Defense asks judge to dismiss gambling charges
by Mindy Aguon
Guam - Is poker considered a form of gambling? Not according to Wai Kam Ho's defense attorney, who cites a 2012 New York case that held that poker is not gambling under the Illegal Gambling Business Act. Attorney Peter Perez moved to have the second superceding indictment against his client, Jimmy Hsieh, Jennie Pau and William Perez thrown out.
Perez contends that poker is a game of skill rather than chance and says because Congress didn't include poker in the listed definitions of gambling activities, the court shouldn't consider it to be illegal. The four are accused of running illegal poker games and baccarat at the former MGM Spa and laundering the money.
The U.S. Attorney's Office opposes the dismissal of the charges, saying dozens of types of gambling are not specifically listed and card games are not mentioned at all. Assistant U.S. Attorney Karon Johnson argued that every card game involves chance, using blackjack as an example. District Court Judge Frances Tydingco Gatewood took the motion under advisement.
Meanwhile, Ho was allowed to travel off-island to be with his ailing wife, Betsy Tang, who has an outstanding warrant for her arrest for allegedly running illegal speed bingo games and laundering money.