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Poker in alcohol licensed premises

Clubs, and premises with an alcohol licence, are permitted to conduct equal chance gaming on their premises. Poker is the most popular of these types of gaming.

There are strict limits in place for stakes and prizes. 

  • The maximum stake per player is £5 per game. The combined stakes for premises must not exceed £100 per day. 
  • The maximum prize is £100 per game.
  • This maximum includes money, payments in-kind, vouchers, goods, donated items, goody-bags, buy-ins at other poker tournaments and other items which have a value.
  • You cannot charge a participation fee including, for example, by having entrants pay a compulsory charge for a meal. It is irrelevant whether the charge is said to be voluntary or compulsory.
  • The gaming cannot be linked to gaming in other premises. 

The Gambling Commission has issued a Code of Practice which explains what a pub must do in order to be able to offer poker. In a pub, the Designated Premises Supervisor (DPS) is the person responsible for ensuring compliance. Records of poker activity, required by the Code, should be available for inspection. 

If you don't fully comply with the limits on stakes and prizes and the Code of Practice, we may remove the exemption which permits poker in your pub under the Gambling Act 2005. As the exemption relies on your alcohol licence (e.g. avoiding the commission of a criminal offence), it may result in us reviewing that licence too.

If the exemption is removed, any breach of the Gambling Act by permitting a game of equal chance on premises could result in prosecution. This carries a severe penalty - prison for up to 51 weeks and/or an unlimited fine. 

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