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Copyright © 2016. All Rights Reserved. Poker History. Editor: Erik Smith.

US COURT RULE POKER IS A GAME OF SKILL

Federal Judge Jack Weinstein says that the game of poker totally depends on skill. Weinstein reveals that the government has failed to display that poker is a game that depends on chance and the fundamental question is not if some chance or skill is included, but the sill that is involved and what element predominates.

In a ruling held today the Federal court said that poker is a skill and is not gambling. Patrick Fleming, who is a Board member and Litigation Support Director of the Poker Player Alliance, told Pokerfuse that the skill vs. luck debate has been an argument by the PPA for many years, so that they can decriminalize the game in the United States.

The Executive Director of the PPA John Pappas said in a press release issued minutes after the decision was that “Today’s federal court ruling is a major victory for the game of poker and the millions of Americans who enjoy playing it”.

It is said that this case is not just a victory for those that support poker but also the PPA who has helped to orchestrate the defense of poker and Dicristina. In addition to presenting the verbal arguments in the case the PPA attorneys “provided the arguments and briefs and extensive expert testimony,” according to today’s PPA press release.

The PPA Lawrence Dicristina was arrested in 2011 for running an illegal gambling business in New York. The charges were dismissed because the defense claimed that the game of poker was a game of skill and was not considered illegal under the Illegal Gambling Business Act. The judge Mr. Weinstein ruled that the decision that poker be called a game of skill or chance was for the court to choose and not the jury.

After being told to continue under the assumption that “running a poker establishment was illegal,” the trial took place as decided and Dicristina was found guilty of violating the IGBA. There was a post-trial hearing to see if poker was considered gambling. At the hearing an expert on poker told the defense that poker was a game that was totally dominated by skill. The prosecution was also quite prepared tried to discredit the testimony which did not work in their favor.

After evaluation of the testimony the Judge dismissed the case and set aside the jury’s guilty verdict. According to Fleming the decision is going to be appealed and this could result in a reversal of Judge Weinstein’s verdict.

Fleming has hinted that the government might be waiting for another case before they begin the appeal and cite that the ruling is only binding in the Eastern District of New York. He has said, “It would be unusual for [the government] not to appeal the reversal of a criminal conviction,” Fleming told Pokerfuse. “Given the use of IGBA to prosecute poker sites and operators has gone on for some time, I think the government will appeal.”

Source: Pokerfuse