Senate approves Jones’ charitable gaming bill

Sen. Rick Jones

Sen. Rick Jones

LANSING, Mich. — The Michigan Senate on Thursday approved Sen. Rick Jones’ legislation to allow charity poker rooms to operate in Michigan.

“We need to put people over profits. This is about helping local charities raise the necessary funds to do tremendous good work in our communities — not protecting huge profits for casinos,” said Jones, R-Grand Ledge. “Senate passage of this measure is the first step to finally standing up for our charitable organizations and community groups such as area schools; police, firefighters and veterans groups; and Rotary, Kiwanis and Lions clubs.

“Many organizations have seen a real impact in their fundraising ability with the loss of charitable gaming events.”

In 2015, the Michigan Gaming Control Board and the governor filed emergency rules after the current rules were challenged in court because charities said they would drastically limit their fundraising ability.

Senate Bill 35 would codify the emergency rules into statute with some changes. The measure is supported by numerous groups, including the Michigan Jaycees and the Michigan United Conservation Clubs.

Rep. Tom Barrett, R-Potterville, has sponsored a similar bill in the House of Representatives.

SB 35 has been sent to the Michigan House for consideration. Barrett’s bill is House Bill 4081 and has been referred to the House Regulatory Reform Committee for consideration.