Sen. Jones, Rep. Barrett introduce bills to protect charitable gaming

LANSING—Sen. Rick Jones and Rep. Tom Barrett on Thursday introduced legislation in the Senate and House that would allow charity poker rooms to continue to operate in Michigan.

“Charitable gaming in Michigan is not about making huge profits for casinos, it is about raising funds to support local charities and organizations such as Rotary, Kiwanis and Lions clubs; schools; and police, firefighters and veterans groups,” said Jones, R-Grand Ledge. “I am proud to be working with Representative Barrett to support Michigan charities. Our bills would simply put into law the emergency rules signed by the governor – allowing our local organizations to continue to use charitable gaming to support their causes.”

The measures are in response to rules proposed by the Michigan Gaming Control Board that charities say would drastically limit their fundraising ability.

“I appreciate Senator Jones’ partnership with this issue affecting our community,” said Barrett, R-Potterville. “Charities are important. As the emergency rules are set to expire in July of this year, I am excited to continue working together to help our charities and protect this fundraising mechanism.”

Jones’ measure, Senate Bill 187, has been referred to the Senate Regulatory Reform Committee, on which Jones serves as vice-chair. Barrett’s bill is House Bill 4293 and has been referred to the House Regulatory Reform Committee for consideration.

In 2014, the Senate approved a bill sponsored by Jones to protect and regulate charitable gaming. That measure was supported by numerous groups, including the Michigan Jaycees and the Michigan United Conservation Clubs.