Obviously anyone who has been around or seen Molly's Game knows that it is illegal to take a rake of each pot without the proper gaming licenses. But are any other fees acceptable? For example, let's say I host a game and charge a door fee per person. Is that legal? Why or why not? Are any other types of fees illegal? Or is it only the rake that is expressly prohibited?

I'm in Illinois, FYI.

  • are you in the USA? if so what state are you in? this can vary depending on where you are located
    – Clarko
    Commented Dec 4, 2019 at 1:21
  • updated the question Commented Dec 4, 2019 at 1:44

1 Answer 1


According to this site, home games are not legal in Illinois: http://www.uspokersites.net/legal/illinois/

If you read Article 28, Section 1 of Illinois’ penal code, it is clear that any home game, no matter how private, that involves gambling for real money is illegal. The law actually says: “A person commits gambling when he plays a game of chance or skill for money or other things of value.” This restriction doesn’t make any distinction between games of chance and games of skill, so a private poker game is illegal in Illinois.

If you do operate a home poker game that uses real-money wagers and you get caught, you’ll not only be charged with illegal gambling, you can also face another offense for “operating an illegal gambling house,” usually a charge applied to the host of the game. There is a lot of risk associated with playing private poker games in Illinois, so to avoid trouble with the law, don’t play for real money or any valuable commodity.

Unlike some other states, undercover law enforcement officers have infiltrated private poker games, formed a case, and even confiscated money, playing cards, and gaming chips from those playing illegal private home poker games.

This is due to the state law, so any game using real money would be illegal (rake or no rake, fee or no fee).

  • 1
    Wow. This is wild. I had no idea this was the case in Illinois, or any state for that matter. Commented Dec 4, 2019 at 21:03
  • @ScottSkiles it's the case almost everywhere in the world. The casino mob doesn't want you to play at home
    – David
    Commented Dec 12, 2019 at 12:07

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