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Attorney General admits he's no expert on poker
Written On 5/4/11 By Recentpoker.com staff writer Lenny Wasman :
Attorney General admits he's no expert on poker
Tuesday's House Judiciary Committee oversight hearing on the US Justice Department appeared to be a quiet and inconclusive affair, despite the presence of Attorney General Eric Holder and the recent federal indictments against individuals associated with online poker sites doing business in the United States.
Defending the DoJ action, Holder said its activities against the online poker sites were appropriate.
“We have to enforce the law as it exists and there are laws on the books with regard to Internet gambling that we have to enforce,” said Holder.
“The case that we brought for instance in the Southern District of New York involved pretty substantial amounts of money and big financial institutions and I think those cases are appropriate.”
Asked whether he thought poker was a game of chance or skill, the Attorney General said that he was not a poker player, and that answering such a question was not within the range of his personal capabilities.
“Do you think Phil Ivey is just lucky, he is the world’s greatest poker player?” asked Democratic Representative Steve Cohen of Tennessee.
“I am not sure I know who Phil Ivey is, but I am sure there is some degree of skill that is involved, some degree, I am not a poker player myself,” Holder replied.
Forbes magazine reports that Holder's federal prosecutors in Maryland recently filed a legal memorandum in federal court outlining an argument for why poker was a game of chance in order to support an agreement they reached with James Davitt, who pleaded guilty to operating an illegal gambling business in connection with arrangements Davitt made with Full Tilt Poker to make payments to online poker players.
Holder said it’s up to Congress to clarify the laws on online poker, but added that the Justice Department will enforce the law as it currently exists. He said the Justice Department’s criminal division in Washington D.C. did coordinate with the prosecutors in Manhattan who brought the recent action against the online poker industry’s biggest players.
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