The ongoing debate of online gambling in the U.S. has many twists and turns. Last year we reported on the case of Lawrence DiCristina who ran a Texas Hold ‘EM Poker game out of his warehouse but was not prosecuted. The judge at the time Jack Weinstein found that no federal gambling law was broken because poker is a game of skill and not chance. Basically the Illegal Gambling Business Act of 1970 was aimed at combatting organized crime.

DiCristina was initially convicted under the Act for running his organized poker game at a Staten Island warehouse. However in a ruling today almost a year later the 2nd Circuit did not find the ambiguity that Judge Weinstein found in the statute. According to Circuit Judge Chester Straub,” Because we find no such ambiguity, we decline to limit the statute’s reach beyond its plain terms.”

This revised decision not only has an impact on DiCristina who could face up to 10 years in prison but could also have a negative impact on the overall move towards legalizing online gambling in the U.S. Gambling advocates are adamant to push for a federal definition n of gambling as a game predominated by chance while poker remains a game of skill.

It is difficult to assess what if any serious impact this will have on the attempts to legislate online gambling in the U.S. It seems for every step taken going forward there is always some bureaucracy which sets progress back.