On Tuesday, March 8, 2016, the Michigan Gaming Control Board (“MGCB”) announced in a press release that an individual had been sentenced to provide approximately $33,000 in restitution to the Kearsley School District for funds illegally diverted from charity gaming contests.

“We are pleased the Kearsley schools will receive restitution for money raised at events advertised as fundraisers for the schools….The Michigan Gaming Control Board works to ensure charities receive a fair share of the funds raised through charitable poker to help their causes and to identify and pursue those who put personal gain ahead of charity,” stated MGCB Executive Director Richard Kalm.

The MGCB worked with the Michigan Attorney General’s office to investigate charitable gaming events between July 2012 and October 2013 that involved a school official conducting charitable gaming events without the district’s knowledge. According to a MGCB press release, charitable gaming licenses were obtained using forged signatures and personal information without the knowledge of school officials, with the perpetrator using a portion of the proceeds for personal use.

The MGCB issued new regulations for charitable millionaire party events in early 2015 in an attempt to prevent abuses and provide additional oversight of charity gaming. The regulations, however, raised concerns from some charitable gaming operators that their businesses would be unable to compete under the new requirements. 

The dispute resulted in legislation being introduced in March 2015 that seeks to rollback several of the new requirements, increase the amount of funds able to be wagered in a single event, and reduce the number of charity officials required to be on-site during events. Senate Bill 187was passed in the Senate on December 9, 2015 with a 34-4 vote and is currently before the House Committee on Regulatory Reform. House Bill 4293, which is tie-barred to Senate Bill 187 and has the same content, has not yet been voted on but is also before the House Committee on Regulatory Reform.


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