US Supreme Court Refuses Poker Case

Recently, the United States Supreme Court had an opportunity to clarify the laws related to poker, but declined to do so:

Feb 24 (Reuters) – The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday declined to weigh whether poker is a contest of skill or luck, meaning people can still be prosecuted under federal law for organizing games.

The court said it would not hear an appeal filed by Lawrence DiCristina, who was convicted under the law, the Illegal Gambling Business Act, for running games of “Texas Hold ‘Em” at a warehouse in Staten Island, New York, which he publicized by text message and word of mouth.

Poker advocates say the government has stacked the deck by using a law aimed at targeting organized crime to punish people organizing small-stakes games. They point out poker should not be covered by the law in part because it is a game of skill rather than a game of chance. In the law, the definition of gambling mentions only games of chance, DiCristina’s supporters say.

In August, the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York reversed a district court decision from 2012 that said DiCristina could not be prosecuted because “Texas Hold ‘Em” was a game of skill. The appeals court accepted that poker is a game of skill but said DiCristina could still be prosecuted.

Sure wish this silly question would get decided once and for all. Obviously, Poker is predominantly a game of skill, though current law is vague enough for senseless prosecutions to continue.

It’s a shame that the Supremes didn’t have the courage to tackle this issue, though given some of their recent decisions, a logical outcome would not be a foregone conclusion…

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