The Office of Liquor and Gaming Regulation (OLGR) administers and enforces the Liquor Act 1992 that regulates the sale and supply of alcohol, and various gambling Acts that regulate legal gambling in Queensland.
Poker can be lawfully played within Queensland’s 4 casinos, subject to the provisions of the Casino Control Act 1982 and Casino Gaming Rule 2010.
Poker that involves gambling and is conducted in a public place in Queensland may constitute an offence under section 230A of the Criminal Code Act 1899 (with the exception of Queensland’s 4 casinos).
The Liquor Act 1992 also prohibits a licensee from allowing unlawful betting to occur on licensed premises and the Office of Liquor and Gaming Regulation (OLGR) may take action against the licensee. (Note: OLGR can only take action against the licensee, not the game promoter, host and players.)
This guide provides an overview of poker tournaments in Queensland.
If poker involving gambling is played outside of a licensed casino, it may constitute an unlawful game under the Criminal Code Act 1899. Unlawful gambling is subject to penalties and can be reported to the appropriate authority.
Section 230A of the Criminal Code provides that an unlawful game means a game of chance, or mixed chance and skill that:
The Queensland Police Service (QPS) is the primary agency responsible for administering the Criminal Code.
In order for a poker game to fall within the definition of an unlawful game, the act of gambling or betting has to occur. In this regard, the conduct involves money being bet or gambled on an outcome in a game of which the winners are decided by chance or a mix of chance and skill.
Further, in accordance with the concepts of betting or gambling, the reward for winning a bet is dependent upon the amount of money waged (whether it be via a single hand or consecutive wagers placed on a game). This means that during the course of betting or gambling there is a correlation between risk and reward (i.e. the greater the amount waged, the higher the winnings payable).
While all enquiries/complaints are assessed on a case-by-case basis, any person conducting a poker tournament on licensed premises should seek their own legal advice prior to conducting the game or tournament to ensure that they fully comply with legislative requirements.
However, in general terms providing there is no gambling or betting involved:
The Office of Liquor and Gaming Regulation (OLGR) responds to numerous enquiries and complaints in relation to poker and poker tournaments conducted in licensed premises (including hotels and clubs) that are regulated under the Liquor Act 1992.
The Liquor Act prohibits unlawful betting or gaming at licensed venues and provides significant consequences for licensees who allow unlawful betting or gaming at their licensed venues. This includes maximum penalties of 250 penalty units or $30,475 and/or the suspension or cancellation of the liquor licence.
When investigating complaints in relation to poker conducted at licensed premises, OLGR works collaboratively with the Queensland Police Service to establish whether the conduct constitutes an unlawful game within the meaning of the Criminal Code, and whether the conduct of the licensee, in allowing the poker at their licensed venue, amounts to an offence under the Liquor Act.
© The State of Queensland 1995–2017