The UK Gambling Commission is targeting illegal poker clubs across the length and breadth of the United Kingdom in its latest campaign to curtail what is considered to be unlawful gambling.
Under the terms of the Gambling Act 2005, members’ clubs can allow poker at them, but there are various restrictions in place depending on whether the venue has a gaming permit in place or not. There are also strict guidelines limiting stakes, fees and prizes, while the main purpose of the club cannot be gambling.
Investigations by local authorities resulted in three members’ clubs having to stop their poker activities after it was deemed they were acting outside of current laws.
- Palms of Enfield – A new application was rejected by the local council due to concerns of illegal poker games.
- Fifth Street Card Club – The Borehamwood based club has had its Club Gaming permit revoked.
- Royal Surrey Social Club – All poker activity has ceased after an investigation revealed poker was being played that exceeded legal limits.
Since July 2012, 10 clubs have either closed their doors completely or halted all poker activity. The most famous case was that of the International Private Members Club who folded when Hackney Council ruled the popular club would need an expensive full gaming licence to continue operating.
Nick Tofiluk, the Commission’s Director of Regulatory Operations, spoke of the recent spate of closures. “These ten cases show local authorities have the means and the determination to tackle concerns about illegal poker in whatever guise it is presented.”
“We are committed to working closely in support of local authorities in dealing with such matters. Local Authorities now have considerable experience in this field and we will continue to promote good practice while dealing effectively with illegal poker clubs. The message is simple – if you offer poker in a club which falls outside the rules for exempt gaming, or offer commercial poker you are breaking the law.”
Were you a member at any of the recently closed clubs? Where will you now play? Let us know in the comments box below.