Wisconsin Judge Upholds Poker Ruling; Still Considered Illegal


USA FlagAfter filing a case in court, Wisconsin PPA State Director Steve Verrett and poker pro Mark Kroon were hoping to see a ruling made the legalized the game of poker. However, Circuit Court Judge Richard G. Niess has upheld the ruling after the case was heard in court yesterday.

Poker players in Wisconsin came together and raised $10,000 to pay for legal fees to bring the case to court. Kroon and Verrett were working together to seek a declaratory judgement as to if the game of poker is to be classified as skill or chance.

In the ruling, Neiss began by stating that the case involves a claim for declaratory relief which would seek a ruling from the court that the game of poker does not constitute as gambling in the State of Wisconsin based on the meaning and revisions in state statues.

Currently, the state has statutes that make playing poker illegal however, the laws are not necessarily enforced as players in the state regularly take part in home games or tavern tournaments. Law enforcement may not take people to jail for playing but it does not negate the fact that playing the game for money is considered a crime.

Yesterday during the hearing, poker players were in the courtroom to hear the judge’s decision, which was to uphold the ruling, that poker is considered illegal gambling. The judge stated that he reviewed all briefs of council and he enjoyed the case since the consideration of poker is always entertaining. Niess continued by stating that the subject of poker is a rich topic on many levels comparing it to baseball and apple pie.

However, the judge stated he could not ignore the law and will uphold the original ruling, which is connected to the State v. Morissy, a case from 1964, ruled by the Supreme Court. In this case, a tavern was hosting sponsored poker tournaments which called poker gambling. Niess stated this ruling is binding and the case does not to appear to have considered whether poker is a game of skill or chance. He further stated that he did not feel the court of appeals could help and the case needed to move on to a Supreme Court level to even be considered to have a different ruling.

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