Hackney Poker club appeal rejected

04/07/2012

The Gambling Commission and Hackney Council have welcomed a court verdict rejecting an appeal against the removal of a club gaming permit and club premises certificate from a premises offering poker in Hackney.

The International Private Members Club, N1 had appealed the decision of Hackney Council to withdraw their club premises certificate and cancel the associated gaming permit at a licensing hearing in October 2011. Yesterday (2 July), at Thames Magistrates’ Court the appeal was dismissed with costs of £18,000 awarded to Hackney Council.

Welcoming the decision and praising the work of Hackney Council’s licensing enforcement officers and the Metropolitan Police, the Commission’s Director of Regulatory Risk and Analysis, Matthew Hill said:

“We welcome this verdict which confirms that the narrow permission allowing members of genuine members’ clubs to play poker cannot be used to justify the provision of what amounts to a commercial poker club.

“This case, which was diligently led by the Hackney Council, supported by the Gambling Commission and the Metropolitan Police, sends a clear message to club gaming permit holders, who seek to offer poker, that they must operate in accordance with their permit or run the risk of losing it.”

A number of local authorities have tackled or are faced by similar schemes. The Commission issued advice to local authorities to help distinguish between a members’ club and a commercial club in October 2010.

Cllr Sophie Linden, Hackney Council’s Cabinet Member for Crime, Sustainability and Customer Services said: “This verdict sends a strong message that clubs operating with complete disregard for the law will not be tolerated. The Council takes these breaches seriously and we will investigate and seek to remove their permits and certificates whenever necessary.”

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