From the Detroit Free Press: Michigan Gaming Control Board backs off new charity poker rules for now

Michigan Gaming Control Board backs off new charity poker rules for now

LANSING — The Michigan Gaming Control Board abruptly withdrew its request today to change the rules regulating charity gaming.

The board gave no reason during a brief Joint Committee on Administrative Rules hearing this morning, but the withdrawal came after three hours of testimony last week, mostly from charities, poker rooms and suppliers who are adamantly opposed to the rules change.

Later, the gaming control board said in a statement: “The request (to withdraw the rules) was made in order to determine if adjustments can be made to the rules and still accomplish the goal of the MGCB to ensure the integrity of the games and protect the charity’s ability to raise funds.”

The rules would have: reduced the number of days that a poker room could operate from 365 to 208 days a year; required that three members of the charity volunteer at each poker night and that the charity prove it could raise at least $500 from other forms of fund-raising, and changed the split of profits from 50-50 between the charity and the suppliers to 65-35 with the charity getting the bigger chunk of profits.

These changes, which still allow charities to run 16 gaming events a year, were less drastic than the rules the gaming control board proposed initially. But the charities turned out in droves for several hearings to say that even the more relaxed new rules would put them out of business.

Lawmakers took the complaints to heart, said state Sen. John Pappageorge, R-Troy.

“Some things came up during that session that are worth looking at more,” he said. “We want to look at them and then come back.”

The withdrawal of the rules, however, doesn’t necessarily mean they’re dead. Mike Maher, of the gaming control board told the committee that the rules were being withdrawn “until a later date.”

Pappageorge told him he’d like to see something next week.

Charity gaming has grown into a big business in the state since 1976, when the Legislature gave charities the ability to sponsor forms of gambling. When Texas Hold ’Em Poker was added to the list of games that could be played, the millionaire parties boomed from a $22-million business to $197 million in 2011. Many of the poker rooms were hosting several different charities every night of the week.

Thecontrol board froze the number of gaming sites around the state and 22 were closed because of illegal gambling or fraud.

Contact Kathleen Gray : 517-372-8661, kgray99@freepress.com or @michpoligal on Twitter.

Original Article Here:  http://www.freep.com/article/20140319/NEWS06/303190094/Michigan-Gaming-Control-Board-charity-gaming

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From the Observer & Eccentric: State Legislation threatens charity poker events

State legislation threatens charity poker events

Proposal would hamper nonprofits’ ability to raise needed funds

A crucial fundraising tool used by the Northville Historical Society, Northville Chamber of Commerce, Tipping Point Theatre, and several other local nonprofit organizations might be restricted by state legislation in the near future.

These groups raise funds by staffing “Millionaire Parties” (AKA charity poker) at Northville Downs. These parties play a big part in helping the community groups exist.

“The Northville Historical Society derives 10 percent of its budget from working said parties,” said Fred Shadko citing the resolution approved by the Northville Township Historic District Commission late last month.

“The Northville Historical Society is entirely supported by donations and fundraising efforts,” the Township Commission resolution further stated.

The City of Northville also passed a resolution at its March 3 meeting asking the State of Michigan to refrain from implementing rules, which would effectively restrict legitimate charities’ access to such parties.

“The state gaming commission is under pressure to restrict these events, by putting limitations on the venues, the operators, and the charities themselves,” said City Manager Pat Sullivan. “There is an early estimate that if the changes go through, only one in four of the charities that participate today will be able to participate in the future.”

The Michigan Joint Committee on Administrative Rules has proposed changes that would restrict the number of days charity poker games could be held at a venue and the rule changes would also limit the number of charities that can work at said parties. It would also increase the number of people needed to be on hand during these events.

Shadko said these proposals would make it almost impossible for small nonprofits to operate the events.

It’s been reported the Michigan Gaming Control Board wants updated legislation to address issues like crime and gaming violations at some poker venues.

Sullivan said a public hearing on the proposed rule changes was scheduled for March 12 in Lansing.

lhuhman@hometownlife.com (248) 437-2011, ext. 255 Twitter:@lhuhman

Original Article Here:  http://www.hometownlife.com/article/20140319/NEWS12/303190038/State-legislation-threatens-charity-poker-events

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From the Detroit News: Gov. Chooses Casinos Over Charities

Letter published in the Detroit News March 19, 2014

Last week, The Detroit News posted a letter from the Michigan Gaming Control Executive Director Rick Kalm (“Why Michigan is fighting ‘charitable’ gaming,” March 14). It is clear from the letter that Gov. Rick Snyder has picked sides, as also evidenced by the number of lobbyists who were standing in the back of the room at the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules hearing last week, who represent Detroit casinos that want these rules that will end charitable gaming in our state.

