Major decisions looming on the growing charity gambling industry in the state.
Gaming regulators in the state of Michigan have debated fiercely on the best approach toward charity gambling activities, which usually involve poker games. While many maintain that restrictions on such games merely serve the interest of commercial gambling operators, regulators say they are committed to preventing “shady activity.”
Many American poker rooms are operated by charities, especially in states like Michigan. The market in the state spiked from $8 million in 2004 to almost $200 million in 2011. Proponents point to the fact that the activity has raised millions of dollars for non-profit organizations and employs many citizens of the state.
So, what is on the table?
According to American gambling laws, states are free to make their own rules with regards to the activity. One proposed change for Michigan would prohibit charity rooms from hosting games more than four nights per week.
Another regulation would prohibit facilities from hosting more than one event per day. Currently they are free to schedule as many as they have time for. Marking a compromise between charity gambling operators and regulators, the clarification of rules is expected to end a moratorium on new charity poker rooms which has been in effect since 2011.
Changes in regulation, as well as the end of the moratorium, should make the industry more predictable and legitimate. This may be bad news for commercial operators, but most in Michigan would prefer that gambling proceeds go to non-profits.