skilled gambler in Canada because the only games of chance upon which our government allows us to gamble have the odds stacked highly against winning. Take the Central Canada Ex which houses one blackjack casino and numerous wheels of fortune. Anyone entertaining any ambition of winning should take another look at the tremendous odds they face. Wheels of fortune have a house advantage of anywhere from 28% to 38% which as any sharp gambler will tell you is a losing proposition. Despite the fact that a blackjack casino is also a high-risk gamble, it's still your best bet on the midway. Bear in mind the blackjack casino has a house advantage of a minimum of 8% in its favor. The reason the blackjack casino enjoys such an advantage as opposed to Las Vegas casinos is the dealer wins all ties. Mathematically, it's reasonable to presume that 8 ties will occur in every hundred hands. According to this city's "Wizard of Odds," John Turmel, a normal good blackjack player in any casino would shift the percentage to his favor and enjoy a 1% advantage over the house. An average player would shift the advantage to 1% in favor of the house. A bad player, Turmel pointed out, would push the house percentage to 3 or 4%. As for the exhibition casino, simply add the 8% to the house advantage for the regular blackjack player. In my case, although I normally enjoy a 1% advantage, I would be facing a house advantage of 7%. Without question, that's a losing proposition. Consider that in legalized gambling casinos, a roulette wheel gives the house a 5.26% in their favor and then ask how many people you know make a living on a roulette wheel. Yet the odds of winning at a roulette wheel are considerably less than the monumental odds at the exhibition. "The one positive thing about the Exhibition casino," Turmel continued tongue- in-cheek, " is you can practice your skills. However, you can't win being skillful." No wonder our government preaches gambling is no good for us. And they're right. After all, they're encouraging losing and offer no chance to the skilled gambler. Be that as it may, despite the losing odds facing the player, the blackjack casino is the best game on the entire midway. You will lose, but you will go broke more slowly.
870503Su Ottawa Citizen, Dandyman The third annual regional Hold'Em Poker tournament will be held at high noon on May 9, 1987 at the Aristocrat Hotel. "This year's winner will definitely be going to Las Vegas in one of the World Championship events." Turmel expects more entrants this year than in previous years. Last year's winner, Bill (Last Card) Liston, one of the tournament co-favorites, will be returning to defend his title.
880225Th Ottawa Citizen, Ian MacLeod Six men face gambling charges Six men have been charged with gambling-related offences following a raid at 10p.m. Tuesday by police at a room at the Bayshore Hotel. Police say six men were found inside a room, where a blackjack card game was being played. Charged with keeping a common gaming house
890404Tu Ottawa Citizen Judge dismissed gambling charges A blackjack card game held by local gambler John Turmel last year was not illegal because everyone had an even chance of winning, a provincial court judge ruled Monday. Provincial court Judge James Fontana dismissed charges of being "found-ins" in a common gaming house against four men. Fontana also dismissed charges of being "found-ins" in a common betting house against the four.
890408Sa Ottawa Citizen Judge dismissed gambling charges A provincial court judge dismissed gambling charges against local gambler John Turmel because a blackjack card game he staged last year had given all players an even chance of winning. In dismissing the charges Friday against Turmel and his brother Ray, judge Brian Lennox accepted the ruling of a fellow judge earlier this week in dismissing charges against four men charged as "found-ins." The game, set up by Turmel, was held Feb. 23, 1988 in a room at the Bayshore Hotel. Fontana ruled the Crown had not proven a gaming house existed under the conditions in which the game was held. Turmel had given all the players the option of being the dealer, thereby giving them an even chance of winning, the judge ruled.
JCT: Then came the era where I had this acquittal in hand was twice again convicted despite double jeopardy. For my last and biggest case, see: http://turmelpress.com/gambler.htm
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