Lawmakers, state gaming board reach compromise on charity gaming rules

A pending deal could expand charity poker games and keep many afloat across Michigan but there's a catch.

For months, the Michigan Gaming Control Board has been cracking down on the state's approximately 40 charity poker rooms.

Now, gambling regulators and a state lawmaker have reached a compromise.

The deal would allow poker rooms in addition to bars, churches, schools and community centers to host charity poker games.

However, the operations would only be permitted to operate four nights a week or 208 days out of the year.

The state shut down Lucky's Poker Room in Flint last year.

The owner says this proposal would not only hurt his business but the charities that depend on the poker games to raise money.

"I can't understand how you can tell someone you can only make so much money a year or they can only open up so many times a year. They're putting these charities in a bind," said Lucky's owner, Michael Joubran.

Charities report poker profits of around $16 million, however, state regulators say charities are getting a small share of the money.

Our calls to the Michigan Gaming Control Board were not returned.