NSW Health clarifies position on “pub poker” following recent shutdown

NSW Health has issued a clarification on the rules surrounding live poker events inside the state’s pubs and clubs, confirming its stance that games of more than 10 people are not permitted.

It comes after a number of poker operators across NSW, including the Australian Poker League (APL), National Poker League (NPL) and WPT League were told last Friday they were in breach of public COVID-19 health orders and ordered to suspend all games immediately.

As previously reported by PokerMedia Australia, NSW Police informed operators that live poker tournaments are considered to be a “group booking, and all of the people are there for a common purpose.”

PMA has since been contacted by multiple operators and franchisees seeking clarification of their status and potential differences of opinion between NSW Police and NSW Health.

In response to queries from PMA, NSW Health authorities confirmed today that any live poker events comprising more than 10 people were deemed to be in breach of Public Health Order (COVID-19 Restrictions on Gathering and Movement) Order (No 4) 2020, which “requires casinos, registered clubs and pubs to ensure that no individual group on the premises consists of more than 10 persons.”

“An event of more 10 people to play poker would not be permitted,” a NSW Health spokesperson said.

“Anyone in a pub for a reason other than a wedding or a funeral must comply with pub rules, including not moving between tables.”

The state’s poker operators are due to meet this week to establish a common COVID Safe Accord they hope will help get the industry back on its feet.

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