New York Mah Jong Ruling May Help Cause of Online Poker

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Mah Jong, the ancient Chinese tile-based table game, can now count itself as a winner in the old debate of games of skill vs. games of chance, according to a New York state judge, who recently ruled that the game demands more than luck.

On January 19, 2012, Criminal Court Judge John H. Wilson declared in People v. Feng that “the court declines to declare Mah Jong to be a per se ‘contest of chance.’ ” Although Judge Wilson ultimately allowed a charge of promoting gambling to go forward, his findings have significant implications not just for the game of Mah Jong itself, but also for other popular games, like poker, which have historically been viewed to constitute illegal gambling.

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