Marking the first time South Carolina has been ahead of the curve on just about anything, a South Carolina court recently ruled that poker is a game of skill and therefore in the eyes of the law should not be painted with the same brush as other gambling activities like slot machines or roulette. The Poker Players association, who counts almost 10,000 of its members South Carolina residents, marked a solid victory in the eyes of the PPA and poker players all over the nation.
The executive director of the Poker Players Alliance, John Pappas said, “Poker is not a crime in South Carolina or anywhere else, and we are grateful to the court for compiling the overwhelming evidence that proves this case and protects the rights of players,” he said, “ This ruling is fully consistent with the declarations of other judges and juries across the country that Texas Hold’em is clearly a game of predominant skill and adults who play should not be criminalized.”
The ruling comes as a result of an appeal to a conviction of five players who were arrested during a police raid on a poker room. Defense cited poker as a game of skill which does not fall under the umbrella of gambling. The court ruled that the evidence proving poker as a game of skill was overwhelming and found the laws to be unclear and overly broad.
South Carolina State Director of the Poker Players Alliance said, “All poker players are well aware that the game is based on making the correct, informed decisions, not just mere chance, and games of predominant skill should not be classified in the same league as slot machines or lotteries,”
“We’re very pleased that the judge considered the overwhelming evidence and came to the same conclusion. This is a well deserved legal victory for the players, the American game of poker, and for common sense under the law.”
While such a thing is good news for the online poker industry as a whole, it isn’t telling the world anything it doesn’t know already. Further, beneath the surface of this is something more disturbing. The fact that the government has gotten so big that people cheer when they are told it is legal for them to play a game illustrates this. Instead of being enraged that the government is infringing on our rights by criminalizing games, we praise them when they say it’s Ok.
It’s a kind of Stockholm Syndrome that we’ve developed in this nation. The government has had its foot on so many of our rights that we have fallen in love with our captors and praise them when they let us do what free men and women should already be able to do. And the only time they let us do it is when it benefits the government itself. Gambling is bad, unless it is taxed and the government makes money. Prostitution is bad, unless it is taxed and the government makes money. The government says who we can and can’t marry, what sex acts we can perform in the privacy of our bedroom, how much alcohol can be in our alcoholic beverages, how fast we can drive, and pretty soon it will control our health care. You name it, the government controls it. So is this a victory for online and offline poker players? Or is it a sad reminder of how far we have come from a free society, to a nanny state?