Police warn against illegal gambling
ROCKHAMPTON venues hosting poker games are being warned to know when to hold 'em, know when to fold 'em, and know when to walk away.
Sergeant Paul Bennett of the Capricornia District Liquor Enforcement Unit is advising all licensed venues that requiring players to outlay their own money at poker tournaments might constitute gambling.
That applies whether it is as a condition of play, or to obtain an advantage, such as more chips.
As Texas Hold 'em has risen in popularity, Sgt Bennett said police had heard more and more reports of illegal gambling over the past six months.
He said there were reports of venues pushing the boundaries of the "free" policy by requiring players to purchase a drink or by providing an incentive, such as extra chips, to players who purchase a drink or a meal.
But tournaments in public places that are free to enter and play, where the venue pays the tournament operator a fee for each player who participates in the tournament, are not considered to be unlawful games.
It's not just players who risk being out-of-pocket if found participating in illegal games.
Licensees are gambling heavy fines, the loss of their liquor licence, and up to three years jail if found with illegal gaming on their premises.
"It is just not worth the risk of losing your livelihood just because someone wants top run an unlawful poker tournament in your pub or club," Sgt Bennett said.
He advises venues to seek independent legal advice before allowing poker tournaments.
Police are calling on anyone with information about illegal gaming on licensed premises to call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.