Poker news | Jul 26, 2022
Why is it illegal to take rake?
By RTR Jamie
You’re probably thinking this is a silly question to answer on a site that's dedicated to rakeback, but how exactly is rake illegal?
Taking rake is illegal in some circumstances, so that's what we will be answering today.
Firstly, what is rake?
It is the fee taken by a poker room from each hand, you more than likely won’t notice that they’ve taken it. As poker is a player vs player game, the house will not wager against the player, so they make their money from this charged fee.
Usually for lower stake games there is a set amount for rake taken, for high stakes games this can vary.
In some countries, mainly the USA it can be illegal for the casino to take rake, this is usually due to a lack of gaming licences and permits.
If a casino does not hold a proper gaming licence to take rake but they do, then it then becomes illegal.
The law was introduced in the US to those who run poker games, ensuring it was fair on all parties involved.
Of course, for many poker players taking rake seems fair when a casino is providing you with the equipment needed, however, there are some cases when it can be seen as unfair on the players compared to the party taking the rake.
For example, if you were to sit down at a poker table and one player, still involved in the actual game play has agreed to deal cards etc., has taken the pot rake fee, this could be considered unfair. All the player is doing is turning cards, they have not provided the equipment or paid any taxes to play poker, then it raises the question, is it fair on the other players for that person to take all the rake.
Paying rake is common, so why would a regular player care if a casino held a licence to or not?
There is a possibility that tax evasions could rise if a licence was not needed, those without a licence will be able to breach the law a lot easier than those with one. They may also manipulate and deceive players to play so they can charge rake for the room that runs the game.
Unfortunately, if a player was to partake in a game where rake was taken illegally, they are unable to claim any legal protection as they now hold accountability in the illegality.
It is important that players understand whether the host has the correct licences to be taking rake, so you are not involved in an illegal poker game without realising.
If you are still unsure, perhaps an enlightening explanation such as this one for Mr Rahman will be of use.
All jokes aside, make sure you are aware of the licences held by casinos. Online poker rooms will clearly state their licences, but ensuring you are safe and protected should be a priority when playing poker.