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The Poker Legislation Forum, Brought to You by the PPA Discussions of various poker-related laws and steps players can take to push for better laws.

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Old 10-19-2008, 01:52 PM   #1
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Online Poker in Colorado + Legality

Hello, I hope this is the right place to post this and that it hasn't been covered ad nauseum somewhere else (if it has please let me know), but my question is does anybody know where I can find something that states that playing online poker in CO is not illegal (i.e. legal)?

My wife and I got into a massive argument over this to the point where she called somebody with the state (I believe it was at the dept. of revenue or something like that) and this guy told her that it was in fact illegal to play poker in my state. I told her that as I understood it that the only person at risk was the person ACCEPTING the bet, not the person PLACING it. Am I wrong here?

She also told me that she is not going to take the word of "a bunch of poker players or people with like affiliations", so if any of the very intelligent posters in this forum could point me to something in writing that would prove my point (hopefully I'm right?) I would greatly appreciate it.
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Old 10-19-2008, 03:17 PM   #2
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Re: Online Poker in Colorado + Legality

Sorry fella, there is no "correct" answer to your question. There are a lot of opinions about whether online poker is legal or illegal in Colorado, but no definitive answers. And the answers also will depend and possibly differ, as you have realized, on whether you are talking about the player, the banker, an affiliate, or the site operator.

Only one thing can be said with any degree of certainty as we speak, it is certainly NOT a violation of any FEDERAL law for someone in CO to PLAY online poker.

After that the arguments can begin. And until the law is clarified by direct Court opinions or new legislation, the arguments will continue.

I can also note that CO has no mention of the internet in its gambling laws. And no one in CO has ever been arrested for playing online poker, but those facts dont prove things one way or the other.

Sorry, but anyone who tries to tell you anything else is only offering an opinion, not stating a fact. Read the master sticky to this forum (I helped write it) for a pretty good list of the various issues, all still unresolved.

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Old 10-19-2008, 04:36 PM   #3
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Re: Online Poker in Colorado + Legality

Thanks alot sir. I will look through the sticky. That is the answer that I was afraid to hear. I certainly don't mind living in that gray area as a tax paying profressional, but unfortunately that uncertainty along with her moral reservations (and thats putting it nicely) have put me in a real tough spot. Thanks again for your help.
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Old 10-19-2008, 09:37 PM   #4
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Re: Online Poker in Colorado + Legality

I believe a state Attorney General in Colorado (from the previous administration, no longer in office), has expressed the opinion that online gambling is illegal in Colorado. However, I don't think anybody has been prosecuted, so there is no case law to back that up. Colorado has no specific laws against internet gambling, but like a lot of states, has a general prohibition on gambling, with exceptions for social gambling, the casinos in Blackhawk, Central City and Cripple Creek, the state lottery and charity bingo and raffles. This prohibition may well apply to online gambling, depending on whether the gambling is deemed to take place on your computer, or on the server in a foreign country. Nobody, as far as I know, is making any effort to enforce this alleged prohibition, and even if you were to be charged and convicted, I'm pretty sure it's a misdemeanor. I don't think you have anything to worry about.

And if the ballot issue to raise the limit on casino gambling from $5 to $100 passes, it may become worthwhile to play live poker in Colorado. I occasionally play $2-5 spread limit now, but it's a pretty crappy game.
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Old 10-19-2008, 09:49 PM   #5
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Re: Online Poker in Colorado + Legality

they say it is illigal on the devision of gaming website but they are full of ****. stronge arm tactics to intimidate you. you have nothing to worry about. but yeah it's on thier site.
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Old 10-19-2008, 10:43 PM   #6
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Re: Online Poker in Colorado + Legality

