A municipal court in Denmark has ruled that poker tournaments are not a form of chance-based gambling, deciding that competence in the game is vital to success, a skill-based criterion.
Late in 2006, charges of illegal gambling were filed against Frederik Hostrup, chairman of the Danish Poker Association. Hostrup was cited for arranging poker tournaments with an entry fee, which was a violation of Danish gambling laws. Hostrup and his lawyer, Henrik Hoffmann, decided to fight the charges and attempt to prove that poker is a game of skill, not of luck.
"I had a good feeling in the stomach, when we left the [office] a couple of weeks ago," Hoffmann said. "I sensed that had we succeeded in convincing the judge that poker, to a high degree is a game, which is due to competence and only a little on coincidences."
The court upheld Hoffmann's argument and acquitted Hostrup of the charges. The prosecutors in the case, working on behalf of Horesta, a national restaurant, tourist, and hotel trade organization, have 14 days to file an appeal against the ruling. According to the verdict, the ruling was due to the cost of the tournament including a "limited deposit" and "there also has to be competence in order to win."
While an appeal is likely, the decision, if it stands, may create an important legal landmark for use throughout the European Community. Pro-poker forces may use the verdict to show how the game is being ruled as a game of skill and not of luck and by that degree, remove it from the clause of 'illegal gambling."
Hostrup, who was just recently cleared of allegations in regards to online cheating (Frederik referred via chat to another player in an online tournament on PartyPoker as his "right-hand," a term that was taken out of context to mean his literal right hand, instead of how Frederik meant it), is also the brother of Carl Hostrup, champion of this year's Asian Poker Classic.