Lions Club, Optimist Club International, VFW, American Legions, Rotary, Kiwanis and the Knights of Columbus, just to name a few, are all benefiting from an activity that, from 2006 until 2013, the state of Michigan encouraged them to participate in, and helped find locations to raise revenue through their licensed events.

The state encouraged the suppliers and locations to make financial investments to attract poker players and provide an atmosphere that the charities could raise significant revenue for their individual causes.

Why the sudden change? The executive director has already shut down over 15 charity poker rooms so he obviously has the rules he needs to take care of unlicensed or other criminal activity.

In early 2014, we heard in Lansing that a new Indian gaming compact was being negotiated and getting rid of charity poker rooms was an issue that was a deal breaker for the Indian reservations. We also learned from Legislators that many of them were being told by the casino lobbyists in Lansing that these proposed rules were actually good for the charities. In fact, we learned the staff responsible for writing the rules that the charities are now fighting are the same staff responsible for negotiating the Indian Gaming compact. It’s becoming clearer this week why the Indian casinos are being protected over the charities.

It is important to remember that each and every event that takes place in a charity poker room is licensed and monitored by the state. If it is unlicensed, then it is not a charity poker event and should be shut down.

State Sen. Rick Jones, R-Grand Ledge, is introducing a bill this week to properly regulate these events and allow charities to raise money for projects and programs in their communities.

Many charities, especially those in Michigan’s more rural communities, rely heavily on the funding they raise from charity gaming. In fact, $17.2 million dollars from charity poker rooms has flowed back into Michigan’s communities through their charitable works.

The executive director of the Michigan Gaming Control Board should stop defending casino interests and enforce the present laws governing charitable gaming. The good works of hundreds of Michigan charities should not be hurt to benefit for-profit casino interests and their lobbyists.

William “Doc” Barr, member of Lions Club

of Novi, Gold Gloves Association of Metro

Detroit Inc.; board member, Michigan

Charitable Gaming Association
Original article here:
From The Detroit News: http://www.detroitnews.com/article/20140319/OPINION01/303190004#ixzz2wVi0P1hW

http://www.detroitnews.com/article/20140319/OPINION01/303190004/Gov-chooses-casinos-over-charities

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MiCGA Announcement about JCAR Meeting Tomorrow – Are you Going?

Senator Jones to Introduce Bill to HELP THE CHARITIES

MIRS News Reports 3/11

Charities, we can not stress enough how important your attendance is at the meeting tomorrow. For a few weeks, we have been aware that Senator Jones was interested in introducing legislation to stop the rules and assist us, but could not publicly announce this fact. MiCGA has been very involved in these developments and working diligently on your behalf. Today, the MIRS News has reported that Senator Jones is working on legislation to stop the rules that are going to hurt the charities’ ability to raise funds.  This is an extremely significant “win” for us on many fronts.  It is clear however that the threat of legislation is not intimidating the Governor’s office and the Executive Director to back down.  SENATOR JONES AND THE MICHIGAN SENATE NEED YOUR ORGANIZATION REPRESENTED AT THE JCAR MEETING TOMORROW TO SHOW YOUR SUPPORT. It is as simple as that.  Below is the information on the location and time.  The winds are changing direction and it is time for you to ACT!

JOINT COMMITTEE ON ADMINISTRATIVE RULES

Scheduled Meeting

Senator John Pappageorge, Presiding Co-chair

Representative Tom McMillin, Co-chair

Date:                     Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Time:                    3:00 p.m.

Place:                    Senate Hearing Room, Ground Floor, Boji Tower, 124 W. Allegan St., Lansing MI 48933

We will have pointers coming later that will help you craft your testimony.  But, overall, you will have about 2 minutes to speak, you should keep your comments directed on 1) the services you provide with the money you raise and 2) which rules are going to hurt your organization and why. Two minutes is not a lot of time, so you are more than welcome to write your remarks and read them if you are called on to speak.

Comment cards will be available at the meeting, so arrive early to fill one out and bring a pen.  The comment card is used by the Chairman as  “list” of who would like to speak.  He will pick speakers based on who has turned in comment cards.

