At the PPA rally on Tuesday, it was revealed that Representative Joseph Barton (R-TX) will introduce a bill that would repeal the UIGEA and declare poker a game of skill, not chance. I don’t want to stop getting my hopes up every time one of these poker savior bills are talked up. But there have been many (Rep. Frank’s bill, for example…), and none have panned out. Frankly, none have come close. It’s almost like a parent stringing a child along knowing full well that she is not going to buy the kid the G.I. Joe aircraft carrier. (Sorry, wrong blog.) Still, I can’t prevent myself from getting excited every time I hear of one of these bills. It’s just so darn promising, in theory. It’s that hope that comes from the promise of the unknown. And while intellectually I know all of these bills are long shots, I can’t help but hope this is the one that pans out. So here’s to hoping, and to never giving up on the collector’s edition Millennium Falcon.
Tag: game of chance
The Motley Fool is a very well respected financial source. People take it seriously. So it’s great to see it do a pro-poker piece. But the article is even better than that because it relies on a study done by the guys who wrote Freakonomics and are top notch economists and scholars. So what did the study and article conclude? Just that poker is, empirically, a game of skill. But read the link cause there is much much more in it. The pro-poker pieces are beginning to pour in from legitimate sources (NYT, WSJ, CNN, etc.). Momentum is building in the public!
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder testified today at a Department of Justice hearing held by the House Judiciary Committee. Basically, he punted on all major issues. But it was nice to see that he testified that there is at least some skill in poker. Better yet, it was great to hear multiple members of the Congress bombard him with pointed questions. Let’s keep up the PPA’s push and persuade even more Congresspeople to push the internet poker agenda. Public enemy #1 was killed. Time to kill poker enemy #1.
I’ve posted on this before (I think) years ago, and certainly thought about it after living in NYC for decades, but rather than reinvent the wheel I’ve decided in these troubling times simply to pass on another bloggers post. At the end of the piece he questions why the SDNY is pursuing the action and not the jurisdictions in which state law specifically outlaws online poker. I cannot be certain – only US Attorney General Holder knows the answer – but I would harbor a guess that the SDNY took action for a variety of reasons, including that Manhattan is the home of numerous large banks that have been hampered by the UIGEA’s requirements, the SDNY often takes the lead in pursuing advanced financial fraud, and NY federal law (precisely because of the first two reasons) is more developed than most jurisdictions on financial issues. One other point about the post. The allegations include bank fraud (i.e., lying to the banks about what the companies did) as opposed to admitting it was poker-related. This is a significant distinction as proving poker is a game of skill will not remove the bank fraud allegations. In other words, the sites still could be shut down. Well, at least Absolute Poker.
Hawaii has one of, if not the, strictest anti-gambling legal policies in the country. Basically, everything is illegal. That may change soon. A bill has made it out of the first round of committees that would classify poker as a game of skill. Not a game of chance. The intended effect of this is to make both online and live poker legal in the state. Presumably, to bring in much needed revenue. Surf, shrimp trucks, and poker. Hevean no longer is a ballfield in
[Please excuse my delinquency. Normally I link to an insightful article on the topic. Sadly, the internet connection where I am now blocks all "gambling" websites. And there is no way to tell the error message that poker is not gambling.]
On Thursday, the PPA is organizing a rally outside of the Washington state capitol building. The purpose is to protest the state’s harsh anti-online poker law. If you’re in the area, or want to fly in for it (the PPA is covering much of the cost, include hotels), stop on by. I’m sure your support will greatly welcomed.
Now this is cool. Some high-ranking judges in Sweden were convinced to take poker lessons as part of their adjudication of a trial involving an arguably illegal poker tournament. The issue of course is whether poker is a game of skill or a game of chance. The lesson was intended to teach the judiciary that poker is a game of skill, with luck determining only the cards that are dealt and not the outcome of the hand. Now if only American judges would follow our Scandinavian counterparts’ lead.
In a blow to home game/underground club poker hopefuls in Switzerland, the nation’s Supreme Court ruled that poker is a game predominantly governed by chance, not skill. As such, it deemed poker for profit (including tournaments illegal). The Court did permit the small social game among family and friends. Underlying the Court’s ruling, which the Court acknowledged, is a concern for the effects of problem gamblers. Interestingly, also underlying the Court’s decision, though this was not acknowledged, is that the country reaps significant revenue from legal casinos that likely oppose legalization of club-type poker games. Got to love conflicts of interest. While the ruling has no binding effect on U.S. law, any ruling that poker is a game of luck is bad. And certainly will be cited by poker opponents as indications of what others think on the issue.
Argument in South Carolina before the state Supreme Court over whether poker is illegal gambling took an unexpected turnwhen prosecutors reversed their stance and conceded that casual poker, such as the penny ante home game, is not illegal gambling. The state still holds that organized gambling for profit is illegal. The turn of events is designed to make the state’s previous argument — that all poker is illegal — look less farcical. South Carolina is hoping that by focusing on the particular acts at hand in the immediate case, and the more “seriously” organized games generally, it can convince the Supreme Court that at least certain forms of poker should be deemed illegal.
This appears to be a dangerous strategy. Where do you draw the line between casual and non-casual? Is conceding that some forms of poker are legal detrimental to the broader argument? By conceding that the penny ante home game is legal, is the state ultimately conceding that all poker is legal? Related, it is fair to assume that the players are more skilled in the higher limit, more organized games. If this is so, then the state effectively is arguing that the games with more “skill” are the ones that should be illegal while the all-in non-skill friendly fests are legal. Strange. Valid? We should have the answers fairly soon.
Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear again has won a victory in the Kentucky courts in his quest to use an antiquated law that permits the recovery of gambling losses from illegal gambling. This notch in his belt requires the internet poker domain owners to appear personally in court, rather than through a representative, such as iMEGA. While this may appear to be a trivial issue, do not underestimate its importance. Jurisdiction is a necessary element in all litigations, and appearing personally is a step along the path to securing it.
As for the merits of Kentucky’s argument, which has been discussed on this blog before, somebody please explain to me how it is not hypocritical for a state known mostly for its horseracing (gambling!) to claim another form of gambling — and arguably one that is not pure luck — is not equally valid. It’s not even clear that internet poker is illegal in the U.S. At most, clarity on the issue extends only to the transfer of money via U.S. financial institutions. Not to the wagering itself. I get the Governor’s true motives, which obviously are to protect Kentucky’s horseracing industry and bolster his state’s coffers. Valid motives, but he needs to be called on it. Call a horse a horse and argue the issue on its merits. Admit the hypocrisy, and then argue the validity of relying on a century old statute to collect from internet-based operators on its own merits.