Pa Judge: Poker tourneys are illegal

February 3, 2009 5:48:09 AM PST
A western Pennsylvania judge says poker tournaments are illegal gambling under state law and has refused to dismiss charges against three men.

Attorney David Millstein has argued the state law prohibiting illegal gambling is vague because it does not specifically list poker. Millstein says poker is also not gambling because it involves skill, not mere chance.

But Westmoreland County Judge Richard McCormick Jr. says previous court cases, combined with common sense, make it clear that poker is covered by the state law.

Millstein represents 65-year-old attorney Larry Burns who has organized Texas Hold 'Em tournaments at volunteer fire departments. Burns doesn't deny doing that, but argues the tournaments aren't illegal under the state law.

McCormick's ruling applies to two other men charged with similar offenses.

Information from: Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, http://pghtrib.com

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