The Tilted Jack's Mission is to educate the public, create awareness, and enact change in public policy regarding cardrooms and poker in our cities, towns and counties.
Our secondary mission is to provide a safe haven for card and game players that we can collectively and co-operatively own and control as an extension of our own home games. It is unconstitutional for the State of Arizona to coerce us to play professional poker (with a dealer that can accept a tip without committing a crime) in another nation-state’s Class III casinos with poker rooms that rake pots with monopolistic impunity and attach all manner of chance gambling schemes to an otherwise pristine strategic competition of predominantly skill utlizing psychology, math, calculated risk and subtle nuance.
We believe that as bona fide social group of like-minded citizens, we have the right to organize and play professional non-banked card games in private adult-membership clubs. If we can play poker in our homes socially, then we can play poker in any facility we all collectively own and control, especially if the poker we play is incidental to our membership in the grassroots movement that is the Tilted Jack Social Poker Club Cooperative. As the State of Arizona has refused to legitimize our not unlawful operation through regulatory participation and oversight, we believe that municipal corporations - our local cities and towns - have the the constitutional rights to license, regulate and tax any and all Amusements within their jurisdiction. This constitutional right includes special privileges and immunities not afforded private corporations and persons other than municipal.
The co-operative structure removes all benefit incentive by operating in an environment that we, the players, own and control. Every member is (or freely may be) an equal owner. All members have an equal vote. We operate under the seven principals of the Co-operative as stated by the International Co-operative Association (below.)
We believe the co-operative is truly the biggest home game on the planet, and we cover club overhead through the per-use fees established by the membership-at-large and the duly elected executive committee. These fees are used exclusively for the cooperative and it's clubhouse where we conduct member meetings daily, weekly and monthly in furtherance of our primary mission, as well as for the recreational, amusement and entertainment use of our members.
The cooperative ownership structure of our organization removes all profit/benefit incentive as well as any tax liability for individual members by operating as a not-for-profit "Net Zero" grassroots political movement. All per-use fees collected over and above our overhead is returned to the players-member-owners of the co-operative through valid methods of disbursal that do not violate existing laws. All members, including volunteer staff, are responsible for reporting any earned income on their personal taxes.
We believe that participatory, regulatory oversight is necessary for the integrity of the sport of poker in Arizona. Cardrooms could then hire and retain professional dealers, set their schedules and tell them how to do their jobs. We could legitimately withhold taxes, pay taxes, and operate "as a business", publicly or privately, for benefit and with profit motive as a commercial cardroom operation. Until such time, our organization can only operate on a Net Zero accounting basis and hope that member donations continue to keep our co-operative, and the our facility(ies) above water.
We believe that our Co-operative operating agreement and organizational structure provides statutory authority to self-regulate our activities. The Co-operative is a socialist concept and by its very nature is self-regulating. Our rules and policies mirror those used as "best practice" in the industry. We have adopted rules of procurement and open meetings based on what the city and state does. We follow parliamentary rules of procedure at our monthly meetings and we elect a board of nine to conduct the will of the membership at large. We conduct background checks of key volunteers and elected representatives. We bond our treasurer. We have asked the ADoG to get involved in this with us, and invited them to visit us at any time, through the City of Phoenix. We believe the Director of the ADoG has the authority to work with the city of Phoenix to jointly and cooperatively regulate and enforce a valid and existing cardroom industry - in the interest of public safety and the integrity of the game - if not our government's own pecuniary benefit.
Our secondary mission is to provide safe haven for poker players that want to play in an environment they truly own and control, and in leiu of a local government willing or able to legitimize our secondary mission through participatory oversight, we give back to our local communities, including our neighboring American Indian communities that were leveraged into surrendering their sovereign right granted by the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act over Class II professional poker. This reduced sovereignty was bartered for exclusivity of a game or method of playing a game, specifically the non-banked card game known as Poker. The State of Arizona, American Indian Tribes, Bureau of Indian Affairs, Department of the Interior and Congress do NOT own the rights to the international sport of Poker. This has been done, we believe, to the harm of not just tribal sovereigns, but other sovereigns, including our sovereign selves and the sovereign municipalities and counties we live, work and play in.
We believe that we have the right to tip volunteer dealers for their professional services, and that if the act of providing a voluntary gratuity makes such lawful service unlawful, then there is either something wrong with the laws or the laws are simply being misapplied to the international sport of poker. The co-operative believes that gratuities should stay in the dealer's purse. The co-operative does not charge dealers to deal at our tables, does not require a fixed or percentage of dealer tips, nor does the co-operative request a voluntary donation from the dealers. 100% of what dealers receive as tips, the dealers keep.
We believe every member can become a volunteer dealer and work with members that wish to become professional, accredited, licensed dealers.
