A South Carolina judge made an official public ruling on the poker case that challenged the state’s gaming laws. Circuit Judge Markley Dennis ruled Texas Hold’em a game of skill, not chance. Now, there’s question of whether or not Judge Dennis’ ruling will be appealed by the State of South Carolina.
Greenville attorney Jeff Phillips represents the Texas Hold’em players arrested in 2006 for playing poker in Mt. Pleasant. He told Charleston affiliate WTMA what he sees ahead for this case.
“It puts Henry McMaster in a very precarious situation in my opinion. A large part of his voter base is what we would characterize as the right wing, and he is going to have to appear to be tough on what he has determined as gambling, even though the judge specifically said playing poker is not gambling,” says Phillips.
Judge Dennis says Texas Hold’em is not won by chance, rather, he says a skilled player will consistently beat a less skilled player. He also said the state’s gambling laws are too broad. Phillips says if Attorney General Henry McMaster does appeal it would be a poor logical decision. He explains why: “The opinion of Judge Dennis is extremely well written, well thought-out, very logical. I believe he is dead right on his legal conclusions. And, the attorney general’s office itself has gone on record on at least three occasions saying that they believe if the Supreme Court if presented with the issue would adopt Dominant Factor Test,” says Phillips.
The Dominant Factor Test is a U.S. principle that determines what is and what is not gambling.
Currently under state law, poker games and raffles for charity are against the law, but are being considered under a senate subcommittee to legalize.