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UK – Poker must be closed door event in pubs and clubs

By - 30 October 2012

The British Gambling Commission has warned owners of clubs, pubs and hotels that hosting poker as private gaming is not possible without excluding public access.

The advice comes in the light of recent cases where people have misguidedly attempted to use alcohol licensed premises to play high stakes poker under the guise of private gaming.

The update reminds licensees that private gaming can only take place in an area which is not accessible by members of the public. It also warns that attempts to use dubious, temporary or impromptu private membership as a front for private gaming risks breaching the law.

Mike Williams, Head of Regional Enforcement & Compliance, said: “The provisions for private gaming under the Gambling Act 2005 cannot be used by pubs and clubs as a vehicle to bypass the limits on charges, stakes and prizes for poker. “In short, if the public can get in, then the poker game isn’t private gaming and you are breaking the law.”

The Commission has added a new section on private gaming to its existing advice and guidance material. The Commission’s Local Authority Liaison Unit is also highlighting the point to local authorities as one of the changes made in the recently revised Guidance to Licensing Authorities. It provides support and expertise to local licensing authorities in tackling illegal gambling at licensed premises.

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