And finally, we believe the validity of 17 Poker Memorandums of Understanding (MoU), executed in 2002 and beyond by the Governor of Arizona, the executive-appointed Director of the Department of Gaming, and a tribal representative may be illegal. The MoUs are merely a legal instrument to get around Arizona laws. From 1982 to 2002, the State of Arizona, through the Governor, Attorney General and the Department of Gaming contended that Tribal poker rooms were operating illegally, even though IGRA established American Indian Tribes retained the rights to bingo and non-banked card games such as poker. From 1997 to 2002 (the year of the "poker boom") The Governor refused to sign or renew compacts, the Attorney General issued a formal opinion that Tribal poker rooms were illegal because of benefit received, and the ADG issued cease and desist letters to all Tribal poker rooms. The State watched helplessly as millions of dollars flooded out of the economy each year thru Tribal poker rooms. In fact, tribal poker rooms found themselves in the exact same position that most cardrooms operating today find themselves in. And that is, simply put, that these MoUs are nothing short of conspiracy, illegal control of enterprise, extortion and coercion of State control over Tribal sovereignty, and benefit/promotion of illegal gambling.
Create awareness about The Tilted Jack and our mission. By organizing as a unique, private, social club Co-operative, we have established our right to play professional poker in an honest, open, statutorily self-regulated, player-owned and controlled, safe neighborhood card club. The Co-operative seeks to free professional poker from the gambling industry casinos where, in Arizona at least, there exists an unfair monopoly created between Arizona's Executive Branch and the BIA that many contend infringes on the rights of non-Indian citizens but even more critically, on a municipal corporation's Constitutional right to license and regulate any and all amusements within it's jurisdiction, just as the State has done for BIA casino poker rooms. We contend this exclusivity, while lawful, may be unconstitutional, as it infringes (selectively, for professional poker only) on the rights of all citizens, private corporations, and our local sovereign governments. If public policy is to regulate poker, then that public policy must extend to all sovereign corporations, including cities and towns, or counties. Aside from encouraging individual members to lobby and petition our government for a redress of this grievance, we also encourage members to contact their civil leaders and request a meeting to discuss their rights to participate in a co-operatively owned and operated card and game room who's primary mission is enacting change in the laws and protecting our legitimacy as a co-operative not-for-profit political organization who's members enjoy playing card games, often for money.
Inform the public and public leaders about our mission and our methods, and attempt to change the perception of poker as a game of chance or luck. 4 out of 5 people think poker and blackjack are the same type of game. We want to distance poker from games of chance such as blackjack, slot machines, keno, roulette and all other casino gambles (except perhaps sports betting). Poker is different because there is no house edge or fixed payout percentage over time. The game is played against other players, like golf, chess or darts, and while luck or chance does its part to create the opportunity for "a gamble", the game is predominantly a game of skill. What makes most poker parlors illegal (by state statutes) today is when the owners or promoters benefit from the gambling. The Tilted Jack is different, as the club is democratically owned and operated equally by its members. We are legally bound by our Operating Agreement and the Limited Liability Corporations Act as to how we operate and self-regulate our activities.
Increase membership for The Tilted Jack as a group composed of hundreds (soon thousands!) of citizens who have joined together, co-operatively and socially, to accomplish our primary mission: to allow cardrooms to legitimately operate in Arizona. The Tilted Jack is -- first and foremost -- a grassroots political movement whose primary goal is to work with the 91 cities and towns, 15 counties, and the great State of Arizona; to create the legislative framework for the cardroom industry to operate freely, but responsibly, and flourish in our communities as a publicly approved and accepted viable form of amusement and entertainment.
Organize a professional poker players and dealers union and put the global sport of competitive poker on the map in Arizona. Professional poker players, like all other professional sports, need a players union. Especially today in this volatile industry prone to attacks from the Arizona Department of Gaming acting on behalf of their paymasters, the tribal casinos.
Form a regulatory commission in lieu of State oversight through the ADG that has refused (as acceptance would allow the Native American gaming Tribes to invoke the poison pill clause of their State and Tribal Compact) to enter into a joint or cooperative agreement with any municipality to regulate cardroom activities - at least without judicial intercourse. This private commission should be comprised of industry professionals, dealers, players and owner-operators and appointed civic leaders. And as deemed necessary, oversight provided by the city and state departments of Public Safety and Revenue and community local police and fire chiefs.
Provide a nexus for all cardroom operators and players, who, while competing in the same market, surely recognize the need for industry-wide standards and policies. Together with the owners/promoters and members/players, we have two solid groups of majority supporters and allies that want to enact change to legitimize storefront poker rooms in Arizona.
Lobby legislative leaders, as individuals, as a group, and eventually through a professional lobbyist if acting individually or as a group on our own behalf fails to achieve results. Lobbyists can cost $5,000 a month per legislative session (typically 6 months). Anyone have $30K they want to toss into this David vs. Goliath cause? The ADG claims that some cardrooms are making between $30K and $50K a month, but these are not the rooms that want legitimacy, these are the rooms in the "cash grab" mode, operating under the mindset that the ADG claims has permeated the State: "I'll do it till I get caught".
