Legality of UK poker in private office

CueMaster71

CueMaster71

Guest
Hey all,

Does anyone in the UK know the law well enough to give me a definitive answer to this, or point me at a site that explains it clearly?

A group of us at work want to play a tourney, nothing too expensive, maybe £10 buy-in. Unfortunately, none of us are in a position to host it at home (various logistical reasons). We work for a private company, in a building owned by the company. We're wondering if we are breaking any laws by playing in the canteen after work one night. There would be no rake, no-one would be selling food or drink, and the doors would be locked so no members of the public could accidentally wander in and "be corrupted".

If we can approach the MD with a clear and accurate explanation of the law, proving that we're not breaking any laws, then chances are he'll let us play there.
 
Dorkus Malorkus

Dorkus Malorkus

HELLO INTERNET
I believe under the gambling Act 2005 it's an offence to provide a facility for gambling, but not if said gambling is private. As to how exactly 'private' is defined, well, all I can do is suggest you read the Act. :/

Edit: Linky

Sections 5, 33, 37, and 296 appear to be the most relevant parts I can find upon a quick glance.

Edit II: I don't like the look of this.
 
Last edited:
Egon Towst

Egon Towst

Cardschat Elite
Seems clear from Dorkus` researches that you could be setting yourself up for trouble because the premises you`re intending to use are not a private residence.

Forgive me if this is a silly question, but I suppose you have considered that some of the online poker sites will let you set up a private tourney for yourself and your colleagues/friends ? Admittedly lacks the social dimension of a live game, but at least it`s legal.
.
 
Welly

Welly

Guest
Apologies, I havent read DM's links above, but I think that act (2005 Gambling Act) may only come into force in Sept 2007. I may be wrong, but it is worth checking.

You could try a local pub. Officially you can play "small stakes" games in pubs and clubs. However the pub/club cannot take any cut, or use the event to attract custom (ie by promoting it).

"Small stakes" has always been the term that is a bit vague. (and I think the Gambling Act 2005 when it comes into force will address this). The generally interpretation at present is that the winner shouldn't win anymore than the cost of a round of drinks.

My tip.....order XO Cognac, or a fine wine!! :)
 
Dorkus Malorkus

Dorkus Malorkus

HELLO INTERNET
Apologies, I havent read DM's links above, but I think that act (2005 Gambling Act) may only come into force in Sept 2007. I may be wrong, but it is worth checking.

Nope, it came into force in late 2005. Certain bits may have been enforced earlier than others, but I think we're only talking about a gap of a few months.
 
Four Dogs

Four Dogs

Legend
Awards
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The Law? We're talkin' poker here, not child pornography. The outlaw element is part of the game. How do you think Doyle Brunson and Amarillo Slim got started. Just play and have fun. If you get busted you have a good story to tell.
I assume it's cool with management?
 
Bombjack

Bombjack

Legend
No, that's the problem. If we can prove it's legal, we'll be allowed to do it - if we can't, we won't.

Surely you don't have to prove that anything you do is legal - the onus is on someone to prove it's illegal...? It's supposedly a "free country" after all. :rolleyes:
 
Bombjack

Bombjack

Legend
BTW I think the law regarding poker in the UK is going to be settled in the Gutshot Club test case due go to court next spring. Gutshot's argument is that poker is not gambling, as it's a game of skill. Games like chess and backgammon are excluded from the act I think, even if played for money, because they're deemed games of skill. Gutshot wants poker to be put in this category. The Gutshot Club is being allowed to operate without any interference until then, so I think you're OK until this goes to court at least.
 
Bombjack

Bombjack

Legend
Some links re: the story.

Gutshot club:
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2-1843322,00.html
The offence they're being prosecuted for seems to be that they're taking a rake from the pot, so maybe this case isn't even relevant to your situation.

Interview with director of Gambling commission re: poker in the UK.
http://www.totalgambler.com/pokerli...ssue_of_poker_and_the_law_is_a_murky_one.html
Generally clear as mud. Guidelines not being issued until after the Gutshot case next January. Seems to say that playing poker in the pub is generally illegal, but "potentally legal" if prize money is no more than £4 per head. But no case has ever gone to court, and he implies that the Act isn't designed for this kind of thing.

Don't want to turn this into another pointless "poker is/isn't gambling" thread, but I think that the Gutshot are bound to win. The law applies to "equal chance gaming", wheras clearly poker has a huge element of skill. In fact, Hubert Phillips says in the classic Pan Book of Card Games, that (my italics):

"Poker is not only one of the most difficult of all games to play well, but it has a higher skill factor than any other game played with playing cards. By that I mean that, of all the games with which the card world is familiar, it is the one at which good players can be most certain of winning against bad players."
 
CueMaster71

CueMaster71

Guest
"Poker is not only one of the most difficult of all games to play well, but it has a higher skill factor than any other game played with playing cards. By that I mean that, of all the games with which the card world is familiar, it is the one at which good players can be most certain of winning against bad players."[/quote]


There is a card game where good players can be even more certain of winning against bad players..........








......




......






......







SNAP!!!!
 
Welly

Welly

Guest
In fact, Hubert Phillips says in the classic Peter Pan Book of Card Games, that

"Poker is not only one of the most difficult of all games to play well, but it has a higher skill factor than any other game played with playing cards. By that I mean that, of all the games with which the card world is familiar, it is the one at which good players can be most certain of winning against bad players."

Apart from Snap of course, he seems to forget the game of Bridge
 
Bombjack

Bombjack

Legend
No he's a famous Bridge author as well. He puts Poker ahead of Bridge in terms of skill.
 
Welly

Welly

Guest
Too funny.

I suppose he also thinks tying his shoelace is easier with one hand rather than 2 ;)
 
Bombjack

Bombjack

Legend
Just to quote someone from another forum on this topic:
It must be quite an old book as Hubert Phillips was a prominent bridge player long before I started playing, indeed we have a national tournament named after him.
Given the era that quote was made he would certainly be comparing a Poker cash game with a Rubber Bridge cash game. I've played both on many occasions, and I would agree with the comment that a good player is far more certain to win against a bad player at Poker than at Bridge. And for that reason I choose to play Poker for money rather than Bridge.
 
Welly

Welly

Guest
Well that forum must be very poor ;) :)

Of course rubber bridge has more variance than duplicate.

But the thing about cash rubber bridge is that you dont ever play over just one rubber. You chose what points you want to play to. I personally dont play to any less than 10,000 pts. The cash (is paid by the losers) per point on the points deficit.

Good players will beat bad 99% of the time. You could never possibly say that about poker cash tables.
 
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