French court hands down landmark poker ruling

Posted by Steve Ruddock on Aug 05, 2011 Posted in Legal Poker News | No Comments »

There was a good news/bad news ruling handed down by a French judge in Toulous this week concerning whether poker is a game of skill or of luck. The outcome saw defendant Jean-Pierre Gleizes, manager of St. Tropez and Les Coulisses convince the court that poker was indeed a game of skill, after being charged with organizing private, unlicensed, poker games. The prosecution immediately appealed the ruling after the verdict was handed down.

The court came to the decision after the defense paraded a number of expert witnesses in front of the court including a poker pro, a math professor, and a chess champion.

The case gets extremely interesting because under France’s current legislation, the fact that poker is considered a game of chance, which is the only types of online gaming permitted under current regulations! So, should the Supreme Court uphold the lower court’s decision casinos and online casinos in France would no longer fall under the taxation laws implemented when France passed its online gaming bill in 2009. Instead the taxation burden would fall on French poker players, as the country would no longer view online poker winnings as gambling winnings, instead they would be taxed as income –a much higher rate in France.

While very few experts think the Supreme Court will uphold the decision, you really never know what is going to happen in cases like these! This could be the one time that poker players unite in an effort to convince authorities that the game is completely luck-based!

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