‘Illegal’ clubs are still open for business
As some of you will know I am involved in the Loose Cannon Club which is in the heart of the City of London. I have not spoken about this here before because quite frankly not a lot was happening at the place. Knowing the Gutshot Club was being taken to Court for infringements of the Gaming Act (1968) Sections 3 & 4, I naively (as it turned out) thought all the ‘illegal’ clubs would be closed down. The only way to open a legal club was to have a Private Members Club whereby members paid a quarterly, six-monthly or yearly payment and all poker, including tournaments, was TOTALLY FREE OF CHARGE.
But although found guilty, as of to-day all these ‘illegal’ clubs are still open for business, which frankly made our model impossible to operate. The fact is that poker players will not pay a fee up front, preferring instead to pay registration fees for tournaments and a table charge or rake for cash games. Despite letters to the UK’s Gaming Commission and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport.( none of which was answered) we religiously stuck to our guns and persevered, knowing the membership payment was doomed. We were offering the cheapest poker in the world,,but players just would not part with the fee.
Now we have been forced to adopt the same tactics as all other clubs, which we started to do at the beginning of this year, and already we are noticing a difference. It’s still very early days yet,- but instead of sitting in an empty room as we did all last year we have had two tournaments this week, and better still have had cash games both nights; so here’s hoping the club continues to grow.
Please understand I have no wish for Gutshot or indeed any of the other clubs to be closed down; I just need some clarity from the authorities whereby we all have a ‘level playing field’. The number of poker players in the U.K. is huge and even from my experience at the Loose Cannon is still continuing to grow; it is not a tiny minority of people any more as since 2001 the internet and T.V. coverage has led to a massive growth of players. Hopefully the relevant UK authorities will realise that poker in itself is now a major business and bring in proper legislation for these players and the clubs who cater for them, to operate without fear of legal intervention.