A court in Amsterdam has ruled that the organizers of poker tournaments in the Netherlands are not guilty of breaking the nation’s gambling laws because the game is not strictly gambling as defined by Dutch law.
The determination was made in a court battle that has raged since 2007 between the city’s police and a venue called Café de Viersprong Bussum, which regularly hosted small-stakes tournaments.
In issuing its ruling, the court devoted extensive research to the level of skill involved in the game of poker, eventually agreeing with the defendants that the skill factor in poker was substantial enough for the game not to be considered gambling under current law.
It’s the second time a Dutch court has found for skill over luck. A defendant also charged in connection with a tournament operation was found not guilty in 2010 on the same rationale.
But Dutch lawyer Peter Plasman cautions that despite the similarity in the rulings, the law still affords no certainty. “It does not offer a precise definition of which games should be considered of chance and which ones should not,” he said. “There could be another judge, somewhere, ruling that poker is a game of chance.”