In a recent PokerNews report, American gambling expert Maurice VerStanding expressed his opinion on a recent federal court ruling that poker is a game of skill and, therefore, playing poker is not gambling.

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The federal judge, in his 120-page verdict, observes that poker is not a game of chance, but a game of skill and, therefore, does not come in the ambit of the federal gambling law. The related case is that of United States vs. DiCristiana, which was brought in for hearing at the US District Court of Eastern District of New York under the Illegal Gaming Business Act (IGBA).

DiCristiana used to run a perfectly legal bicycle business at a warehouse in New York. Simultaneously, he used to organize poker games in a remote corner of the warehouse. He also had a waitress serve his players free food and drink to encourage them to play as long as possible. The federal authorities got to know of this and immediately indicted him under the IGBA. Initially DiCristiana pleaded guilty, but later his lawyer advised him to withdraw his plea and fight the case on grounds that poker is a game of skill.

Judge Jack B. Weinstein’s 120-page ruling discusses in detail how each state deals with poker and how the federal government deals with it. It points out that there are a large number of poker laws. In fact, each US state has its own gambling law, implemented to regulate its casinos. The judge had rightly pointed out that DiCristiana had indeed violated New York gambling laws, but since he was charged under the federal law, he could not be considered guilty as the federal law hardly mentions poker. It should be recalled that DiCristiana’s warehouse poker room was not raided by the New York police, but by the federal authorities, who later booked him under federal laws.

The IGBA, under which DiCristiana was booked, is part of a US law related to racketeering, and the judge has pointed out that the word “poker” is just not mentioned in this law. The judge stated, “The fact that card games like poker, pinochle, gin rummy, and bridge were so widely played by law-abiding individuals in non- criminal settings may explain its omission from the IGBA.”

Several US states have vague gaming laws that hardly mention the word “poker,” as a result of which lawyers dealing with poker-related cases can now use this ruling for the benefit of their clients.

Tight Poker Staff

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Tight Poker Staff

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For nearly two decades, we’ve provided the best in class for poker site reviews, top online poker bonuses, strategy tips, poker news, and exclusive free poker content.  Consisting of a team of poker and gambling experts, we deliver the best online poker brand experience for players of all levels, from the fish to the sharks.
For nearly two decades, we’ve provided the best in class for poker site reviews, top online poker bonuses, strategy tips, poker news, and exclusive free poker content.  Consisting of a team of poker and gambling experts, we deliver the best online poker brand experience for players of all levels, from the fish to the sharks.