Supreme Court could decide fate of poker games

ATLANTA --The Supreme Court could determine once and for all whether a friendly poker game at your house is illegal gambling or not.

Georgia has been cracking down on illegal gambling -- so far just gaming machines, like a bust in southwest Atlanta last fall.

"We've made 16 arrests thus far since our unit was established and we still have active cases going on statewide," said Cindy Ledford, the head of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation's Commercial Gambling Unit.

Raids have also been made on houses, like one in Duluth in 2012. Thousands of dollars of cash, and again machines, were seized but there have been no raids on anyone hosting poker games.

"Never say never, doesn't mean it's always going to be that way but right now were are here to address the machines," Ledford said.

But the feds have been trying to crack down on poker matches.

Like the case of Lawrence DiChristina, of New York, who is fighting back in a petition to the Supreme Court. He says he is now a 'federal felon because he hosted poker games for money in his bicycle shop.' He says the feds misapplied the law because poker is a 'game of skill not a game of chance'.

The feds have fired back stating that he operated a poker club in the back room of a New York warehouse, bringing in tens of thousands of dollars per night, violating the Illegal Gambling Business Act. The Justice Department argues that the law is 'driven by concerns about the revenue generated by large scale gambling business rather than the games that were played.'

So will poker players come up with a winning hand, or will the government beat them? As they say in Vegas, "the house always wins". The Supreme Court could decide whether to take up the case on Friday February, 21st.


To find out more about Facebook commenting please read the
Conversation Guidelines and FAQs

Leave a Comment