2/20/10 – Last year’s attempts to bring the legalization of poker on to the ballot in Massachusetts may have failed but fans of the game have not given up on lobbying for a more sensible classification of poker as a game of skill.
Tuesday next week will see a hearing in the Economic Development and Emerging Technologies Committee of the east coast state that will feature a discussion of whether poker should legally be considered a game of skill. And supporting the measure is the influential Harvard-based Global Poker Strategic Thinking Society (GPSTS).
According to Andrew Woods of the GPSTS, the proposed bill will remove poker legally from its present classification as a game of chance. The game is currently defined as a lottery, which Woods feels is inappropriate as well as being inaccurate.
That could all change if Bill 4069 sponsored by Massachusetts State Representative Brian Wallace – a Democrat – has his way. The measure is pointed in its language in declaring poker a game of skill, which could effectively remove it from the restrictions of gambling as a game of chance.
Speaking for the GPSTS, Woods said: “We’re interested in being involved because the bill follows our goals and interests. The bill very precisely states that poker is a game of skill. Across the country, you’re seeing a lot of states coming up against the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) and instead looking at intrastate poker.
“They can’t get around the federal law, but they can allow it within their own state.”
The GPSTS was founded by the widely respected Harvard Law Professor Charles Nesson and uses poker to teach strategic thinking, geopolitical analysis, risk assessment, and money management. GPSTS chapters can be found coast-to-coast, including at Dartmouth, New York University, UCLA, the University of Michigan, and Stanford, and Nesson has featured in several high profile discussions and debates on the chance vs. skill argument.