Work with the State of Arizona and our legislative representatives to accomplish our mission and goals, or in the alternative, a direct ballot initiative if elected officials are unable or unwilling to sponsor and support our just cause. Arizona has a long and storied history when it comes to poker beginning in the wild, frontier West, and continuing today. Arizona should embrace this heritage by legitimizing poker venues throughout the State, or in the alternative, municipality by municipality. Doing so can create more jobs, generate tax and licensing revenue, and put Arizona on the map as a poker-friendly state that led the way for other states that are similarly situated to do the same.
Work with the AIGA and their member tribes to bring more home game and online and free pub poker players into the world of live professional poker, and cross market and promote our games as satellites into the much larger venues offered by the 22+ casinos throughout Arizona. Additionally, if a piece of the pie is cut out of commercial poker for the STate and municipal interest, a piece of the pie could certainly be sliced out for American Indian Tribes, as a "Tribal Benefits Fund". Poker is big business, and it's popularity is still on the increase. Whatever we can do to unify and expand the industry, we should explore together and to everyone's benefit. One possible negotiating point in our favor is that the State of Arizona does not recognize federal law and congressional intent expressed in the IGRA, that tribal sovereignties retained their right to operate Class II non-banked card games and Bingo without State oversight and participation. Likewise, the tribes were coerced into giving up some of their sovereignty to allow the State of Arizona to regulate poker, to some degree. If you call the NIGC, they will tell you that they oversee and regulate the poker rooms in Arizona Tribal casinos, not the ADG.
Provide the best possible service for poker players in a professional establishment that is owned and controlled equally by all members with a vast majority (80%) of member-owners having a bona fide social relationship and nearly the entire membership (99.9%) having a bona fide business relationship through co-operative ownership. Provide the best quality equipment. Provide the best possible management and staff.
Concern for community. Create jobs, a safe community social club and donate monthly to local philanthropic interests. To date The Tilted Jack members have donated an average of $500 per month to local charitable and philanthropic organizations. Our co-operative's charitable giving is NOT in lieu of taxes that would come through regulatory oversight. TTJ intends to continue its philanthropic efforts as a co-operative even after cardrooms are lawfully licensed and regulated and as commonplace as billiard halls, bowling alleys and pawn shops.
Statement of Cooperative Identity
The International Cooperative Alliance, established in 1895, is considered to be the final authority for defining cooperatives and the principles by which they operate. The organization has made three formal statements of cooperative principles over the past 100 years in an effort to keep them relevant to the contemporary world. At its 100th anniversary meeting in September 1995 in Manchester, England, the Alliance adopted the following "Statement of Cooperative Identity."
A cooperative is an autonomous association of persons united voluntarily to meet their common economic, social and cultural needs and aspirations through a jointly-owned and democratically controlled enterprise.
Cooperatives are based on the values of self-help, self-responsibility, democracy, equality, and solidarity. In the tradition of their founders, cooperative members believe in the ethical values of honesty, openness, social responsibility, and caring for others.
The cooperative principles are guidelines by which the cooperatives put their values into practice:
Voluntary and Open Membership - Cooperatives are voluntary organizations, open to all persons able to use their services and willing to accept the responsibilities of membership, without gender, racial, political, or religious discrimination.
Democratic Member Control - Cooperatives are democratic organizations controlled by their members, who actively participate in setting their policies and making decisions. Men and women serving as elected representatives are accountable to the membership. In primary cooperatives members have equal voting rights (one member, one vote), and cooperatives at other levels are also organized in a democratic manner.
Member Economic Participation - Members contribute equitably to, and democratically control, the capital of the cooperative. All capital is the common property of the cooperative, including the interest-free loan from founding members. Members receive equal opportunity for opportunities for anything of value, benefit or advantage, if any, as a condition of membership. Members allocate surpluses for any of the following purposes: developing the cooperative, possibly by setting up reserves, part of which at least would be indivisible; benefiting members in proportion to their transactions with the cooperative; and supporting other activities approved by the membership.
Autonomy and Independence - Cooperatives are autonomous, self-help organizations controlled by their members. If the enter into agreements with other organizations, including governments, or raise capital from external sources, they do so on terms that ensure democratic control by their members and maintain their cooperative autonomy.
Education, Training and Information - Cooperatives provide education and training for their members, elected representatives, and employees so they can contribute effectively to the development of their cooperatives. They inform the general public, particularly young people and opinion leaders, about the nature of the cooperation.
Cooperation Among Cooperatives - Cooperatives serve their members most effectively and strengthen the cooperative movement by working together through local, national, regional, and international structures.
Concern for Community - Cooperatives work for the sustainable development of their communities, through policies approved by their members.
Media (Press Releases and Videos)
10.18.12 TTJ Two Year Anniversary
10.19.12 Municipal Corporations Have Constitutional Rights
10.23.12 Citizens Initiative Possible
11.07.12 TTJ Closes Cardroom Facility
11.13.12 Tribal Poker a Big Mystery
11.14.12 Judge Harold Lee Censureship
Thirty Six Cardrooms Operating In the Valley
Charity Poker Tournaments