I don’t know if you saw this item in the news … but I find it kind of interesting that defense lawyers for a Utah banker and a businessman indicted on gambling charges are attempting to convince a judge that online poker isn’t really gambling.
The argument is aimed at crippling a prosecution that seeks to permanently shut down the three largest Internet poker companies operating in the United States.
I hope this strategy works. I really do.
The lawyers made their arguments in papers filed in federal court in Manhattan on Friday and Monday, seeking to have charges dismissed against the bank executive, John Campos, and co-defendant Chad Elie.
The government alleges that Elie persuaded Campos to let SunFirst Bank, based in St. George, Utah, process money for foreign-based online poker sites, PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker.
Both men had pleaded not guilty.
Lawyers challenged various gambling charges brought against the men for several reasons, saying the government had stretched gambling laws to bring charges against 11 individuals.
Lawyers for Elie cited the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act, enacted in 1988, which they said puts poker in the same category as bingo and card games, but not with such card games as baccarat or blackjack.
The lawyers said poker differs from gambling games because the company that charges a fee or “rake” to provide a venue for the game — in this case the Internet — does not participate in the game at all.
They said online poker is a game in which the players have some control over the outcome.
‘the players compete against each other on a level playing field, using an array of talents and skill to prevail over their opponents,” the lawyers wrote.