In January this year a high court judge ruled that poker was not a game of skill in the now infamous Gutshot Court case. A few months ago a similar hearing deemed that poker was in fact a sport in a Russian courtroom. As we speak in the US a skill games exception bill is trying to make it through congress and hopefully will be influenced by the news today that a Danish Judge has ruled in favour of poker as a game of skill.
Frederik Hostrup (brother of well known pro' Carl Hostrup) is the president of the Danish Poker federation and was acquitted of organising illegal gambling games when he hosted poker tournaments in Denmark. Under Danish law, games or competitions where the organisers attempt to achieve a commercial economic gain are considered illegal gambling.
Hostrup's attorney, Henrik Hoffmann, successfully argued that poker was a game of skill because "You can win in poker based on being clever enough to hide your strategy, even though you might have a fairly poor hand". This is a groundbreaking result, not only for poker but for Scandinavia, which is one of the most heavily regulated gambling regions in the world.
Thus far the gambling vs. skill debate has been ruled 2-1 in favour of skill in European courtrooms, with only the UK ruling in favour of the negative gambling associations that some people have about poker. With the upcoming skill games bill in America this debate is going to continue and probably explode in the next few months but today's news is very encouraging for all of us who want poker to get recognised as a game of ability and intelligence.
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