DICRISTINA RULING REVERSED BY US COURT
06th August, 2013 at 18:23:02
USA Appeals Court reinstates poker conviction
The Second USA Circuit Court of Appeals in New York reversed the DiCristina ruling Tuesday.
While the judgment doesn't dispute the original finding that poker is a game of skill which was handed down by Judge Jack Weinstein in August last year (see previous report), it does mean that Lawrence DiCristina who was charged with hosting Texas Hold'em games is eligible for prosecution.
At the time Weinstein ruled that DiCristina could not be prosecuted in terms of the Federal Illegal Gambling Business Act as the statute was ambiguous in what gambling it covered, saying Texas Hold'em didn't fall under the law as it was "predominated by skill".
Weinstein's conclusion immediately received widespread mainstream media coverage across the United States and has been used as precedent in numerous arguments since.
"Because we find no such ambiguity, we decline to limit the statute's reach beyond its plain terms," wrote USA Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Chester Straub in the latest finding.
Poker advocacy group the Poker Players' Alliance (PPA) reacted to the determination saying the decision was unfortunate but was quick to point out that it didn't dispute the skill vs. chance debate.
Today's decision by the 2nd Circuit Court, while unfortunate, only adds to the growing call for federal clarity on the definition of gambling. The 2nd Circuit clearly did not dispute the district court's finding that poker is a game of skill. This is a key point distinguishing poker from the types of gambling games that Congress and state legislatures have often tried to prohibit. What the court did was conclude that the IGBA does not set forth an independent federal definition of gambling, but instead only incorporates state law," said John Pappas, executive director of the PPA.
Ample academic studies and judicial rulings at the state and federal level have concluded that poker is indeed a game of skill. Period. The PPA will continue to advocate for a clear, federal definition of gambling as a game predominated by chance, thus preserving the right of Americans to play this great game of skill.
The PPA stands ready to support Mr. DiCristina should he choose to appeal this decision, and we are committed to working through the judicial and legislative processes to establish a clear definition of gambling based on the predominance test, Pappas concluded.
The case, sent back to Weinstein for sentencing, carries a maximum 10-year prison term.
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