Two of the biggest gambling headlines of the year merge as former Full Tilt Poker executives believe that a recent court ruling about poker will protect them when it comes time for sentencing. Reports indicate that Full Tilt lawyers have requested a status conference, giving them the opportunity to discuss the possibility of their sentences being reduced; however, their efforts have proved fruitless thus far.
Last month, a federal judge deemed that poker is a game of skill rather than a game of chance. As such, players could not be charged for hosting games in their homes. Former executives at Full Tilt Poker felt that this ruling would benefit them as well, reducing their sentences or even resulting in the charges being dropped.
The company’s lawyers wrote to the American Department of Justice to request a status conference, which would give them the chance to argue their point. The statement (http://www.jdsupra.com/ legalnews/defense-request-for-status-conference-re-60315/) read:
“Judge Weinstein holds, after extensive hearings and exhaustive reasoning, that poker does not
constitute “illegal gambling” for purposes of 18 U.S.C. §1955 (IGBA). The opinion has significant implications for this case, pending before Your Honor, and in light of it, we write respectfully to suggest that the Court hold a status conference in the near future so that the parties may discuss, and the Court may consider, how best to manage this litigation in light of DiCristina”.
Unfortunately for Howard Lederer and the rest of the executives at Full Tilt Poker, their request was denied. Attorney Preet Bharara stated that the conference was neither necessary nor warranted at this current point in time. As such, the former owners of Full Tilt Poker will continue head down their destined paths. Many face years in jail and thousands of dollars’ worth of fines.