Scattered Cards IfpA pressure group in Northern Ireland looks set to have turned people power into political power, bringing the prospect of a change in the law regarding poker a step closer.

Members of Legalise Poker have appealed to the Social Development Committee of the Northern Ireland Assembly to allow both regulated poker clubs and poker tournaments.

The move comes five years after poker clubs across the province were closed down. The action, taken in 2006, added Northern Ireland to the long list of regions in which poker, which had previously been played by thousands of people and for many years, was suddenly deemed illegal despite being a game of skill.

Happily, this last point was not lost on one representative, Sinn Fein’s Fra McCann, who pointed out that, having watched poker on television it was clearly a game dependent on skill.

The Legalise Poker group has pointed out the benefits of a change in the law, which go beyond being great news for Northern Irish poker players.
A potential legalisation of poker could create 150 full and part time jobs, according to Glen McCabe of Legalise Poker. McCabe, speaking to the BBC, added that it would also encourage tourism and see the resumption of a cross-community social activity.

With so many advantages, not to mention the acknowledgement that poker is not some random game of chance alongside casino games and lotteries, the news looks good for Northern Ireland. You can let us know your thoughts on Facebook and Twitter (@IFPoker).