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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 01-19-2011, 07:50 PM   #1
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Virginia Poker SKILL GAME Bill

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1. "Illegal gambling" means the making, placing or receipt of any bet or wager in the Commonwealth of money or other thing of value, made in exchange for a chance to win a prize, stake or other consideration or thing of value, dependent upon the result of any game, contest or any other event the outcome of which is uncertain or a matter of chance, whether such game, contest or event occurs or is to occur inside or outside the limits of the Commonwealth. Poker games shall be deemed games of skill and nothing in this subdivision shall be construed to make any such game illegal gambling.
Senate Bill 849

http://lis.virginia.gov/cgi-bin/legp...?111+ful+SB849

Now they are getting someplace.

This was introduced seval years ago as well, passed the House something like 98 - 2, went to Senate, passed all committees and was never voted on though, seems IIRC the Senate President complained the supporters had no Lobby Group so he held the bill from being voted on.

Last year a bill to make poker illegal gambling failed in Senate committee 11-0 with an unfavorable vote to advance it.

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Old 01-21-2011, 09:35 AM   #2
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Re: Virginia Poker SKILL GAME Bill

Sportsbetting is a skill also..........and a MARKET, just like the NYSE.
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Old 01-21-2011, 10:28 AM   #3
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Re: Virginia Poker SKILL GAME Bill

Am I missing something or isn't this pretty big news for VA poker players?? I'm surprised the PPA hasn't mentioned anything about it or even commented on it, or sent out something to us VA members to contact our reps about it specifically.
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Old 01-21-2011, 10:33 AM   #4
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Re: Virginia Poker SKILL GAME Bill

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Originally Posted by Fishhead24 View Post
Sportsbetting is a skill also..........and a MARKET, just like the NYSE.
Skill, yes. Game, no. Market, indeed. Markets are quite different than closed (beginning and ending at a certain time) competitive games and deserve different regulation.

And the bolded text in the OP is just gorgeous to me. I would love to get this law on the books, and hope that someday the rest of the world would follow VA's example.
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Old 01-21-2011, 11:30 AM   #5
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Re: Virginia Poker SKILL GAME Bill

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Skill, yes. Game, no. Market, indeed. Markets are quite different than closed (beginning and ending at a certain time) competitive games and deserve different regulation.

And the bolded text in the OP is just gorgeous to me. I would love to get this law on the books, and hope that someday the rest of the world would follow VA's example.
There are potential bigger implications here as well; the lawyers could weigh in perhaps.

IF it passes as written, Poker is a Skill Game then that should treat the game as other “skill games” and not subject to the UIGEA or other federal laws used to go after online gambling, at least in Virginia.

As to the poster about sports betting, there are laws against that specifically even though I would agree; sports betting takes skill.

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Old 01-21-2011, 11:54 AM   #6
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Re: Virginia Poker SKILL GAME Bill

IF it passed as written, I can't see any legal obstacle to opening a for-profit poker room in Virginia.

That's the primary reason I expect it has little chance of passing as written.
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Old 01-21-2011, 12:06 PM   #7
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Re: Virginia Poker SKILL GAME Bill

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IF it passed as written, I can't see any legal obstacle to opening a for-profit poker room in Virginia.

That's the primary reason I expect it has little chance of passing as written.
I agree, there will be many condition and / or restrictions if passed.

The bigger question is the Portsmouth Rooms on hold, there seems to be some sort of court decision that may be holding waiting for the legislature to act.

If this does not pass AND no bill barring poker passes, what happens then?

Do you think the legislature would prefer to not address this and let a court decide or the State Supreme Court likely in the end?

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Old 01-21-2011, 01:14 PM   #8
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Re: Virginia Poker SKILL GAME Bill

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Originally Posted by oldbookguy View Post
I agree, there will be many condition and / or restrictions if passed.

The bigger question is the Portsmouth Rooms on hold, there seems to be some sort of court decision that may be holding waiting for the legislature to act.
I'm aware of the portsmouth lawsuit. I hadn't heard that it might be on hold while the legislature acts.

