illegal Poker in Clubs – Stay Legal

Inn the Club Article Poker in Clubs

Featured in our latest printed ‘Inn The Club News’ to social clubs in the Midlands is Nick Arron from Poppleston Allen Solicitors. Nick is the lead partner in the betting and gaming team and having responsibility for operating, personal and premises licences under the gambling act 2005.




nick arron

Illegal poker in “clubs” continues to be a problem for local authorities, early in the year the Royal Surrey Social Club in Morden, Surrey had to stop their poker activities as it was discovered poker was being played illegally in exceeding prescribed limits and a new application for the ‘Palms of Enfield’ club was rejected on a number of grounds including concerns about illegal poker. Examples such as the above have led to increased interest in poker in clubs by local authorities’. With this in mind, we have put together a brief overview on way to provide poker legally at your club

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, or the club is operating under exempt gaming provisions.

Properly established “members clubs” can apply to the local licensing authority for a gaming permit, the club must be established wholly or mainly for purposes other than gaming, and a council fee (up to £200) is required along with the application.

The advantage of a Club Gaming Permit is that there are no limits on the stakes and prizes on permitted gaming, which includes poker – where you can also charge a participation fee of £3. However, along with this permit comes the increased responsibility of managing the poker game and stakes offered so that gaming is provided responsible, it is not used to facilitate crime, preventing underage gaming, ensuring the protection of vulnerable people and ensuring that the gaming taking place is fair and open.

For those clubs content to play poker for low stakes and prizes, who do not wish to incur the expense of a Club Gaming Permit, there is an option to provide equal chance gaming such as backgammon, dominos, cribbage, bingo and poker without a permit, under the ‘Exempt Gaming’ exemption.  Under Exempt Gaming rules, equal chance gaming can be provided without a licence as long as certain limits on stakes, prizes and participation fees apply.  In respect of poker, the maximum stake per player is £10 per game; combined stakes for the club cannot exceed £250 per day and £1,000 per week. The maximum prize is £250 per game (money or money’s worth) and participation fee of £1 per person per day (commercial clubs with club machine permit can charge £3 per person per day or otherwise £1).


For those clubs who would like further information in respect of poker and other gaming in clubs, please contact us at Poppleston Allen Solicitors. We at  Comrie Automatics can highly recommend nick and his team at Poppleston Allen as they have been advising us and dealing with all our licencing requirements for many years now.

Nick Arron | Partner  

Poppleston Allen

E: | T: 0115 9538 510 | M: 07968 805 559 | W:


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