Commission issues first cautions over illegal pub poker

Press release

Date: 19 March 2010

The Gambling Commission (the Commission) has cautioned three men under the Gambling Act 2005 (the Act) following a joint investigation with Cheshire Police and The Safer Halton Partnership into unlawful poker at a Runcorn pub.

The investigation centred on the Cherry Tree, Linkway, Runcorn. Two men aged 35 and 56 respectively were cautioned for their part in providing unlawful gambling. A 50 year old man received the same sanction for allowing the premises to be used for unlawful gambling.

The investigation found that poker was being played in a function room at the rear of the Cherry Tree pub for stakes in advance of the statutory maximum. 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 in pubs around the country and these cautions for providing illegal poker in a pub are the first of their kind under the Act.

In October last year, the Commission produced a guide to help landlords ensure poker is offered legitimately on their premises. Commercial poker for unlimited stakes can only be played in casinos and licensed card clubs.

Commenting on the operation, the Commission’s Regional Compliance Manager for the North West, Alan Green said:

“This investigation is a good example of joint partnership working in keeping gambling fair and safe for people in Cheshire.

“The case serves as a reminder to those responsible for managing pubs of their responsibility to monitor gaming on their premises.”

Inspector Simon Blackwell, of Cheshire Police, said: 

“This innovative investigation between the partner agencies in Halton clearly shows our joint commitment to improving licensing standards. Those that would wish to unlawfully commit gambling offences will be dealt with robustly by The Safer Halton Partnership.”


Notes to editors

The Gambling Commission

  1. 1. The Gambling Commission (the Commission) regulates gambling in the public interest. It does so by keeping crime out of gambling, by ensuring that gambling is conducted fairly and openly, and by protecting children and vulnerable people from being harmed or exploited by gambling. The Commission also provides independent advice to government on gambling in Britain.
  2. 2. The Commission is responsible for licensing and regulating all gambling in Great Britain other than the National Lottery and spread betting, which are the responsibility of the National Lottery Commission and the Financial Services Authority (FSA) respectively.
  3. 3. Section 33 of the Gambling Act 2005 makes it illegal to provide unlicensed facilities for gambling.
  4. 4. Section 37 of the Gambling Act 2005 makes it illegal to allow premises to be used in the provision of facilities for unlawful gambling. 

The Safer Halton Partnership

  1. 1. The Safer Halton Partnership is made up of a variety of agencies including Cheshire Police, Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service, Halton Borough Council, the Probation Service, Halton Youth Offending Teams, local housing associations and community groups.  The Partnership plans, delivers and evaluates positive action to help reduce crime and disorder through multi-agency work alongside the local community.   

Further information

  1. For further information please contact us on (0121) 230 6700 or email