Howard Lederer’s attorney has requested a status conference with the judge to discuss the implications of a New York federal judge’s recent ruling that poker is a game of skill and hints toward the assumption that the current charges against his client may “no longer have a legal basis.”
A letter written to Judge Sand from the law firm of Keker & Van Nest informs the judge that co-defendants Rafe Furst and Chris Ferguson join in the desire for a status conference to discuss “how best to manage this litigation” in regards to Judge Weinstein’s finding in U.S. v. DiCristina which held that poker is not considered gambling as defined by the Illegal Gambling Business Act (IGBA). Lederer’s mouthpiece goes on to say that if Judge Sand agrees with Weinstein’s ruling or if an appeal in the DiCristina case is upheld by the appellate court, then the allegations against his client that pertain to the IGBA in U.S. v. PokerStars are no longer valid.
The U.S. Attorney’s office was quick to fire off a letter of their own to Judge Sand, stating that a requested status conference “would be premature and unworkable” and that Judge Weinstein’s ruling is “not binding on this court.” The DoJ further states that they are not in agreement with the poker as skill ruling and that even if that ruling were to be allowed, Lederer and his co-defendants still face charges that do not pertain to the IGBA.
The poker as skill ruling is expected to have an overwhelming impact on how poker is viewed when compared with other casino gambling games. While Judge Weinstein’s ruling is a step in the right direction and further upholds what poker players have known for some time, it certainly won’t mark the end of the debate in the issue. Expect Weinstein’s decision to be appealed and to face further scrutiny in other legal cases.