"The best things in life are free, but you can tell that to the birds and bees, I want money..."
So sung Barrett Strong, and it should be the theme tune pumped through the speakers of the Gutshot club at all times.
This organisation was set up as a so-called Members Club, but it's real purpose was to line the pockets of its two wide boys owners to as great an extent as possible, before the inevitable happened, and the long arm of the law finally found the time and inclination to assert itself.
Regrettably, having fallen for the glib patter of the blarney kissing huckster, the eminent judge has already indicated that a custodial sentence, though available to him as an option, will not be considered in this case. Even more surprisingly, considering the flagrant disregard of the law shown by the defendant over a period of nearly four years, (and amazingly the continuance of that disregard since the verdict was reached) the likely fine is said to be a token one.
For all the balding leprechaun's insistence that the club doesn't make a profit, and that if it did, it would be returned to its membership, the figures don't come close to adding up.
Enlightened estimates put the "drop" taken by the house in rake from both tournament and cash games, after deductions for wages, rent, and non capital expenditure, at between fourteen and sixteen thousand pounds a week. For the mathematically inept among you (and that of course includes "star" defence witness Nic Szeremeta - a star indeed), that amounts to a profit of between £700,000 and £800,000 a year. This excludes the profits generated by the bar, restaurant, and internet site.
That these figures are, by necessity, conjecture is in no small part due to the failure of the Chairman of the Gutshot Private Members Club to have ever submitted any audited financial figures to his membership, since the club's inception in 2003. If nothing else, this surely gives lie to his claims that his business venture is in fact an accountable private members club.
One can only hope that should his appeal fail, the forensic accountants of the fraud squad are invited by the Appeal judges to quantify an accurate assessment of the ill-gotten gains, so that they can be rightly confiscated.