OpenMarket.org, "the blog of the Competitive Enterprise Institute," has been telling the tale of five friends in South Carolina who were arrested for getting together once a week to play a friendly game of Texas Hold ‘Em in the privacy of a private home.
Still awaiting their fate at the hands of the state since they were busted in 2006, the whole issue seems to hang on whether Texas Hold ‘Em is a game of chance or a game of skill.
Games of chance are considered to be gambling according to South Carolina's 1802 law and therefore illegal, while a game of skill is not gambling and therefore legal.
The men thought they had caught a break in 2009 when a judge ruled that the game the men were playing was "a game of skill and not one of chance" and were therefore not engaged in gambling.
So, no conviction, right?
There are so many inscrutable, disputable, despicable, disreputable, convoluted, contrary and contradictory laws on the books in the Palmetto State and every other state in the nation that the participants were somehow still convicted of "operating a gambling house."
Got that? They were not guilty of "gambling" but were guilty of "operating a gambling house."
Laws are purposely loosey-goosey and obtrusively abusive because it allows people like the state's petty power-snorting attorney general to challenge the judge's ruling and pursue the victimless crime charges to satisfy his own ego.
Justice, on the other hand, is far easier to understand.
In the rational world of libertarian justice (otherwise known simply as "justice") there is no such thing as victimless crimes since, by any rational definition, a crime must have a victim to be a crime.
As far as can be determined by the article, none of the men had been coerced into participating in the simple, peaceful, nondestructive pastime of card playing.
The only real criminals mentioned in this story are the cops who entered the private home and arrested the card players and the attorney general pursuing his immoral prosecution of them.
Whether Texas Hold 'Em is a game of chance or a game of skill is utterly irrelevant. This is a game of politics and power and the "public officials" who are perpetrating the injustice should be the ones sentenced to jail.
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