A poker night hosted by the uber-elite Hurlingham Club in London has been called “staggeringly ill-conceived” by anti-gambling advocates for allowing teenagers to enter.
Part of the private members club’s festive celebrations, the Las Vegas-style poker night will take place in December. The West London venue is known to be a regular haunt for celebrities and members of the royal family but next month it will welcome 15-to-19-year-olds for a night of play money poker.
Fun Event Draws Serious Criticism
Tickets for the poker night will start at £22/$28 and the company helping to run the tournament, Poker Vision, has insisted no money will change hands and that it’s just for fun. Reacting to the call for teenagers to do their best James Bond impressions, critics have said the Hurlingham Club are putting acting irresponsibly.
Talking to The Telegraph, Tory peer Lord Chadlington said that children are being put at risk by events such as this.
“Children are being groomed to gamble. We must pay much more attention to the serious effects of gambling-related harm and this reinforces the need for urgent action, particularly to protect children,” Chadlington told The Telegraph.
Turning Point for UK Gaming
The criticism comes at a time when the UK gaming industry is undergoing a number of changes. Following calls to change the maximum bet for fixed odds betting terminals (FOBTs), the British government has announced a new series of measures that will come into effect in 2019.
Ahead of lowering FOBT wagers from $128.50 to $2.50 in April, the government will increase remote betting tax to 21 percent. The move has been welcomed by those wanting tighter controls on gaming companies, but it’s forced operators to look for new opportunities.
Following the demise of the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA), William Hill has expanded its network of partners in the US. Like William Hill, Paddy Power and Ladbrokes Coral have also sought to increase their offerings outside of the UK.
Despite the regulatory changes, critics of the UK gaming industry continue to be vocal. In light of the Hurlingham Club poker night, calls for further restrictions have come to fore once again.
When asked to comment on its teenage poker night, a spokesperson for the Hurlingham Club declined to give The Telegraph a comment.