ICYMI: Kentucky Settles Online Poker Claim, DiCristina Case Heard In Appeals Court



While Tom Schneider continues to etch his name into the World Series of Poker record books and Dan Kelly treats the Rio cash cage as his own personal ATM, there has been some other news going on. In today’s edition of “ICYMI,” another settlement has been reached in a battle between the federal government and the state of Kentucky and the DiCristina poker case was heard in an appeals court in New York.

Kentucky Settles With U. S. Government For $6 Million

In a battle that stretches back to 2008, the state of Kentucky settled its claims against several online poker sites and the U. S. government, receiving $6 million from the feds to drop their contentions in court.

According to Greg Hall of the Louisville Courier-Journal, the settlement with the U. S. Department of Justice will put a tidy $6.075 million into the state coffers. Back in 2008, Kentucky Secretary of Justice and Public Safety Michael Brown filed suit against 141 online gaming sites, claiming that the sites were defrauding Kentuckians who played on them. At that time, it was the first-ever strike against the offshore gaming companies – major players in the industry such as PokerStars, Full Tilt Poker, the CEREUS Network and others – that serviced Americans.

After the 2011 “Black Friday” indictments, Kentucky placed claims on the funds that were being held by the federal government. With the settlement, Kentucky’s court claims will be dismissed, although the state has said it will continue to go after other sites that weren’t included in the “Black Friday” indictments.

“We’ve protected Kentucky customers, our signature horse racing industry and legitimate charitable gaming interests” in agreeing to the settlement, Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear stated to the press. “Unlicensed and unauthorized internet gambling has been substantially curtailed in Kentucky and we’ve created a framework for the rest of the country to manage the issue in their own jurisdictions.”

The money received from the federal government will be put into Kentucky’s General Fund, according to Hall.

DiCristina Case Heads To Appeals Court

Yesterday, the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals in New York City heard the arguments in the case of U. S. vs. DiCristina, with the U. S. attorneys appealing the case after last year’s ruling in a lower court.

According to the Poker Players Alliance’s Litigation Support Director Patrick Fleming, the hearing “went as well as could be expected.” “The judges had done their homework, which is generally good for us,” Fleming commented over Twitter.

Surprisingly, the federal government didn’t attack the DiCristina decision on what was a basic tenet of the decision. When the decision was rendered by Judge Jack Weinstein, he based his decision on overturning Lawrence DiCristina’s conviction on illegal gambling on the factor of “skill versus luck” in the game of poker. Instead of focusing on that point, federal attorneys instead put their attention on Judge Weinstein’s “misinterpretation” of the Illegal Gambling Business Act (IGBA).

When Judge Weinstein overturned the conviction of DiCristina in August 2012, he used the “skill” element of poker as a method of proving that it wasn’t gambling and, as such, that the IGBA did not apply in the case. At the time, the decision was considered a watershed moment as, for the first time, a U. S. court had rendered a decision that poker wasn’t gambling.

While the decision has yet to be rendered on the appeal, the potential effects on both sides of the equation are huge. If the feds lose their appeal, would they take the next step up to a potential U. S. Supreme Court hearing on the issue? If the feds lose, would it change the current situation in the United States regarding both live and online poker? If DiCristina loses the appeal, what would be the overall effect of having Judge Weinstein’s decision reversed for current and future court cases? The poker world awaits the decision of the 2nd Circuit on the DiCristina matter.

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