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Poker Players Alliance Submits Amicus Brief in Kentucky Domain Case

Written by:
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Published on:
Sep/26/2008
Poker Players Alliance

The Poker Players Alliance (PPA), the leading poker grassroots advocacy group with more than one million members nationwide, today submitted an amicus brief to the Franklin Circuit Court in Kentucky regarding the state's case ordering a seizure of domain names of 141 online gambling websites. The PPA contends that poker, including online poker, is indeed legal under Kentucky state law and is a game of skill, not chance. As such, the basis for the state's seizure of poker-only website domain names is unfounded.

"The actions by the state of Kentucky are not only extreme, but groundless in that it can be clearly proven that poker is indeed a game of skill and not chance and thereby poker Web sites should not be part of the state's action," said John Pappas, executive director of the PPA. "The amicus brief filed on behalf of the PPA today proves this."

Key points of the amicus brief include:

Extensive research citing expert opinion that poker is indeed a game of skill;

References to academic, gaming and artificial intelligence experts citing the fact that skill is an essential element to winning at poker, be it against a human or a computer;

Unequivocal consensus among experts that in the long run a skilled poker player will beat an unskilled poker player;

Kentucky state law asserts that "a contest or game in which eligibility to participate is determined by chance and the ultimate winner is determined by skill shall not be considered gambling" [emphasis added];

Under Kentucky law, poker is a lawful game of skill because the facts can easily sustain a finding that skill of the player predominates over chance in determining outcome;

The current case provides no evidence to suggest that any of the poker games played on any of the 141 websites in question are based on chance as opposed to skill;

Cases in other states as well as a Federal Communications Commission (FCC) letter verify that skill is the dominant factor in the game of poker; and

The case raises First Amendment free speech issues in restricting residents' access to poker websites that contain news, blogs and forums as well as the ability to play poker.

The amicus brief concludes that given the state's lack of evidence that poker as played on any of the websites in question is not a permitted game of skill under Kentucky law, that there is "no reasonable chance of success on the underlying claim of illegality that would support its...basis for forfeiture of the domain names."

In addition to filing the amicus brief, PPA has conducted a massive grassroots campaign to rally the over 13,000 online poker players in the state of Kentucky. PPA members have flooded the offices of Governor Steve Beshear and local elected officials with thousands of letters, emails and phone calls expressing their outrage over this case and urging them to recognize poker as a game of skill and protect their rights to play poker online.

"Poker players in Kentucky are not taking the actions of Governor Beshear and the court lightly. They are outraged - and rightly so - and will speak their mind until this unfounded assault on their freedoms is stopped," continued Pappas.

A copy of the full amicus brief can be found at www.pokerplayersalliance.org

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