|In the eastern American state Pennsylvania, an attorney has been told that more than $11,000 he earned organising Texas Hold’em tournaments will not be returned to him as his actions were against State law.|
Westmoreland County Attorney Larry Burns insisted at a hearing this week that his for-profit poker tournaments are legal in Pennsylvania and money confiscated by local police this summer after a raid should be returned.
Burns admitted to running games for profit at two local sites near Pittsburgh when he was charged earlier this year with misdemeanour gambling but insisted that doing so was not a crime because poker is not classed as gambling under State law. Instead, he said that it is a game of skill and not a game of chance.
However, District Attorney John Peck disagreed and said that the money as well as tens of thousands of poker chips, poker tables and other records taken during the searches should be kept in custody and used as evidence against Burns when his case goes to trial next month.
'Whether you win or lose, it's based essentially in the cards you are dealt and that's by chance,' said Peck. 'It meets the definition of gambling.'
Judge Richard McCormick Jr agreed with Peck but prosecutors did agree to return about $2,000 in cash seized from Burns’ bedroom along with nine books on poker and gambling.
Police contend that Burns made about $31,000 from the tournaments in addition to undisclosed amounts from weekly poker games, with State Police Corporal Robert Erdely testifying that the one location made about $26,000 once profits had been split.