Pennsylvania Court Now Rules Poker Illegal

Written by:
Ace King
Published on:
Feb/03/2009

Just weeks after Pennsylvania Judge Thomas A. James Jr.  found that poker is a "game of skill", a Western Pennsylvania court has ruled otherwise.

A western Pennsylvania judge says poker tournaments are illegal gambling under state law and has refused to dismiss charges against three men.

Attorney David Millstein has argued the state law prohibiting illegal gambling is vague because it does not specifically list poker. Millstein says poker is also not gambling because it involves skill, not mere chance.

Westmoreland County Judge Richard McCormick Jr., however, ruled that poker is covered by the state gambling law.

Millstein represents 65-year-old attorney Larry Burns who has organized Texas Hold 'Em tournaments at volunteer fire departments. Burns doesn't deny doing that, but argues the tournaments aren't illegal under the state law.

McCormick's ruling applies to two other men charged with similar offenses.

The Burns poker case has been well publicized on the Gambling911.com website in recent months. 

Judge James, in his ruling last month, stated that: "Simply, if chance predominates, Texas Hold'em is gambling. If skill predominates, it is not gambling."

The case against the individuals in that case was dismissed as a result.

Ace King, Gambling911.com 

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