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Casinos take all… poker tournaments

The Federal Court has ruled that only casinos are allowed to run public poker tournaments in the “Texas Hold’em” style.

This content was published on June 2, 2010 - 13:18

This comes as an unpleasant surprise for restaurants, bars and poker lounges that had become accustomed to hosting the popular card game.

In December 2007 the federal gaming board had ruled that some poker tournaments counted as skill and could therefore be held outside casinos – with the canton's approval. Games of luck are illegal outside casinos.

The casinos, concerned about losing business, challenged this decision but were trumped in June 2009 by the federal administrative court, which backed the gaming board.

But now the casinos have the upper hand. The federal court has concluded that while skill can certainly influence the outcome of a poker game, luck is still a key element.

The federal court also maintains that keeping poker within casinos will reduce the risk of organised crime, money laundering and social problems.

However, the ruling does not prohibit poker tournaments among private people – even if money is involved.

swissinfo.ch and agencies

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