January 28, 2009 (CAP Newswire) — Another U.S. state court has ruled that poker cannot be prosecuted as gambling, several news sources are reporting today. This ruling contributes to a new trend of court verdicts that are classifying online poker as a game of skill and not a game of chance, possibly helping it to escape the illegal status with which online gambling has been burdened since the U.S. passed UIGEA in 2006.
Poker News Daily's Tom Jenkins writes: "The PPA noted that, under Colorado law, illegal gambling as it pertained to the case is defined as 'means risking any money, credit, deposit, or other thing of value for gain contingent in whole or in part upon lot, chance, the operation of a gambling device, or the happening or outcome of an event, including a sporting event, over which the person taking a risk has no control, but does not include bona fide contests of skill.'
"The outcome hinged on whether poker was a game of skill or a game of chance in Colorado. Professor Robert Hannum, Professor of Statistics at the University of Denver, served an instrumental role in claiming that poker is indeed a game of skill, serving as an expert witness. According to the Coloradoan, the PPA paid for Hannum’s appearance."
This verdict follows recent similar rulings in two other states: Kentucky (where the legal battle over 141 seized domain names had been raging for months), and Pennsylvania, where a judge ruled that Texas Hold 'Em is a game of skill in that state. The Kentucky ruling will be appealed to that state's supreme court.
The Poker News Daily article goes on to quote John Pappas, Executive Director of the Poker Players Alliance, on the recent pro-poker rulings: "The momentum continues in our favor and the PPA will continue to champion such causes in other states as well as at the national level."
According to Colorado's Greeley Tribune, Kevin Raley, the defendant in the Colorado case, was hoping to add Colorado to this growing list of states that have gone on record to classify poker as a game of skill, and not a game of chance. "He wanted to do his part in building what he called a 'mountain' of cases of positive verdicts for poker and poker players," writes the Tribune's Dan England.