THE owner of a Hereford club where poker is played says he is considering whether there are any implications to a court ruling relating to the Gaming Act.

Shaun Preece, owner of Kay's Pool Club in Berrington Street, said he was studying the outcome of a case in London in which the chairman of Europe's biggest poker club was convicted of contravening the Gaming Act.

"The implications are not entirely clear but it would be hugely expensive if small poker clubs were required to have a casino licence," said Shaun, aged 38.

But his initial belief is that his and similar small clubs that operate in the same way as Kay's are not caught up in the fallout from the case of David Kelly, 46, who faces legal fees of £23,000 and the possible closure of his club in Clerkenwell.

"The club in the London case charged people an entrance fee to play and also took a levy on the winnings and we do neither," added Sean.

Under the law, clubs cannot rake off a percentage from players' stakes or winning pots on games of chance.

In the London case, David Kelly had claimed that poker was a game of skill rather than chance and therefore did not fall under gambling legislation.

But the prosecution had argued that there was an element of chance as the deck of cards was shuffled before play began.

"Poker is very popular and a lot of ordinary people enjoy a game for fun rather than the gambling," added Shaun.

"It would rob a lot of people of harmless enjoyment if it could only be played in casinos."