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Campos, Elie Fire Back with Lawsuits Against DOJ
Two more of the original 11 defendants indicted by the US Department of Justice on April 15th of this year are fighting back against the charges.
Following in the wake of Full Tilt CEO Ray Bitar’s lawsuit filed last week, both John Campos and Chad Elie have filed separate motions in federal court alleging the indictments are invalid on several grounds including the fact online poker is "not a gambling business."
Campos, a former Vice Chairman of the Board and part-owner of SunFirst Bank in Utah, was charged with six counts of violating the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act, violating the Illegal Gambling Business Act and conspiracy to commit money laundering for accepting cash to process online poker transactions.
Elie, a payment processor who is accused of lying about the nature of the transactions, is charged with nine counts including violating the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act, the Illegal Gambling Business Act, money laundering and conspiracy to commit bank fraud and wire fraud.
Both have plead not guilty to all charges.
The core of the legal arguments filed in court is that poker is a skill game and, as online poker sites only take rake for providing the place to play, is not inherently in the same category as a casino or bookmaking operation which offers games against the house.
As such, poker can't actually violate either the UIGEA or IGBA.
They also make a jurisdiction-based argument saying the business was primarily conducted offshore and not in the State of New York where the indictments were filed.
For the additional charges against Elie, the motion says the charges of bank fraud against him are invalid since there was no harm done to any bank.
To quote one of the filings:
"PokerStars and Full Tilt are not ‘illegal gambling businesses’ under IGBA because they are not ‘gambling businesses’ at all.
“To be ‘engaged in the business of betting or wagering’ requires that the business has a stake in the outcome of gambling contests, and the Indictment here fails to allege that the poker companies had any such stake.”
No response or statement has been made by the US Department of Justice.