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Any update on Pub Poker in the ACT?

By Buzz - 29 September 2009 29

Some time ago I was aware that there was an online petition of sorts to lobby for legalisation of social, pub/club poker in the ACT. As far as I am aware, social poker networks such as the National Poker League (NPL) and Australian Poker League (APL) are legal throughout Australia… except in the ACT.

I can’t understand why here, of all places, a relatively harmless social activity is illegal. Further, I can’t understand why the clubs aren’t very interested in supporting this initative. Having visited some venues in NSW and QLD, its obvious that the venues love pub poker on weeknights. I’ve seen pubs that would be lucky to have 10 patrons on a Tuesday night have over 100 turn up to play social poker for no money, just a social league. The pub/club benefits – extra trade, and its great social fun for people to play a card game without having to gamble for real money.

The only poker option in the ACT is the Casino… and unless things have changed in the last six months there are only a few games there and for quite high stakes. Surely the ACT government is actually encouraging irresponsible gambling by forcing the poker public into only one outlet, and a very expensive one as well?

Would love to hear if there has been any progress or an organised lobby to bring social pub poker to the ACT.

What’s Your opinion?


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29 Responses to
Any update on Pub Poker in the ACT?
heinous 5:43 pm 29 Sep 09

I would have though that the Labor party would be enthusiastic about getting tournament poker in the ACT as they receive funding from The Tradies clubs. If tournament poker was permitted then more people would visit their clubs and they would therefore receive more income.

Inappropriate 5:37 pm 29 Sep 09

Hells_Bells74 said :

The casino can’t have pokies, the (pokie) clubs can’t have poker! Sounds almost equal..

Could the clubs treat it like a ‘trivia night’ to get around it at all or is it the game in question as opposed to the gambling factor (which is pretty small in social tournaments I thought)?

Perhaps it’s just all too hard for them!

Tis the game in question. You cannot even hold charity events.

Hells_Bells74 4:22 pm 29 Sep 09

The casino can’t have pokies, the (pokie) clubs can’t have poker! Sounds almost equal..

Could the clubs treat it like a ‘trivia night’ to get around it at all or is it the game in question as opposed to the gambling factor (which is pretty small in social tournaments I thought)?

Perhaps it’s just all too hard for them!

Inappropriate 1:41 pm 29 Sep 09

caf said :

Well the alternative to getting rid of pokies would be to simply say that a club can hold poker tournaments, but only if they don’t have poker machine licenses. That way it would be up to each club to choose.

I don’t think the argument that tournaments encourage more people to play the pokies can hold much water – if you’re a poker player then you have a better than usual understanding of probability, so you’re not going to throw a lot of money away on the pokies…

Those people who are inclined to play pokies, will play them while they’re on a break from the tournament, or they’re waiting for another tournament to start up.

And yes, I know it’ll be a cold-cold day in hell before a club gives up its pokies.

caf 12:53 pm 29 Sep 09

It’s pretty clear that the Gaming and Racing Commission has an anti-poker agenda, when you see this in their report when it’s describing tournaments:

Prizes may be on offer at each event and may consist of cash, cash equivalent (free entry to higher level events) or merchandise such as that at a Geelong club where the Saturday night tournament winner receives a voucher for a 30 minute pleasure session at a local brothel.

The distasteful example they’ve scoured the country to find is completely unrepresentative of the prizes at poker tournaments, and clearly calculated to give the worst possible impression of poker and poker players.

Buzz 12:49 pm 29 Sep 09

Interesting views all. I still don’t understand why the clubs don’t lobby in favour, surely its in their interest to attract more patrons.

I appreciate we in the ACT can play at Eaglehawk or in QBN, but thats a long way to go compared to just down the road to the “local”.

So frustrating.

caf 12:40 pm 29 Sep 09

Well the alternative to getting rid of pokies would be to simply say that a club can hold poker tournaments, but only if they don’t have poker machine licenses. That way it would be up to each club to choose.

I don’t think the argument that tournaments encourage more people to play the pokies can hold much water – if you’re a poker player then you have a better than usual understanding of probability, so you’re not going to throw a lot of money away on the pokies…

Skidbladnir 12:06 pm 29 Sep 09

Inappropriate said :

We might get a chance to get it into pubs & clubs if they got rid of pokies…

I laugh at your naïvety.
It might be a nice idea, but it has the proverbial snowball’s chance in this town.

Inappropriate 11:52 am 29 Sep 09

We might get a chance to get it into pubs & clubs if they got rid of pokies: one of the main arguments against poker was that it attracted people to play the pokies (o_O).

caf 10:49 am 29 Sep 09

Fiona: Tournament club poker is in no way similar to the pokies. For a start, it’s a game of skill (it’s actually possible to be good or bad at it, unlike the pokies). For a second, you’re playing against other players, not the house. For a third, you pay a fixed entry fee.

There’s no fundamental difference between a club-poker style poker tournament and a scrabble or chess tournament.

papadoc 10:35 am 29 Sep 09

The problem lies with Gaming and Racing. Their last paper classified Texas Hold ‘Em as an illegal game and only the Casino has the licence to play the game in the ACT. I was one of the people trying to get the dame decriminalised in the ACT, but it’s not going to happen anytime in the future.

Local clubs want the games to be played, but unfortunately it will likely never happen in the ACT. Being a statutory authority the gaming and racing commission has the final say and all they continue to say is “No”. The offer minimal explanation at best and will continue to do so, making it damn near impossible to get heard. Petitions haven’t worked, getting the clubs on board hasn’t worked and I think they’re kind of proud that “The ACT doesn’t allow this kind of thing”.

Inappropriate 10:14 am 29 Sep 09

You can read about it here http://www.gamblingandracing.act.gov.au/Documents/Unlawful%20Games%20Draft%20Policy%20Paper%20Final.pdf

In short: no pub games, no charity games, home games ok.

Fiona 10:05 am 29 Sep 09

yay. we need more ways to gamble. oh no, wait, it’s no gambling in registered clubs because grandma’s pension cheque goes through the pokies, part is handed to the government in taxe, tthe ret is spent on making the club bigger and on sponsoring sporting teams.

OzPhoenix 9:42 am 29 Sep 09

Correct me if I’m wrong, but the problem here is not that the clubs “aren’t very interested in supporting this initative”, but that there are laws that were put in place to say that poker could _only_ be played at the Casino. There seems to even be stories around that say this move was driven by the Casino when they were opening here, and was even an attempt to lure the Casino into opening here.

So I think the problem is: the law, the casino and maybe the gubbmint. But _not_ the clubs – I’m sure they’d love it.

caf 9:42 am 29 Sep 09

It’s actually pushing the poker players into illegal home games.

So I hear.

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