Camo at the Capitol: Charitable Gaming

download (3)Camo at the Capitol is a weekly blog written by MUCC Legislative Manager Matt Evans
Last week this letter (Click HERE to download) was sent to MUCC and I imagine it also went to thousands of other non-profits and charities across the state.  It is being posted to our website today because it is a pretty disingenuous letter by the Michigan Gaming Control Board’s (MGCB) Director: Richard Kalm.
As you can see in his letter below, one of the first items Mr. Kalm mentions is that the MGCB “took steps to put control of millionaire parties back into your hands.”  Really Mr. Kalm…do you honestly expect anyone who has been following charitable gaming in Michigan to believe that you are trying to help organizations with their millionaire parties?
Now in the interest of fairness I will agree with him that there were some bad actors that were gaming the system and causing problems. There were several large, high profile poker rooms who skimmed proceeds, sold too many chips..etc.  And those organizations absolutely deserve to be shut down.  However, the MGCB was able to find those organizations and shut them down pretty quickly under the previous regulations. Now because of a few bad actors and the MGCB’s desire to crack down on them, they have essentially over regulated the industry.  Rather than stepping up their enforcement efforts they have instead decided to put forth more regulations on the industry.  This has caused small organizations and non-profits to not be able to use millionaire parties as a source of fundraising.  Forcing them to cut valuable community service programs that benefit communities.
In light of all of the MGCB’s desire to over regulate charitable gaming there are two small silver linings. The first of which can be found again in his letter when Mr. Kalm talks about “The emergency” rules. The reason there is even a need for emergency rules is because the Michigan Charitable Gaming Association sought to block the original rules in court.  And, the judge has issued a preliminary injunction stopping them until a ruling could be issued.  This caused the MGCB to issue emergency rules, however those too are being challenged and we hope another injunction will be issued soon.
The second silver lining comes in the form of Senate Bill 878 (Jones). This bill was introduced earlier this year and it essentially codifies the existing rules, allowing organizations more flexibility when using poker rooms to fundraise. The bill was unanimously passed by the Senate and moved onto the House where it has since stalled in the Regulatory Reform Committee.  Committee Chairman Crawford has indicated that he is not likely to bring it up for a vote even though there is near unanimous support for it on both sides of the isle.
If passed, this bill will nullify the burdensome rules that MGCB is proposing, thus allowing organizations greater ability to utilize millionaire parties to fundraise. So please contact Representative Crawford and let him know that you support SB 878 and more importantly, let him know that millionaire parties are the life line to many charitable programs. Contact Representative Hugh Crawford: 517-373-0827
or by email at:

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