Draft Barry Bonds, Don’t Drop the Soap

by , Aug 22, 2006 | 3:08 am

One of the most significant cases in forthcoming poker legal fights may be one that has (almost) nothing to do with poker.

A Colorado lawyer has filed a lawsuit (in New Jersey) claiming fantasy football, with any money attached to it, is illegal gambling. The targets of his lawsuit: ESPN, CBS, and The Sporting News. This case brings so many interesting thingies to the fore.

First, the crux of the argument is that fantasy sports is a game of chance, not a game of skill. Wow. But this is AWESOME for poker. Why not let the fantasy sports population — which, perhaps surprisingly, outnumber poker players — do the dirty work on the all-important skill vs. chance issue?

Remember, the legislative masses still hardly understand our poker issues — whether they be regarding charity tournaments in a state (like Texas) or the right to play for money online anywhere in the United States. So we should be happy anytime a potentially bad legal precedent that affects a few million more family-friendly law-abiding citizens comes to light. Again, that is assuming we are on the right side.

It’s also interesting that the NFL and Major League Baseball are two of the big proponents of the Goodlatte and Kyl bills. Obviously they are trying to protect the integrity of their games by limiting gambling on them. But surely both leagues recognize the extreme value of fantasy players when it comes to following their teams, right? Hmm, dilemmas dilemmas.

And last, who is this Charles Humphrey guy? He obviously likes to file lawsuits that are borderline-frivolous to some, cutting-edge and bold to others. He especially seems to like them when they are in states other than his own and come with big potential payouts (in his eyes — I’m no lawyer, you know … but I’m having a hard time seeing what sorta damages he can claim). Anyhow, I am “pretty sure” he is the same guy who spearheaded actions that led to the shutdown of Phil Hellmuth’s planned charity tourney ? in Houston, and possibly Dale Hansen’s “Cards for Kids” in Grand Prairie. (Perhaps someone out there knows for sure?)

To me, this seems to be exactly the kind of guy we poker-biased want to be fighting for the other side. He says with no shame his intent with his lawsuit — which relies on a 300-year-old law — is to make money … for himself. We can only appreciate his honesty. And maybe one of these days he will see that individual human beings can skillfully mitigate unpredictable, unavoidable elements of chance. But even if he doesn’t, with his efforts to get fantasy sports included in anti-online-poker legislation … it’s more certain that the law-abiding and law-making masses will.

ALT HED: Awesome, More Criminals

5 Comments to “Draft Barry Bonds, Don’t Drop the Soap”

  1. Kevin Mathers

    I think he’s actually supporting poker himself by filing the lawsuit against fantasy spots. If you look at his website, http://www.gambling-law-us.com , you’ll see he was a funder and co-creator of Poker’s Tournament of Champions that started in the late 90’s.


  2. Easycure

    His compaint states:

    WHEREFORE, plaintiff respectfully request the following relief:
    A. Pursuant to the State Qui Tam Gambling-Loss Recovery Laws, recovering all money lost by players participating in defendants’ unlawful gambling schemes, increased by the applicable multiple thereof, if any, under those laws during the relevant periods applicable under those laws and awarding all, or one-half thereof to plaintiff Humphrey and the other half, if applicable, to the appropriate state or local agency as provided under those laws; and

    B. Declaratory, equitable and injunctive relief; attorneys’ fees and costs of suit incurred herein; and such further relief as the Court deems just and proper.”

    So basically, he’s suing Fantasy Sports companies for the money WE bought teams with.

    It’s laughable.

    In my State of Washington, his website (as noted above by Kevin) promotes online poker, which is ILLEGAL itself.

    This guy is a moron.

  3. jeh

    What does this really prove? Nothing more than that all class-action lawyers are total and utter shitbags.

  4. Meat

    Regarding the question of standing: This is a unique area of the law that allows an action to be brought on behalf of the public interest. It builds on an action that is usually brought by the Attorney General, called a Quo Warranto action. This, brought by a private plaintiff, is similarly brought on behalf of the public and is called a Qui Tam action. As I understand it, the normal constitutional requirement of “Standing” is relaxed in the interests of the public; and plaintiff is enticed to bring the action with the prospect of taking up to half of the award.

    This is definitely an old-school action, which is evidenced by the origins of the term Qui Tam. Its name is an abbreviation of the phrase “qui tam pro domino rege quam pro seipse,” meaning “he who sues for the king as well as for himself.” By my records, we haven’t had a king since Elvis passed on.

    From the looks of his website, this is definitely a “test case” that is intended to shake up the focus on online bookies and poker websites. Maybe it’ll work.

  5. TFB

    Barry Bonds plays baseball, dude! 🙂