New Zealand court rules in favor of poker

Posted by Steve Ruddock on Jun 24, 2010 Posted in Legal Poker News | No Comments »

In a groundbreaking ruling a New Zealand court has delivered a huge blow to opponents of online poker, and poker in general. The ruling comes on the heels of charges being filed that claimed .net poker site domains violated the Gambling Act of 2003. Judge David J Harvey dismissed all charges in the case and went on to further clarify the court’s position on online poker, and on live tournament poker.

Not only did the court find that .net websites are not gambling sites, but it also found that they are not related to their .com partner sites.

Additionally the judge rules that poker tournaments –the APPT in particular—is not gambling because of the preset entrant’s fee, and the prize-pool awarded at the conclusion of the tournament. The APPT came under fire because of PokerStars.net sponsorship of the tour.

The ruling could have ramifications across the globe as poker players seek to legitimize the game on a number of fronts, most notably that poker is a game of skill.

Here are Harvey’s complete remarks:

“Firstly, the nature of the material in the advertisements made it clear that what was being advertised was free websites that do not involve gambling. Secondly, the .com website is not mentioned at any time. Unless the user knew of the existence of the .com website, no association could be made between PokerStars and that particular website. A third reason for rejecting the suggestion that .net and .com sites involve a distinction without a difference lies in the very internet itself….the navigational realties of the internet mean that there is a very significant difference between web addresses of any nature, be they .net .com and .org even although they may be associated with a similar domain name.”.

“I do not agree that the way in which the APPT is structured amounts to gambling. It does not involve the payment of consideration based upon the outcome of the game. It involves the splitting of a sum of money derived from the payment of entry fees between the winning players. Although poker is usually associated with some form of gambling, because players do not make side bets on the outcome of each hand that element of wagering upon the outcome, or paying consideration or a stake, is not present”.

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