The Michigan Gaming Control Board recently issued new stricter regulations on charity poker games, also called “millionaire parties,” in an effort to curb illegal gambling, liquor law violations and crimes perpetrated at the tournaments.
Michigan allows for designated charity poker rooms to hold tournaments where the host site partners with charities and they split the rake in an effort to raise money for those charities in need, as well as provide people with local poker tournaments.
New regulations, set to go into effect on September 1 of this year, put a bit of a squeeze play on the rooms, increasing the difficulty for the rooms to operate at maximum capacity.
The new rules decrease the hours of operation, pulling back the closing time from 2am to midnight and, perhaps most importantly, they halve the maximum number of chips that can be sold from 90k to 45k per day.
Additionally, poker rooms will only be able to host a maximum of three licensed charities per day, when currently six are allowed.
Some of the poker rooms feel that the new rules are an attempt by the Michigan Gaming Control Board to shut down these card rooms due to pressure from established Michigan casinos and will result in a loss of jobs for workers at the rooms.
Regulators point to the 300 violations enforced on rooms since June 2012 including falsifying records and liquor violations. There is also a documented history of armed robberies, assaults, fraud cases and even a firefight where a would-be robber was gunned down in 2009 in association with the rooms.
In the end it looks like the charities will be hurt the most. In 2012 the games brought in almost $16M for the host charities and, with the new regulations, and the maximum number of tournaments able to be held cut in half, this number is sure to decrease dramatically.