Are you holding a poker night?

Responsible Service of GamblingAre you thinking about holding a poker night or gaming tournament in a public place? Well consider this, if you hold an unlawful poker night or gaming tournament in a public place – that could hit you with a maximum penalty of 200 penalty units for conducting the game or 40 penalty units for playing.

Any form of poker and/or any other gambling game that is normally played within a casino is played in a public place, is considered unlawful and illegal. If any gambling activity that is played outside of a casino, it is an unlawful game under the Criminal Code Act 1899. However, if the game is free to enter as the person organising the game is playing in the venue, then the game is considered lawful as it is free to play. Nevertheless, there have been cases of ‘free to enter’ where it is technically free to enter but the player must purchase a drink to receive chips, therefore, this constitutes as illegal as the player has to outlay their own money to play. Whereas, a game of poker that is played between friends where the winner of each hand wins the takings at a private dwelling, is considered legal.

To ensure that you are holding a legal tournament at your venue and you are not putting your licensees at risk of being revoked due to an illegal game, it is advised to gain independent legal advice before the tournament is held on your premises.

Holding an illegal gambling event at your venue could have implications that could affect your business, long term. To ensure that the event is legal and that there are no implications, please look over the legislation that is applicable and obtain independent advice before proceeding. However, if you are the individual organising the event, consider the implications for yourself and the venue and whether it is worth holding the event. It is important to ensure that your gambling game is legal and that you are abiding by the applicable gaming legislation.