republic man pleads guilty to gambling conspiracy;
operated poker games in his home
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Beth Phillips, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced today that a Republic, Mo., man pleaded guilty in federal court to his role in a conspiracy to conduct an illegal gambling business by operating poker games in his home.
Donald E. Bishop, 66, of Republic, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Richard E. Dorr on Wednesday, Sept. 7, 2011, to the charge contained in a June 22, 2010, federal indictment.
By pleading guilty, Bishop admitted that he was part of a conspiracy to conduct an illegal gambling business between Aug. 1, 2008, and Aug. 28, 2009. For at least one year, Bishop used his residence in Republic to operate a casino-style poker game. Bishop operated two professionally-constructed poker tables, employed professional dealers and waitresses, and received payments (known in the industry as a rake) for each hand dealt.
The games played were usually Texas Hold’em or Omaha and required a $2 small blind and a $5 big blind. The house took a rake for each hand and dealt 15-20 hands an hour per table. Each table could accommodate 10 players and the games were scheduled Sunday through Thursday, beginning at 2 p.m. and sometimes lasting until the following morning.
On at least 14 occasions Bishop exchanged poker chips for cash in amounts up to $500 per transaction with a confidential informant and an undercover law enforcement officer in furtherance of the operation of the gambling business. Bishop also employed a dealer who exchanged poker chips for cash with a confidential informant on at least two occasions.
Under the terms of today’s plea agreement, the government will recommend a sentence of probation. A sentencing hearing will be scheduled after the completion of a presentence investigation by the United States Probation Office.
This case is being prosecuted by Supervisory Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael S. Oliver. It was investigated by IRS-Criminal Investigation, the FBI, the Missouri State Highway Patrol and the Republic, Mo., Police Department.