PokerJunkie > Poker News > Poker Junkie Op-Ed: Luck vs. Skill Won't Cut

Poker Junkie Op-Ed: Luck vs. Skill Won't Cut it for Elie and Campos - Poker News

5 October 2011, By:
Last Friday, both John Campos and Chad Elie filed motions to have the charges brought against them by the US Department of Justice on April 15th dismissed.
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Last Friday, both John Campos and Chad Elie filed motions to have the charges brought against them by the US Department of Justice on April 15th dismissed.

Both filings brought up the "luck vs. skill" debate that has raged since the UIGEA was first passed in 2006.

PokerJunkie blogger Compncards takes a look at why the filings are barking up the wrong tree again.

Change the Record Please

When I first heard that Campos and Elie filed motions to dismiss the charges levied against them on Black Friday, I was interested in what angle they would pursue.

As soon as I saw they went the "luck vs. skill" route, I almost didn't bother to continue reading.

The "luck vs. skill" argument is an old argument that clearly has not gotten very far with politicians.

As poker players, we know that the game involves a lot of skill. At the same time, we know that there is an element of luck.

At what point does the government determine that a game is predominately a game of skill?

While you can argue that players with superior skill consistently rises to the top, if you look at poker players as a whole you'll notice that much of this "skill" tends to be streaky.

For every Jason Mercier there's a Chino Rheem. For every Erik Seidel, there's a Bill Edler.

The skill edge in poker is not the same as chess and other games where the dominant player will win the largest percentage of the time.

So where do we draw the line? What is the threshold that determines poker to be a skill game?

I don't believe the courts are willing to decide that for the government.

In my opinion, I don't see this argument successfully getting any of the charges dismissed.

Campos' Exemption Argument May Have Legs

John Campos' team of lawyers claim that Campos is exempt from charges related to the UIGEA due to the fact that the UIGEA clearly states that financial institutions are exempt from prosecution.

They also argue that since the bank can't be prosecuted, Campos can't be either since he was acting as their agent.

Reading over the document, this motion may indeed have some legs to stand on.

The indictment did only name Campos in connection with his activities to SunFirst Bank. With that being the case, this loophole may be an out for Campos.

At the same time, Campos did receive payments and kickbacks from online poker companies for his activities.

Are they going to consider those payments as payments received as an agent of the bank, or do they have a way to consider him a form of independent contractor for the poker companies?

If I were prosecuting this case, I would consider that angle.

Otherwise, I am interested in hearing how this part of Campos' motion proceeds as based on the law itself, Campos may wiggle his way out of counts 1 through 3.

Elie's Motion Denied - Campos' Motion Partially Denied

Based on my reading and comprehension of the motions presented, coupled with my opinion about what the courts will or will not be willing to do regarding this case, I see Elie's motion being denied.

I don't see the courts willing to take on the luck vs. skill debate and making a ruling at the present time.

If they do not make such a ruling, the rest of the "illegal gambling company" arguments become useless.

Campos' arguments regarding the "financial institution exemption" from the UIGEA may be enough to get those charges thrown out.

However, the other charges are based on the same tired arguments that Elie's team has filed.

In the end, I see this one being partially dismissed unless they find a way to link him with the companies outside of the bank.

These are also likely just the first wave of motions regarding this case. I'm a bit surprised they took this long.

Now it's time for the courts to make a decision whether or not the luck vs. skill argument indeed has any validity.

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