New advice on keeping poker legal in pubs

By Gemma McKenna

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags License Gambling in the united kingdom Public house Gambling commission

A leaflet alerting licensees to how to keep poker legal in pubs has been produced by the Gambling Commission and the British Beer & Pub...

A leaflet alerting licensees to how to keep poker legal in pubs has been produced by the Gambling Commission and the British Beer & Pub Association.

The leaflet, which offers advice on allowing poker in alcohol licensed premises, is part of a campaign to educate the licensed alcohol trade about the law on equal chance gaming.

Low stakes poker is permitted in pubs as long as stakes are kept below £5 a head and £100 per premises per day. A significant number of poker leagues operate legitimate low stakes poker around the country but there is some evidence of restrictions being breached.

The Commission has already written to poker league operators reminding them of the legal position.

The leaflet, which has the backing of the BBPA, is designed to help landlords ensure the limits on stakes and prizes are not breached on their premises. It has also been highlighted to the large pub operators.

The new leaflet has also received the support of the Local Authorities Coordinators of Regulatory Services (LACORS).

Local authorities may take action against holders of alcohol premises licences who breach the limits. Licensees who persist in offering illegal poker risk prosecution under the Gambling Act 2005.

The Commission's director of regulation, Nick Tofiluk said: "This leaflet will help designated premises supervisors in pubs to stick to the rules."

Rita King, deputy director of pubs and leisure at the British Beer & Pub Association, said: "This leaflet gives welcome clarification of the law around what has become a popular game in Britain's pubs. Poker in pubs is a low-stakes game played largely for fun. When it comes to keeping prizes within the legal limits, it will help pubs to have the rules set out clearly."

Emily Scantlebury, licensing and gambling policy officer at LACORS said: "We welcome the Gambling Commission's clarification of this issue as Local Authorities often receive queries about poker tournaments in pubs."

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