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French Court Rules That Poker Is Game Of Skill

4/8/2011
While it’s an argument that has long been debated in the UK and US with very limited success, the question of whether or not poker can be classified as a game of skill took an unexpected turn in France this week.

There, in a court in Toulouse, it was reportedly ruled that the game featured so many elements that were dictated by a players ability level that it could not be classified as gambling and was therefore a game of skill.

While country’s government has appealed the decision, if the ruling was to be upheld it would set a new precedent for poker in France as it would mean that the game could not be taxed under the European gaming laws.

The case arose as a result of the manager of Les Coulisses and St Tropez, Jean-Piere Gleizes, being charged with organising private poker events in a public venue without the requisite license, but the court backed the defendant after hearing expert evidence.

The defendant was supported by the testimony of poker professional, national champions in chess and bridge and a mathematics professor, with the evidence proving sufficient for the French Criminal Court to rule poker was a game of skill.

However, the court did concede that the definition of poker would ultimately reside with the Supreme Court, where it is likely their decision would be overturned, so at present it does not look as though there will be any pressure to reclassify the game.
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