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clayftknight
High Card


Joined: 20 Mar 2006
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 20, 2006 12:36 pm
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Old Trafford Poker Festival .. explained

The newly announced Rivercard Poker Festival to be held at Old Trafford, Manchester in June has today had to be cancelled due to newly published guidance from the Gambling Commission.

The event, hoped to be the biggest poker festival in Europe to be held outside of a casino environment, has now been put in an untenable situation due to its inability to legally promote and run the event effectively due to the restrictions which now govern the way the event can be advertised.

With the current high profile crack down on gaming within the UK, the Gambling Commission have just issued a Guidance Notice on Section 42 of the 1968 Gaming Act which seriously restricts the ability to hold and promote such an event in the UK. This, together with a recent lack of cooperation from the Gambling Commission on the matter has today led to the difficult decision to cancel this event.

The event planning started some two years ago when we were in discussions with Harrahs WSOP in the U.S.A. to launch a European poker site and tournament. However, changes in attitude towards the future of on line gaming and the uncertainty about the direction of the US laws caused their position to change and we decided to revert to our original plan of launching our own lifestyle poker site and run prestigious poker events across Europe.

We were keen to stay within the law, and started to work closely with the Gambling Commission some six months ago. Our legal team worked tirelessly to comply with the many restrictions which govern gaming in this country to be able to run the poker festival at Old Trafford and we submitted a document to the Commission at the end of 2005 outlining our proposal in detail.

The event was going from strength to strength as we had huge support from our network partner Tribeca, the management at Old Trafford and the legal team. Most of the mechanism for the tournament was firmly in place, including sponsorship and TV coverage. The tournament was fully compliant with U/K law and we had a barrister ensure we maintained the legal status of the event.

Unfortunately, in the last week the plans have been hit on two fronts firstly the Gambling Commission have been less than enthusiastic and at the time of cancelling this event have still not provided us and our lawyers with feedback on our proposal. They also approached Manchester United without consulting or informing us in a blatant attempt to try and get the club to pull out. This in itself was worrying especially considering the governments current crack down on gaming. We were concerned that the Commission would be looking to make an example of someone and a high profile event such as the proposed tournament at Old Trafford could provide the perfect opportunity for this.

Secondly, the Gambling Commission have just issued a Guidance Notice on Section 42 of the 1968 Gaming Act which seriously restricts the ability to legally hold and promote such an event as ours. The governments new interpretation of the existing legislation potentially affects everyone within the industry and how they can promote their tournaments and poker sites. There are two main issues within these guidance notice which cause concern the use of digital marketing mediums such as email, banner ads, websites etc is now highly restricted as a promotional tool for use by UK companies and secondly, the interpretation of some of the wording within the original Gaming Act has been changed to become so restrictive that it seems virtually impossible to promote a poker event without breaking the law.

Having considered all the odds, we today made the difficult decision to cancel the event this year. Even with the level of support we already have within the poker community, it is still a huge financial risk to try and run an event when your hands are tied and you are fighting legislation every step of the way. Even if we were able to pull it off, there is nothing to say that the Gambling Commission will not try and stop the event at the last minute. It is our opinion that this event has now become such a high profile that it is too politically sensitive in the current environment to allow it to go ahead. With the new sweeping powers the Gambling commission now has we are find ourselves playing in a game where the cards are marked and the Government is the dealer. It is time to leave this table and count our losses (70,000)

It is a hugely regrettable situation, but we feel that we have done everything we can to comply and work with relevant bodies to ensure this tournament could take place legally, but unfortunately the risks to continue are now too high for everyone involved.

All those who have already qualified have been notified and fully refunded. We apologise for any inconvenience this cancellation has caused but hope the poker community will understand our position and reasons for cancellation.

If anyone has any questions please contact us through our website or as detailed below.

Editorial information: For further information contact: Dave Brannan, Team Europe Ltd
Tel; 08451 228451. Team Europe are the marketing agency working with The Rivercard
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clayft
Sam the man
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Joined: 02 Sep 2005
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 20, 2006 1:34 pm
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Where does all this leave the Gutshot?
christianharris
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Joined: 09 Jun 2004
Posts: 348

PostPosted: Mon Mar 20, 2006 4:18 pm
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What is the 'newly published guidance from the Gambling Commission'?
The Reverend
In Rhythm


Joined: 27 Aug 2004
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 20, 2006 6:42 pm
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What a bunch of arse. I was actually going to go upto Manchester to play the limit event as I've never seen one held in the UK before. Absolute joke, the way the gaming board/gambling commission/whatever the hell they're called are behaving cannot possibly be for the benefit of the public. It's hard to know who they CAN be trying to benefit unless they are making sure the big American casinos which will be moving in don't have to compete with non-casino poker rooms. I love a good conspiracy theory, especially if it involves the yanks, but can anyone come up with any other reason which makes sense?

As for Gutshot Sam, they were blatently breaking the (albeit unreasonable) law before and still are. Seeing as court proceedings are already underway I wouldn't have thought they can be raided. In effect that gives them safety to keep on taking tenners out of pots in the meantime.
Matt101
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Joined: 18 Jan 2006
Posts: 3285

PostPosted: Mon Mar 20, 2006 6:53 pm
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The Reverend wrote:
I love a good conspiracy theory, especially if it involves the yanks, but can anyone come up with any other reason which makes sense?


