Pool Hall Owners Told Gaming Will Cost Permits

Camden Courier-Post – February 2, 1938

Mrs. Kobus Warns Against Permitting Any Gambling on Premises

Cites Cards Played in Back Rooms

Operators of pool and billiard-halls were warned yesterday by Commissioner Mary W. Kobus, director of public safety, that permanent revocation of licenses will be the penalty if gambling is permitted on the premises.

Commissioner Kobus said she has been investigating reports that some poolroom licensees have been operating card games for large and small stakes in backrooms of their places.

The investigation, the commissioner said, failed to disclose any large gambling enterprises but a few friendly card games for small stakes were revealed.

“I will issue an order to Chief Arthur Colsey and all district lieutenants and sergeants that a closer watch be kept on these so-called poolrooms,” Mrs. Kobus said.

“In days past the average neighborhood room was only a blind for professional card games where the participants played for large stakes.

“Such licensed poolroom operators are amenable to the law, and if they are caught they will be charged as principals and their licenses will be permanently revoked. I will not accept the excuse of any proprietor that he doesn’t know there is gambling in his place.”

‘Majority Law-Abiding’

The Commissioner said she believes the majority of persons holding pool room licenses are law-abiding and that pool and billiards are played for recreation.

It was disclosed by Mrs. Kobus that a former operator of a down town poolroom, whose place was raided as a gambling resort, has been exerting political pressure to obtain a renewal of his license. Mrs. Kobus would not disclose the identity of the man mentioned by her.

“Any Camden citizen who wants a license to operate a poolroom where pool and billiards are to be played does not need to get the help of a politician or a lawyer,” Mrs. Kobus added. “I am not running the department of public safety to satisfy the whims of any politicians or lawyers.

No Lawyer Needed

“Any respectable citizen can have a license. He doesn’t have to pay a lawyer to help him get it, and neither does he have to depend on any politician.

“The applicant who attempts to support his application either with a lawyer or a politician will find him self behind the eight ball.”

Commissioner Kobus said each applicant for such a license will be examined as to his fitness to operate such a place. Those who have any criminal record will be denied such permit, she said.

“It might be a good thing if certain forms of gambling were legalized and revenue obtained for municipalities, the State or by the government,” Mrs. Kobus stated. “But so long as the law specifically states that gambling is Illegal I intend to enforce the laws. I personally am opposed to all forms of organized or commercialized gambling.


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