The Iowa Court of Appeals has overturned the conviction of man for illegal gambling at a blackjack table. An off-duty dealer at the Riverside Casino reported that it appeared Mitchell Smith was using slight of hand that allowed him to add extra chips to his bet once his first two card were dealt at the blackjack table.
Video of the action on that December night in 2006 confirmed that Smith was adding the chips — or “capping” the bet — when it looked like he had a good chance to beat the dealer. Smith was charged with prohibited gaming activities under a provision that makes it illegal if a person collects or attempts to claim money of a greater value than the amount of money they won. Smith appealed the ruling based on the language of the law.
Smith said he may have won more chips than he was entitled to win if he had been following the rules of the game, but said that his chips reflected his actual winnings because he beat the dealer. The Iowa Court of Appeals agreed with Smith’s interpretation. The court said the language of the law was designed to prevent someone from winning more money than they should have won, but says the language does not address the issue of cheating to win the money.
The Appeals Court said it was not at liberty to expand the meaning of the law to include money that had been won legitimately without cheating. See the complete court ruling here: Blackjack ruling PDF