Pertinent Points of UK Law on Poker
The UK is one of the countries in the world that is very particular about poker as a gambling game. In summary, here is what UK law on poker is all about.
Casual home poker is tolerated in UK, even with betting involved, but it is strict as to its true casual nature. Home poker should be strictly limited to the home members and no one outside of it must be invited or even allowed to go in the home premise to play. Any home poker game with players not belonging to the home members is considered public gaming and is prohibited.
A poker game outside the home but not in a casino---be it in a club, pub, gym, etc.---but which does not involve betting, is legal. It is purely for passing time away. But where betting is involved, the game is prohibited except when such place is licensed as a venue for the same. Basically, UK law on poker says any place where there is public access is illegal as a poker venue. So it is best to ask about licenses before taking part in a poker game in a public place.
Betting in a public poker venue is illegal in any form. Some poker betting my not involve money but stakes with money value. This may be in the form of bank checks, jewelries, bank notes, land titles, cars, and other properties. These, too, are illegal in UK. Any poker game that earns something that passes for profits, or that enables a host or venue to earn the same, is illegal in UK.
Anywhere a poker game is played with high stakes in considered illegal gambling, except when the place has a license. For home poker, stakes are controlled by having only the family members play. In case the bets become too high for a family home poker to have, the situation changes and the poker is considered high-staking gaming, and therefore illegal.
A home poker will only be so considered if there are no entrance fee charged, the family members who play only play against each other and not against a dealer, when the players are not lured to raise bets, when the poker game is not prolonged and does not happen regularly, and when the venue owner does not earn any revenue from the games.
UK law on poker is strict but with considerations for family and leisurely games of poker.