Hosts have been warned not to try to bypass gambling laws by holding poker games at non-public areas in pubs.
York licensee Paul Harris contacted gambling reg-
ulator, the Gambling Commission, to ask if he could host poker at an unlicensed back room in his pub.
Council licensing officers had ordered him to stop holding poker nights at the bar.
Harris said that only invited guests would be allowed to gamble in the back room of the Acomb pub and no drinks would be served.
The Gambling Commission advises that unlicensed gambling is only permitted during a "domestic occasion".
MA legal editor Peter Coulson said licensees would have difficulty proving that staging poker anywhere in a pub counted as a domestic occasion.
"I think the licensee could be prosecuted for permitting illegal poker on the premises," Coulson said.
Under the 1968 Gaming Act, venues need a council permit to host games of chance that are played for money. The only exceptions are dominoes and cribbage, while games of skill, such as darts or pool, require no permit.