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If this does not pass AND no bill barring poker passes, what happens then?
The Portsmouth case would remain the likely vehicle for a decision on whether poker is legal. In the meantime, commonwealths attorneys would continue to maintain their position that it is illegal.

Quote:
Do you think the legislature would prefer to not address this and let a court decide or the State Supreme Court likely in the end?

obg
Interesting question. I'm not sure I know the answer. I do know that anyone who is thinking about poker would realize that if the legislature doesn't act, and the VA Supreme Court gets the Portsmouth case and rules that poker is legal, that would create a window in which unregulated poker rooms could open and operate. I'd be surprised if anybody official wants that to happen; thus, anybody thinking about poker in Virginia should want the legislature to act.

Whoever added the poker is a skill game amendment hasn't thought through the implications of his approach.
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Old 01-21-2011, 01:48 PM   #9
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Re: Virginia Poker SKILL GAME Bill

Anyone know the veto-proof majority required by Virginia? Lets not forget Virginia is a bible-belt state with a Liberty alumni governor, and a "rising-star" AG for hard righties. Don't forget Frist wasn't a poker hater until he decided to raise his profile nationally among christian conservatives.
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Old 01-21-2011, 01:51 PM   #10
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Re: Virginia Poker SKILL GAME Bill

Appears this bill is already dead:

http://www2.timesdispatch.com/news/v...lle-ar-785908/
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Old 01-21-2011, 01:54 PM   #11
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Re: Virginia Poker SKILL GAME Bill

The Portsmouth lawsuit involving the Poker Palace of Portsmouth is not on hold.

The latest in that case is that the Commonwealth filed a Motion to Dismiss and we will be filing our objection to that motion within the next few days. A hearing on that Motion is likely in February.

If the case is not dismissed (and I have every reason to believe it will NOT be dismissed) then a full discovery schedule and a hearing date down the road to decide the merits will be scheduled. I do not think this will take more than a 4-6 months at the trial level.

The case puts pressure on the VA legislature to act, for precisely the reasons stated - if we win nothing stops poker rooms from being opened anywhere in VA. Whether, when and how the legislature will act are the open questions. The PPA is directly involved in the case and our PPA state director for VA is a statehouse lobbyist.

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Old 01-21-2011, 04:04 PM   #12
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Re: Virginia Poker SKILL GAME Bill

@Skall, mostly:

The RTD article kevmath linked to has some factual errors in it (home games are legal in VA provided the homeowner doesn't profit). Should we do anything about those?

It also says that Sen. Petersen is planning to try again next year. Perhaps we can offer him some assistance drafting legislation...

As always, let me know if there's anything I can do on either of these two issues to help.
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Old 01-21-2011, 05:51 PM   #13
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Re: Virginia Poker SKILL GAME Bill

@mpethybridge

It is amazing how ill-informed most journalism is these days. If the Richmond Times-Dispatch has any sort of readership, I think writing them and informing them of their error is warranted.

VA actually has one of the best home game exceptions in the US: it applies to all games for what ever stakes so long as the game takes place in a private residence and there is no "operator." And an operator is basically someone who manages or runs an "illegal gambling enterprise."

As for future legislation, I expect there to be a fair bit of activity, have you not been in contact with the State Director before? He could fill you in on details better than I.

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Old 01-22-2011, 12:21 PM   #14
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Re: Virginia Poker SKILL GAME Bill

The Richmond Times Dispatch is a major newspaper in Virginia. I shipped the author, Jim Nolan, an e-mail pointing out the error and linking him to section 18.2-334.

Somebody calling himself "prosecutor" already pointed out this code section in the comments.

I'll dredge up the state director's e-mail addy and see if there's any grunt work for me to do.
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Old 01-22-2011, 07:28 PM   #15
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Re: Virginia Poker SKILL GAME Bill

Can anyone confirm that the article is correct? After the Reid Bill chaos I have no faith in newspapers.

I'm a VA resident so if any calling/mailing is necessary in the future let me know.
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