Trials set in gambling cases

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SANDPOINT — Three court trials are set for a trio of Sandpoint businessmen accused of operating an illegal poker game out of a downtown bar.

Dustin Jacob Koril, Gary Lee Solis Jr., and Lex Andrew Sparks are charged with violating a state law forbidding liquor license holders from allowing gambling on the premises, a misdemeanor offense.

All three have tendered pleas of not guilty, setting the stage for back-to-back bench trials in February, court records show.

Sandpoint Police discovered the card game at the Spar Bar while conducting routine bar checks on the night of Dec. 10, 2009. Officers entered the upstairs nightclub and discovered two poker tables surrounded by about a dozen card players. A laptop computer attached to a monitor displayed chip counts, a countdown timer and ante amounts, police reports said.

Koril, 30, reportedly told police that he was unaware the poker game was illegal and that it was being done for charity.

Several players told police they believed the Texas hold ‘em tournament was meant to benefit local charities, such as the local food bank. The manager of the Bonner Community Food Center said she was unaware of the fundraiser and didn’t know who Koril or Solis were, however.

Officers recovered $900 that was allegedly to be divided among the top three competitors. Ninety dollars was allegedly set aside for “charity,” according to the police reports.

The allegations did not surface until June, when the citations were issued.

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