UK poker clubs to go head-to-head with government


Tessa Jowell and the government face even more opposition from the gaming industry following the embarrassment of the recent super-casino fiasco.

The UK Poker Clubs Association (UKPCA), which counts 72,000 people amongst its members, is ready to go head-to-head with the government over the new Gambling Act, which is to be enforced this September.

They claim that the daily membership limit of £3 they can charge will restrict the prizes on offer in tournaments and will reduce their attractiveness. The new legislation will also class poker clubs in the same bracket as casinos, thus requiring them to apply for a casino licence.

“The imposition of casino licences on poker clubs is neither appropriate nor fair and could result in the closure of many clubs,” said Geoff Owen, chairman of the UKPCA.

“In its current form, the Gambling Act could also result in a rise in online poker activity and unregulated “underground” poker, as players seek venues away from a casino environment.”

If that were the case, the Gambling Act would achieve the exact opposite of its intended purpose of safely regulating the gaming industry

The UKPCA have already sought some top legal advice and hired Citigate as a lobbyist if they decide to go down the legal route.

In January of this year, Derek Kelly Gutshot Poker Club, owner of the Gutshot Poker Club in Clerkenwell, London, was convicted of running unlicensed poker games despite unsuccessfully arguing that poker was a game of skill, not luck, and should therefore be outside the scope of the current Gaming Act and not require a licence.

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