Poker as a game of skill is a hotly contested subject across Europe. In the UK the Gutshot lost its landmark court case, whereas Russia soon after ruled it as a game of skill closer to sport than to gambling. The Danish Poker Federation were cleared of holding illegal gambling events as they successfully argued the skill element recently, whereas their neighbours in Sweden are, by contrast, tightening up on illegal poker tournaments.
Now Italy are back in the mix. Possibly as soon as next week the Italian Government will be announcing their new definition of 'skill gaming' and it is speculated that poker will be included in that definition. Article 38 of law 248/2006 is expected to be signed imminently.
Italy took a remarkable U-Turn in 2006 when it first outlawed online gambling but then accepted and regulated it. 17,000 remote gaming licenses to cover many forms of online gambling were granted, including poker rooms such as 888.com and Ladbrokes. Now with advice from British online gaming operators King.com, the first Italian online gaming web sites are expected to launch at the end of the year.
The Italians are amongst the fastest developing nations in European poker. Dario Alioto has just took down the £5000 WSOPE Omaha bracelet and his good friend Dario Minieri became the first person to earn enough Frequent Player Points on Pokerstars to earn himself a Porsche outright. With the possible introduction of this new skill games definition, Italy could become the new pioneers of the increasingly regulated online gaming industry.
Ed note: Everest Poker is the home of European poker online