This page outlines conducting poker if outside the casino.
Other than the casino, poker can only be played for money at a private residence or in a public place (such as a hotel bar or in other licensed premises) if no person gains a percentage or share of the amounts wagered. This includes entry fees or buy-in amounts charged.
A poker tournament or competition may be played for money in Victoria if no person gains a percentage or share of the amount wagered. Chips may be sold if all monies gained are returned to players as prizes.
The buy-in is the total amount each person pays in order to participate.
The VCGLR permits poker events, which have an entry fee or a buy-in, so long as no person takes or receives a percentage or share of the entry fee or buy-in amount.
It is not illegal to charge an entry fee. However, gaming venues should be aware that there are certain rules provided by the VCGLR that prohibit the charging of a fee to enter the gaming machine area.
The VCGLR recommends that promoters explain what constitutes a fee to enter the premises and what may be considered a buy-in. In addition, promoters should clarify the goods and services that will be provided in exchange for the entry fee and/or the "buy-in" (e.g. food, beverages, seat at a poker table etc).
Download the Commission rules for venue operators (PDF, 104KB) for more information.
If the organisation is declared by the VCGLR as a community or charitable organisation, then you can apply for a permit to conduct a fundraising event where the game of poker can be played.
The permit will allow the organisation to take a share of the entry fee. A fundraising event must be held according to the conditions specified on the permit.
The "play" money, chips or other tokens issued to participants in a fundraising event must not be converted into cash at the end of the event, and cash cannot be awarded as a prize. For further information, see Fundraising events.
It is not illegal to play a game of poker for money at a private residence or in a public place. However, participants should be aware that the role of the VCGLR in respect of such games relates strictly to its responsibility to ensure that the game is legal. This means that no person may take a percentage or share of the amounts wagered on the game.
The VCGLR has no legislative power to monitor game "house" rules, investigate complaints about, or enforce the payment of winnings from such games. Therefore players cannot seek assistance from the VCGLR should the organiser or host of a game fail to enforce its "house" rules or ensure that winnings are paid.
Examples include banning cheats from playing in future games, changing rules without informing players, and not ensuring that losing players pay their debts.