IMO it's another example of the government pandering to the Daily Mail reading middle Englanders who tend to decide the outcome of general elections in this country. To small minded people like this gambling is a sin (even though they play the lottery every week with dreams of a new mock tudor mansion), whereas watching a pack of hounds ripping a fox to pieces counts as sport Rolling Eyes

There that's my rant over, I feel better after that!
The Reverend
In Rhythm


Joined: 27 Aug 2004
Posts: 6193
Location: In Rhythm

PostPosted: Mon Mar 20, 2006 7:07 pm
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I don't buy this, it's not like a small poker festival in Manchester is going to get any coverage in the mainstream press. Unless they were hoping it would go ahead, so they could raid it! Labour does its best to control every aspect of people's lives for no good reason anyway, it's only when it comes down to them missing out on a load of kickbacks that they become a little more liberal (see allowing more and larger casinos and giving incoming hugely rich American companies a big advantage in the bidding for the new licences over established UK companies)

Matt101 wrote:
IMO it's another example of the government pandering to the Daily Mail reading middle Englanders
scott young
Flush


Joined: 01 Dec 2005
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 20, 2006 7:21 pm
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The government will always close something down if they can't put a tax on it. Evil or Very Mad

They will try to tax shagging soon. Rolling Eyes As in papers last week they have already started to put CCTV near bedroom windows Laughing
Scott Jeggs
Trips


Joined: 12 Apr 2005
Posts: 165

PostPosted: Tue Mar 21, 2006 11:32 am
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I'd be interested to hear what makes/made Late Night Poker and its like legal, where players are gambling with their own money in TV studios.
The Reverend
In Rhythm


Joined: 27 Aug 2004
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 21, 2006 12:01 pm
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TV companies can afford legal representation and are harder to bully than a startup company which the Gaming Commission knows can't afford to defend itself?

Scott Jeggs wrote:
I'd be interested to hear what makes/made Late Night Poker and its like legal, where players are gambling with their own money in TV studios.
clayftknight
High Card


Joined: 20 Mar 2006
Posts: 2

PostPosted: Tue Mar 21, 2006 1:54 pm
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Christian........

Under the new guidance from the Gaming Commission, online advertising now falls within their remit.
Put simply, if you run a British land based event, you can no longer promote/advertised this event online without potentially falling foul of the new gambling commission. The wording of what is acceptable is open to interpretation. This means if they decide that they dont like something they can stop it. There is no clear guidance on what is and is not allowed.
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clayft
dime
Full House


Joined: 09 Nov 2005
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 21, 2006 2:28 pm
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I've asked this question before and I'll probly keep on asking it again until I get an answer (well at least one I want to hear Wink )

Why can you play bingo and not poker tournaments?

What is the difference?

I can see how cash games differe and even rebuy tounries but if poker tournamnets were freeze-outs what would be the difference with a game of bingo? Every one pays an entry fee, the organisers take a cut and the rest is paid out to the winners, now am I describing Bingo or a poker tournament here?
TheWhisper
Trips


Joined: 15 Jul 2005
Posts: 125

PostPosted: Tue Mar 21, 2006 2:33 pm
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Bingo, run by the W.I., the village hall committee or similar organisations, for charitable purposes does not require a licence. Bingo run by someone for personal or commercial gain does need a licence, which is obtained from the Gaming Board.
SimonB
Two Pair


Joined: 20 Jan 2005
Posts: 54

PostPosted: Tue Mar 21, 2006 2:36 pm
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I'm currently researching an article on this very subject, but have so far found it very difficult to pin down exactly what legislation exists for the different tournaments and cash games that are now on offer outside of casinos, be that a card-room, a pub or a members club. My suspicion is that we're all breaking a law or two, but getting a striaght answer to a straight question is proving troublesome.

The problem perhaps is that the Gambling Commission is only now catching up with what's on offer these days and is taking a sweeping view of all instances of poker outside the casino environment, without allowing for the variances in delivery and service between somewhere like Gutshot with its "service charge" and another venue where people are having a quiet game "upstairs" where cash is changing hands, but no rake or other charge is being collected.

The event at Old Trafford sounds very much like the problems that befell Ladbrokes' 2nd Poker Million and the VC cup...

If anyone has a strong opinion on this and would be interested in contributing to the article, please reply to this thread. Thanks.

Simon
dime
Full House


Joined: 09 Nov 2005
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 21, 2006 2:50 pm
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So if was to set up the "Bad beat" a charity to help rehabilitae poker playes who have lost thier nerve due to too many river rats and played a poker tournament instead of a bingo game, would this be accpetable?

Judging by the amount of Bingo halls around and the lack of poker rooms I would geuss its far easier to start up a room where you can play bingo than it is to play poker dispite the obvious similarities between tournament freeze out poker and bingo.
The Reverend
In Rhythm


Joined: 27 Aug 2004
Posts: 6193
Location: In Rhythm

PostPosted: Tue Mar 21, 2006 3:31 pm
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Simon wrote:
If anyone has a strong opinion on this and would be interested in contributing to the article, please reply to this thread. Thanks.


Would I be able to make ranting unsubstantiated accusations in said article? I don't think you can libel a public organisation, but there's only one way to find out!
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