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

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.

Take Action

Let’s all do our part to leverage this victory:

  1. Let’s recruit new activists by retweeting & favoriting today’s #Fight4Poker action plan HEREHERE, and HERE, sharing it on our Facebook walls HERE, and sharing it via Google+ HERE.
  2. Let’s send prefilled, editable pro-poker tweets telling Senators Kyl, Reid & McConnell and Rep. Cantor that, with yesterday’s ruling, it’s time to move on poker legislation: HEREHEREHERE, andHERE.
  3. Let’s comment & vote in an NBC News poker poll. It’s a nice shot to win a poll, but it’s also great for us to show media that their readers support this issue and wish to read about it: HERE

4 Comments to “Federal Court Rules Poker a Game of Skill, Not Illegal Gambling”

  1. Pokercheck

    Definitely great news. Thanks for sharing this information!

  2. Jp3

    The Feds are appealing, cross your fingers

  3. Dan Michalski

    I hear ya … and though I think they could find some applications of the law and various interpretations of it that may not be “favorable” to poker (because in some jurisdictions worldwide, for tax purposes it’d be preferable for poker to still be a gambling chance) … what remains here in this ruling is the most academic breakdown over of all the different elements of the game. I mean has any court ever had this sorta explanation of poker to go by before? I don’t think so. So unless the appeals court wants to say this whole thing is flawed … well …

  4. [spam removed]

    Fantastic news!