Legal advice: Exempt gaming

Related tags Equal chance gaming Game Gambling in the united kingdom

The popularity of Poker would appear to be reaching new heights and not surprisingly, there is demand for games to be staged within licensed...

The popularity of Poker would appear to be reaching new heights and not surprisingly, there is demand for games to be staged within licensed premises. This is how poker, bingo and other card games could be played under the new Act:

The Gambling Act 2005 will provide a specific exemption from the requirement for a separate licence or order to play bingo, poker or other equal chance gaming on licensed premises.

This exemption applies specifically to 'equal chance gaming' which is gaming that cannot involve a bank and must be a game where the chances are equally favourable to all players, and would include dominoes, poker, and bingo.

There are a number of conditions to any game played under this exemption. No amount can be levied or deducted from the stakes or winnings and there can be no participation fee.

Limits will be set on stake and prize but the details of these are not yet known as they will form part of the regulations due to be published in draft form soon. However, you can expect them to be low. In reality these conditions allow small-scale non-commercial gambling.

It may therefore be possible, if all of the conditions are satisfied, from September 1, 2007 for licensed premises to conduct games of poker or equal chance gaming without any form of gaming licence, order or permission. This from an operator's point of view provides an opportunity, because there is no need to make any application, the exemption will apply automatically providing the conditions are fulfilled.

That said, much will depend on the detail of the conditions in the regulations as to how attractive to customers the games of poker will actually be.

This exemption is wider than under the Gaming Act 1968 which allowed dominoes and cribbage only, but required a separate application for any other type of small-scale gaming, such as poker. High turnover bingo

A further relaxation under the new Act relates to the playing of bingo in pubs. Apart from the exemption above, bingo is permitted on licensed premises once a year for a seven-day period where either the stakes or prizes can exceed £2,000. This is only allowed during a single seven-day period per year and you must inform the Gambling Commission when a week like this occurs. This starts the clock ticking for a year before you can lawfully have another similar week.

Related topics Legislation

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