Several proponents for the game of poker have been fighting to see the game legalized within the state of Wisconsin. The game is played in the state in homes and bars but is technically illegal to do so. Tribal casinos are a legal option where players can enjoy game play without legal retribution but players want to see a legal status with the game.
Just recently, a judge in the state upheld a ruling in which the game of poker is considered illegal. A group of players decided to challenge a previous ruling but the Circuit Judge Richard Niess decided to stick with the original ruling, which is based on a case from 1964 involving the Wisconsin Supreme Court. In this case, the game of poker was ruled as gambling which is illegal within the state.
The game dates back decades ago and involves a bar owner who would run poker tournaments. The bar owner was convicted and this ruling was still upheld today by Niess. During the ruling, Niess was reportedly sympathetic with the poker is a game of skill argument, stating the game is like apple pie and baseball, American staples. However, he then decided to uphold the ruling.
Players wanted to see the judge to issue a declaratory judgement that the game of poker is legal. However, he did not do so. Instead, he suggested that the proponents move forward to the Supreme Court to see a new ruling in this case. We may see the poker players take their case to the higher courts.
Any state-sanctioned gambling in the state of Wisconsin is limited to the lottery, charitable gambling options and tribal casinos. It will be interesting to see if the players will take their case to a higher ruling and if the definition of poker is changed to be legalized within the state.
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