January 2007
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The 21st century is when it all changes…

I don’t mean to be overly dramatic, but this will change everything, one way or another.

Gutshot’s trial kicked off this morning at Snaresbrook Crown Court.  Although quickly adjourned because of some kind of legal thing that I won’t pretend to understand, it’s still very much game on for the CPS and the UK casino industry vs a bunch people who just want to play cards.  No more delays – this is all expected to be settled, one way or another, in eight days.

Derek Kelly, who is facing criminal charges under the 1968 Gaming Act, published an article on this morning, confidently looking forward to the challenge ahead whilst also taking time to reflect on how things had come to be this way.  In a week’s time, it may be looked on as the first eulogy for what was once Europe’s busiest card club.  Meantime, this along with the expected daily updates is essential reading for anyone who gives a shit about poker in the UK, not just the twenty thousand registered Gutshot members.

I still can’t see any result being a good result.  If Gutshot win, it’s also an easy victory for all of the imitators that have been springing up around the country playing the "if they can do it, so can we" card.  Unlicensed, unregulated, law-unto-themselves card clubs will spring up almost as fast as Subways (can you believe that even Stoke – surely the only city in the world still without any kind of franchise coffee house – has five Subways that I’m aware of, probably more, and another is apparently opening opposite the train station soon).  It’s difficult to see whether that’s much better – not taking into account, of course, the consequences for Mr Kelly – than if they lose.  The game – for those not wishing to play bingo poker at the major casino chains and pay a 25% rake – simply becomes underground, unlicensed and unregulated.