Law Offices of Tim Powers, Denton Texas
The US Supreme Court has declined to decide whether poker is a contest
of skill or is instead a game of chance covered by a federal law directed
at illegal gambling.
Groups representing millions of poker-playing Americans had hoped a victory
for them would help clear the way for legalizing online poker. The case
before the court involved the traditional card game, one that past Supreme
Court justices, as well as presidents and members of Congress, were known to enjoy.
In June of 2011, federal agents broke up an after-hours game played in
the back room of an electric bicycle warehouse on Long Island. The business
owner, Lawrence DiCristina, hosted games of Texas Hold ‘Em and in
return took five percent of the pot in each hand played.
DiCristina was charged with violating the federal Illegal Gambling Business
Act, a 1970’s-era organized crime law. Its definition of gambling
lists several forms — including slot machines, lotteries, and bookmaking
— that his lawyers argued were games of chance.
A federal judge agreed and tossed out the conviction, ruling that poker
was a game of skill in which "increased proficiency boosts a player’s
chance of winning and affects the outcome of individual hands as well
as a series of hands."
Expert poker players, he said, "draw on an array of talents, including
facility with numbers, knowledge of human psychology, and powers of observation
But a federal appeals court reinstated DiCristina’s conviction, ruling
that whatever else the anti-gambling law encompasses, it includes any
gambling operation that’s illegal under state law. New York statutes,
the court said, cover poker.
By declining to take up the appeal, the Supreme Court Monday left his conviction intact.
If you are seeking aggressive criminal representation by an experienced
criminal defense attorney for your Denton County criminal case or arrest
in Denton County, contact the offices of Tim Powers today. There is no
charge or obligation for the initial consultation. 940.580.2899
*Tim Powers is an attorney licensed to practice law by the Supreme Court
of Texas. Nothing in this article is intended to be legal advice. For
legal advice about any specific legal question you should directly consult
an attorney. Criminal Defense Lawyers with Unparalleled Passion for Success
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