June 9, 2009 (PAP Newswire) – A Swedish appeals court has reduced the sentences for several citizens convicted of arranging a Texas Hold ‘Em Poker tournament, reports the iGaming Business website. The ruling was made on the grounds that, at a size of some 700 players, the tournament required more skill than chance for success — thus effectively re-classifying the game away from the gambling label.
According to an analysis in iGaming Business, experts are speculating that this ground-breaking ruling could pave the way for increased competition for Sweden’s state-owned Svenska Spel gambling monopoly.
The case in question dates back to March of 2007 and has been in litigation for almost two years. In April 2008, the country’s Uddevala District Court hit two of the organizers with six- and eight-month sentences. However, the Court Of Appeal For Western Sweden sharply reduced these charges just last month, and downgraded the offenses from “serious illegal gambling” to “illegal gambling”.
“In order to be convicted of ‘serious illegal gambling’ in Sweden, the game must be dependant on a substantial degree on chance rather than on a player’s skill,” according to the article. The court ruled that, since a player could be dealt up to 40 hands during the tournament, the element of chance was greatly reduced.