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 
Mr. C.A. Fournier
Insp. Zukow
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.
Police Raid on St. Laurent Blvd. Blackjack game.
St. Laurent trial before Judge Livius Sherwood. 
Judge Sherwood rules "guilty" with $500 fine.
Ottawa Citizen
gambler convicted??
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 
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 
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 
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.
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 
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 
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-
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.
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.
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.
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.
Ottawa Citizen, Tom Hill
Aced by devil booze. Blackjack addict says game legal, forgot liquor 
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.
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 
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.
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 
Ottawa Citizen, Ralph Wilson
Gambler attacked, robbed
Picture of  me looking at my hand in a cast captioned `JOHN TURMEL 
Irv Hoffman said it should have been `LOCAL GAMBLER DISPLAYS LOSING 
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 
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.
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 
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 
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 
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."
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 
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 
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 
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 
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 
I worked on my articles of incorporation for JCT CASINOS INC.
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 
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:
I wanted to let the tax-paying citizen compete with criminals while 
putting people to work:
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.
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.
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 
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.
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.
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 
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.
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.
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 
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.
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.
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 
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!
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 
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.
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!
To raise money for my campaign, I decided to have a fundraising Disco-
Casino and I rented the Nepean Sportsplex.
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 
Those paying the fee can use it as political contribution to gain an 
income tax deduction, he said.
April Fools night raid.
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.
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 
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 
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." 
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 
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 
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 
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 
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 
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. 
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 
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."
Ottawa Citizen, Neil MacDonald
Gamblers aweigh. Beans and bread, Blackjack tables hot in floating 
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..."
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 
Ottawa Citizen, Rick Laiken
House has big edge
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 
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." 
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 
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 
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 
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 
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 
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
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 
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.
Ottawa Journal
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.
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.
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 
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 
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.
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 
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."
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.
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.
"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."
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 
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 
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.
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 
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.
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 
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.
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.
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.
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 
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.
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?
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 
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 
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. 
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 
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.
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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