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October 13, 2006

PokerStars Claims It's Exempt From Online Gambling Ban

Making a claijm similar to British law's distinction between games of skill, like chess, which can be wagered on, and games of chance, like backgammon, which can't be.

British law, according to a friend living in London and in the online gambling business, recognizes poker as a game of skill.

Frankly, I've never really understood this distinction, and I don't see how they can evade the new law's ban on wagers made "subject to chance" (which poker obviously is, even if skill plays a major role), or how a British interpretation can possibly carry in US law, but hey, it's worth a gamble:

LONDON--PokerStars, the world's second-biggest Internet poker firm, said on Thursday that a looming U.S. ban on online gaming would not apply to poker, as it is a game of skill, and its business would continue as usual.

The gambling industry was left reeling this month after the U.S. Congress unexpectedly approved a bill that would make it illegal for companies to accept Internet wagers or for banks to process payments to online gaming companies.

The bill defines gambling as the act of staking something of value on "a sporting event or a game subject to chance" and is expected to be signed into law by President George W. Bush on Friday.

"These provisions do not alter the U.S. legal situation with respect to online poker," privately-owned PokerStars said in a statement.

"Our business continues as before, open to players worldwide including the U.S.," it added. "You may play on our site as you did prior to the act."

At least until the courts rule against Poker Stars, which they will.


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posted by Ace at 04:58 PM

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