Parking: There is a parking structure across the street from the Boji Tower, called Boji Parking.  There is also a lot to the south side of the temple owned by Cooley Law School (about 1/2 block from the Boji Tower.)  Handicap parking is available on the street in front of the Boji Tower and in those two lots.

If you have any questions in the meantime, do not hesitate to contact us at info@micga.org.

See you or someone from your charity tomorrow!

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New Rules Charity Gaming Rules in 45 days – Unless you ACT NOW!!!

The following notice is an e-mail sent out by the Michigan Charitable Gaming Association today.  Please read and act!

JCAR Receives New Rules dated 2/18/2014
Contact Your Legislators and the Governor Today!

Contact your Senators, Representatives and Governor Snyder Today!

Today, the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules,(JCAR), received the Rules that will become effective in approximately 45 calendar days if JCAR fails to act to stop them.

You can find a copy of the rules by clicking here.

Many of the rules will completely destroy the revenue that charities have been able to raise over the past 7 years, working with licensed suppliers and location owners to host millionaire parties sanctioned by the State of Michigan.  These new rules submitted in their final form this week include:

  • Millionaire party events may only take place four days a week at any single location;
  • Only 1 charity per day may hold an event at a location;
  • The executive director may stop issuing licenses at any time for any reason;
  • The licensee may not obtain millionaire party equipment from a location owner or the lessor of the location;
  • 3 bona fide members must be on site to staff the event;
  • The executive director has the sole discretion to set the permissible hours of the day during which a millionaire party may be conducted between the hours of 8am and 2am.
  • Payments to a millionaire party supplier for expenses incurred in connection with the conduct of the millionaire party event shall not exceed 35% of the event gross profits.
  • The location only can receive 250 per day for the rental of the facility.

You can find your Senator by clicking here.

You can find your Representative by clicking here.

You can contact the Governor here:

Governor’s Phone: 517-373-3400

Governor Rick Snyder
P.O. Box 30013
Lansing, Michigan 48909

Even if you already wrote a letter or called please consider reaching out to your legislator again.   In addition, ask the people who actually receive the benefit of your charitable works to let the Governor know how they benefit from the money your organization has raised from charitable gaming.

CONTACT THEM TODAY!

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New regulations may be coming for charitable gaming in Michigan from Battle Creek Enquirer

New regulations may be coming for charitable gaming in Michigan

Written by
Kathleen Gray
Gannett Michigan

Players hoping to pony up to a poker table might be looking at a bust if proposed new rules that would limit the venues for charitable gaming, while increasing oversight requirements, are imposed by the state in the coming months.

And many of the charities that benefit from those poker tables fear the new rules will put them — and the work they do — out of business.

“Early on, we recognized that there were forces at work that would like to see us disappear,” said Joe Potvin, whose VFW post holds charity poker games at Tripper’s, a bar and restaurant in Lansing. “We go in there; we work hard, long hours; and we try to make as much money for our charity as we can.”

But the new rules are the result of too much of a good thing, say state officials.

“Charitable poker began as a good cause, evolved into a highly lucrative business and has devolved into a racket,” David Murley, legal counsel to Gov. Rick Snyder, said during a hearing Thursday on the proposed changes to rules governing charity poker.

Since June, 60 charities have had their licenses at least temporarily suspended by the Michigan Gaming Control Board for a variety of infractions, including going over the $15,000 revenue ceiling, or allowing the operators to alter or remotely manipulate the books.

Indeed, charity poker has become a big business in the last 10 years, going from $7.9 million in revenues in 2004 to $197 million in revenues in 2011. The jump happened when the state lottery authorized poker and other casino-type games like black jack and roulette at charity fundraisers. The growing popularity of Texas Hold ‘Em poker games fueled the increase.

In Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties, 539 charitable poker games, also know as “Millionaire Parties,” are scheduled in November.

And instead of charity games being held in VFW halls or school gymnasiums, many of the charity poker games have moved to back rooms at bars and businesses set up specifically for poker games, with the establishment generally getting 50% of the profit and the charities getting 50% of the take.

“It got so out of control, that the lottery put a moratorium on new locations in 2009,” said Don McGee of the Attorney General’s office

After 16 businesses were shut down for violations and illegal gambling, 42 locations now operate across the state, many in southeast Michigan. They run casino-like games for charities in their establishments and many operate 365 days a year until last call at 2 a.m.

