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U.K. court says poker is a game of chance

12 February 2008

A British appeals court declared this week that poker is a game of chance under U.K. law, and Gutshot will need a license if it wants to offer the game in a private club.

 fs_gutshot.jpg

Gutshot, which operates popular online poker room and community Gutshot.com, opened a brick-and-mortar facility in 2004 to complement its online business.

But the British government shut it down and charged Gutshot with operating a (land-based) poker room without a license.

Gutshot defended itself in court by arguing that poker was a game of skill, and therefore not prohibited the 1968 Gaming Act.

During the Gutshot's original trial, Buffalo State business law professor Joe Kelly testified that "poker is overwhelmingly a game of skill."

But the British courts have ruled that poker "contains a significant element of chance, and therefore is a prohibited."

The key distinction is the significance of chance, Kelly said.

In chess, the element of chance is insignificant so that game is not prohibited, Kelly said.

Gutshot has one appeal left -- to Britain's highest court -- but its chances of victory are remote.

U.K. court says poker is a game of chance is republished from Online.CasinoCity.com.
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Best of Vin Narayanan
Vin Narayanan

Vin Narayanan is the managing editor at Casino City. When he's not writing or editing stories, he likes to play Chinese Poker, Badugi, Razz and any other "non-traditional" poker game. He also thinks blackjack is his best game and loves game theory.

Before joining Casino City, Vin covered (not all at the same time) sports, politics and elections, wars, technology, celebrities and the Census for USATODAY.com, USA WEEKEND and CNN.

A proud graduate of Michigan State University, Vin can be found on most nights and weekends trying to find a way to watch the Spartans play football or basketball.

Vin Narayanan
Vin Narayanan is the managing editor at Casino City. When he's not writing or editing stories, he likes to play Chinese Poker, Badugi, Razz and any other "non-traditional" poker game. He also thinks blackjack is his best game and loves game theory.

Before joining Casino City, Vin covered (not all at the same time) sports, politics and elections, wars, technology, celebrities and the Census for USATODAY.com, USA WEEKEND and CNN.

A proud graduate of Michigan State University, Vin can be found on most nights and weekends trying to find a way to watch the Spartans play football or basketball.