Quote:
Originally Posted by I.M. Baked View Post
they say it is illigal on the devision of gaming website but they are full of ****. stronge arm tactics to intimidate you. you have nothing to worry about. but yeah it's on thier site.
I think a case could be made that internet gambling is prohibited under the state's general gambling laws, but so far, nobody's been foolish enough to try to enforce it, and until somebody does, it's of little consequence. It would probably be wise not to gamble on a library computer or on a WiFi connection in a public place, as conceivably some busybody could see what you are doing and call the police, who might feel obligated to respond to a complaint of "illegal" activity, but I think doing it from your home is safe. I just don't think the political climate in Colorado is such that anybody's going to pursue people for online gambling on their own computer in their own home.
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Old 10-19-2008, 10:55 PM   #7
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Re: Online Poker in Colorado + Legality

Because its something I have posted about many times before, I am not going to repeat the whole analysis (you could find it if you search). Whether CO's general gambling laws apply to the internet is an open question - I personally believe they cannot, primarily because of the commerce clause. But the final word on that is yet to come. And there are other arguments too, both ways.

The practical bottom line is this: your odds of ever getting in trouble for playing online poker are small; but those are odds, not a guarantee..... And I just lost a sizable pot on FTP to a 2 outer on the river. So its always your decision whether to take those odds.

And where you play will not make a difference if the CO authorities ever decide to push the situation and prosecute, plenty of potential defendants will be easy to find.

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Old 10-20-2008, 06:32 PM   #8
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Re: Online Poker in Colorado + Legality

Here is a recent response from John Suthers, the current AG. http://www.ago.state.co.us/FAQ/illeg...g_FAQ.cfm.html


Quote:
Q: What makes a poker tournament legal or illegal?

A: The main distinction is whether the poker being played is considered "gambling." For "gambling" to occur, three elements must be present: consideration, chance, and reward. These elements are sometimes expressed as "payment, luck, and prize." The first level of inquiry, then, is whether all three of these components are present, because by eliminating any one of them, the activity would not meet the definition of "gambling" as set forth in Colorado law.

For example, if the consideration component is eliminated and no fee, buy-in or other money is required or solicited from the participants in a poker tournament, then prizes may be awarded to the player(s) who perform well in the tournament. This is how several organized poker tournaments are able to operate legally outside the three gaming towns. On the other hand, if an organization charges a donation, fee or other buy-in for a poker tournament or other event, then it cannot legally distribute prizes based upon who wins or plays well in the tournament or event. Such organization could legally conduct a drawing, door prize or raffle as long as the prizes are randomly awarded and are not tied to success in the tournament or event. Likewise, the organization could legally conduct the tournament for the pure entertainment value alone. By disconnecting the prize from the risk element of the poker or other event, such activity would arguably not meet the definition of gambling.

If all three elements are present, the activity is considered "gambling" and can only be conducted in the context of "social gambling" as previously defined.
Notice that the issue of skill is replaced by the term "luck". This is an attempt to reframe the discussion away from poker as a skill game. The statutes clearly say "skill games" are exempt, which is different than using luck as a defining element. I would like to see some case law on this issue, as it is a departure from statute.
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Old 10-20-2008, 08:16 PM   #9
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Re: Online Poker in Colorado + Legality

Thanks alot guys. As I said before I am definitely comfortable taking the risk and am ulitmately not overly worried about any potential consequences. I, like you, would love some sort of case law to come forth as I think that our side would win (blind optimism?), but in the mean time in the court of "my house" I am basically screwed. I always say don't bite the hand that feeds but what do I know.

As a 26 year old who has already spent 3 years in the banking industry (as a commercial loan officer and in house appraisal expert) and a year and a half as the credit manager/contract specialist for a regional petroleum distributor, the one thing I can say with all certainty is that I don't want to sit behind a desk my whole life. Tough decision ahead.
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Old 10-21-2008, 03:18 AM   #10
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Re: Online Poker in Colorado + Legality

Divorce now!* Get out while you're young and before you make too much $$$. Her 'moral reservations' will correlate with your misery index and are likely to increase as she ages. If you do not immediately stop the imposition of her morals upon you, it will only get worse.

Be the man in the relationship. Take back your balls.

Unlike Louisiana, and some other states, there is no law on the books which makes playing online poker a felony.

*jk. Gotta razz you for letting her control your leisure activity.

Last edited by Dog Boy; 10-21-2008 at 03:26 AM.
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