The way it works now, charities are licensed by the state and allowed to get involved in gambling for charitable purposes. The bars and poker halls have opened up and offered a spot for the charity games. There often are multiple charities running games on the same night at the same locations.

It has provided both charities and the venues a growing source of revenue.

Ronald Pioch, of the Kiwanis Club in Lansing, ticked off a dozen charities from homeless shelters and food banks, to hospice care and emergency pregnancy centers, that got $500 each last year as a result of the money his group raised at charity poker games at Tripper’s, a bar and restaurant in Lansing.

“We’re giving money out throughout the year,” he said.

The Michigan Lottery handled rules and enforcement for the charity poker games, but it had become such a big business that Gov. Rick Snyder moved oversight and enforcement of the charitable poker games in 2012 to the Michigan Gaming Control Board, which had the experience from regulating the state’s three Detroit and the 23 tribal casinos in the state.

The Gaming Control Board started issuing rules to crack down on the alleged fraud and abuse that they saw happening at the charity games, including charities actually losing money on black jack games, going over the maximum amount of chips allowed to be sold each night, and the charities not even being present to monitor the games when their poker nights were scheduled.

The board stopped allowing players to tip dealers with chips because that presented the possibility of dealers working with players to rig games. They also instituted a rule this week that would prohibit the chairperson of one charity from being the head of other charities as well.

But it is the rules that Rick Kalm, executive director of the gaming control board, told a legislative committee about Thursday that had a couple hundred people — most representing charities — hurling boos and taunts at the officials.

The board would like to restrict gaming rooms to one charity per night, allow them to operate only 120 days a year and require charities to have at least five people at each of their gaming nights. Each charity is allowed to hold up to 16 game nights a year.

Those rules would put many rooms and charities out of business, said state Rep. Jeff Irwin, D-Ann Arbor.

“There should be some additional scrutiny and some additional regulatory oomph to make sure the rules are being followed,” he said. “But they are putting out rules that will make it impossible for these operations to continue.”

And instead of a 50/50 split between the establishment and the charity, Kalm said in an interview with the Free Press before Thursday’s hearing, that he wants a rule that would require the charity to pay only rent and reasonable expenses to the establishment and take more control over their own games.

The result should be more proceeds for the charities and less likelihood for cheating and fraud.

“It’s your license, own it,” he said. “Charities need to be responsible for the games.”

But many charities are happy with the way things are.

“The way we operate now, the charity works with a group of professionals. I only do this 16 days a year, who’s better at finding cheating at table, me or them,” Pioch said. “And as for the profits, so what, they provide a valuable service to these charities. Is that wrong that they get the profits.”

Jane McCampbell, of the Clinton County Arts Council, which holds a charity poker game at Trippers, noted that some of the profits made by establishments go toward paying the wages of workers at the gaming rooms.

“The people working it are right on top of it. It is well done, they deserve to earn some money,” she said.

The hearing before the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules (JCAR) was meant to inform lawmakers about the impending rule changes. Public hearings on the rules will be held sometime in November by the Michigan Gaming Control Board before they are imposed on the charities and the establishments.

The matter will come back before JCAR later this year or early next year, but the Legislature is limited in what it can do to stop or beef up the new rules. The Legislature will be able to slow down the implementation of the rules or pass a law that prohibit the new rules from going into effect.

Kathleen Gray is a reporter for the Detroit Free Press.

Original article here: http://www.battlecreekenquirer.com/article/20131031/NEWS/310310065/New-regulations-may-coming-charitable-gaming-Michigan?nclick_check=1

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Michigan charities fight to save poker rooms from new regulations – from mlive.com

Michigan charities fight to save poker rooms from new regulations

By Melissa Anders | manders@mlive.com
Follow on Twitter
on November 01, 2013 at 5:00 AM, updated November 01, 2013 at 5:02 AM

LANSING — A lively crowd of nonprofit organization members and charity poker advocates gathered at the state Capitol to express their opposition to proposed charitable gaming rule changes.

More than 140 people packed into a meeting room and an overflow space on Thursday afternoon for a legislative committee hearing on proposed rules that would limit and further regulate so-called “millionaire parties” that allow nonprofit groups to raise funds by hosting casino-style games such as Texas Hold ‘em and blackjack.

The Michigan Gaming Control Board wants stricter rules that officials say address problems with gaming violations and violence at some permanent poker rooms while making sure charities’ best interests are protected. State officials contend the law was never designed for what has become a multi-million dollar industry.

