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Michigan To Make Final Call On Charity Poker

State Will Compromise On Card Rooms: Report

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Gaming regulators in the state of Michigan are close to finishing up a draft of new rules to oversee charity gambling operations, MLive.com reported.

It has been a heated and complex battle figuring out how to regulate the operations, which usually feature poker games, that have grown in size and scope over the years. Some in the state have maintained that commercial casino interests have wanted regulators to put a vice grip on charity gambling. The state has maintained that it wants to prevent any shady activity.

Michigan charity gaming was an $8 million market in 2004, eventually reaching $197 million about seven years later. However, that figure has been shrinking recently.

The new rules reportedly amount to a compromise between officials and charity gambling folks.

One of the new rules would prevent the card rooms from having games more than four nights a week. In other words, no more permanent stand-alone poker rooms in Michigan. A previous proposal called for fewer than four nights per week of operation.

The charity games have helped raise millions for nonprofits in the state. In addition, many people are employed within the charity gambling industry in Michigan.

Another rule would limit the rental fee a facility could charge charities — $250 per day.

Regulators are still pondering whether or not to let facilities host more than one charity per day. Currently it appears they host as many as they can squeeze in.

One of the big pieces to the compromise will be the lifting of a moratorium on new charity poker rooms. No new ones have popped up since 2011. As of this past fall, around 40 charity poker rooms were operating within the Great Lakes State.

Gaming regulators will send the final proposal to the legislature for approval.