Tasmanian legislators plan to modify gambling code to allow social-poker tourneys

Haley Hintze Author Photo
Haley Hintze
Posted on: March 16, 2024 22:47 PDT

Poker players in the Australian state of Tasmania who were left without any reasonable way of playing in small "social" poker tournaments appear to have successfully lobbied state-level politicians to amend the rules to allow tournaments with small entry fees.

Australia's National Tribune reported on Thursday that Tasmania's recently re-elected majority Rockliff Liberal Government plans to amend the state's Gaming Control Act 1993 to allow a handful of social-poker clubs in the state to rropen. The clubs will be allowed to offer poker tournaments that charge a small entry fee but do not charge rake on a hand-by-hand basis, as occurs in cash games..

The plan to allow small tournaments to run comes after all social-poker clubs were forced to close last November following a re-evaluation of Tasmania's laws governing poker. Last November, Tasmania's liquor and gaming regulators issued an updated fact sheet that banned live poker everywhere except in licensed casinos. That meant an all-but-total ban, since only one casino in Tasmania hosts a live poker room, and that one offers only four tables and is too small for tournaments.

Change of course followed public protests

Players and employees of several social-poker clubs responded by staging public protests regarding the ban outside Tasmanian government offiices. Online poker is already banned across of all Australia, leaving only live poker, whether in cash games or tourneys, as the only legal way to play.

According to the National Tribune, the Tasmanian Liquor and Gaming Commission will work with the state's social-poker community to create a legal carveout for the clubs. “We have a pathway forward to enable genuine social poker to operate,” said LGC Treasurer Michael Ferguson.

"Under our 2030 Strong Plan for Tasmania’s Future, we will continue to prioritise the recreational activities that foster community engagement and responsible participation. Together, we are paving the way for a vibrant and thriving social poker scene that aligns with our commitment to Tasmania’s prosperous future."