Private poker to be legalized

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The Norwegian government has proposed legalizing poker matches in private homes, involving up to 10 people with a prize pot of NOK 5,000 (USD 835). By proposing to lift the ban on professional poker tournaments in Norway, Culture Minister Thorhild Widvey would also open the door for legal games among friends.

The government proposed to amend the poker regulations in a way that would not require parliamentary approval, reported news bureau NTB on Wednesday. The assumption would be that the games would not have an organized or professional touch, and poker would still be banned in workplaces, restaurants, pubs and aboard ships.

Aid organization Blue Cross (Blå Kors), which offers services to people with gambling addictions, said Norwegian society already has too many dependency issues. “A step in the completely wrong direction,” said secretary general Jan Elverum, and warned loosening the gambling rules would be a gift for criminals.

Bjørgulv Vinje Borgundvaag from the Ministry of Culture denied the government was deregulating poker. “An opening in the regulation for private poker games will mean that a game which many Norwegians already partake in today, can be held within the overall framework in accordance with Norwegian law,” he said.

newsinenglish.no staff