While much of the focus in the online poker world the last couple of weeks has been on the legality of poker and the publishing of the Republican party platform, there has been some movement in regards to charges against Full Tilt board members.
As soon as Judge Weinstein ruled week before last that poker is a game of skill, lawyers quickly started scrambling for their latest legal maneuvering. This resulted in a letter from counsel for Full Tilt to the Judge Leonard Sand that a conference be held discuss the implications of the ruling on the trial.
This was to be expected considering that the ruling dealt directly with the Illegal Gambling Business Act. Their argument is a sound one considering the ruling. Indeed, if poker does not constitute legal gambling, then why should the case be pursued. Their hope is, in worst case, get the case delayed until it is discovered whether the ruling will stick.
If the DOJ’s response to the letter is any indication of what to expect, Judge Weinstein’s ruling could face some challenges in the future. Their response to the letter to Judge Sands was simply that they do not agree with the conclusions of Judge Weinstein and furthermore that the legality of poker should be argued in court after the second amended complaint against the Full Tilt defendants is filed on September 10th.
This opinion by the DOJ is not surprising considering the amount of time, money, and effort exerted against Full Tilt and the other Black Friday defendants. It also would not be shocking if the recent Republican party platform doesn’t influence their decision making to a degree as they may feel that they will have a new boss come January and siding with their position may be the best course of action.
While we could sit here and speculate what all of this really means and how it could impact Full Tilt and online poker, the reality is that this is just more legal tactics that resulted in a lot of wasted effort as Judge Sand ultimately threw out the request. Now the Full Tilt board must wait for with the rest of the poker world for the amended complaint and see where things develop from there.
What we should keep an eye on is whether an appeal to the Weinstein ruling is filed. Poker being declared a game of skill is not necessarily going to mean a slam dunk for Full Tilt getting charges dropped, but reversing that decision will make things easier for the DOJ to proceed. It would be very surprising if some movement is not seen in that aspect in the next two to three weeks.