Wednesday, 17 June 2015

Is chess illegal?

At some point in the past I had a post about chess tournaments for money probably being illegal in the Australian Capital Territory (although I cannot now find the post!). This is due to the wording of the legislation related to the Canberra Casino, and other gambling related activities.
It turns out that the ACT is not the only jurisdiction that has this issue, with Arizona in the US being another battleground. Well battleground is probably too strong a word, as it seems to be a one man campaign from a disgruntled poker player. John Schnaubelt wants the upcoming US Open (being held in Arizona) declared illegal, as it is a game that offers cash prizes. He contends this is exactly the same as poker games he wishes to host and yet the state gaming authority refuses to give him a permit.
The full details of his battle can be found in this article, including the usual contention that Poker is a game of skill (which I agree it is) and not a game of chance (which I also believe it is, just in small doses). I don't hold out much hope for Mr Schnaubelt, not so much because of the strength or weakness of his case, but simply because there probably is no energy to change a century old status quo (ie Poker = Luck, Chess = Skill)


Anonymous said...

Maybe I should declare the $15 I won for getting third in Street Chess the other week on my tax. AO

Thomas Jackson said...

Mr. Schnaubelt isn't trying to get the US Open Chess tournament declared illegal or to get chess banned. AS a fellow member of The Poker Revolution, I can say with all certainty that Arizonan's like myself and Schnaubelt are trying to receive the same protection, privilege and exclusion from illegal gambling for poker that chess apparently enjoys. Read the press release The Poker Revolution put out that led to the article referred to in your blog. Stern, the author of the article as well as previous ones, takes some liberties and paints a different picture than the press release spins. Hence the confusion about what Schnaubelt and The Poker Revolution are trying to accomplish.

Contrary to the Gaming Department's statement to the press in the article, the gaming department "investigation" and "opinion" formulated as a result of that investigation concluded that the US Open "did not fall within Arizona's statutory definition of illegal gambling". Which is hogwash, because Arizona's statutes do not define illegal gambling.