“Charitable poker began as a good cause, evolved into a highly lucrative business, and has degenerated into a racket,” said Dave Murley, deputy legal counsel for Gov. Rick Snyder.

Murley’s comment elicited boos from the crowd, which included several members of Veterans of Foreign Wars, Lions Club and other nonprofits.

Charities, poker room operators, dealers and players all oppose the proposed rules, arguing that it will hurt nonprofit fundraising and result in lost jobs for dealers and other poker room employees. The Michigan Charitable Gaming Association supports legislation that would keep poker rooms open while outlining penalties for violations and ensuring accountability and transparency.

The association wants to be part of the solution, but doesn’t think the proposed rules would properly address the issues, said Ron Pioch, member of the gaming association and Knights of Columbus in Grand Ledge.

Neither does Geo Marvasa, general manager at Electric Stick poker room in Westland. The room closed in May after a devastating fire.

“I don’t understand how you guys are saying that this is good for charities by regulating it so much … you’re not helping the charities, you’re hurting them,” Marvasa said.

There are roughly 40 permanent poker rooms that partner with charities to host multiple games each day. The state recently suspended charitable gaming operations at two Flint-area poker rooms, marking 16 locations that have been shut down by the state since 2010 due to allegations of illegal gambling and other violations.

On Thursday gaming control executive director Rick Kalm said he wants to lift a moratorium on new charity poker locations that’s been in place since 2011.

He also outlined his latest draft rule proposal, which would limit poker rooms or other locations to hosting no more than 120 days of millionaire party events each year and give the board’s executive director authority to further limit the days for particular locations.

Locations would be limited to hosting one charity’s event per day with maximum chip sales of $15,000. Some poker rooms previously ran six charities with chips sales of up to $90,000.

The rules are different from proposed changes released last month, which would have limited games to 30 days per year. Kalm originally wanted to mandate a midnight closing time for the events, but now says he may allow certain locations to stay open as late as 2 a.m. depending on the situation.

Kalm said he’s listening to feedback from charities and wants to ensure they’re still able to raise money through gaming. He wants charities to be more involved in the games in order to ensure the poker rooms aren’t taking advantage of them.

But some charities remain worried that the rules will push out permanent poker rooms, which they rely on to provide the facilities, equipment, dealers and expertise to run the games.

The rules do not need full approval of the House and Senate. They’ll go through the administrative rule process that involves a joint legislative committee with members from each chamber. A public hearing should take place next month, but a date has not yet been scheduled.

Email Melissa Anders at manders@mlive.com. Follow her on Google+ and Twitter: @MelissaDAnders.

Original article here: http://www.mlive.com/business/index.ssf/2013/11/michigan_charities_fight_to_sa.html

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Michigan Gaming Control Board folds charity game at 15th poker room – from Crain’s Detroit

Michigan Gaming Control Board folds charity game at 15th poker room

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The state has suspended charity poker games at a 15th permanent poker room.

The Michigan Gaming Control Board late last week said it will deny charities a license to host millionaire parties at Pocket Aces Charity Poker Room inside Foutch’s Pub & Grill in Flint Township.

The suspension of charity gambling at the permanent poker room comes amid a pending joint investigation of Pocket Aces Poker Room by the Gaming Control Board and Michigan attorney general’s office, the board said in a release.

Executive Director Rick Kalm said the investigation of Pocket Aces has already revealed many material violations of the Traxler-McCauley-Law-Bowman Bingo Act, with illegal gambling and fraudulent activities related to licensed charities as well as possible violations of criminal law.

Charities scheduled to hold events at Pocket Aces will be redirected to other venues, the Gaming Control Board said.

Pocket Aces Poker Room is the 15th location where charity poker games have been terminated for illegal gambling and violating other state laws since 2010 under the initial oversight of the Michigan Lottery Bureau and, more recently, regulation by the Michigan Gaming Control Board.

Michigan charities have self-reported over $530 million in chip sales through millionaire parties since 2010, according to the Gaming Control Board, citing routine underreporting of sales.

“The large amount of cash running through bars/poker rooms has many times led to fraud and illegal activities when there is little or no oversight,” Kalm said.

“What we see here is an illegal casino operation carried out under the banner of charitable gaming.”

The state has suspended charitable gambling at 15 permanent poker rooms since 2010. Those rooms and the reasons for the closures are:

2010: St. Regis Gaming Club, Detroit, for tax liens.

