A Virginia State Senator named Louise Lucas is looking to bring her state’s gambling laws into the 21st century by redefining poker as a game of skill.

It’s a strategy that’s worked in reforming gambling laws in other states, but it’s also a strategy she’s tried unsuccessfully at least twice in recent years.

On its face, there’s nothing particularly controversial about the contents of SB1400. At its core, the bill seeks to re-categorize poker as a game of skill with the following legal definition:

Poker games shall be deemed games of skill, and nothing in this subdivision shall be construed to make any such game illegal gambling.

While this redefinition should be music to the ears of reform-minded gamblers, it won’t be creating a land rush for professional poker players. Unfortunately, the bill holds poker tournaments to a legal limit of $100 a hand. Those games wouldn’t be held in traditional casinos either.

Under the terms of SB1400, Virginia’s only legal poker tournaments would take place at licensed bingo parlors. (Which would give Phil Ivey a chance to see if edge sorting work on bingo cards, too.)

While SB1400 isn’t exactly what most poker players would like to see, its passage would represent a major step forward for Dominion State gaming laws. Virginia is hardly the most gambling friendly state in the union and making even a few steps worth of progress would considered a major achievement.

Of course the chances of SB1400 actually passing into law are pretty slim. This is Lucas’ third attempt at re-defining Virginia poker. Both previous attempts were voted down.


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