Chances are, you love heading to the pub with your gang to catch up and enjoy a pint or two. You may even take in a football game while you’re there, or grab a table to partake in a casual game of poker. But did you know that the latter could get both you, and your local’s landlord into trouble?
The Gambling Commission recently released a statement to remind pub owners that “they are breaking the law if they allow their pubs to be used for betting or provide facilities enabling betting.” This means that if you’re playing for cash, or something else of value, you could very well be breaking the law, too.
The Commission also states that:
“No commercial betting at all, regardless of the level of stakes, is allowed in pubs and clubs. It is not socially responsible and those who facilitate such betting in pubs and clubs – whether publicans, designated premises supervisors or club officials – are providing illegal facilities for gambling and are breaking the law.”
And if you do get caught? You’ll be punished with more than just a slap on the wrist. Those who engage in the facilitation of illegal betting could be sentenced to up to 51 weeks’ imprisonment, sometimes in conjunction with a £5,000 fine. In Scotland, the prison sentence isn’t quite so harsh, lasting for six months.
It all comes down to licensing. Just like casinos, pubs and clubs must have an operating license in order for poker to be played on their premises. These can be applied for via the Gambling Commission, and are more than worth the cost. After all, is a prison sentence really worth the risk?
At Grosvenor we’re really pleased to see these regulations being reinforced. By regulating gaming in this way, the Gambling Commission isn’t only promoting responsible gaming, but helping to prevent things like criminal activity. We only hope that all premises will comply with the legislation, to help gaming remain a safe and, most importantly, fun, pastime.