U.K. court says poker is a game of chance
By Vin Narayanan
A British appeals court declared this week that poker is a game of chance under U.K. law, and Gutshot will need a license if it wants to offer the game in a private club.
Gutshot, which operates popular online poker room and community Gutshot.com, opened a brick-and-mortar facility in 2004 to complement its online business.
But the British government shut it down and charged Gutshot with operating a (land-based) poker room without a license.
Gutshot defended itself in court by arguing that poker was a game of skill, and therefore not prohibited the 1968 Gaming Act.
During the Gutshot's original trial, Buffalo State business law professor Joe Kelly testified that "poker is overwhelmingly a game of skill."
But the British courts have ruled that poker "contains a significant element of chance, and therefore is a prohibited."
The key distinction is the significance of chance, Kelly said.
In chess, the element of chance is insignificant so that game is not prohibited, Kelly said.
Gutshot has one appeal left -- to Britain's highest court -- but its chances of victory are remote.