Posts Tagged ‘Judge Jack Weinstein’

Shifting Opinions: United States v. DiCristina

Fine lines persist between skill games and gambling crimes

by , Sep 18, 2012 | 1:50 pm

I intended to blog about the DiCristina decision since it was released on August 21st, but I haven’t made the time until now. With the usual great commentary about the case coming from all over the gaming spectrum, many of the more interesting points about the facts of the case itself and about what it means for poker have already been made. This post is really intended to be something of a summary of the commentary and reactions to date. If nothing else, hopefully Pokerati can act as a repository of documents and reflections on the case.

The Decision
Let’s start with the facts and the decision itself, a copy of which is here (all 120 pages of it). This summer, a jury convicted Lawrence DiCristina of operating (and of conspiracy to operate) an illegal gambling business contrary to the federal Illegal Gambling Business Act (IGBA). Those were the only federal charges against him. Mr. DiCristina ran a two-table, twice-weekly poker club in the back room of a Staten Island warehouse. The house at this business charged a 5 percent rake; the dealers were paid 25 percent of the rake collected. The defendant brought a motion for acquittal, arguing that the operation of the poker games didn’t violate the IGBA. The US District Judge in the case, Jack Weinstein, wrote his memorandum, order, and judgment in response to this motion. After an extensive discussion of the statute and its relationship to poker, Judge Weinstein vacated Mr. DiCristina’s conviction and dismissed the indictment.


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Federal Court Rules Poker a Game of Skill, Not Illegal Gambling

Whoop-whoop! Update from the PPA

by , Aug 22, 2012 | 1:30 pm

I have great news. Yesterday, a federal court — the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York — ruled that poker is a game of skill and is not illegal gambling under the Illegal Gambling Businesses Act (IGBA)!

PPA played a central role in the case of U.S. v DiCristina. In coordination with the defendant’s lawyer, PPA provided the arguments and briefs and extensive expert testimony. Lawyers representing PPA wrote the principal briefs and presented the principal oral arguments. Judge Jack Weinstein’s opinion relied heavily upon the information the PPA provided the court.

This was the first federal court decision on whether poker is a game of skill rather than gambling. In his ruling, Judge Weinstein said, “Neither the text of the IGBA nor its legislative history demonstrate that Congress designed the statute to cover all state gambling offenses. Nor does the definition of ‘gambling’ include games, such as poker, which are predominated by skill.”

I hope you will take a moment to read this historic decision and PPA’s amicus brief supporting the argument that poker is a game of skill (click here for both). I also urge you to check out the Associated Press coverage (here), as it summarizes everything nicely and provides great information on PPA’s involvement in this case on behalf of the poker community.

This decision reinforces to all of us that now is the time for Congress to enact a fair and reasonable regulatory model that protects players and provides for a stable market for online poker in the U.S.
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