South Carolina Court Declares Poker LegalPublished October 7, 2009 by OCR Editor
Charges dismissed against five men who were charged for playing poker in April 2006.
Poker's fight for legal recognition in the United States has been given a boost after a South Carolina court again declared poker to be a game of skill, not a game of chance.
Charges were dismissed on Thursday against five men who were indicted after police raided a poker game in the south-eastern US state in April 2006.
Judge R. Markley Dennis said in his ruling that the men were caught playing a game of skill, not chance, and that their activity could therefore not be considered illegal gambling.
In citing the "overwhelming" evidence that skill is more important than chance, the court ruled that the law was overly broad and vague, as it could be used to convict anyone playing poker in their own home.
Poker advocates in South Carolina and across the United States, led by the Poker Players Alliance, praised the ruling.
"Poker is not a crime in South Carolina or anywhere else, and we are grateful to the court for compiling the overwhelming evidence that proves this case and protects the rights of players," said PPA chief John Pappas.
"The ruling is fully consistent with the declarations of other judges and juries across the country that Texas Hold‘em is clearly a game of predominant skill and adults who play should not be criminalized."
In a similar decision made last January, a Pennsylvania judge also declared poker a game of skill, ruling that the game was not considered illegal gambling under that state's laws.