This ruling was made in a case against an electronics dealer in New York who was running Texas Hold ‘Em poker game out of his warehouse. Judge Weinstein found that no federal gambling law was broken due to poker been defined as game of skill.
The online poker industry in the U.S is huge with over $20 billion wagered in 2010 according to H2Gambling Capital. While this amount has gone down due to the crackdown by the federal authorities, things are looking up for online poker. Only recently did PokerStars reach an agreement with the U.S. Justice Department which would enable them to re-launch Full Tilt Poker. The State of Nevada has already issued online poker licenses to South Point Casino which made them the first new legal-real-money online poker site in U.S. history.
This decision by Judge Weinstein is seen by many as another step towards legalizing the game. Supporters of online poker are hoping that this ruling will spur Congress and state legislatures to regulate the industry.
By defining poker as a game of skill puts online poker in a different category from other forms of gambling. According to executive director of the Poker Players Alliance, John Pappas, this demonstrates that poker should be treated differently than other forms of gaming. Hopefully that will lead toward regulation.”
Online poker is seen as one of the foremost online gambling options. Major gaming companies like Zynga have already announced their intention to launch a real money poker offering in the first half of 2013. Other major brands like Ultimate Poker from the Fertitta Brothers are also hoping to launch a real-money online poker offering as soon as it is legally possible to do so. It remains to be seen if this decision by Judge Weinstein will go down as a historic precedent which will change the U.S. online poker industry forever.