A court in Amsterdam has delivered the verdict that poker is “first and foremost a game of skill, not of chance” in a case against three men charged with violating the country’s gambling laws.
The verdict was delivered after a trial that lasted seven years and is based on the findings of a study conducted by an independent group of experts. Right now, one cannot say if this will alter the fate of online poker gaming in the Netherlands, but Peter Plasman, a lawyer in Amsterdam, says that it is definitely a step towards poker legalization in the country.
In an interview with Plasman, PokerNews noted that a Netherlands court has dropped illegal poker gaming charges against people for the second time.
When asked if this means that anybody can organize poker tournaments in the Netherlands without a license, Plasman said that Dutch gaming laws are not clear as it does not offer a proper definition of gambling, games of chance, and games of skill.
As for the spirit of the law, organizing activities related with gambling games without a license is to be prosecuted as a criminal offense. Hence, regarding poker, organizing a tournament can only be punished as long as poker is considered a game of chance. Now, the court ruled that poker is not, and things are meant to change as the court has the last word.
He further said that one can organize a poker tournament, but it will be legally risky as the prosecutor can still stop it and take the organizer to task. The issue is not that simple as another judge can rule any time that poker is a game of chance. The lawyer expressed his opinion that courts might continue ruling that poker is a game of skill when similar cases happen again in the future now that two major courts have already delivered the verdict that poker is a skill-based game.
Commenting on the seven-year-long trial, he said that the case might have taken so long because the court came to a decision only after an expert group conducted research on the game. He also said that the delay could have come “from the case lying on the shelf for quite some time”
Regarding the future of poker in the Netherlands, he said that people organizing poker games may not be charged and dragged before the court, although he is not sure.