As we previously have reported, Lawrence DiCristina has been in the spotlight for some time now, and he may continue to be if the United States Supreme Court believes that his case is of significant import. He’s the man who was prosecuted by the U.S. Department of Justice for operating an illegal gambling business out of his bicycle shop involving Texas Hold‘em poker games in violation of the Illegal Gambling Business Act (the “IGBA”).
In 2012, a New York federal judge ruled in DiCristina’s favor, holding that poker is not gambling as defined by the IGBA because it is a game of skill, not chance. The Department of Justice appealed the ruling and won, thereby reinstating DiCristina’s conviction under the IGBA.
Now, Mr. DiCristina is asking the United States Supreme Court to make the ultimate decision: does the IGBA make it a federal felony to host poker games? Mr. DiCristina filed a petition for a writ of certiorari, asking the Supreme Court to consider this and a related issue. The Supreme Court will only hear the case if it decides that an important issue is at stake.
If the Supreme Court decides not to hear the case, the lower court’s decision (and DiCristina’s conviction) will stand. It will be interesting to see how the Supreme Court decides to proceed here. Its decision – either way – likely will have a significant impact on the poker, and online poker, industry.