5/12/10 – Colorado poker fans have just been dealt a losing hand, reports The Denver Post, noting that the Colorado Supreme Court has declined without comment to review a lower court’s decision that poker is considered gambling under state law.
The case dates from 2008 following a probe by the Colorado Bureau of Investigation of a $20 buy-in Texas Hold’em tournament (see previous InfoPowa reports).
Five organisers of the tournament were arrested and charged with illegal gambling, despite arguments that in poker skill is more dominant than luck, and the game is therefore excluded from the legal definition “game of chance.”.
In January last year, a county court jury acquitted the first defendant to go to trial, Kevin Raley, and charges against the others were subsequently dropped. During trial, the defendant called an expert, University of Denver professor Bob Hannum – to testify that poker is a game of skill.
Raley also presented evidence that players in the tournament had a social relationship. Jurors didn’t state a reason for the not-guilty verdict, and it remains unclear which argument swayed them.
The state appealed to the district court, seeking to clarify Colorado’s gambling laws in regard to poker for future prosecutions.
Last August, District Court Judge James Hartmann ruled that the county court judge erred in allowing Hannum to testify because poker is already considered gambling under Colorado law.
Raley, with support from the Poker Players Alliance, then asked the state Supreme Court to review the case, which it has now declined to do, leaving Judge Hartmann’s decision in place….and poker out in the cold..