Holder: Case Against Online Poker Sites Involved Substantial Money

Written by:
C Costigan
Published on:
Holder poker

US Attorney General Eric Holder probably could care less whether poker is considered a game of skill or chance as his basis for the April 15 indictments of the three largest US-facing online poker enterprises revolved around the money flow and that substantial financial black hole created as a result.

“We have to enforce the law as it exists and there are laws on the books with regard to Internet gambling that we have to enforce,” said Holder at a House Judiciary Committee hearing. “The case that we brought for instance in the Southern District of New York involved pretty substantial amounts of money and big financial institutions and I think those cases are appropriate.”

Holder made those remarks following a DOJ Oversight Hearing held on Tuesday after a question was posed as to whether he believed poker was a game of chance or skill. 

Holder acknowledged he was unable to answer that specific question but later delve into details related to the actual indictments.

“Do you think Phil Ivey is just lucky, he is the world’s greatest poker player?” asked Democratic Representative Steve Cohen of Tennessee.

“I am not sure I know who Phil Ivey is, but I am sure there is some degree of skill that is involved, some degree, I am not a poker player myself,” Holder replied.

Forbes.com notes that Federal prosecutors in Maryland recently filed a legal memorandum in federal court outlining an argument for why poker was a game of chance in order to support an agreement they reached with James Davitt, who pleaded guilty to operating an illegal gambling business in connection with arrangements Davitt made with Full Tilt Poker to make payments to online poker players.

Two years ago a judge in Pennsylvania ruled poker is a game of skill.

The Poker Players Alliance President John Pappas said following that decision:  “The judge in this case issued a well-researched and reasoned decision which supports arguments the PPA and others have made about poker being a game of predominant skill

“The decision does not have legal precedent outside the two rural counties in Pennsylvania, however, it is a significant victory in the overall battle to demonstrate that poker is not pure chance gambling. The PPA hopes to leverage this win in other trials in other states where we have an opportunity to argue the skill of poker.”

Holder said it’s up to Congress to clarify the laws on online poker, but added that the Justice Department will enforce the law as it currently exists.

- Christopher Costigan, Gambling911.com Publisher


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