While many states in the United States are considering legalizing online poker and the benefits that it would bring, the state of Michigan has decided to crack down on charity poker games and impose tighter laws.
The state has confirmed that it will be tightening laws so that it can curb and investigate a number of issues such as charity poker games, liquor law violations, illegal gambling beyond state limits and violence that happens during these events. The move has not gone down well with players who participate at these charity events, with charities themselves as well as the poker room employees who help conduct these games. They have accused the Michigan Gaming Control Board (MGCB) of yielding to pressure applied by established casino’s as they want to run charity poker games out of Michigan.
The number of poker charity games in Michigan is exceptionally high as in 2012 it was reported that more than 2,525 active charities had sought licenses and have been responsible for bringing in close to $16 million.
The Michigan Gaming Control Board (MGCB) this week issued stricter interpretations of the rules governing the parties. However, MGCB Executive Director Richard Kalm denied these allegations and said that there was no pressure applied by any of the commercial casinos. He confirmed that from the month of September, poker rooms will be restricted to hosting an only three charities per day with maximum chip sales of $45,000.
In the past, some poker rooms in Michigan had operated six charities with chips sales reaching as much as $90,000. The new rules will also require all events to finish before 12 a.m. instead of the earlier 2 a.m deadline. Richard Kalm stated that
Our intent is to limit large amounts of cash on hand and exposed, promote accurate record keeping, establish paper trail for subsequent audits, require the charities to be more engaged in the gaming operation.
One of the stats that Kalm presented was that between January 2010 and March 2013, there were 47 assaults, 4 armed robberies, 3 weapons offenses, 72 disorderly persons and 11 fraud cases that occurred at permanent poker rooms. These numbers do not include the current and ongoing investigations. Kalm went on to say that
We have a belief that these card rooms lack a necessary level of regulation for both the safety of the patrons, who go to these card games, as well as for necessary level of internal controls to insure the integrity of the games.