2010: Hall of Fame Billiards, Warren, for illegal gambling.

2010: Fisher Hall Poker Room, Flint, for altering gaming records.

2010: Houghton Lake Poker Room, Houghton Lake, for illegal gambling.

2010: Coop’s All in 4 Charity Inc., Ypsilanti, for illegal gambling.

2011: Shark Club, Canton Township, for running an event without a charity.

2011: Flying Aces Casino, Inkster, for violating the Bingo Act, prostitution.

2011: Sharkies Poker House, Monroe, for illegal gambling.

2012: Aces High Poker Room, Grand Blanc, for illegal gambling.

2012: The Shark Club, Waterford, for illegal gambling with no licensed charity.

2012: Snookers’ Poker Room, Utica, for altering gambling records.

2013: Cadas Poker & Sports Grill, Sterling Heights, Liquor Control Commission violations.

2013: Dollar King Poker Room, Temperance, for gaming supplier conducting illegal gambling.

2013: Woody’s Pressbox/Spectrum Lanes, Wyoming, supplier conducting illegal gambling.

2013: Pocket Aces Charity Poker Room, Flint, for illegal gambling, diversion of funds.

Original article here: http://www.crainsdetroit.com/article/20131029/NEWS/131029801/michigan-gaming-control-board-folds-charity-game-at-15th-poker-room#

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With public hearings on the horizon, war over charity poker rooms intensify – Article from Bridge Magazine

Charities and bars claim poker crackdown is a bad deal

28 October 2013

by Alethia Kasben

Neither side appears to be bluffing as the battle between the administration of Governor Rick Snyder and charity poker rooms continues to intensify.

The state Gaming Control Board, which Mr. Snyder put in charge of charity poker room oversight two years ago, released a new set of regulations in July that upset operators of the charity poker rooms, which have countered with a bill in the Michigan House that the Snyder administration sees as too soft.

Based on the Gaming Control Board’s actions since becoming the regulating agency instead of the Lottery Bureau, the Michigan Charitable Gaming Association fears it will be “regulated to death,” association spokesperson Stephanie Van Koevering said.

Richard Kalm, gaming director, said the control board released regulations in late July, but they were merely rules included in the law and not enforced properly in the past.

But Van Koevering said although it was helpful those July rules were released in writing – some regulations in the past were enforced, but not communicated in writing, she said – they were still harsh. The rules include prohibiting the poker rooms from operating after midnight although a judge halted that regulation.

Kalm said there are charities complaining that volunteers have to stay out so late, and he said, “Not a lot of good comes from a place that has gambling going on after midnight.”

Snyder shifted the oversight of charity poker rooms, or “millionaire parties” to the Gaming Control Board from the Bureau of the Lottery in 2012. Snyder spokesperson Dave Murray said the games expanded rapidly since 2004 when Texas hold ’em was permitted under the state’s Bingo Act.

Murray said the administration wants gaming officials to take a comprehensive look at how the games are operated, and how to fix the current under-regulated charity poker rooms.

Van Koevering said the gaming officials conduct oversight differently than the lottery. Fundamentally, Gaming Control Board officials do not understand the charity poker rooms, which she said operate to raise funds for various community charities to help needy people.

Van Koevering said the regulations the gaming officials have begun enforcing vary in seriousness, but still end in the same penalties. She said they include simple violations like not wearing a nametag or having drawers less than $5 off. The state has also stopped the previous common casino practice of letting charity dealers accept tips in poker chips – generally one dollar – from winners of each individual poker hand. Instead, players must now pay tips in cash. Dealers complain the change has seriously reduced tipping and crimped their ability to make a living.

“(The gaming officials) are coming down with a heavy hand, and not putting a lot in writing,” she said.

Kalm said some other items addressed in the rules include the self-reporting of cash revenue by the charities. He said between 2010 and 2012 there was more than $500 million in self-reported revenues, and he believes that is an under-reported number.

“When you’ve got that amount of cash in a basically unregulated environment, you’re going to have problems,” he said.

Kalm said charities are licensed to have the “millionaire parties” not the bars that host them. So, he said, the charities need to take responsibility for the games so they can continue, and he hopes to put rules in place that will allow them to do that.

Next month, the Gaming Control Board will have at least one public hearing to begin the rule making process for charity poker. Kalm acknowledged the charity poker games happening now would not be the games of the future under new rules.

