Whether or not the Gutshot verdict will spell the end for Europe’s Busiest Card Room remains to be seen. Following the trial, Derek Kelly announced, "There will be poker played at the Gutshot tonight – but we may have to change the way we do it". He went on to finish in the money in a £5 rebuy game of chance and skill.
Clearly many Gutshot regulars, as well as other keen poker players throughout the UK, are disappointed by the guilty verdict. Amongst the comments of appreciation, sympathy, disbelief and outrage on their forum are calls to arms – write to your MP, or let’s start a petition and see what we can do. Even if there is no court appeal, there is still a fight to be fought, and it will be fought by more than just one gallant Irishman.
Boycotting Grosvenor Casinos is another suggestion. This is the organisation that commissioned the investigation that ultimately led to Derek’s prosecution, after the police were uninterested in taking matters any further. They have, effectively, outlawed private poker clubs (except for clubs that can somehow cover their costs by charging the 60 pence per player per day allowed by law) whilst also hiking their own charges earlier this year. It is only an interpretation of the Gaming Act that allows them to call their a registration fee a "session charge" and charge more than the permitted 10%. The Gambling Commission approves of this loophole, however, and I cannot see it being tested in court.
We eagerly await a formal statement from Gutshot to see just how they intend to proceed.
Edit: There will be an appeal.