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Poker News | Gambling and the Law

DOJ Stranglehold Still on Elie and Campos

Pokerworks Legal
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Chad Elie, John Campos, and the Department of Justice (DoJ) were ordered to submit briefings to the Court on January 26th, 2012. The briefings were "addressing the implications, if any, of the Department of Justice Office of Legal Counsel’s [“OLC”] recent opinion, Whether Proposals by Illinois and New York to Use the Internet and Out-of-State Transaction Processors to Sell Lottery Tickets to In-State Adults Violate the Wire Act . . . for this case and particularly the pending motions to dismiss the indictment.”

The new interpretation of the Wire Act brought about the attorneys for Campos and Eli filing motions to dismiss all counts. Elie was a payment processor and Campos previously held the position of vice chairman of SunFirst Bank in Utah. The motions state that the new interpretation made the Illegal Gambling business Act (IGBA) and the Unlawful Gaming Enforcement Act (UIGEA) inapplicable to the game of poker and they argue that poker is not gambling.

Preet Bharara, United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, filed a supplemental memorandum which stated: “the Government submits that the Opinion is not relevant to the Court’s analysis of the pending motions and has no other meaningful implications for this case.”

The memorandum:

“Ultimately, however, the Opinion does not resolve this potential conflict and, in fact, does not analyze, or draw any conclusions about, the UIGEA, the Illegal Gambling Businesses Act of 1970 (“IGBA”), 18 U.S.C. § 1955, or any other statute at issue in the defendants’ motions. Rather, the Opinion determines that the proposed lotteries are lawful based on its conclusion about the scope of the Wire Act, and specifically its conclusion that the Wire Act applies only to sports betting and not lotteries . . . Given this conclusion, the Opinion did not find it “necessary to address to address the Wire Act’s interaction with UIGEA, or to analyze UIGEA in any other respect.”

The DoJ's argument stated that the opinion addresses statues that aren't relevant to Campos and Elie - those being the IGBA and the UIGEA. Their argument also led to the suggestion that the opinion's analysis “has no relevance to the interpretation of the IGBA or UIGEA” and that “the policy changes that flow from the Opinion are of no benefit to those offering internet poker in a manner that violates state gambling law, as is alleged in the indictment.”

The motion to dismiss that was filed by Campos and Elie (according to Forbes) was refused when Federal Judge Lewis Kaplan ruled in favor of the DoJ. Kaplan stated: “Defendants’ argument that poker is not gambling fails, at least at this stage,” in a written eight-page memorandum opinion.

The defendant's trial is set for March with Kaplan refusing to dismiss any of the charges against Campos and Elie in his statement, “It would be inappropriate [to dismiss any count] for lack of proof at this point in time.”

Kaplan's eight-page opinion can be found here. has reached out to the attorneys of Elie and Campos. PokerWorks will update with future developments.

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