LANSING (WWJ) – Michigan gambling regulators have struck a compromise with organizers of charity poker games throughout the state.

The move eases regulatory requirements that had aimed to fight fraud within the multi-million dollar Texas Hold ’em and blackjack party industry.

“Revenues come in and not reported – fake charities were set up,” said Republican State Rep. Jeff Farrington of Utica.

Farrington introduced a bill to ease the state’s gaming restrictions… which now include limiting charitable gaming to four nights per week.

“There are a lot of good charities throughout the state, well over a thousand, that depend on this revenue stream to help out those in the community,” said Farrington. “What I wanted to do was make sure that this revenue stream for the charities wasn’t shut down – that we found a solution to the problem.”

He’s happy that a compromise has been reached to preserve the fundraising. “It was going to end the charity poker industry in the state of Michigan and that what I was trying to stop.”

Charity gaming in Michigan generates nearly $200 million in revenue annually. A decade ago the revenue stream averaged $8 million a year.

Farrington said that while more oversight is needed in the gaming industry, he looks to ease the stringent regulations that hinder smaller charity fundraisers.

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