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Tackling the problem of illegal poker clubs is top of the agenda in a training session for local authority licensing officers and police this week, run by the Gambling Commission’s Local Authority Liaison Unit (LALU) and held at Westminster City Council.

Over 60 officers from councils across southern England and the police are attending the event this Friday at City Hall to find out how other licensing authorities have dealt with illegal poker clubs, tackling money laundering and how the Commission can assist in providing intelligence.

Earlier this year a number of illegal poker clubs across the country were targeted as a result of investigations by local authorities with support from the Gambling Commission, while Enfield Council became the first local authority in the UK to successfully prosecute a person for money laundering in relation to running an illegal poker den.

Rob Burkitt, from the Commission’s LALU, said: “This is a great opportunity for local authorities to share good practice, and we are grateful to Westminster City Council for hosting the event.

“Action has been taken against a number of illegal poker clubs and this training session will benefit from the experience gained from that. Poker cannot be the primary role or sole activity of a club. If poker is played in a club which falls outside the rules for exempt gaming, or if it offers commercial poker when it does not have an appropriate licences it is breaking the law.”

Under the Gambling Act 2005, commercial high-stakes poker is restricted to licensed casinos. Whilst poker can be played in members’ clubs, there are various restrictions depending on whether there is a club gaming permit in place, as well as conditions on participation fees and stake and prize limits.

Notes to editors

  1. The Gambling Commission (the Commission) regulates gambling in the public interest alongside its co-regulators local licensing authorities. 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. Subject to these overriding public protection objectives, as regulator of the National Lottery the Commission monitors and challenges Camelot to raise the maximum amount for good causes. The Commission also provides independent advice to government on gambling in Britain. 
  2. The Commission and local licensing authorities are responsible for licensing and regulating all gambling in Great Britain other than spread betting, which is the responsibility of the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).
  3. See the Terms & Conditions section of our website for information on legal advice.

For further information please contact our press office on (0121) 230 6700 or email communications@gamblingcommission.gov.uk.

Posted on 28 August 2014