“The bars that can currently conduct charity gaming, the poker room casinos, call them what they are, won’t exist in this format, this law cannot afford it,” he said.

As the Gaming Control Board prepares to move on the new rules, the Legislature might get involved. Rep. Jeff Farrington (R-Utica) has sponsored House bill 4960, which sets up new oversight for charity poker rooms that would catch bad actors, but not be so onerous as to force them to close, Farrington said. The Charitable Gaming Association backs the bill.

Farrington said the charities shouldn’t be affected by the new oversight. He said the poker rooms “need to be reined in,” but the charities in various communities still need the same amount of funds they now raise.

He said it seems now the Gaming Control Board isn’t interested in fixing a broken model, but shutting it down.

The bill’s prospects are unclear. Farrington said the chair of the House Regulatory Reform Committee, Rep. Hugh Crawford (R-Novi), has given him no commitment on whether he will take up the bill.

Crawford said he likely will hold a hearing on Farrington’s bill after the Gaming Control Board holds a public hearing on the rules.

“I think something needs to be done, but the rules might go too far,” he said, indicating the legislation might be a better alternative to the gaming officials’ regulations.

And the Snyder administration is “strongly opposed” to the legislation, Murray said. Kalm said the legislation does not address background checks on dealers, surveillance and security or other issues with oversight on the actual poker rooms.

Van Koevering said she suspects the state’s casinos do not like the small amount of competition they get from the poker rooms, and that may be another reason for regulations she said would cause the poker rooms to cease to exist.

But Kalm said he is not working for casinos, and they most likely dislike him just as much as the poker rooms.

“If we don’t get control of this and we can’t have some type of integrity, then we may not be able to issue more licenses,” he said.

Original article here: http://bridgemi.com/2013/10/charities-and-bars-claim-poker-crackdown-is-a-bad-deal/

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Plan to Attend! JCAR Hearing Thursday, October 31 at 2:00 PM in Lansing

This is the e-mail sent out by MiCGA yesterday.  Please read and act!

*****************************************************

Plan to Attend! JCAR Hearing Thursday, October 31 at 2:00 PM in Lansing

Act NOW to protect charitable gaming in Michigan!!

On October 31, the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules will hold a hearing on the rules proposed by the Executive Director of the Michigan Gaming Control Board that will negatively affect charitable gaming in Michigan. This hearing will take testimony from charities such as yours.  Again, this is your opportunity to be heard in Lansing!

Joint Committee on Administrative Rules

Scheduled Meeting

Representative Tom McMillin, Chair

Senator John Pappageorge, Alternate Chair

Date: Thursday, October 31, 2013

Time: 2:00 PM

Place: Room 426, Capitol Building

Agenda

Department of Treasury

Michigan Gaming Control Board

Millionaire Party Rules

(2013-088 TY)

Pre-Hearing Information Session

Prior to the hearing, all charities are invited to attend an informational session where any questions regarding hearing procedure, the proposed rules, or anything else related to charitable gaming can be answered!

Pre-Hearing Informational Session

Date: Thursday, October 31, 2013

Time: Noon

Place: Room 810

Farnum Building

123 W. Allegan St.

Lansing, MI 48933

Light refreshments will be served

Parking and ID

Parking can be found near the Farnum Building, at the corner of Capitol Avenue and Allegan Street.  Those planning to attend the hearing should arrive approximately an hour in advance, and should bring a government-issued photo ID, such as a driver’s license.

If you plan on attending, we would like to know.  You can RSVP by replying to this email.  (This is a public hearing, and you do not need to RSVP to actually attend.)

Public Comment Cards

Prior to the hearing, please fill out a “public comment card” to turn into the committee.  You should fill out this card whether you plan to actually speak before the committee or not.  We will have cards available at our pre-hearing informational meeting at the Farnum Building for you to use as well.

If you can’t make it to Lansing on Thursday, but still want your voice to be heard, simply fill out the public comment card below and return it to us by Wednesday night, and we will turn it in for you. You can scan it and send it by email to info@micga.org or fax it back to 517-371-3207.

Although the card has options to support or oppose a bill, rather than rules, you can indicate that you oppose the proposed rules by checking the “Oppose Bill” box.

If you have any questions, call Nate at 517-371-1400.

Michigan Charitable Gaming Association
208 North Capitol Avenue
Lansing, Michigan 48933
517.977.0614
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