A Manhattan-based federal judge has ruled against the dismissal of the April indictment, indicating success for the criminal poker case filed by the US federal government.

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Lewis Kaplan, the judge of the Manhattan court, ruled against dismissing the federal government’s case against John Campos, the former vice chairman of a bank in Utah, who had allegedly processed funds related to online poker gambling, and Chad Elie, an online processor of gambling funds who used illegal ways to allow the flow of funds between online poker rooms and online poker players in the US. The two had requested a dismissal of the federal government’s case against them.

The defendants had tried to argue that poker is not a game of chance. The court ruling is not surprising because the judge had already made a pre-trial statement in December that the “defendants’ argument that poker is not gambling fails, at least at this stage” and that “it would be extraordinarily unlikely that the entire indictment will be dismissed.”

Post ruling, all eight counts made by the federal government against Elie, Campos, and six others remain intact. Three of them have pleaded guilty already.

Judge Kaplan found several flaws in the arguments of reputed gaming lawyers such as Paul Clement, the former solicitor general of the US, who argued the case for Elie and Campos in December. The judge stated that Elie and Campos cannot be exempted on grounds of being only online payment processors as they knew about bets and worked for illegal online gambling companies. According to the judge, the fact that the two violated the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) of 2006 cannot be overlooked.

Stating that the argument that poker is not a game of chance and that betting on poker games cannot be considered gambling is not surprising, the judge said that Elie and Campos will have to defend themselves against the federal government’s charge that they acted in violation of the Illegal Gambling Business Act. In brief, he stated that no count can be dismissed at present owing to lack of evidence.

Elie and Campos will be going on trial the following month, nearly one year after Manhattan-based US attorney Preet Bharara confiscated the domain names of Full Tilt Poker, PokerStars, and Absolute Poker, charged 11 people associated with these online poker rooms, and slapped a lawsuit worth $3 billion against these companies, their board of directors, and founders.

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