Poker may be a game of skill, but that does not protect a man who hosted games of Texas Hold 'em from prosecution under an anti-gambling law, a federal appeals court ruled Tuesday.
The ruling by the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, in New York, reversed a decision last year that Lawrence DiCristina could not be prosecuted because Texas Hold 'em was a game of skill rather than of chance.
At the center of the case is the Illegal Gambling Business Act, a federal law enacted in 1970 to combat organized crime. The law makes it illegal to run a gambling business that violates a state's laws and either earns more than $2,000 a day or remains in operation for more than 30 days.
DiCristina was convicted under the law for running games of Texas Hold 'em at a warehouse in Staten Island, N.Y., which he publicized by text message and word of mouth.
In August 2012, U.S. District Judge Jack Weinstein in Brooklyn set aside the verdict, saying the statute was ambiguous as to what gambling it covered and that Texas Hold 'em—as a game of skill—was not covered.
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But in its ruling Tuesday, the 2nd Circuit disagreed with Weinstein's finding about ambiguity.