German court overturns poker tournament ban

A German court has overturned a ban on poker tournaments in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) in an appeal that could set a precedent for card contests elsewhere in the country.

German court overturns poker tournament ban
Photo: DPA

A poker tournament ban in the city of Rheine would be “probably unlawful,” the court said on Tuesday. Planned poker games are “not forbidden games of chance,” according to the decision.

The court said banned games of chance are defined when a player’s chance of winning improves by paying entry fees. The €15 fee that the tournament organizers charge isn’t illegal because it does not “finance winning,” rather “covers the sundry costs of the tournament,” the court said.

The decision will likely affect plans to ban other poker tournaments throughout the state and in other parts of the country. The NRW state Interior Ministry has been reviewing a possible ban on all public poker tournaments for the last several weeks.

Rhineland-Palatinate was the first state to ban public tournaments, but state-run casinos are not included in the ban.