The Supreme Court in Italy has announced that live poker games are skill games, so do not have to comply with all gambling requirements. In one of the best pieces of Italian gambling news this year, poker players can relax, safe in the knowledge that their game is legal.
Many poker clubs in Italy are still waiting for the award of live poker licenses – licenses that were meant to be awarded at the turn of the year. As such, many Italian poker rooms have been organizing potentially illegal poker games so they, along with their patrons, will be happy to hear the Supreme Court’s judgement.
As for playing online poker in Italy, gamblers will be delighted to hear that remote poker tournaments were covered under the Supreme Court’s verdict. Along with live Texas Hold ‘Em, remote poker is considered a skill game in Italy.
The provisions the Supreme Court made were that Hold ‘Em tournaments had to have a fixed buy in, no re-buys, players were granted an equal number of chips of equal value and predetermined prizes.
Unfortunately, “traditional” live poker games are considered gambling, so come under a different, tighter, set of rules than the other two options. On top of this, cash poker games are also considered a game of chance rather than skill, due to a variable number of chips being available for each player.
The court seems to have based this decision on whether gamblers have an equal chance of winning a pre-determined prize. This was determined by whether the players start with an equal number of chips: if so it is skill, if not, chance.
This may seem like an arbitrary line, but it is at least a step towards enshrined poker legislation in Italy to put an end to the confusion, for now at least.