The first considerable victory was marked in Austria. In 1993 an entrepreneur and a great fun of poker Peter Zanoni opened in Vienna a poker club “Concord Card Casino”. The club positioned itself as the place where they play only poker as a skill game not a gambling game. Substantially immediately the club became interesting for the gambling business which saw a competitor therein. At the suggestion of the gambling business the press began attacking the club, the managers of the club were accused in organization of illegal gambling games, contacts with criminals etc.
Very soon gambling lobby provoked the state to bring a charge in organization of illegal gambles against the managers of the club. The court took place the resolution of which shocked many people. The advocates of the club tried to prove that poker is not a gamble but a competition of skills, know-how. The court applied for consultation of the experts, they carried out an independent mathematical expertise of poker rules the results of which expressly showed that skills dominated over a chance in this game. Poker was brought into the line with chess. The court accepted the results of the expertise and took the resolution in favor of the poker club. For today the “Concord Card Casino” is one of the greatest poker clubs of Europe. The founder of the club Peter Zanoni inspired with his victory, he is now successfully working on popularization of poker and its recognition as a kind of sport in Europe. For this purpose he founded first Austrian association of poker sport and in 2006 he founded European association of poker sport.
A similar court session took place in Great Britain in January 2007. Derek Kelly faced trial, he is an owner of a poker club “Gutshot Club” in London downtown. Unfortunately for Derek and all English poker fans British law turned to be less liberal than Austrian one. Having recognized a skill compound in poker games it gave preference to a chance in the game. But British people should not be upset the attitude to skill sports in their country is still complicated, for instance, chess was officially recognized a sport only some years ago. Derek Kelly’s case had provoked in society a live discussion which was taken up by politicians. Very soon British media suggest that poker, bridge should be put together with chess.
In the end of July 2007 good news for poker fans came from Denmark. Court proceedings as to Frederic Hostrup, a chairman of Danish poker association finished in favor of Frederic and poker. As in Austria Hostrup was accused in organization of illegal gambling games. The advocate Henrick Hoffman proved to the court that poker is not a gamble but a skill game. The winners have already declared that now they will fight for the rights of their favourite game on the territory of all Europe.
Poker smoothly fitted well into the society of the 20th century and a number of their fans grow in geometrical progression. In the modern world not to know how to play poker becomes a mauvais ton. In such conditions the authorities cannot but take into account the people’s opinion which is the part of it. The authorities should go away from prejudices and be guided by common sense and the opinion of majority.
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By Arthur Prudent
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Casino games: Poker recognition. Part three.