Last year’s attempts to bring the legalisation of poker
on to the ballot in Massachusetts may have failed (see
previous InfoPowa report) but fans of the game have not
given up on lobbying for a more sensible classification
of poker as a game of skill.
Tuesday next week
will see a hearing in the Economic Development and
Emerging Technologies Committee of the east coast state
that will feature a discussion of whether poker should
legally be considered a game of skill. And supporting
the measure is the influential Harvard-based Global
Poker Strategic Thinking Society (GPSTS).
According to Andrew Woods of the GPSTS, the proposed
bill will remove poker legally from its present
classification as a game of chance. The game is
currently defined as a lottery, which Woods feels is
inappropriate as well as being inaccurate.
could all change if Bill 4069 sponsored by Massachusetts
State Representative Brian Wallace – a Democrat - has
his way. The measure is pointed in its language in
declaring poker a game of skill, which could effectively
remove it from the restrictions of gambling as a game of
Speaking for the GPSTS, Woods said:
“We’re interested in being involved because the bill
follows our goals and interests. The bill very precisely
states that poker is a game of skill. Across the
country, you’re seeing a lot of states coming up against
the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA)
and instead looking at intrastate poker.
can’t get around the federal law, but they can allow it
within their own state.”
The GPSTS was founded
by the widely respected Harvard Law Professor Charles
Nesson and uses poker to teach strategic thinking,
geopolitical analysis, risk assessment, and money
management. GPSTS chapters can be found coast-to-coast,
including at Dartmouth, New York University, UCLA, the
University of Michigan, and Stanford, and Nesson has
featured in several high profile discussions and debates
on the chance vs. skill argument.